One more point about one of Garrett’s arguments for sterilisation:
the Indians did it 30 years ago (the reward was a transistor radio for every man who had a vasectomy) for population control reasons. I don’t recall why the programme was eventually abandoned.
Garrett refers to Sanjay Gandhi’s forced sterilisation campaigns against Muslim’s during The Emergency, when the Indian Congress Party led by Indira Gandhi essentially declared martial law for eighteen months. Poor muslim men and women living in slums in South Delhi were forcibly given vasectomies and hysterectomies. Officials had sterilisation quota to fill, people died due to botched operations, doctors who refused to perform the operations were jailed. The programme was abandoned when democracy and freedom of the press were restored.
It’s bitterly well remembered in India, where there’s still massive opposition to family planning and contraception because of the campaign, but in the west it’s probably best remembered as the inspiration for the nightmare chapter in Salman Rushdie’s Midnights Children (Indira Gandhi is ‘the Widow’):
No colours except green and black the walls are green the sky is black (there is no roof) the stars are green the Widow is green but her hair is black as black. The Widow sits on a high high chair the chair is green the seat is black the Widow’s hair has a centreparting it is green on left and on the right black. High as the sky the chair is green the seat is black the Widow’s arm is long as death its skin is green the fingernails are long and sharp and black. Between the walls the children green the walls are green the Widow’s arm comes snaking down the snake is green the children scream the fingernails are black the scratch the Widow’s arm is hunting see the children run and scream the Widow’s hand curls round them green and black. Now one by one the children mmff are stifled quite the Widow’s hand is lifting one by one the children green their blood is black unloosed by cutting fingernails it splashes black on walls (of green) as one by one the curling hand lifts children high as the sky the sky is black there are no stars the Widow laughs her tongue is green but her teeth are black. And children torn in two in Widow hands which rolling rolling halves of children roll them into little balls are green the night is black. And little balls fly into teh night between the walls the children shriek as one by one the Widow’s hand. And in a corner the Monkey and I (the walls are green the shadows black) cowering crawling wide high walls green fading into black there is no roof and the Widow’s hand comes one by one the children scream and mmff and splashing stains of black. Now only she and I and no more screams the Widow’s hand comes hunting hunting the skin is green the nails are black towards the corner hunting hunting while we shrink closer into the corner our skin is green our fear is black and now the Hand comes reaching reaching and she my sister pushes ne out out of the corner while she stays cowering staring the hand the nails are curling scream and mmff and splash black and up into the high as sky and laughing Widow tearing I am rolling into little balls the balls are green and out into the night the night is black.