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date: 21 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The strong continuities between colonial eugenics agendas and postcolonial population control efforts are striking elements in the history of eugenics in South Asia. This article discusses the role of different strands within colonial eugenics—particularly neo-Malthusianism—at different points in time and in the region's different postcolonial nations. It mentions that eugenics in a poverty-stricken colonial context provides a powerful and enduring template for connecting reproductive behavior to the task of revitalizing the nation as a whole. This article relates the history of eugenics in colonial India with the history of birth control advocacy. It discusses in detail the eugenics associations that held public meetings and advocated contraceptive use. It provides an understanding of the relative insignificance of heredity to Indian eugenics in light of the conditions for the development of eugenic science in India.

Keywords: colonial eugenics, South Asia, birth control, history, neo-Malthusianism

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