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11. History outdoors

By Aprajita Sarcar, Queen’s University, Canada.

Driving towards a district hospital in Kerala, I find the physical manifestation of what I seek in my research. This mouldy painted image of a husband, wife and a girl child is the family that represents the national population control programme. Since 1951, this family has been changing shape: with three children, then two, one girl and one boy and currently one girl. As a child, I found this pictorial family appealing because it was always happy, each member beaming from walls, posters, postage stamps and magazines. As an adult, I seek the nation within which this image was created and circulated.
India launched a campaign called Hum Do Hamare Do (We are Two, We will bear Two) in 1967. It featured a family of four in an inverted red triangle. This became the symbol of the international family planning movement. The campaign lasted till 1969, but the perpetually happy family has remained in cultural lexicon ever since.

 

Image: Spotted by the author, but taken by her husband Anand P.K.

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