Rockefeller Foundation Support to the Khanna Study: Population Policy and the Construction of Demographic Knowledge, 1945-1953

by Rebecca Williams

Jan 1, 2011
In the years that followed Indian independence from British Colonial rule, occurring in 1947, the people of India experienced unprecedented attempts to limit their numbers. In 1952, as the government of India began what was a 'pioneering' project of state-sponsored family planning, as part of the program of national development in its First Five Year Plan, advisors and funds flowed from abroad to encourage, augment, and supplement the program. I visited the Rockefeller Archive Center (RAC) in 2010 as part of my Ph.D. research, in which I examine the history of population control in post-colonial India. At that point, my project looked widely at this history, guided by two broad research questions: why did population control become such an important project within the newly independent Indian nation, and why did India occupy such a central position within global 'overpopulation' discourse and related population control interventions? However, two weeks of research barely scratched the surface of the materials held at the RAC, where information on Indian population control spanned the records of the Rockefeller Foundation (RF), the Rockefeller Family, and the Population Council (PC).
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