Ahluwalia notes that the rise of population problem theory actually started before there was demographic evidence to support it. The 1871 was the first census taken of India, but it was not until 1911 that they had representation across all states. So the 1921 census showed a decline in population due to influenza epidemics, so it was not until 1931 that there was solid evidence of population increase (10.6%). She finds it interesting that the "'population explosion' script was being written in India well before the demographic 'facts' were available to support such a thesis."
 Ahluwalia breaks the pre-independence into two parts, 1877-1900, dominated by male middle class activists, usually intellectuals or academics, who were worried about population. They came from a Malthusian approach, that there were too many people to feed with the resources that India had. These early activists made connections with Western neo-Malthusians and eugenicists, and while they made use of Malthusian theory, they did pitch it slightly different because of their colonial status. Early proponents in South included: Murugesa Mudaliar (Madras);  V.V. Naidu; Muthiah Naidu; D.K. Banerjee; Dewan Rangacharlu (Mysore). In North, mostly Swami Rama Tirtha, who held that until the population problem was solved they would not be able to advance as a nation. There is not a lot of materials documenting this period, and while she believes they were influenced by the British and American, documenting is hard. Says that in the beginning the emphasis was on documenting the problems of unrestrained population growth, how it hampered economic growth, especially in the situation where the country was under colonial power. Population growth was no longer seen as a positive step towards a more powerful nation. Ahluwalia says that it was left to BC advocates to link the demographic issue with a practical method to solve it.
 Later phase is 1910-1947, where she claims that the BC movement entered India and began "its oppressive trajectory." There was a bit of a lull between periods, leagues like the Hindu Malthusian League in Madras faded out and was revived in the 1930s. These birth control activists tied contraception to the nationalist imaginings, but also opened the door for interest in and control over the sexual practices of couples in and outside marriage. Sex and procreation became a topic fit for public debate and rational management. Prominent advocates were still mostly male, middle-class and upper caste. Gopaljee Ahluwalia; AP Pillay, RD Karve, NS Phadke, PK Wattal, and Radhakamal Mukherjee. There were difference between their ideas.
Ahluwalia, biology prof. at Ramjas College, established the Indian Eugenics Society (Lahore and Simla) in 1921. He borrowed from Galton but introduced elements of moral and spiritual components as important in programs to improve the race. He also emphasized  that any program needed to have "regard for the Indian traditions and present conditions."  He moved to Delhi in 1922, established the Indian Birth Control Society. Corresponded with Stopes, and joined the "international birth control circuit" giving papers at the 1922 and 1925 International neo-Malthusian and Birth Control Conferences in London and New York. In 1923 he was published in BCR.
 Bombay Eugenics Society formed in 1929, among its goal was to form contraceptive clinics for the married poor. Sholapur Eugenics Society (1929-1934) was directed by Pillay, who was in contact with Eugenics Society in London. Karve, a mathematician, was a social reformer who founded a woman's university in Bombay. Published a BC pamphlet as early as 1921, established a clinic in the Girgaum section of Bombay the same year--may have been first in Asia, was first in India Karve lost his job at university for his BC beliefs and was prosecuted by Colonial authorities for publishing obscene literature. Phadke, an upper-caste Brahmin from Maharashtra wrote Sex Problems in India (1927) which Sanger wrote a foreword to. Wattal, was an upper caste Kashmiri , a statistician, wrote Population Problem in India: A Case Study (1916) which relied on census records. Muhkerjee was an economist who convened the First Indian Population Conference (1936) and published the papers as Population Problem in India, which contained essays by leading economists, mostly saw the issue in terms of large forces, Malthusian law of diminishing returns meant that the overpopulated areas would be stripped of resources and water. "'Population' was seen as representing faceless numbers who constituted a 'problem' that needed to be 'combatted' and 'attacked.'" They looked at the issue from a lot of angles, but not from women's health or challenge to the existing class and social structure. Not a "people-friendly" way of looking at things, instead the socially disadvantaged were blamed for mindless procreation.