04 November 2006

Coming to terms with India's missing Muslims


The reality of exclusion and discrimination can no longer be denied. But the remedy requires political courage on the part of the Manmohan Singh Government and wisdom on the part of those claiming to speak for Muslims.

4 November 2006
The Hindu

Coming to terms with India's missing Muslims

Siddharth Varadarajan

WHEN THE Justice Rajinder Sachar committee submits its report on the socio-economic status of Muslims, the full extent of the community's exclusion will be obvious to all. Especially those who have made political careers out of the canard that Muslims in India enjoy special privileges and have been "appeased."

Based on the data leaked so far, it is evident there are entry barriers Muslims — who account for approximately 15 per cent of India's population — are unable to cross in virtually all walks of life. From the administration and the police to the judiciary and the private sector, the invisible hands of prejudice, economic and educational inequality seem to have frozen the `quota' for Muslims at three to five per cent. Thanks to a hysterical campaign run by the Bharatiya Janata Party and some media houses, the Sachar committee was denied data on the presence of Muslims in the armed forces. But even there it is apparent that the three per cent formula applies.

This gross under-presence of Muslims in virtually every sector is presaged by substantial inequalities in education. Muslim enrolment and retention rates at the primary and secondary levels are lower than the national average and this further magnifies existing inequalities at the college level as well as in the labour market. For virtually every socio-economic marker of well being, the Muslim is well below the national norm — not to speak of the level commensurate with her or his share of the national population — and the evidence suggests these inequalities are not decreasing over time.

This bleak statistical picture is rendered drearier still by new trends visible in many cities. Muslims, for example, find it extremely difficult to rent and buy property outside of "Muslim areas" in some metros. Apart from several journalists, I even know of one former Muslim Union Minister in Delhi whose Hindu colleagues had to intercede to find him a flat. In Mumbai, the situation is perhaps worse. Many Muslim businessmen have problems accessing credit, besides having to run the gamut of uncooperative officials who look upon them with suspicion at every turn. Even in politics, as Iqbal A. Ansari's recent book, Political Representation of Muslims in India, 1952-2004, has shown, Muslims have consistently been under-represented in the Lok Sabha and all State Assemblies since Independence except Kerala. Only half as many Muslim MPs and MLAs get elected as one might expect based on their population share. In the absence of our political parties throwing up a large enough number of Muslim elected representatives, clerics and obscurantists are only too willing to step into the breach.

The `war on terrorism' has added a new layer to this already intolerable situation as policemen across the country give free vent to their ignorance and religious prejudice. The tendency of law enforcement agencies to target Muslims during incidents of communal violence is well known. The complicity of the police in the Gujarat pogrom of 2002 was reprehensible but not so different from what the country witnessed at other times in other places. As for legal redress, neither government nor judiciary shows any sense of urgency. Terrorist crimes such as the Mumbai blasts are prosecuted energetically and this is a good thing. But no one is able to explain what happened to the cases stemming from the killing of Muslims in Mumbai in 1992 and 1993 nor why the Srikrishna Commission recommendations against erring policemen remain unimplemented.

The media are a corrective but only to a limited extent. If one section has sought to highlight the plight of Indian Muslims, another section is constantly ready to inflame prejudice by staging debates on irrelevant issues, giving undue prominence to ridiculous statements by unrepresentative `Muslim leaders' or broadcasting marital disputes within Muslim families (as one channel did last week) as proof of `Muslim backwardness.'

In the U.S., the old journalistic adage was `Jews is News'. In India, it seems, anything that shows Muslims as ignorant or fanatical helps propel TRP ratings, while rational comment is frowned upon as unhelpful. A Muslim MP was asked recently to take part in a TV debate on whether there should be reservation for Muslims. He agreed, but added that he would argue against it. The channel's reporter then tried convincing him that "surely your community needs reservation." When he didn't agree, the channel lost interest in putting him on air. One studio guest recently advised Muslims to shed their `persecution complex' and to not forget that theirs were the "hands that built the Taj Mahal." Though no one would dare accuse Dalits of "doing nothing" to uplift themselves, Muslims are blamed for their poverty and poor education. They are gratuitously advised to study hard, as if the problem of lack of schools, delinquent teachers, inadequate books, and poverty can be remedied by will power alone.

The reservation trap

It is against the backdrop of this highly vitiated atmosphere that the Manmohan Singh Government must formulate a response to the Sachar committee's findings. The reality of systemic inequality cannot be wished away and the Government must find the political courage to confront this situation head on. So serious are the implications of Muslim marginalisation that the Congress must open a channel of communication with other parties, including the BJP, to evolve a consensus on the necessity for urgent corrective measures.

Among the remedial measures to be considered, the least helpful in substantive as well as political terms will be reservation. Whatever they do, Muslim leaders and those who claim to speak in favour of Muslims, must avoid the trap that the demand for reservation is. Sixty years of affirmative action have led to some improvements for Dalits and Tribals but it is clear that the country and its rulers have used the sop of reservation as an excuse to do nothing about the persistent, underlying causes of caste-based inequality.

It is now universally recognised that the pursuit of "equality of outcomes" and "equality of opportunity" must go hand in hand. Even equality of opportunity has a formal and a substantive aspect. `Formal' equality means ending discrimination on the basis of caste, religion or gender. `Substantive' equality means overcoming the barriers (or benefits) children of equal native talent inherit from their parents so that none is advantaged or disadvantaged by birth. The India state pays lip service to the idea of equality of outcomes (through quotas) but completely ignores the necessity of crafting expenditure policies that can provide equality of opportunity. Nowhere is this more glaring than in the field of education where the increased notional access of Dalits and Tribals to university is undercut by high dropout rates and underperformance at the school level.

In a 2000 paper, Julian Betts and John Roemer model the amount of differential expenditure the United States government would have to make to provide equality of opportunity to its citizens. In a typology where they define four categories of males based on whether they are White or Black and whether their parents have `High' or `Low' education levels, Betts and Roemer conclude that the `equality of opportunity' expenditure on education must be nine times higher for members of the `Low Black' group than the `High Whites'. They also found that the `High Black,' `Low Black,' and `Low White' groups must all receive more than their per capita share of educational resources if equality of opportunity were to be guaranteed.

Both in the U.S. and in India today, the actual allocation of educational resources is regressive in that those who are affluent and socially privileged corner a greater share of social allocations for education than their relative size in the population. In reality, then, existing affirmative action — or reservation — is for the privileged and the goal of public policy has to be to reverse that by using the target of public expenditure. An important finding in Betts and Roemer's work is that economic targeting alone won't alter the relative distribution of income across cohorts. The targeting has to be aimed at the discriminated or excluded cohort.

In India, the first task of the government must be to guarantee formal equality of opportunity by dealing firmly with discrimination in the labour, housing and credit markets as well as educational system. Without instituting a system of reservation — which would generate more political heat than tangible benefit for Muslims — the Government must send out a clear and unambiguous message that the social cohesiveness and future growth prospects of the country require government departments and private firms to encourage the recruitment of Muslims. But in order to generate substantive equality of opportunity and uproot inequality and exclusion from their roots, the government has to guarantee better access to education at every level for Muslims, Dalits, Tribals, and OBCs.

All of this is only a first approximation and much more will need to be done. What is important, however, is that we recognise both the reality of Muslim exclusion and the urgent need to do something about it.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

No one gives any reason as to why maximum number of Muslims drop out of schools? This huge drop out makes them easy targets for manipulation. Adding to this Muslim women hardly ever get educated. I believe it a problem with Muslims rather than Indian system.

Anonymous said...

I am trying to understand something here.....did we exclude the Muslims from mainstream Indian life or,are their religious beliefs ensuring they want to live in a modern world under their medieval laws?

Hemant said...

Thank you for this sensitive and most sensible commentary. I am not a Muslim but I too believe it is not in country's interest to allow such differences between religious groups to go unchecked.

Anonymous said...

Hello,

Another insightful article from your blog. I think you should organize your old articles to make them more accessible. Only long time readers like myself have completely benefited from your wisdom.

With regards to the article itself, I think there's a wrong perception of equality due to presence of muslims in visible positions such as the president abdul kalam and also their image in bollywood. This is very similar to blacks in the US (rice etc...).

With wishes for your success,
AC

Malolan said...

Mr Varadarajan, if the Muslims or India are behind their Hindu counterparts, it is only because of their jaundiced view of gender. Despite the fact that more muslims are urban and hence have better access to educational facilities, it only shows that they engage in want on denial of education to their better halves.

Shahnazzz said...

Thank you for an insightful article Mr. Varadarajan.

It is interesting how many people feel so strongly that the lack of representation of Muslims in our public institutions and private sector is due to the Muslims' "jaundiced view of gender" or "medieval laws." This patronizing attitude is perpetuated by the media as Mr. Varadarajan shows. Patriarchies exist in every culture, but since the Muslim version of it is "exotic" compared to the Indian mainstream, it gets spotlighted.

Besides, this generalizing argument, does not really explain the prejudices faced by individual Muslims: why urban Muslim profesionals cannot find a house to rent in Mumbai or Delhi or why Muslim politicians do not run for elections or get elected. At the end of the day, that comes down to prejudice; a lack of trust, whose reasons extend into our shadowy history, but which is exacerberated by the majoritarian nationalists.

Dan said...

While there is no disputing the fact that the Muslims in India are under-represented in the various spheres that have been pointed out the underlying cause behind the inequality would be best found within the community itself. Historical, socio-economic and cultural factors can all be attributed to the gradual erosion of the stature of the community. Combine this with the inept leadership comprising of a motley mix of 'Sole Representatives', Talibanesque Clerics, Sons-of-the-soil netas and 'Intellectual' elites have provided and you have the present state before you.

The role played by these so-called leaders in the present backwardness amongst the Muslim community needs special emphasis. Our government, from time to time, would go out of it's way, even to the extend of amending the constitution, to appease the community, can at best be blamed for pandering to these forces, rather than playing an active part resulting in the plight.

Naeem Mohaiemen said...

The other side of the equation is in this article, which was printed by Bangladesh's leading English newspaper last week. There are many brave people in Bangladesh fighting for secularism, they need alliances with progressives in the entire subcontinent.

If Your Name Be Das, Tripura, or Roy

http://shobakorg.blogspot.com/2006/11/das-tripura.html

Desi Italiana said...

A very interesting and well written article!

However, one thing that always stands out to me in mainstream discourse is the use of religious markers of identity to label and codify entire groups of people. I suppose this is the chicken and egg question: which came first? The government creating groups by way of the census, statistics (ie, creating 'majority' vs 'minority' and the entailing political sentiments), laws, and reservations? Or is it that people themselves have identified themselves primarily by their caste, religion, whatever? in the end, though, a sorts of "special interest group" mentality emerges, on both ends-- the politicians, and the people themselves. Furthermore, this leads to a competition of political and socio-economic allocations based not on individuals, but on groups- especially caste and religion, in the context of India.

I say this because as of late, there has been much talk about "Muslims," such as "moderate Muslims" and "radical Muslims" (as if Islam is by default a radical and reactionary religion, and so we must distinguish between the "radical" and the "moderate"). But this lends the impression that 1) Muslims (or any other religion, for that matter) can be classified; 2) they speak a uniform voice. These two rest on the assumption that those who consider their religious faith to be Islam put their religious identity first and foremost, and that their religion colors their opinions in every sphere: politics, religion, and so forth. I personally think this is completely inaccurate. There is much individualism and plurality, and to code people as such discounts the complexity and variation.

I also agree with the commentator who stated that simply looking at how many Muslims are in so and so field is not an accurate indicator of just how well things are going. I am an American of Indian descent, and I can say that affirmative action in the US should one, be brought back at the public level and; two, it seriously needs to be radically reformed. I do believe that some sort of "affirmative action" should be in place, to equalize the field due to centuries of affirmative action for the priveleged. I see parallels with this in the Indian reservation system. The point is not to see that the quotas are fulfilled, but to see that education from the primary level all the way to the graduate level is substantive and equally accessible to all- whether Hindu, Muslim, Dalits, OBCs, and so on. However, if this has not been addressed, then a band-aid solution like reservations should be implemented.

Desi Italiana said...

A very interesting and well written article!

However, one thing that always stands out to me in mainstream discourse is the use of religious markers of identity to label and codify entire groups of people. I suppose this is the chicken and egg question: which came first? The government creating groups by way of the census, statistics (ie, creating 'majority' vs 'minority' and the entailing political sentiments), laws, and reservations? Or is it that people themselves have identified themselves primarily by their caste, religion, whatever? in the end, though, a sorts of "special interest group" mentality emerges, on both ends-- the politicians, and the people themselves. Furthermore, this leads to a competition of political and socio-economic allocations based not on individuals, but on groups- especially caste and religion, in the context of India.

I say this because as of late, there has been much talk about "Muslims," such as "moderate Muslims" and "radical Muslims" (as if Islam is by default a radical and reactionary religion, and so we must distinguish between the "radical" and the "moderate"). But this lends the impression that 1) Muslims (or any other religion, for that matter) can be classified; 2) they speak a uniform voice. These two rest on the assumption that those who consider their religious faith to be Islam put their religious identity first and foremost, and that their religion colors their opinions in every sphere: politics, religion, and so forth. I personally think this is completely inaccurate. There is much individualism and plurality, and to code people as such discounts the complexity and variation.

I also agree with the commentator who stated that simply looking at how many Muslims are in so and so field is not an accurate indicator of just how well things are going. I am an American of Indian descent, and I can say that affirmative action in the US should one, be brought back at the public level and; two, it seriously needs to be radically reformed. I do believe that some sort of "affirmative action" should be in place, to equalize the field due to centuries of affirmative action for the priveleged. I see parallels with this in the Indian reservation system. The point is not to see that the quotas are fulfilled, but to see that education from the primary level all the way to the graduate level is substantive and equally accessible to all- whether Hindu, Muslim, Dalits, OBCs, and so on. However, if this has not been addressed, then a band-aid solution like reservations should be implemented in the meantime.

www.passtheroti.com

Anonymous said...

Interesting and insiteful blog, as expected from Siddharth!

One definitely cannot deny the data. As an experimental scientist, I am a firm believer of the axiom that data does not lie as long as faithfully compiled in an unbiased manner. So no doubting the situation at hand.

But at the same time, its important to understand the reasons behind the way the data has come out. What did we do or did not do in the history to have gotten in this situation?

One thing that comes to my mind is the educational levels of different communities in the Indian society and the reasons for those levels. A large population of Muslims is not educated, or is not educated in Hindi/English/local language. Those who are educated learn their lessons in Urdu and not in Hindi/English/local language. The question to ask is, why? Is it because that gives them a better sense of identity or is it because they think the other languages are not theirs? If they think so, why do they think so? Because Muslims in Bangladesh don't study in Urdu, they study Bengali. Then why do majority of educated Indian Muslims are educated in Urdu?

Another question to ask is why are the drop-out rates of Muslims/OBC/Dalits, etc so much higher than national average? Is it because there is active discrimination at school level? Perhaps not. Is it because the curriculum is such that Muslims don't relate to it? I think not, because we study - and are proud of Tipu Sultan as much as we study of Rani Jhansi. We read, in our history books, of Akbar as much as we read of Rana Pratap. At the same time, Muslims are not - as much as I can remember my history books - portrayed in bad light in those history books. Then why can't Muslims not relate to the syllabus? Is it because the language courses? Then we come to a chicken and egg scenario - Muslims have traditionally not contributed to a lot of literature in Hindi/local languages. Is it because they were never taught these languages or is it because they just never thought of them as their own?

Mother in the house is an important issue in education. It is well known and well accepted that mother plays a very important role in the upbringing and education of children. If the mother is educated and academically minded, she usually ensures that her children learn and complete their education. Looking at the data, women in the Muslim/Dalit/OBC, etc communities are traditionally less educated than men from those communities. Even the numbers of men in this case are below national average. So its safe to say that women in those communities are in general a lot less educated and this is perhaps a major factor why the drop-out rates are so high.

What are the possible solutions? I will just be speculating here specifically in case of Muslims:
(1) Focus on women's education.
(2) Incorporate Urdu as one of the taught languages in all the mainstream schools.
(3) Try to incorporate India specific Muslim history and Muslim literature into school curriculum.

This should hopefully take care of education, and once that is taken care of, lot of the other problems will take care of themselves.

Unknown Indian said...

I can't believe how people can allege discrimination against Muslims in India. In every field, qualified Muslims have been given the ability to rise to the top. Lets start with President Kalam, who was the son of an ordinary Muslim family, rose to the top of the DRDO based on his competence, and is now our President. In cricket, we have Azhar, Irfan, Zaheer, Kaif et al. In films, Shahrukh, Aamir, Salman and Saif. In business (where you specifically cite discrimination), we have Azeem Premji (until recently India's richest man), Habil Khorakiwala (of Wockhardt) and the Hameeds of Cipla,to name only a few billionaires. In every field, Muslims have risen to the top based on their capability. So why is it that most Muslims are poor and uneducated. Clearly not because of discrimination. But because the community has failed to pull itself up by its bootstraps. Will probably turn this into a full post on my Blog.

Anonymous said...

Asaduddin Owaisi MP addressing local Residents after the blasts in Malegaon, Maharashtra


ASADUDDIN OWAISI Mp (HYDERABAD) : Sir, at the outset I would like to compliment the hon. BJP Member for being the devil’s advocate. I happened to go to Vadodara on the 8th of this month. I have even gone to the place where this Dargah stood once. If the municipal authorities were doing a work, why was there a need for the Mayor and the concerned MLA to be there? Why was there a need that all of them had to clap, all of them had to raise religious slogans when this Dargah was demolished? I fail to understand that.I went to the Government SSG hospital to see the 24 injured patients. Out of them, 23 belonged to the minority community. All of them had bullet injuries above the waist. I even went to the houses of the deceased. I do not know whether any of the hon. BJP Members had gone or not. What crime did Mohammad Rafiq Vohra had committed that in front of his house he was first attacked by swords, killed and then burnt? When his family telephoned the local police, the police asked them to go to Pakistan. It is there on record on NDTV. What crime had Ashfaq Ahamed committed that he was shot in the head? He used to work in a night showroom. What crime did Mohammad Ayaz - a boy of 17 years, a brother of three sisters - had committed? All this clearly shows the complicity, connivance, conspiracy, and open support by the Gujarat Government. But for their active support, this incident would not have happened. In the name of development, minorities have been destroyed.Under the Central Wakf Act of 1995, all Muslim places of worship, mosques, dargahs and graveyards are protected. How can any Government go and eliminate a wakf property? Has the concerned State Government conducted any proceedings? Has any order been issued? Nothing has been issued.We are talking about Gujarat only here. At the same time, on April 14, a bomb blast took place in Jama Masjid. I have a complaint here with the Government also. So far, not even a single person has been caught. A bomb blast took place in Benaras. Within 48 hours two youths were killed in an encounter in Delhi and one person was killed in Uttar Pradesh. After 25-30 days’ time, Maulana Waliullah and his associates were caught. Whenever a majority place of worship is attacked, immediately within 48 hours or even ten days five to six Muslim youths are killed in encounters. It happens as if you have a buffer stock of Muslim youths who can be killed any time. When Jama Masjid bomb blast took place, why was this not done? Who is responsible for the bomb blast in Jama Masjid? Why did Delhi Police have to say that it was not a terrorist act when it was a terrorist act? It is not found out as to who was behind that act.The next point is about Uttar Pradesh. We are talking so much about secularism over here. Fifty Muslim youths were hit above the waist in Aligarh. The National Minorities Commission has demanded a judicial inquiry. What action is the Government going to take?I was hearing the hon. Member from Shiv Sena. The hon. Home Minister represents that area, Nanded area. On 6th of April, 2006, a bomb blast took place in the house of Laxman Rajpodwar. They are known Bajrang Dal activists. It was a single bomb blast. Later on, Surya Pratap Gupta the Inspector General of Police of that area said that they were manufacturing bombs. The police confiscated a live IED bomb with a timer attached to it. It was a timer similar to the one that is used in the Jama Masjid bomb. So, who is responsible? Those people are known Bajrang Dal activists. Why is the Maharashtra Government not imposing the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crimes Act? What is stopping the Maharashtra Government from imposing that Act on them? Why is the Government of Maharashtra not requesting for a CBI inquiry so that the truth comes out? I am very surprised. Who is going to pay the price? In Ghatkopar bomb blast, Gateway of India bomb blast, all the people have been exoneratedI am really surprised that some upper caste chocolate boys do the demonstration in Mumbai; police do lathi charge; and an inspector is suspended.What about Ghatgopar bomb blast incident? Accused were exonerated. What about Nanded bomb blast incident? How many police people have been suspended? It shows that there is no value for a Muslim life over here.The UPA Government was formed to stop the obscurantist forces. It was a verdict against the communal forces. My main grievance and grudge is with this Government. We know what RSS stands for? Maybe, the Sangh Parivar is celebrating the centenary celebrations of Golwarkar and to pay huge tribute to him, they are indulging in all these activities.In Mahasamud district of Chhattisgarh, on April 23, 2006, a mosque was demolished. In fact, burnt. Koran scriptures were burnt over there. Who is responsible? But for the Sikh community, nearly 20 families would have been killed over there.Not only that, in Rajasthan, in Pali Town, Saint Milad-Un-Nabi procession was attacked. On 11th of April, in Kandura in Madhya Pradesh, Milad-Un-Nabi procession was attaked. There is an end to it.I would like to bring it to the notice of the hon. Minister that in Karnataka, in Budkal, Jagannath Shetty Commission has come out with its Report. There is a huge tension over there. I am bringing this to the notice of the hon. Minister that the Government should take immediate steps to ensure that this tension does not lead to communal riots.I would demand from the Central Government that it should pay compensation to the victims of Baroda. This Government should immediately come to the rescue. I know that it is a State subject. But people are asking that when Sikhs were killed, three lakh rupees were given as compensation, why not to Muslims. What is stopping the Central Government in giving monetary compensation to the people? I think, it is a very important issue.Justice Srikrishna Report is there. Secular Government is there in Maharashtra. The same person who used to say that if Justice Srikrishna Commission Report is implemented, Mumbai would burn. That man is in your Congress Party. Why do you not implement the Justice Srikrishna Commission Report. Nanded incident led this Government to pressurise the State Government there. Let them ask for a CBI inquiry in the Nanded incident. Bajrang Dal activitists were involved. These same people have committed crimes in Parbani and Jalna. I had been to the mosque over there. Unless and until the lives and liberty of minorities are safeguarded, this country cannot progress. If the feeling of insecurity is there, Sir, it is very bad for the nation. I hope the Government will take some corrective action

Anonymous said...

Asaduddin Owaisi MP addressing local Residents after the blasts in Malegaon, Maharashtra


ASADUDDIN OWAISI Mp (HYDERABAD) : Sir, at the outset I would like to compliment the hon. BJP Member for being the devil’s advocate. I happened to go to Vadodara on the 8th of this month. I have even gone to the place where this Dargah stood once. If the municipal authorities were doing a work, why was there a need for the Mayor and the concerned MLA to be there? Why was there a need that all of them had to clap, all of them had to raise religious slogans when this Dargah was demolished? I fail to understand that.I went to the Government SSG hospital to see the 24 injured patients. Out of them, 23 belonged to the minority community. All of them had bullet injuries above the waist. I even went to the houses of the deceased. I do not know whether any of the hon. BJP Members had gone or not. What crime did Mohammad Rafiq Vohra had committed that in front of his house he was first attacked by swords, killed and then burnt? When his family telephoned the local police, the police asked them to go to Pakistan. It is there on record on NDTV. What crime had Ashfaq Ahamed committed that he was shot in the head? He used to work in a night showroom. What crime did Mohammad Ayaz - a boy of 17 years, a brother of three sisters - had committed? All this clearly shows the complicity, connivance, conspiracy, and open support by the Gujarat Government. But for their active support, this incident would not have happened. In the name of development, minorities have been destroyed.Under the Central Wakf Act of 1995, all Muslim places of worship, mosques, dargahs and graveyards are protected. How can any Government go and eliminate a wakf property? Has the concerned State Government conducted any proceedings? Has any order been issued? Nothing has been issued.We are talking about Gujarat only here. At the same time, on April 14, a bomb blast took place in Jama Masjid. I have a complaint here with the Government also. So far, not even a single person has been caught. A bomb blast took place in Benaras. Within 48 hours two youths were killed in an encounter in Delhi and one person was killed in Uttar Pradesh. After 25-30 days’ time, Maulana Waliullah and his associates were caught. Whenever a majority place of worship is attacked, immediately within 48 hours or even ten days five to six Muslim youths are killed in encounters. It happens as if you have a buffer stock of Muslim youths who can be killed any time. When Jama Masjid bomb blast took place, why was this not done? Who is responsible for the bomb blast in Jama Masjid? Why did Delhi Police have to say that it was not a terrorist act when it was a terrorist act? It is not found out as to who was behind that act.The next point is about Uttar Pradesh. We are talking so much about secularism over here. Fifty Muslim youths were hit above the waist in Aligarh. The National Minorities Commission has demanded a judicial inquiry. What action is the Government going to take?I was hearing the hon. Member from Shiv Sena. The hon. Home Minister represents that area, Nanded area. On 6th of April, 2006, a bomb blast took place in the house of Laxman Rajpodwar. They are known Bajrang Dal activists. It was a single bomb blast. Later on, Surya Pratap Gupta the Inspector General of Police of that area said that they were manufacturing bombs. The police confiscated a live IED bomb with a timer attached to it. It was a timer similar to the one that is used in the Jama Masjid bomb. So, who is responsible? Those people are known Bajrang Dal activists. Why is the Maharashtra Government not imposing the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crimes Act? What is stopping the Maharashtra Government from imposing that Act on them? Why is the Government of Maharashtra not requesting for a CBI inquiry so that the truth comes out? I am very surprised. Who is going to pay the price? In Ghatkopar bomb blast, Gateway of India bomb blast, all the people have been exoneratedI am really surprised that some upper caste chocolate boys do the demonstration in Mumbai; police do lathi charge; and an inspector is suspended.What about Ghatgopar bomb blast incident? Accused were exonerated. What about Nanded bomb blast incident? How many police people have been suspended? It shows that there is no value for a Muslim life over here.The UPA Government was formed to stop the obscurantist forces. It was a verdict against the communal forces. My main grievance and grudge is with this Government. We know what RSS stands for? Maybe, the Sangh Parivar is celebrating the centenary celebrations of Golwarkar and to pay huge tribute to him, they are indulging in all these activities.In Mahasamud district of Chhattisgarh, on April 23, 2006, a mosque was demolished. In fact, burnt. Koran scriptures were burnt over there. Who is responsible? But for the Sikh community, nearly 20 families would have been killed over there.Not only that, in Rajasthan, in Pali Town, Saint Milad-Un-Nabi procession was attacked. On 11th of April, in Kandura in Madhya Pradesh, Milad-Un-Nabi procession was attaked. There is an end to it.I would like to bring it to the notice of the hon. Minister that in Karnataka, in Budkal, Jagannath Shetty Commission has come out with its Report. There is a huge tension over there. I am bringing this to the notice of the hon. Minister that the Government should take immediate steps to ensure that this tension does not lead to communal riots.I would demand from the Central Government that it should pay compensation to the victims of Baroda. This Government should immediately come to the rescue. I know that it is a State subject. But people are asking that when Sikhs were killed, three lakh rupees were given as compensation, why not to Muslims. What is stopping the Central Government in giving monetary compensation to the people? I think, it is a very important issue.Justice Srikrishna Report is there. Secular Government is there in Maharashtra. The same person who used to say that if Justice Srikrishna Commission Report is implemented, Mumbai would burn. That man is in your Congress Party. Why do you not implement the Justice Srikrishna Commission Report. Nanded incident led this Government to pressurise the State Government there. Let them ask for a CBI inquiry in the Nanded incident. Bajrang Dal activitists were involved. These same people have committed crimes in Parbani and Jalna. I had been to the mosque over there. Unless and until the lives and liberty of minorities are safeguarded, this country cannot progress. If the feeling of insecurity is there, Sir, it is very bad for the nation. I hope the Government will take some corrective action

aFanatic said...

The core issue tho' is the lack of basic infrastructure such as decent primary education, basic health care for almost all communities. By turning this into "Community X" is so backward, lets give them some halwa, all you are doing is catering to the regressive identity politics so prevalent in india. Plus you can now you can have a shouting match with the RSS, so everyone can be happy!!

But why dont we have decent primary education in EVERY community in india. Isnt that the core issue here? Why dont you address that - I guess as a "secularist" that isnt your problem - catering to identity politics is much more important - and lucrative (keeps you in the public eye).

Anonymous said...

It is not aceptable that muslims in india are descriminated. We can put this way take pecentage of muslims educated/rich comparing with hindus percentage defenatly hindus' are less see how india helping the minority people. We should say hindu are being descrinated in india.

We need couragious leader who can talk about these issues. Every indian need his right to leave in the society, for that nation should be strong and unite but should not be like this, take every small issue in -ve manner and take revenge againest the nation. Taking revenge againest your nation what kind of metality is it. Which relegion is teaching them.

We need leader who can live for nation(Jaathi).

Anand JNS said...

Here is the reason for backwardness of some of the muslim youth, inspite of very tolerant and absorbing cluture of India.

Urdu language ... Hindu Brahmins and intellectuals used to speak, write and conduct their affairs in Sanskrit, the language of the Vedas and other great Upanishads. Due to this, they were for centuries viewed with contempt by other castes and communities. They learnt their lesson now ... they conduct all their affairs in local language. Muslims should learn a lesson from this and get rid of their fixation with Urdu, to integrate with majority population. Else, they dig their own grave for the detriment of the entire country. If Muslims could a different language, why not Hebrew be made a medium of instruction for Jews, and Sanskrit for Hindus and Pali / Brahmi for Budhists? We must understand that Urdu was a language of Muslim courts ... we no longer have Muslim emperors, hence no need for Urdu language. It is alright to write poetry in Urdu, but it cant be the language of mainstream education, commerce or governmental affairs. I love this language, it sounds sweet like "Lord Balaji's Suprabhatam sung by the great MS Subbulakshmi". In my native Hyderabad city, Muslims speak Urdu ... why? the local language is Telugu, local commerce / governmental affairs are conducted in Telugu, local population speak and understand Telugu. Infact, Muslims of Hyderabad should think of themselves as "Telugus / Andhras", same as Muslims from Mumbai should think of themselves as "Maharashtrians" first. Why dont muslims talk, write and interact with other people in Telugu language? Why do Muslims want to be known and be veiwed as a distinct entity different from native population all the time? If i live in France, i learn French and transact with local population in French language. One must respect and learn local language of trade, commerce, governmental affairs ... only then, a true integration of cultures take place. As long as you prefer to be treated as a distinct community, you remain cut off from mainstream. Afterall, even Islamic religious texts are codified in Arabic, not Urdu.

Attitude of majority community ... we, in India, always encourage bad attitudes by wrong actions. We should not introduce any new class room curriculum specifically for Urdu language (as suggested by someone else in this blog), nor should we treat Muslims as a distinct community ... for the sake of Muslim upliftment and national integration. If a child can't swim, we force the child into a pool and support the child until he / she learns to swim. We should do the same, instead of creating separate swimming pools for each community ... this might yield results in short-term like economic upliftment, but it will end up dividing country on communal lines. Our Neo-Secular pack of politicians should understand this.

Indianisation of Islam ... we truly need a world class center of learning for Islamic religious texts. Much harm is being done by the cross-border mullahs, who claim to be the true interpreters of islam ... afterall, we have 2nd or 3rd largest Muslim population in the world. We need Indianised teaching of Islam ... and not Muslimised school curriculum for Indian Muslims.

One India, One common civil code ... we must implement uniform civil code, and make muslims feel that they are no different from other population. Only this will ensure that they try to take advantage of all opportunities that India offers, and become part of mainstream. I feel that Muslims are still in the Mughal hangover ... reality is, gone are Mughals & British, they are Indians and part of democratic setup.

Political role ... i hardly ever saw any Muslim MLA or MP actively participate in debates on issues other than minority issues. Why? Don't they feel that India belongs to them and they belong to India? Only when they start demonstrating this aspect, only then will people get convinced and elect more and more muslims to State assemblies and Union parliament.

We have created a decent (though, with some faults) secular setup ... we must help (with compassion) and encourage (with stern warning to comply with local language) Muslims to take full advantage of this setup.

neem said...

There certainly is discrimination. I once met this Kashmiri muslim student on a train to Pune in 2001 who said that nearly everywhere he goes in India most people tell him that he must be a Pakistani at heart. Why the need for him to prove his patriotism?
In Mumbai I know many cases where Muslims (and we are talking professionals in top league, upper middle class, English Speaking types) find it very hard to rent flats even after looking for like 6 months and willing to pay asked for rates.
So somewhere our nation has really given up 'secularism'? Is it a reaction of stereotyping of Muslims as (potential) terrorists?

Anonymous said...

Actually, If I look at myself, a normal middle class Indian person, who is also happened to be a Hindu, had nothing in terms of property, cars, all modern amenities, TV, computer etc etc use to live in a 2 bedroom house almost all our life, till we started (me and my sister) working in hitec (Engineer) and analytic(as an MBA) firms and earned, big mansions, cars, flat screen TVs etc. this all came from my parents will, struggle and commitment and hell hard work not because we were Hindus!!!!!!!

Its the story of most of the India and that's how we are evolved/ progressing, please don't forget, post 1947 we were very very poor country all the time, so why even you think and compare as if we are located in Europe or NA and have huge resources to distribute equally but some how we just give them that to Hindus. well why a particular community (any community) expects to be helped if they can do wonders themselves?? if they have potential?? and if you think you want to help people why are you asking their religion/cast first before helping them (as you are writing this article projecting Muslim plight only??)

Anonymous said...

I never thought muslims were discriminated against at School level. Your argument that number of muslim children at school level is low because society discrimates against them does not hold water.The last time i remember convents were for christians. I do not see any mainstream school where muslims were rejected admission because of their religion nor do i see any school for Hindus alone.At college and education, It should boil down to your higher secondary marks and nothing else. If the percentage of muslim graduates(among all graduates) in India is 8, then you should expect at the best 100%(8% of the graduates) of the graduates who are muslim to be employed. If you say that 20% of the population is not employed, Your statisitics is skewed and completely off base. Most of the people are not against the development of Indians. Abdul Kalam,A R Antualy,Salman Kurshid,Sharukh,Azim,Javed Akthar,Azhar,Irfan,Kaif have all achieved greatness in India. So Muslims being discriminated against is sheer stupidity.Regards to Housing, Tamil Brahmin houseowners prefer to Tamil Brahmin tenants. Community x will prefer Community X tenants. Muslims will prefer Muslim tenants. Nothing wrong in that. It is India.You have to live with that. Bachelors will have a tougher time finding a house. This is the scene in Tamil Nadu.I do not know abt other states.You cant say that society is biased against bachelors.

Anonymous said...

Alas! There were more of Sidharath Vardarajan to speak the truth about Muslims in India. Each Muslim has a story to tell if he can have someone's ear in government and politics. All Muslims should read this article in public and tell the world there are a few people who feel for them. If Muslism can get justice in India, then it will be only through the sagacity and sympathy and convictions of the Good Samaritans among Hindus, not because of the selfishness of those in the power. A President here and a minister there and crowding of cinema industry with Muslims mean nothing to ordinary Muslims who are the cause of concern.
Some one commented that Muslims donot want to teach their children. How can they now when governments are either destroying government schools by inefficient allocation of resources or inefficient administration, or closing those schools which are located in Muslims and dalit areas as is the case in Jaipur city, and encouraging privatization of education (which is becoming expensive and beyond reach)government schools, or privatizing education making it expensive for the poor, or damaging schools by bad teachers and no infrastructure and safety to girls? Ask any Jaipur Muslim how the famous Darbar Government School in the center of the city was first ruined administratively and then closed and then land was given free of cost to police department for construction of police quarters creating sense of fear among the minority. I have filed a PIL agaist the BJP government but the High Court is sitting on it.

Anonymous said...

What Indian Muslims need now is a strong leader. Someone who makes them start believing in themselves again, someone who can unify them and make them work together for the greater good of their community. This leader should be a normal, moderate fellow with really good education and a strong vision. We need a leader.