Why is the Indian Muslim missing ?


The word on the street is “shock”. If not the street, atleast in the power corridors of Delhi and the state capitals of India after the Sachar committee findings on the state of Muslims in India. The Rajinder Sachar panel appointed last year by the prime minister to report on the social, economic and educational status of the Muslim community has done a selective release of its findings. The PMO believes the findings are ‘explosive’. The full report is scheduled to come out on Nov 30th.

Across 12 states with an average Muslim population of 15.4 percent, only 6.4 percent of government employees are Muslim”

“In 15 states where Muslims average 17 percent of the population, they are 8 percent of the lower judiciary, which decides eight out of every 10 cases in the country.”

“But prison is one place where Muslims’ proportional representation is higher than their population percentage.
In eight states where they average 14.82 percent of the population, they account for 23.4 percent of prison inmates.”

“Although Muslims in jails were not part of the Sachar Committee’s terms of reference, prison is the only place where they have been found to be over-represented

Read Sivam Vijs excellent take on the issue in Tehelka

Is this a surprise ? Often it is the BJP and RSS that is blamed for the condition of muslims in India. But what about UP with an 18% muslim population and with a messiah called Mulayam Singh. Bihar – with Lalu Yadav, the JP secularist who jumps in front of raths to stop the rightwing-Hindu-juggernaut. What about West Bengal where the marxists are in power for the past thrity years. Then why is the Indian Muslim missing ?

It is education,stupid !

The gross under-representation of muslims in graduate and post-graduate enrollment , almost in lines of SCs and STs , shows that muslims fare below the OBCs who have quota reservations . The pathetic educational levels of Muslims in the 20-30 age groups is an indicator to why the Indian Muslim is missing from the corridors of power, from the civil services, from the judiciary and from land ownership. The Army, Navy and Air Force has given data , but had advised the panel against publishing it.

Equally alarming is the post 2002 “ghettoisation” of Muslims in Gujarat which is affecting the eduction of a lot of muslim children in the state. Creation of “muslim-free-zones” in the state will not help us in finding the missing muslim and bring him into the national mainstream.

What should be done now ?

Overturn the constitution and start reservation based on religion ?
Spend 15% of the budget for minority upliftment as suggested by the CPIM ?

Well lets wait out the full report.

 

22 Responses to Why is the Indian Muslim missing ?

  1. alex November 12, 2006 at 5:08 pm #

    Reservations inherently create inequalities by further emphasising the disproportionality.

    Reservations alone will not work.

    I do not see the need in asking a persons caste or religion for an application to a school or a job. Why not remove that column?

  2. Jiby November 13, 2006 at 6:54 am #

    good post man…wonder what can be done to solve it but u rightly pointed out the big factor, education…a big problem is that poorer muslims are showing a tendency today towards religious education rather than the mainstream education…education is a fundamental right…but enforcing education will make it all look like another case of minority bashing…what an irony!

  3. b v n November 13, 2006 at 7:02 am #

    Alex, reservations do emphasize the unequality, but affirmative actions have produced results for OBCs and SCs in India. the stats dont lie like politicians and media 🙂

    Jiby, very true. the madrasa system will have to be replaced.Muslims shud retain the right for religious education, but more public schooling facilities need to penetrate the muslim majority areas. the govt and the community leaders have a responsiblity to do this.

  4. Anonymous November 13, 2006 at 7:53 am #

    Even before trying to overhaul the existing Islamic systems like Madrassa, what we need is a change in the thought process of the majority.

    Living in Mumbai, I have often found myself being asked if I am a muslim while looking for an accommodation. In majority of the places a Muslim is not allowed to buy/rent an apartment even if he/she can aford it. Even when I was renting out a place, the broker assured me each time that that was not a Muslim area.

    The saddest part is that most of my friends from North speak of them as if they are the outcasts or the most disgusting part of the society. Once an IIM MBA+PhD lady told me , she has a fnd who is a muslim yet a good guy!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    If lack of education is the problem of the ailing community, the access to it is the problem of the majority outside.

    ~NJ

  5. b v n November 13, 2006 at 7:59 am #

    Nina, You are there at the crux of this issue. i didnt want to write this here somehow. yours is not a first experience..i have heard of this over and over again..many times.
    Your kind of understanding is lacking even in highly educated people. every word you said makes sense !
    safest thing in world politics is be anti-bush, the safest thing to do in India seems to be anti-muslim.

  6. neermathalam November 14, 2006 at 2:31 pm #

    BVN
    Social statistics can always be bend to to drive home one’s point.
    “Muslim is missing from the corridors of power, from the civil services, from the judiciary and from land ownership.”
    There are other professions also.There are traders,There are businessmaen.
    Before sticking to this statistics it would be worthwhile to track the statistics of the funds our muslim brothers are having.I am not speaking against them anyway.but when you quote statistics to comment on a social issue it becomes a kayamkulam vaal.
    Yes muslims in this country are illtreated,so is the case of hindus in bangladesh.In today’s world the justice is victors justice, the history is victor’s history.
    From that perspective I dont think Indian muslims are ‘ill treated’ in our so called ‘secular’ setup..
    They are just not missing dear.;)

    off topic:
    Nice discussion topics you are posting here…

  7. Sachin R K November 19, 2006 at 5:18 am #

    I can identify with NJ ( anon’s comments ). A close ( do I need to add Muslim ? ) friend had the same problem when he went house hunting in ( liberal ? ) Bangalore. But to just characterise this behaviour as anti Muslim is being too simplistic. I had problems finding a house in Chennai ( 1. I was a non-veg and 2. I was a bachelor ).Being a Hindu didnt help there 😉

    Personally , I think the whole Sachar committee thing is not fair. I subscribe to neermathalam’s point of view there. You say that population of Muslims is over represented in jails because of lack of education. What if I were to use your own statistics and claim the over representation of Muslims in jails just pointed to their criminal bent of mind.( note that this is just a rhetorical argument ).Statistics cover much more than they reveal, and so can be bent to suit anyone’s arguments.

  8. b v n November 19, 2006 at 9:15 pm #

    Neermathalam, sorry abt the late reply to the comment. the sachar committee looked into Muslim representation in the public and private employment and the reasons for their low representation. If our muslim brothers have hidden “funds” as you put it, that needs to be looked into. It could be a new economic paradox that they have these “funds”, but remain one of the most impoverished sections of our society.

    ill-treatment of hindus in Bangladesh or Pakistan is their issue not ours. AND what was our victory ? getting the nation divided in 1947 ?

  9. b v n November 19, 2006 at 9:26 pm #

    Sachin, You or me dont have the stats abt this country. the elected govt of india set up a panel to find out these stats abt Muslims. This is their report – not mine. We can lie but stats cant.

    your argument that muslims have a crminal bent of mind may find some supporters. In the USA the same argument is often reported about blacks.

    i’m saying muslims are missing in higher education,civil service and private sector because of lack of education. you may use the same stats to point out that Muslims are not fully evolved human beings and their brain is not fully developed. its all yours to measure 🙂

  10. neermathalam November 20, 2006 at 8:23 am #

    man can i put a link..frm my blog to here…

  11. Sachin R K November 20, 2006 at 4:35 pm #

    “the elected govt of india set up a panel to find out these stats abt Muslims”…just the fact that it is elected does not confer legitimacy to a govts action…The Rajiv govt of 84-89 had 400+ MPs. They used this brute majority to overturn a SC verdict on the Shahbano case…that might be held to be the prerogative of an “elected” govt as you say..but I dont buy that argument…

    I dont share neermathalam’s concerns for the Hindus in Pakistan or Bangladesh. like you say thats not *our* problem….but reg his argument about funds , I can point you to several IB reports about how money is getting routed to various extremist organizations in Kerala through the Gulf. This has been widely reported in the press. That these reports have not been acted upon by any “elected” govt should not take away from the gravity of the situation.

    I had clearly said that the argument that Muslims had a criminal bent of mind was rhetorical. I was just trying to illustrate how you can draw a different set of conclusions from the same set of stats. Agreed the illustration I chose was not appropriate but that was the only mistake I made…Iam not that bad a human being also yaar 😉

  12. neermathalam November 22, 2006 at 4:38 am #

    @sachin/bvn

    I also dont hav any passionate.. concerns about anyone..even outside my house or close circle..(that i stand up and fight against..).
    I just quoted the plight of hindus in bangladesh to..(“lajja” jus came to my mind..unknowingly)…to substaniate the fact that “In today’s world the justice is victors justice, the history is victor’s history”….
    Yes it is a fact..power and money is steamrolling the weak.every one of us hate that..still we need to accept the fact that is the order of the world..From that point we need to think what can be done for the betterment..
    Empowerment of weak at the cost of strong is not just feasible…

  13. b v n November 22, 2006 at 7:53 pm #

    Neermathalam, I do agree here “Yes it is a fact..power and money is steamrolling the weak.every one of us hate that” – Very true. But accepting it or being silent about it is like being in bed with it. The strong should be able to bear some of the cost, isn’t that why we call them strong. As you said, we need to look for ways of bettering the situation.
    & abt the link…my pleasure dude 🙂

  14. b v n November 22, 2006 at 8:11 pm #

    Sachin,

    “just the fact that it is elected does not confer legitimacy to a govts action” – Yes it does !! Nothing else has legitimacy in India but an elected govt.

    Shah Bano Case – Indian mainstream opposed this not because it was concerned about muslim women ? was it ? lets not go there

    “I can point you to several IB reports about how money is getting routed to various extremist organizations in Kerala through the Gulf” – I havent seen any IB reports and how do you know they havent been acted upon by the govt- were there any media reports? what is police and IB doing then ?

    I know you are not a bad human being and your arguments are good. What I dont agree is your upper-class contempt for democracy and its institutions. what do you want , an oligarchy with an all powerful judiciary. Dream on dude 🙂

  15. Sachin R K November 23, 2006 at 7:40 pm #

    bvn…maybe my use of the word ‘legitimacy’ was tenuous. Of course in a Democracy where Parliament is Supreme ( as it should be , since it is the only body directly accountable to the people ) , its deeds or actions cannot be but legitimate – but they need not be necessarily right. In the present day coalition era democratic India, any party with 20+ MPs can hold the country to ransom. ( Karunanidhi’s opposition to NLC disinvestment is a case in point…pls dont get me started ).

    re the Shah Bano case, I take it you belong to the school of thought that advocates that all reforms should come from within..ie if there are any deficiencies in Muslim Civil law ( or Hindu or Sikh or XYZ for that matter ), it should be addressed by those within the community?

    I dont have any contempt for democracy. I believe that it is the system best suited to a country as diverse as ours. I have voted in every election since I attained 18 , and am proud of the fact. There are people who cant be bothered to go out and vote and then just go bitching about the system. Dont count me among them. This however does not mean that I will take everything Parliament spews out as the Holy Grail. The all powerful judiciary is getting more powerful only because the other arms viz Executive and Legislature refuse to do their duty ( The Delhi sealing drive for instance ). This is my stand and I intend to stick to it :).

  16. abhishek November 27, 2006 at 5:53 pm #

    @bvn

    Excellent post and great timing. My two cents:
    Reservations are bound to be misused. Even after 50 years of reservations for people in the lowest socio-economic classes, we haven’t been able to change their situation much. Now applying that ineffective band-aid solution to religion is an even bigger mistake as people can so easily choose their religion in contrast to their socio-economic background. This is also going to further endanger our meritocratic system. I say, stick to the current basis of applying reservations on a needs-only basis. Any other proposal is just a way for politicians to garner the Muslim vote without being concerned for their condition.

    @NJ and Sachin
    Your comments are eye-openers. I didn’t realize these attitudes ran so deeply in our society.

    This problem has to be treated in the same light as minority disenfranchisement. It is a complex situation, driven by no active government policy to reach out to Muslims and the self re-inforced alienation by Muslim communities. For example, in Kerala, I have noticed many private schools run by Christian and Muslim organizations. It has been widely accepted to teach religious classes on a voluntary basis in these schools as well as provide a house for worship. That is why to some degree, religious schools, including madrassas, are absent from the Kerala scene. I think someone has to come up with a public school model that actively incorporates various faiths and their teachings to ensure:
    a) students can pursue their religious education within a school
    b) students from different backgrounds interact freely

    Of course, these religion classes have to be dealt with an academic treatment and not the pedagogical, fanatic treatment that endangers and alienates any community.

  17. Appu November 29, 2006 at 8:22 am #

    What crap of a report

  18. b v n November 29, 2006 at 7:08 pm #

    Sachin,
    Thats a good one ! the beauty of democracy lies in the fact that 20 MPs can hold the nation to ransom 🙂

    the changes should come in from within communities.you are correct,thats my point of view…but there can be external motivations too. (do you want a legislation from Delhi asking women to be permitted access in Sabarimala ?)

    and Yeah, we have a very efficient Judiciary..which proves itself time and again. where do you live ?

  19. b v n November 29, 2006 at 7:30 pm #

    Abhishek, thank you for the comment!
    your second para on education is exactly what was in my mind.the climate we have achieved in kerala is through empowerment of minorities and removing their alienation. In kerala you dont ask a christian to join the mainstream,nor a muslim…they are the mainstream. UP has a muslim population equal to xian population in kerala…but still they are alienated. educationis the culprit there. Reservations, i do agree is along shot and there are limitaions to affirmative action.

  20. b v n November 29, 2006 at 7:32 pm #

    appu, we need to bury this report dude…just like sreekrishna commission report :)))

  21. Sachin R K November 30, 2006 at 2:27 pm #

    bvn..I live in Bangalore..sorry cant be more specific else will have to kill you 😉

  22. b v n November 30, 2006 at 5:58 pm #

    🙂

Leave a Reply