While the perception of deprivation is widespread among Muslims, there has been no systematic effort since Independence to analyze the condition of religious minorities in the country.” — Sachar Committee Report.
Where are the Muslims in Modern India? With the country’s population of 1.21 billion, Muslim community occupies 13.4%. It is the country’s largest minority population, but yet again where are the Muslims in Modern India?
Gone are the days when the Muslim masses played a significant role in the freedom struggle, gone are the days when the Muslim community influenced and greatly shaped the country’s culture, tradition, architecture and life style, gone are the days when the Muslim community boasted of great prominent personalities like Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Veer Abdul Hameed (Param Vir Chakra), Brig. Usman Ali, Badruddin Jayyab Ji and Zia Ur Rahmn Ansari and many others. But today there is absence of participation by the Muslims in political, social and economic activities.
Today, Muslims constitute the country’s largest minority group. It is ironical that as the rulers of the country, Muslims should have been the richest and most influential people in India, but today the situation of the Muslims is totally different. They are the victims of discrimination, , communal violence, poverty, and illiteracy. Today they are one of the most oppressed class and community in the country.
The Sachar committee constituted by the PMO has already submitted its report in 2006, identifying the real problems and the real status of Indian Muslims. The Committee submitted its recommendations but even after many years, the Central Government has not come up with any concrete measures to implement it and only lip services have been given by the Congress Government and there is no hope from the present Government, as on and off statements are appearing from the Minister of Minority Affairs. Muslim issues and problems hardly find any place in Print as well as Electronic media. In pursuance of this fact and reality how can one expect to save the community from slipping further to abysmal poverty, unemployment, illiteracy and hopelessness in general that add further misery and plight of the Indian Muslims. Does it imply that there is no future of Muslims in India?
Education is an indispensable element for the progress of any country in general and its people in particular. However in modern India Muslims are being denied education. The Muslims have the lowest literacy rate as per the Literacy Survey rate. The Guide to Uplift Minorities states that before partition the literacy rate among the Muslims were very high, their participation in administration e.g. Police and Army was very high and even other services, which is dwindling day by day and has almost come down to 2% to 3% in almost all services.
India-Muslims6The deplorable and pitiable condition of the Muslims can also be attributed to the anti-Muslim attitude, general hatredness towards them, inbuilt biasness and prejudices in the system, say administration. To make matters worse, Muslims often and almost in every state face the evils of communal violence, and they are the worst victims of it. They are deprived from proper protection and hardly get compensation at the time of person or property loss in communal violence despite Government declaration to compensate them.
Muslims also have very less representation in administrative and political activities. For last three to four years number of Muslims aspirants who have cleared the UPSC examination have been around 2.5 to 3%. Compare to the total population of the Muslim in our country, only 2% are in civil services. Also Muslim representation in police as well as army forces are declining continuously. What does this fact show? Does it mean that Muslims youth are not interested in joining police and defence and don’t want to serve the country or they are the victims of general apathy of Government, whether its Central or State. The reality is that, in Government services (in general) and in administrative and Defence (in particular) Muslims face high in-built bias and prejudice leading to discrimination and deprivation of the opportunities in Government jobs. They are even designated with assignments which are far too low for their intellectual ability and emotional quotient. Due to this, Muslims are highly discouraged or rather they are engrossed with feelings that they would not get Government jobs or promotion then why to study? or even try for Government jobs? They rather prefer to go for traditional job/self employment or alternative job. It is a pity that Muslims are not finding place under the nation’s most sensitive department i.e. RAW and IB.
In the political front there has been decline in the participation by the Muslims. In the recently concluded Lok Sabha election the representation of the Muslims were the lowest since 1952. The 16th Lok Sabha have just 24 Muslim MPs. Unfortunately there are no Muslim MPs from UP, and Maharashtra though these are the states which have significant Muslim population. When there is so little leadership in the political front how can one expect that the community’s grievances will be aired at proper forum i.e. in Parliament and State Legislatures. Also in many states, like Chhattisgarh, there is no Muslim Representation in the State Assembly. Absence of Muslims in Legislatures contribute to the poor development of the community. There is a need for Muslim leaders who could deal with the problems of the Muslim community.
India-Muslims7Moreover there is no concrete policies or schemes which address to the plight of the Muslims. Even if they are, they are not well communicated. Most of the Muslims are not even aware of such programmes and schemes meant for them.
It’s a high time that the government officials must pull up their socks and address to the problems that this minority group is facing today. The key solution lies in implementing the recommendations of Sachar Committee both at the central and state level. The benefits of reservation in education, employment will greatly improve the socio- economic and political conditions of the Indian Muslims.
However a great responsibility also lies on the shoulders of educated Muslims and others whose names feature in political social and economical front. They should inspire the deprived youth Muslims, help them in all possible ways. It is a fact that those who have access to education come to cities and lead a quiet life or move out elsewhere. Many of us who have established ourselves in the society become egocentric. We forget the responsibility to help the others and contribute to the community in the best possible way. Seminars, workshops and awareness programmes should be conducted educating the masses about their rights, the need for education, creating awareness among them about the various existing policies, inspiring them, providing them with financial help etc.
Muslim intelligentsia should come forward to organize and strategize the programme for the Muslim Community taking advantage of all existing schemes scholarship schemes and other social welfare measures meant for Muslim community, of which community is not aware and hence not taking advantage of it. We have to raise and air our grievances at right and proper forum.
Since independence Muslim community has seen and has already experienced the response of respective Government at the Centre and State levels towards the plight and problems of Muslim Community. Hence, there is an urgent need to give a new re-orientation and thought as to how to tackle and cope up with emerging problems of the Muslim Community. Leaders must awake up, perform and deliver the best now.
[Aabid Ali Haider is a student of B.A. LLB (Hons) at Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur and can be reached at email@example.com]