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India’s Muslim Dilemma: भारतीय मुसलमानों की दुविधा

Why the time has come for affirmative action to end the deprivation and dispossession of India’s Muslims.
It’s one of those seasons again when India’s politicians rediscover the existence of Muslims. With elections in five states, including Uttar Pradesh, and possibly early general elections looming on the horizon, the Congress has dipped into its ancient bag of tricks and come up with the reservation card for Muslims.
Law Minister Salman Khurshid suggests the government is considering a six percent quota for “backward Muslims” under the 27 percent quota allocated for economically backward communities.
Given the mess the Congress finds itself in right now and with Rahul Gandhi, the party’s prime minister-in-waiting, having invested himself heavily in UP, it badly needs a miracle to rescue itself. And who could deliver it better than the tried and tested folks, often derided as its vote bank and repeatedly taken for a royal ride! Just throw some crumbs at them, make some suitable noises and trust Muslims to come rushing back into your arms.
The nobility of the Congress’ intentions notwithstanding, even if the government goes ahead and announces the quota for Muslims, there could be many a slip between the cup and lip. The move is certain to be challenged in the courts, as it was in Andhra Pradesh. The Bharatiya Janata Party and its numerous avatars are waiting with bated breath to pounce on the opportunity to scream “Muslim appeasement” and launch another glorious yatra to revive their fortunes.
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad is already threatening agitation against the proposal. And Praveen Togadia has the audacity to demand Muslims covert to Hinduism if they want reservations.
Things could get more exciting when other communities that come under the 27 percent quota join the protests. The Samajwadi Party of Mulayam Singh Yadav, that great messiah of Muslims, is vehemently opposed to the idea and could go to any extent to protect its constituency. There will be many others. In the end, the government may be persuaded to withdraw the proposal.
The Congress wouldn’t lose anything in the bargain though. It could still claim the Muslim vote for its “efforts” to help the community get its due. If anyone would come a cropper, it will be the Muslims. But then they have been here before. The Congress knows this game of empty rhetoric and gestures all too well, having turned it into an art over the years, although one would like to give the benefit of doubt to Salman Khurshid. He is seemingly trying to do his bit.
The less said of Dr Singh’s ‘leadership’ the better. One is yet to discover what he really stands for and believes in. If this government had been serious about the predicament of the Muslims, it wouldn’t have slept all these years on the recommendations of the Sachar Committee.
In a fleeting moment of generosity and apparently to acknowledge the Muslim role in returning Congress to power after years in wilderness, the prime minister had picked up eminent jurist Justice Rajinder Sachar to probe the condition of the community. You didn’t need a Supreme Court judge to assess the state of Muslims. It’s there for everyone to see all across the length and breadth of the country.
Yet the findings of the Sachar committee were astounding. Weighed down by the so-called guilt over the Partition and faced by antipathy and often open hostility by successive administrations since Independence, the Muslims have gone from being the ruling class to the lowest of the low in six decades.
In a country that they ruled for nearly a thousand years, Muslims today find themselves struggling on the farthest fringes of the world’s greatest democracy. According to the Sachar panel, the Muslims’ condition today is worse than that of the Dalits, the low caste Hindus who have for centuries suffered the worst possible discrimination and exploitation.
Demolishing the myth of Muslim appeasement, Justice Sachar’s findings actually exposed systemic discrimination and complete injustice at all levels against the community. Justice Sachar repeatedly talks of the disturbing “development deficit” the community suffers from in all walks of life.
The Muslims have lower employment rates (48 and 9.6pc for males and females) than Dalits (52.8 and 23 percent respectively). In twelve states where the Muslims’ population share is 15.4 percent, their employment rate is just 5.7 percent. In big states like UP and Bihar, this proportion is less than a third of their population share.
This exclusion from the table extends to all areas, from lower bureaucracy to the judiciary to elite civil services. Muslims’ share in the IAS, IPS and IFS is 2.2, 3.0 and 1.6 percent respectively. In the armed forces, their proportion is said to be just two percent. According to another survey by ActionAid and Indian Social Institute, 41.9 percent of Muslims in rural areas have an annual income less than Rs10,000, which is less than $200 dollars.
Let’s face it. The Muslims are India’s new untouchables. It’s all very well to showcase the cool Khans of Bollywood and sport icons like Sania Mirza as the new faces of India’s Muslims. The larger reality of the community unfortunately is different. Facing political and economic marginalisation and security concerns on the one hand and being perpetually under the scanner of security agencies as usual suspects, they find comfort in numbers and in their ghettoes and slums in urban India. Poverty in small town India and rural areas is even worse. Little of the government benefits and programmes, targeting the vast majority of the economically struggling communities, trickles down to them.
It’s five years since Justice Sachar submitted these findings and possible solutions to the government. We are yet to discover what Dr Singh, or the Congress leadership, thinks about them, let alone act on the urgent recommendations to address the dangerous deprivation and dispossession of the country’s largest minority.
Regardless of the eventual outcome of the Muslim quota proposal, it’s past time for real and bold action to check the marginalisation and alienation of the community. Reservations or affirmative action, call it what you will, there is a desperate need to stop the free fall of an entire community. While the caste-based reservations for the communities long discriminated against because of their birth makes sense, there must be a way to help the large deprived communities such as Muslims. The quota in education and jobs – as little as six percent – may not be the be-all and end-all magic wand to end all of Muslims’ woes but it’s a start and better than doing nothing.
The US example proves that affirmative action actually works. It has already transformed hundreds of millions of lives in India since Independence. Pre-Mandal, who could have imagined a Dalit woman heading the country’s most populous and important state? So the quota could make a life-changing difference to Muslims as well. Besides, it’s in the national interest to lift Muslims out of the hole they find themselves in. India cannot aspire for global leadership and glory while a huge chunk of its population, around 200 million, remains out in the cold.
The writer is a commentator on Middle East and South Asian affairs. Email: aijaz.syed@hotmail. com

Roy slams world's silence on Indian occupation of Kashmir

Muhammad Ali Jinnah agreed to united India with safeguards for all Muslims of India, by accepting The British Cabinet Mission of 1946 to India. Promulgated on 16 May 1946, the plan to create a united dominion of India as a loose confederation of provinces came to be known by the date of its announcement:

  1. A united Dominion of India would be given independence.
  2. Muslim-majority provinces would be grouped - BaluchistanSindPunjab and North-West Frontier Province would form one group, and Bengal and Assam would form another.
  3. Hindu-majority provinces in central and southern India would form another group.
  4. The Central government would be empowered to run foreign affairs, defence and communications, while the rest of powers and responsibility would belong to the provinces, coordinated by groups.
  5. The Central government would be empowered to run foreign affairs, defence and communications, while the rest of powers and responsibility would belong to the provinces, coordinated by groups.'
The Congress Working Committee had initially approved the plan. However, on 10 July, Jawaharlal Nehru, who later became the first prime minister of India, held a press conferencein Bombay declaring that the Congress had agreed only to participate in the Constituent Assembly and "regards itself free to change or modify the Cabinet Mission Plan as it thought best. The Muslim League gave its approval to the plan. There was an impression that the Congress also had accepted the scheme and the Plan would be the basis of the future constitution of India.Jinnah, in his speech to the League Council, clearly stated that he recommended acceptance only because nothing better could be obtained. [This could have saved the killing and migration of millions ] Kanji Dawarka Das in his famous book "Ten Years to freedom 1937-47" and Jaswant singh in his recent book "Jinnah India-Independence-Partition" writes all details of congress working committee debates and untimely press conference by JLN in which congress rejected the last effort to avoid partition.[from Wikipedia]

I personally feel Jawahar Lal Nehru and his associates mischievously turned down Cabinet Mission Plan 1946, and divided India for personal gains and to keep exploiting Muslim minority in India. Imagine in united India [Over 1000 Million] the Muslims population would have been equal [50-58%] or more than Hindus [Pak 180 Mn+BD 150 Mn+ 200 Mn=580 Million]. It would have not been  possible to treat them  unfairly.

You Indian Muslims sacrificed your present for our batter future, but you were betrayed. A prosperous, economically strong Pakistan would have been source of moral strength. We could have provided economic and moral support to our Muslim brothers in India, but alas! the White Masters were replaced by Brown Sahibs ... The day is not far off when we shall throw away this yoke of slavery... and help brothers to stand at their own with dignity. Indian and Pakistani leadership can learn from European Union, US-Canada, resolve issues like Kashmir and live like good neighbours. Concentrate towards welfare of their citizens.
However just a reminder from the Holy Book:
"Verily, God does not change men's condition unless they change their inner selves"[Quran;13:11] 
ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّ اللَّـهَ لَمْ يَكُ مُغَيِّرًا نِّعْمَةً أَنْعَمَهَا عَلَىٰ قَوْمٍ حَتَّىٰ يُغَيِّرُوا مَا بِأَنفُسِهِمْ ۙ وَأَنَّ اللَّـهَ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ ﴿٥٣
This is because Allah has never changed a favor which He has conferred upon a people until they change their own condition; and because Allah is Hearing, Knowing;[Quran;8:53] 
یہ اس لئے کہ اللہ تعالیٰ ایسا نہیں کہ کسی قوم پر کوئی نعمت انعام فرما کر پھر بدل دے جب تک کہ وه خود اپنی اس حالت کو نہ بدل دیں جو کہ ان کی اپنی تھی اور یہ کہ اللہ سننے واﻻ جاننے واﻻ ہے (53)
यह इसलिए हुआ कि अल्लाह उस उदार अनुग्रह (नेमत) को, जो उसने किसी क़ौम पर किया हो, बदलनेवाला नहीं हैं, जब तक कि लोग उस चीज़ को न बदल डालें, जिसका सम्बन्ध स्वयं उनसे है। और यह कि अल्लाह सब कुछ सुनता, जानता है (8:53)
তার কারণ এই যে, আল্লাহ কখনও পরিবর্তন করেন না, সে সব নেয়ামত, যা তিনি কোন জাতিকে দান করেছিলেন, যতক্ষণ না সে জাতি নিজেই পরিবর্তিত করে দেয় নিজের জন্য নির্ধারিত বিষয়। বস্তুতঃ আল্লাহ শ্রবণকারী, মহাজ্ঞানী। (53)
"ஏனெனில், எந்த ஒரு சமுதாயமும் தன் உள்ளத்திலுள்ள (போக்குகளை) மாற்றிக் கொள்ளாத வரையில், அல்லாஹ் அவர்களுக்கு வழங்கிய அருட்கொடைகளை மாற்றிவிடுவதில்லை - நிச்சயமாக அல்லாஹ் (எல்லாவற்றையும்) செவியுறுபவனாகவும், (யாவற்றையும்) நன்கறிபவனாகவும் இருக்கின்றான். (8:53)
ഒരു ജനവിഭാഗത്തിനു് താന്‍ ചെയ്തുകൊടുത്ത അനുഗ്രഹം അവരുടെ സ്വന്തം നിലപാടില്‍ അവര്‍ മാറ്റം വരുത്തുന്നത് വരെ അല്ലാഹു മാറ്റിക്കളയുന്നതല്ല എന്നത്കൊന്നുത്രെ അത്‌. അല്ലാഹു എല്ലാം കേള്‍ ക്കുന്നവനും അറിയുന്നവനുമാണ് എന്നത്കൊന്നുു‍ം (8:53)

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