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Tuesday Feb 7, 2023, Rajab 16, 1444 Hijri

Indian Muslims uplift: A Try

15 December, 2006

By Tanveer Jafri

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1947 is an important year in the history of India because on August 15, 1947 India threw away the yoke of the British Rule & got independence. At the same time the year 1947 is also remembered as the black year for the bloody division of India, on the basis of religion. A new nation named Pakistan came into existence as a Muslim majority country this year. Many Muslims from the western states of North India left for the new made country, Pakistan but most of the Indian Muslims decided not to leave their country & even today they are residing in India as its citizen.

After independence, according to the Indian constitution that came into existence after the independence of India, the Muslims in India were given the status of the minority community. Under this setup, there is a provision of many special concessions & the privileges for the minority communities, so that the minorities may get equal chances to the Hindu majority population & the country may be strong. But unfortunately, in India, there is also a staunch Hindutva thought that always is in search of shortcomings among the Muslims & raises finger on them. And if there is on attempt to remove those shortcomings in the Muslims by the government of India or by the state governments, then these communal powers criticise such steps. In fact such communal powers are always active to have their aim on spreading the communal hatred. Since the murder of Mahatma Gandhi, who brought India at the threshold of independence up to anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat in 2002, this communal thought is clearly visible. In Gujarat communal riots, there was an en masse killing of the Muslims & appeared as if the Muslims will not remain in the state. These riots moved even the then Prime Minister of India, Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Before leaving for his foreign tour at that time, he had to say the following words, 'How can I go before the people of the world?' undoubtedly in 1947 at the time of division of India, thousands of the Hindus & the Muslims were killed by communal forces & this incident is also a black chapter of the Indian history. But the en masse killing of the Muslims in Gujarat, a democratic state, this incident was beyond imagination. The Gujarat riots affected the other countries of the world. As a result of these riots, a message spread in the world that there is no security for the life of the Muslims in India. At the same time when Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam was elected as the President, it was a clear message by the Indian Parliament that only the Gujarat state cannot be considered as the mirror of India. The two incidents, the fall of controversial Babri Masjid structure on December 6, 1992 in Ayodhya & Anti-Muslim communal riots in 2002 by the communal Hindutva forces created an atmosphere of fear & un safety among the Indian Muslims.

Only Muslims are not counted in this group of the Indian minority community but besides the Muslims, the Indian Sikhs, the Christian, the Buddhists & people of the Jain community are also counted in this minority group. But because of the major minority group, the meaning of minority is generally taken as the Muslims. In the last days, the Indian government set up a committee under the chairmanship of a retired Chief Justice of Delhi High Court, Rajendra Sachchar, to inform the government of India about the conditions of the Indian Muslims. The main function of this committee was to know about the social, economic & educational conditions of the Indian Muslims. Usually a lot of money is spent on this type of committees. But the members of the Sachchar committee didn't accept any allowance for this work. To finish their work, the members of the Sachchar committee had to do hard work to have the personal contacts with the Muslims living in the far away areas of India.

Last days 84 years old Justice Sachchar presented his fresh report in the Indian Parliament. There is a detail of the steps that can be taken for the progress of the Indian Muslims. Sachchar committee have advocated for the reservation of the Muslims in the government jobs. Along with it has pleaded for the fixed partnership of the Muslims in the Indian political set up. Reservation of fixing of political partnership for a caste is not new in the Indian constitution. The backward class in India has been availing these two privileges since independence. But the active communal powers are not in favour of these privileges for the Muslims. After the Sachchar committee report, last days in the meeting of National Development Council, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh said that there is need for fixing equal share in the development benefits for the backward classes of the society specially the Muslims. They have the preferential right on the resources of the country.

The above statement of the Prime Minister enraged the opposition parties. The Prime Minister office cleared the point that the statement has been used not according to the reference. The Prime Minister was talking of all the backwards. He was not talking about the Muslims only. But in spite of it there was uproar in the Indian Parliament so that the parliament had to be adjourned. The Saffron opposition members walked towards the speaker of the LokSabha & wanted the Prime Minister to apologize. The opposition leaders raised the slogans that the communal politics of the congress will not work & don't divide the country.

The above circumstances clearly reveal that two thoughts are active in India since the beginning. One is that can be said as the thought of communal harmony  or secular thought. This thought is also called Gandhian Philosophy or Gandhian Thought. This thought instead of involving in religious or caste conflicts, it gives equal regards to all the religions. Second thought is religionist, conservative & communal. The followers of this thought are present in all the religions but their thinking is very limited. The persons of this thought are called communal & religionist.     A man who talks in favour of other sects is communal for them.

It is beyond doubt that the Indian Msuslims are backward in education & their economic & political conditions are lagging behind. But there are some other communities too, that are more backward as the Muslims. Undoubtedly, every part of the society has right to progress & to be self dependent. But when there is a process to uplift a class or any constructive step is being taken then that should not be misguided. The traditional opponents of the Indian Muslims are trying to propagate that the government has a time to think in favour of the Muslims but the government doesn't give attention to remove the backwardness of the Non-Muslim communities. Every Indian, may be of any religion or caste, if he is backward economically, socially, politically or educationally, has a right to stand equally with the members of society. And it should be so. There were all privileges to uplift the deprived in the Indian constitution. The Indian Muslims have been welcoming to these set ups since that time. The Indian Hindu society has also accepted it. When talked about the Muslims & there is uproar in the Parliament & it is exploited politically, if not communalism what else it is? The attempt of government of India to uplift the Indian Muslims will help the Indian Muslims or not, only time will tell. To what extent it will help, is not clear, but it seems to be under political fire.


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