Asghar Ali Shad
THE world’s second-largest Muslim population is in India, but its representation in different sectors of
India is not even ten per cent. In the 2014 general election, BJP did not give party
tickets to any Muslim. The same was the case in Uttar Pradesh legislative elections, wherein the assembly of 403 seats, the ruling party BJP does not have any Muslims represent. In the general election 2019, BJP had no strong candidate in West Bengal against Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress, so Amit Shah and Modi had no choice to give a ticket to Saumitra Khan. He won the seat and now he’s the only Muslim representing Bharatiya Janata Party. Among the National Democratic Alliance, another Muslim Mahbub Ali Kaiser from Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) won from Khagaria Lok Sabha seat in Bihar. The remaining 25 Muslims in Lok Sabha of 542 members belong to other parties. In Uttar Pradesh, six Muslim MPs have made their way to the Lok Sabha. In the 2014 general election, no candidate from the community became victorious. Neutral Analysts are of the view that it is not like Muslims are suppressed in only BJP’s tenure. The track record of Congress party is also not very pleasant or bright at all in this regard. It would be interesting to know that Muslim representation in the 16th Lok Sabha dipped to its lowest at 22. In 15th Lok Sabha, 33 members of the community were elected, and now in 17th Lok Sabha, the number of Muslim members in Lok Sabha is 27. The highest number of Muslim MPs in the Lok Sabha was in 1980 when 49 members of the community were elected. Muslims in India do not get a share in government jobs in proportion to their population. Before going deeper into this subject, it needs to be mentioned that the biggest target of BJP is the Muslim minority of India. BJP has over the last few years one or two Muslims as “show boy”. Earlier that was Sikander Bakht but now Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi of Rampur (UP) and Shahnawaz Hussain of Bihar have become the blue-eyed boys of BJP.
On the other hand, most conscientious Indian analysts believe that over the last 72 years, all the governments in India have used the Muslims one way or the other. The Congress Party which has stayed in power for a long period and claims to be the champion of secularity is the most guilty of this practice. It has gone to all extremes to keep the Muslims backward and underdeveloped, on the other hand, it has made two Muslims Dr. Zakir Hussain and Dr. Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed Presidents to show the outside world its so-called secular face. However, is a strange coincidence that both of them died during their tenure in their office (Rashtrapati Bhavan) and some quarters are not willing to accept their deaths as natural but as no investigation was carried out and no concrete evidence is available, it is very difficult to draw any conclusion in this regard. It would be interesting to note that many secular-minded Indian intellectuals are of the opinion that the Muslims in India are not a minority and a few years back, a former Indian Foreign Secretary Mr. Ras Goutra said that he does not consider the Muslims in India a minority but the second largest majority. This declaration by a former Indian Foreign Secretary paints a very rosy picture of the Muslim population in India but we might look into the facts and figures first to get a better idea. Some weeks back, one of India’s leading Hindi newspapers published an article in which much was said about the so-called economic and educational benefits given to the Muslims. Mention was made of articles 29 and 30 of the Indian Constitution which provide constitutional safeguards to the minorities of India. However, the article gave figures that are quite contrary to this claim.
These figures revealed that the literacy rate for Muslim women was a mere 11% whereas the overall average for Indian women was 39.42&. What is more tragic is that only 4% of Indian Muslims are able to finish high-level school and 2.94% make it to degree level whereas only 1.58% Muslim women finish high school, 0.69% complete intermediate and 0.068% reach degree level. In the field of medicine, a mere 1% of Muslim women are involved, whereas on the technical side they are virtually unprecedented. e.g., in information technology, the overall ratio of Muslims is 5.9%, in polytechnic 13%, in engineering 3.4% and medicine 3.44%.
In the Indian Administrative Service, 2.89% of Muslims are represented. In the provincial administration, this ratio is 3.7%. In Indian Police Service, it is 2%, in information technology 3.6%, in banking 2.18% and 4.32% are high court judges. In the 13 Indian States where the Muslim population is greater than 14%, Muslims form only 3.19% of the executive cadre and 4.3% of supervisor cadre
The Muslims’ annual average income is 5% less than the average Indian income level of 53.3%. In the financial sector, Muslim money in the banking system accounts for only 3.7% and out of every 61 loans given out, Muslims get a share of 5.06%/ On the board of directors of 16 scheduled banks, there is not a single Muslim member and out of 467 directors of 20 public sector banks, only 4 are Muslims. Of all telephone connections, Muslims only own a mere 1.52%. The share of Muslims in petrol dealerships and gas agencies is only 1.05% and 2.3% respectively.
In the rural areas, overall 59.1% of Muslims own less than 1 acre of land and more than 5 acres of land is owned by 10.5 Muslims and only 4% own more than 10 acres. in the agriculture sector 36.3% if laborers are Muslims and in the non-agriculture sector, there share is 2.12%. A majority of Muslims around 51.4% are employed as mechanics and technicians. Muslims find it very hard to get loans from financial institutions, banks, and municipal corporations and these poor people cannot even rent a house easily.The above mentioned figures bring to light the plight of the Indian Muslims and should serve as an eye-opener to the outside world, which considers India the world’s largest democracy. These figures clearly indicate treatment meted out by the so-called Secular Indian State to one of its biggest minority populations, the Muslims, who form 14.2% of India’s population. It would, therefore, not be difficult to imagine the conditions of India’s other smaller minorities in view of what is being perpitrated prated on second-largest minority there.
– The writer is freelance columnist.
Asghar Ali Shad