Wednesday, November 08, 2006
The truth is out
The truth is out. In a few days, the report of the Sachar Committee (on the socio-economic condition of Muslims in India) will be presented to the nation.
The findings are grave. Muslims in India lag behind the Scheduled Castes and Schedules Tribes, who have so far been viewed as the weaker sections.
The lie of “Muslim appeasement” will also be nailed.
The stage has already been set for the presentation of the report and its grave findings. The Prime Minister of India has called for minorities to receive a fair share of education and jobs in the public and private sectors. The BJP has already condemned such a call, as anti-national. And the CPI(M) has for the first time formed a cell on minorities.
Dr Syeda Hameed, a member of the Planning Commission, had recently written an article “Trapped in a blind alley”, on this subject.
Commenting on this, blogger Ashish, while wishing for a society where there is no discrimination against anyone because of his religion, nevertheless seems to be quite removed from the everyday reality of the Indian Muslim. I wouldn’t be surprised if many others think along the same lines. I reproduce an extract from his piece to illustrate this view.
Most surveys show the Muslim community in India to be under-represented in terms of jobs, education, and so on. These 2 areas are the primary areas that allow people to advance and progress in life, and being under-represented in these areas is a depictment of how far behind the community is. But a good solution to this is not so easy to find. If you ask a politician, he will suggest the vote-bank catching method of providing reservations. However, reservation on the basis of religion is a bad idea. In our society, there is a great deal of turmoil already on the reservation area, and adding to this would be a bad move. The founding fathers of the Constitution had advocated reservations to the long depressed communities that were down-trodden. What they felt was that these reservations over a period of time will bring the community ahead in spite of the biases against them.
However, there is no inherent and inbuilt bias against the Muslim community. It is a question of numbers - if there are more Muslims in the education basket (school and college), then there will be more fairly represented in the job area. The major challenge behind the muslim community is to ensure that their children attend schools that provide them the necessary education to advance in the world. They have to be able to see the advantage of proper education for their male and female children.The controversial idea in this is that this education will lead to them challenging some of the ideas advocated by their clergy (a trend that you already see in Christianity and Hinduism), and this is something that can be fairly unsettling. An educated mind typically asks questions until it is satisfied, and the clergy typically believe in ensuring that their word is seen a direct interpretation of the religion and hence a direction from the god. This will typically clash.
Ashish describes himself as an engineer with an MBA, and a concerned citizen. So I hope that he will now reflect on what he thinks and examine the basis for his views. I hope what he has written will be a beginning of a process of rigorous enquiry for him, to find out for himself what the real truth is, beyond any question. I have no doubt that when he sees and knows for himself this truth – of what it means to be a poor Muslim, and how the “system” operates for him / her – he will be filled with sadness and rage at the real prejudice, discrimination, apathy, denial, marginalisation, pauperisation and strategic deprivation his Muslim fellow citizens suffer.
Siddharth Varadarajan, Krish and Bhupinder have also written about this.