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Jul 9, 2016

Should Muslims love the 'MINORITY' tag?

'Muslim votes will decide the winner in the upcoming Uttar Pradesh elections'.
'Muslims to decide on the last moment, for whom will they vote'.
'Muslims will vote only for the winning candidate'.
'Muslims will vote for anyone but BJP'.

These are the common inferences known to all and I try to understand the reasons behind this thought process or behavioral pattern as I explore Uttar Pradesh from ground zero for the special series in the run up to UP elections 2017. Before forming an opinion, I must add that in few areas/districts of  Uttar Pradesh, Muslims are not minorities and one such area I visited, was Badaun.

Muslims in Uttar Pradesh, by and large, carry a feeling of distrust from the establishment. Ironically, for so many years various governments, both at the state and at the centre, have failed to win faith of the community and their approach towards the community has never been that of a partnership with them but has been more of a compensation to them as and when needed.

Over the years, multiple issues have widened the trust deficit between the community and the establishments. It began with the partition of our country and with the bloodbath thereafter, left the hangover of a fear, which consequently was passed on to the following generations. The so-called 'secular party' that ruled the country for many years failed to see Muslims as equals but relegated them to a status of minority at various schemes and policies. No wonder, even when our constitution does not define 'Minority'; surprisingly, we have a Minority Commission, Minority Educational Institutions, Minority Welfare Ministries and Reservations for Minority.

Strangely, even after so many Minority initiatives, the condition of Muslims in India remains very poor. Sachar Committee, appointed by then Prime Minister, presented a report in 2007, which highlighted the plight of Muslim community. As per Sachar Committee report ...

  • SC/ST are the poorest followed by Muslims with 31% of them being below poverty line.
  • The literacy rate of Muslims, as per 2001 census, is  below the national average and the growth of literacy in  Muslims is lesser than that of Scheduled Castes.
  • 25% of Muslim children between the age group of 6-14, either never went to school or dropped out at some  stage.
  • Only 1 out of 25 graduate students and 1 out of 50 post graduate students in premier colleges are Muslims.
  • Muslims have lower representation in government jobs and Public Sector Undertakings. In Civil Services, Muslims are only 3% in IAS, 1.8% in IFS and 4% in IPS. In Railways, 4.5 % are Muslims, Education 6.5%, Home 7.3 % and only 6% Police Constables are Muslims.

This data was submitted in 2007 and it shows: How various governments in past have made Muslims more dependent upon the crutches of Minority policies like a trap that would ensure votes for the Governments, who don't want Muslims to live out of a 'Minority' tag.

Adding further agony to the community are the incidents like Babri Masjid Demolition, which widened the trust deficit. Though it cannot be ignored that the Party that ruled the state of Uttar Pradesh and failed to protect the law & order during Babri Masjid demolition, has always used the 'Minority' card to its advantage. Ironically the Muslim Community always followed the herd mentality by voting for appeasing party time and again.

Shockingly, the Muslim community is well aware of  being appeased for only the votes, yet it runs after the appeasers and prefers of having that one last laugh by voting for the winning candidate. This momentarily last laugh is spoiling the generations by making them dependent on the subsidies attached to a 'Minority' tag. Its acceptable to dislike a particular party for their actions in the past but every hatred must have an expiry date because any hatred if pursued for long, results in suicide and many jihadis are an example of it. Moreover, passing this feeling of hatred to next generation, only reduces their options of finding the right representative.

To conclude, Religion is a medium to discipline a community but for politicians it's a medium to disciple a community to become their vote bank.

If God has given you life and a chance to be born as a human being then, definitely, you are not a 'Minority'.

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