Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Sachar Committee report - State of Indian Muslims

Was reading one of the center page articles in the Express Online today - Trapped in a blind alley. There are no easy solutions to the problems described in the article.

As a modern Indian, I would seriously like to wish for a society where there is no discrimination against a person because of his religion. I know that if I deal with somebody at a professional or personal level, it would not make a difference what religion the person belonged to. But reading the newspapers and magazines, one is not so sure how true or realistic this is. In talking to people casually, one is sure to find a person who would differentiate between people based on their religion.

Onto the area of Muslim empowerment in the field of education, business, sports, politics, and so on..

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 inspite 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.

If you look at some of the other areas, Bollywood has a good share of Muslims who have good standing, they are pretty prominent in Cricket (which is about the only sport in Indian that matters).

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posted by Ashish Agarwal @ 2:39 AM