India Abroad September 25, 2015 A3 Letters
It was enlightening to read Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari’s remarks at the Muslim Majlis Mashawarat conference (‘India’s Muslims need affirmative action,’ India
Abroad, September 11). It is gratifying that though vice
presidents are expected to make ceremonial remarks, he
spoke clearly on one off the major national issues of the
nation, namely the extraordinary deprivation and backwardness of Indian Muslims, the largest minority in the
In exhorting the government about its role in this endeav-
or, Ansari rightfully invoked the findings of the Indian gov-
ernment’s Sachar Committee report of 2006 on the depriva-
tions of the community. He also drew attention to the report
of the Government’s 2014 Kundu committee, which exam-
ined the implementation of decisions taken pursuant to the
Sachar recommendations and concluded that ‘many serious
Ansari rightfully reminded the nation and the present
government that it owes formulating and implementing
specific programs to invigorate and empower the Muslim
community, which finds itself on the sidelines of the main-
His prescription that the government’s affirmative action
program be made available to the OBC Muslims and Dalit
Muslims, who between them represent about two-thirds of
the Muslim community, is right on the mark. Just as it is
available to Dalits and OBCs in the Hindu and Sikh communities.
Even though there have not been castes in the Muslim
community, the phenomenon of upper class and lower class
Muslims has caused backwardness in Muslims similar to
what the caste system has done among Hindus and Sikhs.
In this regard, the government’s objective of Sab Ka Saath,
Sab Ka Vikas (everyone together, everyone’s development) is
commendable. But when the 180 million strong Muslim
community lags behind significantly, they have to be
brought to the level playing field with others by helping the
backward among them, with affirmative action programs in
education and employment.
Kaleem Kawaja executive Director, association of India muslims of america Washington Dc
Shehzad Poonawalla argues that Hardik Patel being a Hindu is being lionized for demanding special treatment
for his community while if something similar was demanded by someone with a name like Haidar Pathan it would
have been condemned by Indians who would view it as
Islamic expansionism, and this is because Indians are hypocrites when it comes to treating Muslims fairly (What if it
was Haidar Pathan and not Hardik Patel, (India Abroad,
September 4). This line of reasoning is untrue.
The greatest concession India made for one community
was agreeing to Partition and giving Muslims 27 percent of
the land mass while they constituted only 23 percent of the
population of undivided India. It was done with the understanding that any Muslim from the subcontinent will have
access to live in Pakistan if he feels he is not being treated
fairly in areas where Hindus are the majority.
But now living conditions in Pakistan and Bangladesh are
worse than of those Muslims who stayed back in India. Also,
Pakistan and Bangladesh have not given any special positive
consideration to Hindus there for being minority. They have
ethnically cleansed them out from Pakistan and systematically persecute them in Bangladesh. So, it is natural for
Hindus to be suspicious of giving any more concessions to
Muslims. If history is any example, they see in such concessions further undermining of their own community.
The support of Hardik Patel across the nation is primarily
not because it will further the interests of Patels but because
people can sense that any form of favoritism based upon
caste, color, religion, ethnicity or past discrimination is
deeply flawed. What they are saying is that you cannot uplift
the lot of a nation by patronizing one group over another. By
supporting Hardik Patel they are supporting the concept
that all human beings should be treated alike, for any form
of favoritism brings demoralization of all of us. Whenever
merit is sacrificed for other considerations it provokes
tremendous resentment and rage and impulses to use every
form of corrupt means to get ahead.
The answer lies in giving neither Hardik Patel nor Haidar
Pathan any special concessions and reservations but to
demolish all forms of quotas.
Surendra Kelwala livonia, michigan
The column ‘What if it was Haider Pathan and not Hardik Patel’ was interesting, but was one-sided.
India has a high percentage of unemployed educated people like Haider Pathan. They not only come from the
Muslim community but also from other religions.
According to the writer, Muslims have a share of just 2
percent of the civil services. He also says that just four out of
100 Muslims above the age of 20 are graduates. This low
percentage of graduates cannot be blamed on others. Many
Muslim parents choose to send their children to madrasas
rather than to mainstream schools. These children miss out
on learning the skills required in the job market. With just 4
percent of Muslim graduates in the population, one can’t
expect to have a high percentage of jobs in the civil services.
He also griped that no Muslim has become chief minister
of any Indian state since 1982. In a democracy the most
astute politician becomes the CM. That is how Abdul
Antulay became CM of Maharashtra and Mohammed Koya
the CM of Kerala. I don’t say that religion never plays any
part in selecting a CM, but all things being equal, one from
the majority community has an advantage.
Words like appeasement and discrimination can be used
depending upon who is talking. In India’s secular set-up
minorities have the right to run religious schools with subsi-dies from the government but no interference. They also
have total control over their places of worship. Hindus cannot run their schools and the government administers their
temples. A bulk of the offerings by Hindu devotees to the
temples is diverted for ‘secular’ programs. Nothing of this
kind happens to institutions of the other communties.
Hindus consider this discrimination. In the secular arrangement, the government has no business interfering in the
religious affairs of any community.
About the media, the less said the better. In general, they
are not pro-Hindu. Now that Haider’s case is out in print,
they will race to seek him out for interviews. They’ll also use
this to pour venom on Hindus for discrimination.
The author needs to read his write-up again. He may
come to the conclusion that, in spite of imperfections, India
is a functioning secular democracy.
Ram Kirpalani By email
at the Patidar community agitation over reservation in ahmedabad, Gujarat, august 25. ReUte RS/amIt Dave
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