Economic Consequences of Minority Appeasement

Posted on November 25, 2010



[Former. Union Cabinet Minister for Law & Justice]

Economic science teaches us that only in a transparently regulated competitive market system, the allocation of the nations resources for alternative uses will be optimal and of maximum return on investment. This means giving to primacy to merit.

However, those sections of society which have disabilities, which could be mental, physical, gender, or cognitive, that which have been imposed on those sections by circumstances or by prolonged social discrimination, are entitled to affirmative action to compensate for these disabilities and inability, to empower them to compete but with a handicap. This is how we can achieve inclusive development.

By this criterion, only Scheduled Castes, Scheduled tribes and women are entitled to by-pass the usual competitive selection by merit. To offer reservations and quotas to Muslims and Christians is however unjustified because these two communities do not suffer from any imposed disabilities because they were part of the ruling classes of India– for a total of 1000 years, and hence could not be victims of any social or political oppression. In any event it is bad economics too because affirmative action leads to sub-optimisation.. It is pure and simple appeasement hence to recommend or advocate reservations or quotas for these two communities as in fact as the Sachar and Ranganath Misra Commissions have done.

The question that I have repeatedly asked those who are appeasing the Muslims today is: Why the Muslim community that ruled India for over eight hundred years and belonged to privileged ruling class even during the hundred fifty years of British Raj while subjecting the Hindus to untold tortures, violence, rape and suppression have become socially handicapped compared to Hindus? To date I have not received even a semblance of an answer.

Dr.Ambedkar had warned us 60 years ago about the terrible consequences of appeasement. Analysing the attitude of the Congress Party in 1940 to the demands of the Mohammed Ali Jinnah, he said the party was adopting a policy of appeasement.

In his book Thoughts on Pakistan, which I believe must be read by every patriot, Dr.Ambedkar had said:

Appeasement [of Jinnah] means to offer to buy off the aggressor by conniving at or collaborating with him in the rape, murder and arson on innocent Hindus who happen for the moment to be the victims of his displeasure.

On the other hand settlement means laying down the bounds which neither party to it can transgress. Appeasement has no limits to the demands and aspirations of the aggressor. Settlement does.

The second thing the Congress has failed to realize is that the policy of concession has increased their aggressiveness and what is worse, the Muslims interpret these concessions as a sign of defeatism on the part of the Hindus and the absence of will to resist. This policy of appeasement will involve the Hindus in the same fearful situation in which the allies found themselves as a result of the policy of appeasement which they adopted towards Hitler”.
He therefore felt that the creation of the separate Islamic state of Pakistan with transfer of population could be a preferable settlement that could end the Hindu-Muslim problem in the sub-continent. However, the Congress Party which was handed power by the British did not heed Dr.Ambedkars sage advice. Today, after six decades, it is too late to implement Dr.Ambedkars suggestion instead, I would suggest that we accept as our brothers and sisters those Muslims and Christians who proudly acknowledge that their ancestors were Hindus, and that they accept change in religion does mean change in their ancestral Hindu culture. Those who do not so acknowledge and accept this, should be placed on par with NRIs on citizenship rights.

When Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh made the ridiculous statement that ‘Muslims have the first charge on our resources’, he was revealing that he too had contracted the ‘M’ virus. Minorityism or the M virus unbalances the brain and rationality of Indian political leaders, and makes them lopsidedly favour minorities even if not required on the principles of equity.

Of course being compassionate to deprived minorities and their concerns is a noble human rights value. But being fixated on Muslims and Christians, as the only minorities of concern, even if they are majorities in pockets e.g., in Kashmir and Northeast India, is lopsided.
In such a lop-sided minorityism, Hindus as and when in minority do not have the same rights, even as a ‘last charge’, as the events in Kashmir and Northeast have proved. The facts that Hindus in these areas are being butchered, raped, driven out, forcibly converted does not concern Dr. Manmohan Singh. Even Muslims and Christians as minorities, are not entitled to ‘first charge’ because sequentially Muslims and Christians have been ruling classes for a 1000 years while Hindus were brutalized. Only SC and STs are entitled to first charge, and that too for one generation.

Political parties which have been swearing by ‘secularism’ all these years, because of lop-sided minorityism, have failed to persuade the masses that what they advocate is good for country. Secularism as defined and propagated today in India has been reduced to minorityism or minority appeasement. Only Hindus have to appease Muslims and Christians in majority in pockets of India, or anywhere else in the world have to return the favour of appeasement.. The question today is not whether secularisn is flawed but whether we should conceptually redefine secularism to make it acceptable to the masses in the country. Such a re-defined concept must be harmonized with concept of an Indian identity, which requires that India be regarded as Hindustan, i.e., a nation of Hindus and those other who proudly accept Hindus as their ancestors. In this context, Indianness means ‘Hindutva’. Thus, Indian identity rests on two pillars: India as Hindustan and Indianness as Hindutva.

In India, Jawaharial Nehru and his followers had given the concept of secularism an anti-Hindu content. For example, personal and inheritance laws would be legislated for Hindus and subject to judicial review, but not for Muslims and Christians. Thus Manmohan Singh’s “M virus’ has its roots in Nehruism. Even in public functions, cultural symbolism such as lighting a lamp to inaugurate a conference or breaking a coconut to launch a project was regarded as against secularism. A conceptual void thus will remain until we not only reject minorityism but also develop a concept ofsecularisn that is in harmony with the national imperative of Hindutva and the nation as Hindustan.

To fill this void, we need to develop therefore a concept of secularism by which an Indian citizen could comprehend how he or she should bond “secularly” with another citizen of a different religion, language or region and feel as a fellow countrymen. The Indian instinctively cannot accept the idea that India is what the British had put together, and that the country was just a body administratively incorporated. Instead, Bharat-Mata has a soul which Deendayal Upadhyaya had called Chiti which soul was not recognized in Nehru’s view. The ridiculous idea that India is a nation fostered by British rule, propagated even today by Jawaharial Nehru University historians, finds just no takers amongst the Indian people.
Only by using religious symbols can this void be filled. India being 83 percent Hindu, and that the folklore in this religion is pan-Indian, therefore it is easy for the masses of all Hindustanis to understand religious bonding. Ramayana narration traverses from the Punjab to Srilanka. Mahabharata covers incidents from Assam to Gujarat. Adi Shankara connected Kerala to Kashmir. This not need alienate Muslims and Christians if they proudly accept that their ancestors were Hindus. The problem arises only if the Muslims and Christians identify themselves with foreign invaders.

Minorityism has undesirable effect on national integrity. For example, minorityism enables Muslimmen to resist family planning by making their women vulnerable to sudden divorce, and hence not have voice in how many children they will bear. Muslim men know that uniform civil code will never come under a regime committed to minorityism. Christian missionaries have now under minorityism got a free hand to conduct money-induced religious conversion. They are not bothered from where that money comes and what ethical and moral norms they have to violate for it.

For example, Mother Theresa shocked the conscience of all genuinely secular minded persons when she wrote directly to Judge Lance Ito of Los Angeles Court on behalf of a known fraud and embezzler Charles Keating who was facing prosecution because he stole $252 million from 17,000 pensioners, retail stock holders and insurance premiums by selling them bogus bonds of his company. He had donated $5 million (Rs.25 crores) to Missionaries of Charity, Kolkata headed by Mother Theresa, and that was enough for her to write to Judge Ito directly asking him not to convict Keating! Her words to Judge Ito were even more astounding: “Please look into your heart as .you sentence Charles Keating -and do what Jesus would do”.

Judge Ito ignored her plea, and convicted Keating to spend years in jail, and also imposed a huge fine. He however asked the Public Prosecutor (Deputy District Attorney in US) Paul W. Turley to reply to Mother Theresa. Turley turned Mother Theresa’s plea on her by posing a question “You asked Judge Ito to do what Jesus would do. I submit the same challenge to you: Ask yourself what Jesus would do if he were given the fruits of a crime; what Jesus would do if he were in possession of money that had been stolen; what Jesus would do if he were being exploited by a thief to ease his conscience?” Then came Turley’s punchline: ” I submit that Jesus would promptly and unhesitatingly return the stolen property to its rightful owners. You should do the same”.

Then Turley implored Mother Theresa: “You have been given money by Mr.Keating that he has been convicted of stealing by fraud. Do not keep the money. Return it to those who worked for it and earned it! If you contact me I will put you in direct contact with the rightful owners of the property now in your possession”. (Extracted from Hitchens Christopher: The Missionary Position: Mother Theresa in Theory and Practice. Of course, Mother Theresa felt no such moral compulsion, ignored Turley and kept Keating’s tainted and stolen gift of $5 million.

Hence, we Hindus must learn today that in the name of secularism and ‘vasudeva kutambakkam’ we do not fall prey to pious looking foreign ladies dressed in saris and talking about a ‘universal God’. Remember, when Ravana came to abduct Sita, he came dressed as a pious sanyasi, and not as his true self.

Likewise, minorityism is a recipe for national disintegration and disaster. Capitulationist Hindus are paving the way for this to happen. The only antidote is a virat Hindutva. The present UPA is hellbent on protecting the interests of the Muslims and Christians by lop-sided minorityism. In 2005 a group of Mizos were discovered by Jewish scholars as a lost tribe. The Mizos also confirmed that their practices were Jewish but formally they were converted forcibly to Christianity by British colonialists. They desired to return to the Jewish faith. Therefore in November 2005 Israel decided to dispatch some Rabbis to Aizwal to conduct the necessary re-conversion ceremonies. But Dr.Manmohan Singh intervened on the direction of Ms. Sonia Gandhi to ask the MEA to cancel the Rabbas’ visa and inform Israel that “Government of India does not approve of such conversion activities”.

First we need to be clear about the concept of minority before we can discuss minority rights. It is essential hence to understand how Muslim and Christian came to he regarded as minorities in India. The word minority has a substantive meaning only if special protection in the Constitution is to be provided. Such protection is required for a minority in order to be compensated for some historically acquired or imposed disability. Otherwise it would be meaningless to have a discourse on minorities at all, much less waste public money on a Commission of Inquiry.

The present practice in India is to regard any group of less than 50% of the population-except Hindus (e.g., in Kashmir) as minorities. This is ridiculous. Numbers are not a sufficient basis for defining a minority. The Whites of South Africa are numerically a small number, but they cannot be treated as “minorities” deserving of special protection or reservations, or affirmative action. Parsis in India despite being a microscopic minority numericall, have consistently refused to ask or accept for any Constitutional safeguards since they have never felt forcibly disabled in Centuries of Hindu dominant society. They are therefore not a minority in the Constitutional or statutory dispensation.

Strange as it may sound, there is no definition of minority in the Indian Constitution [although Articles 29 and 30 make provisions for a minority, religious and linguistic), nor is there a definition in United Nations Resolutions or an universally accepted definition in international law.

Some countries such as Thailand and Brazil, refuse to accept that there are minorities in their country. These nations had told the UN Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities that they have no minorities to notify, despite being a multi-religious multi-racial society.

In 2001, a 11-judge Constitutional Bench, delivered a judgment on the question of minority rights in education [T.M.A.Pai Foundation case], but did not define the term ”minority”. What they did do was to opine that minorities are not lo be defined nationally but state-wise, thus overturning their 1971 DAV College judgment. Subsequent judgments of the Supreme Court, such as delivered by a 5-judge Constitutional Bench in 2003 in the Islamic Academy case, and the 7-judge Constitutional Bench in 2005 in the Inamdar case have also not defined the concept of minority.

In 1992 India’s Parliament enacted the National Commission for Minorities Act, but did not define a minority in it Section 2 (c} of the Act merely states that minority is what the Government of India will notify in the Gazette!! The Government has notified, without reason or explanation, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and Parsis as religious minorities. Why they are so has not been explained. Even the State Minorities Commissions have not bothered to define minorities.

In other words, the nation has been discussing minority rights for the last sixty years without defining what or who ran be the minorities. How can we identify minorities if we do not have a definition of the term? Because of this;

Hence, I shall begin with my definition of minority and then discuss what their rights can he in, the context of national integrity In this connection, it is appropriate to quote from the judgment of the 3-judge Supreme Court bench in Bal Patil versus the Union of India case, delivered by Justice Dharmadhikari in 2005:

“Such claims to minority status based on religion would increase the fond hope of various sections of the people in getting special protections, privileges and treatment as part of the constitutional guarantee. Encouragement to such fissiparous tendencies would be a serious jolt lo the secular structure of constitutional democracy. We should guard against making our country akin to a theocratic State based on multinationalism”.

What we can therefore hold now is that if a group is numerically small, and substantially below 50% of the population, then although it has the necessary attribute of a minority, that attribute is not sufficient for it to be declared a minority for the purpose of constitutional or statutory protection. Such a group must have sufficient other attributes as well, to be identified as a minority.

Based on the circumstances arising out of the Indian legacy, and in recognition of defining events of Indian history, I would define a Minorityin India as:

“A collective of Indian citizens, constituting a numerical minority and situated in a non-dominant position in society, endowed with characteristics which differ from those of the majority, having suffered from imposed deprivation over a long period and thus have acquired disabilities, are a minority if these disabilities cannot be removed except by providing special constitutional protection and facilities for affirmative action”.

That is for sufficiency of attributes to quality as a minority under the Constitution of India, it is required that such a group be in a non-dominant position in society, have suffered deprivation for a long period to have acquired disabilities which cannot be removed except by special constitutional protection such as reservations in jobs and educational institutions.

By this definition, the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes would constitute a minority even if they are a part of the numerical majority Hindu community. Their disabilities cannot be removed except by specific affirmative action such as reservation in jobs, education, and in legislatures. Backward castes of the Hindu community also suffer disabilities, but these can be removed by special arrangements of education facilities and financial assistance. But due to our political folly and selfishness, these backward castes have been given reservations in jobs and education which cannot now be taken away except by persuasion in the future. When world class primary and secondary education can be provided to all, it is possible that the youth of the backward castes would prefer to compete rather than advance by availing of quotas. Since, the Indian DNA structure is the same for all castes, hence, competing on merit, if equally empowered, is possible for the backward castes.

But Muslims and Christians cannot be considered as minorities in Indian society because their disabilities are not acquired from deprivation imposed on them. In fact Muslims and Christians, like the Whites of South Africa, have been ruling classes in India for a long period. Sequentially, these two religious groups have ruled India for over a thousand years, during which period they practiced religious apartheid against the Hindus. Hence, for national integrity, patriotic Indians should resist with all their might any attempt to introduce quotas in jobs and education, or for anything else, for the benefit of Muslims and Christians. Those Muslims and Christians who consider themselves as patriotic Indians should also, like the Parsis, reject any offer by mischievous politicians to introduce quotas for them. Instead they should ask for world class primary and secondary education to empower them to compete on a level playing field with the rest of the society.

Whatever has now been incorporated in the Constitution for minority rights cannot be taken away. Articles 29 and 30 are part of the Basic Structure of the Constitution and hence cannot be amended out. Hence, minorities will continue to have the right for example, to administer their own educational institutions. But as the Supreme Court has held in the Islamic Academy case, the unfettered right to administer does not include the right to mal-administer. Hence, minority-run educational institutions, including unaided ones, must be subject to obtaining Government approval for curriculum standards, faculty quality, and basic infrastructure that should be common to all. Sooner or later, we must require that ali students including Muslims and Christians, learn Sanskritised Hindi, whose vocabulary should be progressively Sanskritised till the Hindi becomes indistinguishable from Sanskrit. Our long term link language has to be Sanskrit, because it’s vocabulary is in large measure in every language. Even Tamil has 40 percent of its vocabulary in common with Sanskrit.

The goal of minority rights has to be to further social justice. Towards this end, we must strive for equal and high quality educational opportunity and create a mindset for national unity and integration. Quotas and reservations are essential for Scheduled Castes and Tribes, but here too the concept of creamy layer must operate. But we cannot accept special rights for religious minorities of Muslims and Christians, just as we cannot for Brahmins although they as poor a community as Muslims and Christians. The logic is the same—those who have been ruling classes cannot claim minority status in the constitutional matrix of the nation.

In my opinion, like the Parsis who have rejected reservations, Muslims and Christians should themselves decline to accept reservations in employment and education, and its leadership should instead look inward and analyse why after being ruling class of India for thousand years, they need now reservations to compete with hapless Hindus who have suffered huge prosecution, discrimination and impoverishment at the hands of Muslim and Christian rulers. In fact instead of Hindus giving reservations to Muslims and Christians, Hindus should demand that Muslims and Christians atone for past atrocities committed by their rulers on Hindus or alternatively, disown their rulers, and declare themselves proudly as those whose ancestors were Hindus.

Islamization begins when there are sufficient Muslims in a country to agitate for their religious privileges as Dr.Peter Hammond has observed in his many writings. When politically correct, tolerant, and culturally diverse societies agree to Muslim demands for their religious privileges, some of the other components tend to creep in as well.

As long as the Muslim population remains around or under 2% and the non Muslim majority remains cohesive in any given country, Muslims will be for the most part a ‘peace-lovingminority, and not a threat to other citizens. This is the case in:

United States — Muslim 0.6%
Australia — Muslim 1.5%
Canada — Muslim 1.9%
China — Muslim 1.8%
Italy — Muslim 1.5%
Norway — Muslim 1.8%

At 2% to 5%, they begin to proselytize from other ethnic minorities and disaffected groups, often with major recruiting from the jails and among street gangs. This is happening in:

Denmark — Muslim 2%
Germany — Muslim 3.7%
United Kingdom — Muslim 2.7%
Spain — Muslim 4%
Thailand — Muslim 4.6%

From 5% on, they exercise an inordinate influence in proportion to their percentage of the population. For example, they will push for the introduction of halal (clean by Islamic standards) food, thereby securing food preparation jobs for Muslims. They will increase pressure on supermarket chains to feature halal on their shelves — along with threats for failure to comply. This is occurring in:

France — Muslim 8%
Philippines — Muslim 5%
Sweden — Muslim 5%
Switzerland — Muslim 4.3%
The Netherlands — Muslim 5.5%
Trinidad & Tobago — Muslim 5.8%

At this point, they will work to get the ruling government to allow them to rule themselves (within their ghettos) under Sharia, the Islamic Law. The ultimate goal of Islamists is to establish Sharia law over the entire world.

When Muslims approach 10% of the population, they tend to increase lawlessness as a means of complaint about their conditions. In Paris, we are already seeing car-burnings. Any non-Muslim action offends Islam, and results in uprisings and threats, such as in Amsterdam, with opposition to Mohammed cartoons and films about Islam. Such tensions are seen daily, particularly in Muslim sections, in:

Guyana — Muslim10%
India — Muslim 13.4%
Israel — Muslim 16%
Kenya — Muslim 10%
Russia — Muslim 15%

After reaching 20%, nations can expect hair-trigger rioting, jihad militia formations, sporadic killings, and the burnings of Christian churches and Jewish synagogues, such as in:

Ethiopia — Muslim 32.8%

At 40%, nations experience widespread massacres, chronic terror attacks, and ongoing militia warfare, such as in:

Bosnia — Muslim 40%
Chad — Muslim 53.1%
Lebanon — Muslim 59.7%

From 60%, nations experience unfettered persecution of non-believers of all other religions (including non-conforming Muslims), sporadic ethnic cleansing (genocide), use of Sharia Law as a weapon, and Jizya, the tax placed on infidels, such as in:

Albania — Muslim 70%
Malaysia — Muslim 60.4%
Qatar — Muslim 77.5%
Sudan — Muslim 70%

After 80%, expect daily intimidation and violent jihad, some State-run ethnic cleansing, and even some genocide, as these nations drive out the infidels, and move toward 100% Muslim, such as has been experienced and in some ways is on-going in:

Bangladesh — Muslim 83%
Egypt — Muslim 90%
Gaza — Muslim 98.7%
Indonesia — Muslim 86.1%
Iran — Muslim 98%
Iraq — Muslim 97%
Jordan — Muslim 92%
Morocco — Muslim 98.7%
Pakistan — Muslim 97%
Palestine — Muslim 99%
Syria — Muslim 90%
Tajikistan — Muslim 90%
Turkey — Muslim 99.8%
United Arab Emirates — Muslim 96%

100% will usher in the peace of ‘Dar-es-Salaam’ — the Islamic House of Peace. Here there’s supposed to be peace, because everybody is a Muslim, the Madrasses are the only schools, and the Koran is the only word, such as in:

Afghanistan — Muslim 100%
Saudi Arabia — Muslim 100%
Somalia — Muslim 100%
Yemen — Muslim 100%

Unfortunately, peace is never achieved, as in these 100% states the most radical Muslims intimidate kill less radical Muslims, for a variety of reasons adduced on the basis of the Shariat.

It is important to understand that in some countries, with well under 100% Muslim populations, such as France, the minority Muslim populations live in ghettos, within which they are 100% Muslim, and within which they live by Sharia Law. The national police do not even enter these ghettos. There are no national courts, nor schools, nor non-Muslim religious facilities. In such situations, Muslims do not integrate into the community at large.

Appeasement proposals through reservations for Dalit Muslims and Christians have been in two pending petitions in the Supreme Court, a third from the All India Christian Federation has been admitted at the beginning of the year.

The apex court has asked the center to reply to the plea that Dalits in the Zoroastrian, Jain, Christian and Muslim communities be granted scheduled caste (SC) status. Already, the report of the National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities, popularly known s the Ranganath Misra Commission, has stirred a hornets nest with its recommendations.
Submitted in May 2007 it was not tabled in Parliament until it got leaked to the media and the government had to give in to pressures from a section of Members of Parliament. Introduced in Parliament on 18 December last year, it says that the quota in government jobs, education and welfare schemes should be extended to all religious minorities, including the Hindus where they are in a minority. In the matter of the criteria for identifying backward classes, there should be absolutely no discrimination whatsoever between the majority community and the minorities. Therefore, the criteria now applied for this purpose to the majority community.must be unreservedly applied to all the minorities.

The Congress Partys election manifesto had claimed that it pioneered reservations for minorities in Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. However, the government it now heads is equivocal over the recommendation of a 15% quota for minorities, 10% of it for Muslims and the rest to the other minorities. It has made it amply clear that it is in no hurry to act on the recommendations which would only promote religious conversion. Christian and Muslim organizations hence demanded immediate implementation.

But a number of dalit organizations in Tamil Nadu also have warned of agitations if the Misra report is implemented. The Misra report has suggested that if the 15% reservation is not possible due to an insurmountable difficulty, then, in the 27% Other Backward Classes (OBC) quota, an 8.4% sub-quota should be earmarked for minorities, based on the Mandal Commissions estimate that the minorities constitute 8.4% of the total OBC population. The governments statement that it is considering this possibility is not going to be welcomed by the OBC leaders of the majority community.

Dalits in the Muslim and Christian Communities: A Status Report on Current Social Scientific Knowledgeprepared for the National Commission for Minorities by Satish Deshpande (with the assistance of Geetika Bapna) and submitted in January 2008, analysed data from the National Sample Survey Organization to map economic well-being of these Dalitsections of the two communities, and compare their situation with that of non-dalits in their own communities and dalits in other communities. It concludes, among other things, that there can be no doubt whatsoever that Dalit Muslim Section (DMS) and Dalit Christians (DC) are invariably regarded as socially inferiorcommunities by their co-religionists. This is a severe indictment of Islam and Christianity.

The other conclusions of this status report are also significant. In terms of poverty DMS are the worst among all Dalits in both rural and urban areas; DCs are moderately better off than other Dalits except Dalit Sikhs who are even better off. In intra-community comparisons DMS are only slightly worse off than non-dalit Muslims but that is because the Muslim community as a whole tends to be very badly off compared to other communities.
DCs have the highest inter-caste differentials for the opposite reason that the non-dalit Christians tend to be much better off. In economic terms, whatever differences there are among dalits of different religions only become visible in the top 25%. Other than rural dalit Sikhs, 75% of all other dalits are indistinguishable from each other. Urban Muslims show worrying levelsof economic vulnerability across caste groups. Occupational differences, where significant, show DMS to be the worst off in urban India. The status report says it finds a strong casefor according sc status to DMS and DCs.

It cannot be argued, as the Appeasers tend to argue, that if the DMS and the DCS are not so different from other Dalit groups, there is no basis for denying them the reservations enjoyed by Buddhist, Sikh and Hindu Dalits.

On the contrary, what it shows is that by conversion to Islam or Christianity Dalits are not able to improve their lot. That is why Dr.Ambedkar was farsighted to convert to Buddhism instead of Islam or Christianity.

Some of the radical Muslim leaders especially in forums where foreign journalists are usually present, proclaim unabashedly that the Muslims in India are living in perpetual threat and are being treated as second class citizens in this country. If that were indeed so, these leaders need to explain how over two crores Bangladeshi Muslims and over a lakh Muslim immigrate into India illegally from Pakistan at the risk of being killed by BSF or the Army at the border, and another 80,000 Muslims who came from Pakistan on valid visas and just vanished and got absorbed in India, gave up their Free From Fearenvironment and first class citizenship status in Bangladesh and Pakistan respectively to court a life of perpetual fear and a status of second class citizenshipin India?

If it is the poverty of India then explain, as Konrad Elst in his book [Indias Only Communalist] pertinently points out that successive UN reports on the State of the Arab countries have documented how inspite of their God given abundant oil wealth, they are hopelessly behind in practically every respect of human endeavour: human rights, gender equality, enterprises set up, original research conducted, inventions patented, internet access per head, books published, sales per book foreign book translated, etc.not to mention democracy.

Indeed therefore, religion-based quotas and reservation is not certainly the cure for a backwardness which is not imposed but caused by unsafeguarded and unregulated educational system. If state-owned schools have a high absenteeism of teachers, and even higher student drop-out rate because of poor employment opportunities at the semi-skilled level, backwardness will be the economic consequence. It is wrong however to identify it as socially imposed.

We thus now have to demolish some dominant caste myths: about our economy as well:
First, is that caste groups are not uniform monoliths. While, at an all-India level, upper caste households earn an average of Rs.86,690 per annum, OBCs earn Rs.59,741, SCs Rs.45,889 and STs Rs.40,753. [This data is from the NCAER’s annual household survey of income for 2004-05], averages, like all averages, miss out on the important differences.
An analysis of the NCAER data (in the book Caste in a Different Mould authored Sunil Jain) shows that while SC households in Uttar Pradesh can Rs.39,655 per annum, those in Punjab earn Rs.63,055; OBCs in Bihar earn Rs.40,839 as against Rs.73,223 in Maharashtra. Similar differences hold true for all other caste groups. The short point is incomes across caste groups differ widely across various states, which means the overall level of development of the state is more important than the caste of an individual when it comes to determining income levels. So ST households in Karnataka earn Rs.62,238 per annum, more than upper-caste ones in Bihar (Rs.51,187).

Second, related to the first, is that it is false nation that differences in income automatically imply discrimination, and therefore affirmative action is called for. Apart from the impact of the “state” of development has on income levels, the differences between castes are largely explained by education, by the industry/service of employment, by whether an individual is situated in a rural area or a small town or a big metro, and the list can go on. Even where groups are classified as ‘graduate and above’, if the group has more post-graduates, income levels are certain to be higher.

So, for instance, OBC households in villages (73 per cent of OBCs are to be found in villages) have an average annual income of Rs. 51,740 but this goes up to Rs.72,288 in small towns, Rs.81,745 in mid-sized towns (5-10 lakh population) and to Rs.95,999 in towns with more than a million people. Some of this is just the location factor. A driver in a village is going to get next to nothing while a driver in a metro probably earns Rs.7,000 on average, a month.

There’s education as well. So, a large part of the higher income levels in urban settings are probably also a reflection of higher education, not just location but because it needs sophisticated econometrics, and even that can go wrong, this is often ignored. An OBC household that has is headed by an illiterate earns Rs.24,363 per year, and this rises to Rs.32,169 in case the head of the household has studied till class V, Rs.67,371 in case she has studied till class XII, and to Rs.105,285 in case the head of the household is a graduate. Just 20 per cent of the OBC households have graduates as compared to 35 per cent for upper castes.

A recent study of Dalit villages in Uttar Pradesh by Devesh Kapur, Chandra Bhan Prasad, Lant Pritchett and D. Shyam Babu confirms the role urbanization plays. In Azamgarh district, for instance, the study found just 18.1 per cent of Dalit households lived in pucca houses in 1990, and this rose to 66.4 per cent in 2007. For Bulandshahr district in Western UP, the figures were 38.4 and 94.6 per cent respectively. Ownership of television sets rose from 0.9 per cent to 22.2 per cent in Azamgarh, and from 0.7 to 45 per cent in Bulandshahr. The found similar changes for mobile phones, simple chairs in homes, fans and even the use of shampoo, toothpaste and bottled hair oil. There are, the authors say, several reasons for the change: the rise of Mayawati could be one, as could economic reforms which led to greater marketisation of the economy. One of the powerful reasons, the authors conclude, is migration. While the eastern district of Azamgarh saw dependence on family members who had migrated to urban areas rise from 14.5 per cent in 1990 to 50.5 per cent in 2007, Bulandshahr district saw much smaller rise. Compare this with the population of family members living in he village, and this suggests that in Bulandshahr, villagers were probably traveling out of the village for work in the morning and returning the same day.

All of which would suggest the solution cannot be a uniform one. It has to be education in some cases, urbanization in some and industrialization in others. With over 75 per cent of ST households having studied only till class X (93.8 per cent till just class V) reservations in colleges are unlikely to be a solution, to cite one instance. Affirmative action also poses a problem in terms of implementation since 90 per cent of all ST households are in rural areas.

In the case of Muslims, where the government hopes to fix things through an Equal Opportunities Commission, it’s worth keeping in mind that nearly 90 per cent live in rural areas (64 per cent) and small towns; Muslims have the highest proportion of households who are self-employed in non-agricultural occupations (25.7 per cent versus 16.2 for Hindus) and the least who are salaried (13.1 per cent versus 18.8 per cent for all Hindus).
The moral of the story is that it’s not so much imposed disabilities as it is about urbanization, industrialization and education. Not that changing the scenario is easy either. The agitation against land acquisition in Uttar Pradesh shows the limits to the pace of urbanization.

The lack of Hindu unity and the determined bloc voting in elections by Muslims and Christians has however created a significantly large leverage for these two religious communities in economic, social and foreign policy making. Thus, although uniform civil code is a Directive Principle of State Policy in the Constitution, it is taboo to ask for it because of this leverage. It is not as if Muslims will not accept uniform laws when it suits them, even if it is against the Shariat. For example, Muslims accept uniform criminal code under the IPC even though it infringes the Shariat, but resist uniform civil code because it violates the Shariat. These contradictions are permitted for Muslims by the Mullahs because India is considered Darul Harab.

Accordingly Muslim leadership deploys its leverage where it is tactically advantageous. This leverage exists despite the people of India who declare in the Census that they are adherents of religions which were born on Indian soil, that is Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Jains constituted 83.21% of the total Indian population (as of last Census in 2001).

In 1941, this proportion, adjusted for Partition, was 84.44%. But this figure hides the fact that Hindus resident in undivided Pakistan have migrated to post- Partition India which is why the share of Hindus and co-religionists have barely reduced since 1941. In the area now called Bangladesh, Hindus were 30% in 1941. In 2001 they are less than 8%. In Pakistan of today, Hindus were 20% in 1941, and less than 2% in 2001. Such religious cleansing has however not been noticed by anybody in the world! When Hindus do not care, why should the world take notice?

If the figures are adjusted for this migration, then in the five decades 1951-2001, Hindus have lost more 3 percent points in share of Indian population, while Muslims have increased their share by about 3%. What is even more significant is that Hindus have lost 12% points since 1881, and the loss in share has begun to accelerate since 1971 partly due to illegal migration of Muslims from Bangladesh.

The current scenario of minority appeasement is that Muslims and Christians together even though less than 16% of the voters, vote en bloc. Hindus despite being over 83% of the voters are hopelessly divided and amorphous. Hence unless a Hindu bloc vote emerges, being at least 35% of the 83% minority appeasement will continue at Hindus cost.

The mother of all problems thus amongst Muslims is the lack of secondary and higher levels of education among. But let alone the Muslim women, even the literacy rates of Muslim males is way below the national average. This is so inspite of the fact that community wise, the percentage of Muslims living in urban areas is 50% higher in comparison to the percentage of Hindus, and the chances of obtaining higher education are more easily available to urban dwellers as against the rural folks.

Thus much more than reservations as a cure, the Muslim community in India must undergo a cultural revolution to develop a healthy attitude to secular and cognitive arts and sciences and to gender equality. Reservations and quotas are not the right medicine for the Muslim community’s current backwardness.