A profile of Muslims in India

Charminar - a well known Muslim monument in Hyderabad, India

Overall, the Muslims of India make up 12 percent of the country's population of over one billion. Islam is India's largest minority religion.

India's Muslim communities tend to be more urban than rural. In many towns and cities in northern India, Muslims are one-third or more of the population. The largest concentrations of Muslims, about 52 percent, live in the states of Bihar (12 million), West Bengal (16 million), and Uttar Pradesh (24 million), according to the country's 1991 census.

India's Muslims have played a historic role in shaping Indian society, particularly in the medieval period in the areas of architecture, calligraphy, miniature paintings, handicrafts, handloom, music, poetry, literature in mystic humanism, culinary arts and sartorial fashions.

Not only does the Taj Mahal, the most famous symbol of India, commemorate the love for a Muslim queen, but the very name India is an Anglicized version of the Arabic name Hind which Muslim scholars started using for the area beyond Sindh (roughly the east of Pakistan today).

The Indian Constitution claims to provide equality of opportunity to all individuals, organizations and social groups. But the biggest Indian minority is a victim of deprivation. Whether it is legislative assemblies educational institutions, government jobs, the problem of security in case of riots, representation in political organizations, posts in policy planning and decision-making groups or other pressure groups there is acute shortage of Muslim representation everywhere, resulting in constant social tension and problems in governance.

Some challenges the Indian Muslims face:

1. Communal riots against Muslims are among the biggest tragedies of this independent, secular democracy. Wherever Muslims have acquired a relatively better economic position, these riots send them back to the starting point. There have been 249 riots per year according to Indian government statistics. Senior Indian journalist, Khuswant Singh notes that in all communal violence that has taken place in India since Independence in the 1940s, over 75 per cent of the causalities - in terms of lives and property destroyed - were Muslim.

2. The second important problem is the state of present textbooks in the Indian education system which have become very aggressive in teaching Hinduism. This hits Muslims' faith, culture, civilization, language and way of life. The educational syllabi have prescribed course books in all states, which are replete with matters pertaining to the faiths of the majority community, mythological and other stories of Hindu gods and goddesses against the principles prescribed in the Constitution. Obviously all these things are negations of Islamic beliefs and teachings, especially about the Oneness of God Almighty. Hence there is no doubt that these things are causing great concern to the Muslims.

The rewriting of history is done in a way that continues to fuel the non-secular, chauvinistic Hindu perspectives, causing the new generation of Indians to shape their behavior towards minorities in a very hostile way.

3. The economic problem: More than fifty percent Muslims are leading a life below the poverty line as compared to thirty-five percent of Hindus who live below the poverty line. Because of a general environment of hostility against Muslims, decent employment in the private sector is becoming increasingly difficult for Muslims, while in the public sector there is no encouragement for Muslims either. The future of Muslim professionals and its working class, traders etc has been very greatly affected.

Today very few Muslims are found in government jobs. A recent survey shows that there are only eight Muslim police chiefs in India's 591 districts. That is .01% as compared to 12% of the Muslim population in India. The situation of other departments is also worsening day by day.

4. Education: The active discrimination Muslims face in the private and public sector of the job market, has forced them to pay less attention to school education which, in India, is connected with the job market. In the educational field therefore, Muslims are very backwards.

5. Urdu language. Another major problem of Muslims of India is that of the Urdu language. The Urdu language was born as a result of the interaction and cohesion of different languages, nations, cultures and civilizations and is a mixture of some old languages like Sanskrit, Arabic, Persian, Turkish etc. Urdu is almost a dead language now as far as the medium of instruction is concerned. It is not tolerated even in the primary and secondary stages of education.

The Muslims of India are very vulnerable in a country which describes itself as the world's "largest secular democracy". Muslims today remain poorer, less educated and less empowered in India.

 

"Charminar sumeet photography 3" by Sumeetrajendrabhavsar - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Charminar_sumeet_photography_3.JPG#mediaviewer/File:Charminar_sumeet_photography_3.JPG

Comments

I think the article is misleading. The true story of backwardness of Muslims in India and also all over the world is bifurcation in so many sact and' firka's in between Muslim. All of them follows one Allah, one Peighmber,one qalima, one Quran and Emma an. BT even then they are not United as one umrah.

Location

hanumangRh RajSthan india

I think that politics in India should see how Hindus are free making money and business in muslim community such as Dubai -Qatar etc etc

What if politic in these countries start to behave towards Hindus same way politics in India behave towards muslims ???

Location

Suriname

if all my muslim brothers in india can go to Pakistan as mr Jinnah wanted we would have been much happier

Location

uganda

Who is Jinnah.... ?
we r not politicall poltclly motivated.. we can't leave our country for anyones political benifits. We can sacrifice our everything for defending our country.

Location

Assam

Such a great insights of what has been obviously seen now among Muslims in Pakistan and India has proven that Jinnah is not only a 10 step-forward thinker but saved hundreds of billion Muslims as well, from the long and everlasting suffering living as a minority had Jinnah not made such a great decision. Thanks Jinnah. I am not a part of the two countries but am an Indonesian who cares a lot about my brothers sisters in many parts of the world

Location

Jakarta

I think Jinnah was right.He felt that what would happen with muslims and now happening with Muslims in India.Pakistani Muslims are much better than Indian Muslims.Most of Indian Muslims feel not secure against the extremist Hindus in India

Location

lahore

i think the artical is interesting?however the problem seems to be what it always has been lack of education and i dont just mean academics? not to mention the devide and rule methods of the british empire?

Location

uk

this article proves how wise jinnah was,he understood before it was too late that there is no place for muslims in a hindu majority india,this article gives us an insight about what we would ahve been like had india not partitoned.

Location

karachi pakistan

Muslims have themselves to blame for their predicament.The Islamic Civilization was once modern and progressive at a time when the west was undergoing the dark period of middle ages.Now the whole civilization has fallen back so much so that it is associated with all negative attributes such as terrorism and a lot of other similiar things.Muslims all over the world are having problems with their counterparts,be it christians,hindus etc.There should be a soul searching among all muslims and they should avoid getting into a seige mentality where they see all people other than muslims as their enemies.

Location

USA

I think this article sazs some truthful facts.There are more reasons for this performance of muslims in india. Dont forget that we have minority colleges which are meant only for us and admissions should be given only based onthe merit but the muslim minority organizations does through the donations. Goodstudents doesnt get based on the merit for example in gulbarga and hyderabad. The muslim political leaders has just used the situation for their own childrens and families. They made poor muslims more vulnerable in the name of religion. They also sometimes created riots for their own purpose. No muslim politicians are honest to their religion and people who trust them. If zou like to try them please reach at the time when there is no election they will never look at your problem,instead their assistants will make u away .They do come at the situations which help there political career,like muders,slogans against govt.

Location

usa

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