The series of reports on the under-representation of the Muslims in services etc (obviously being presented as a monolithic community) and their over-representation in the jails and more such disclosures through the Sachar Committee'sreport, are meant to portray the overall image of a deprived community while implying that the Hindus in post-Partition India have an over-representation in services and other arenas, which is neither warranted by history nor by their number.
But first, the very methodology of producing this genre of statistics and its derivatives, which leave out the context and other parameters. In this arithmetic, it is imperative to calculate what the Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Christians have lost for ever in what are now Pakistan and Bangladesh. Their losses were entirely appropriated by the Muslims. This never happened in India. The relative position of religious communities in India can never be seen in isolation: that would make sense only when the overall scenario?the political status, economic condition as well as the security concerns of both Hindus and Muslims in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and also in India'sKashmir?is taken into account. While Pakistan and Bangladesh have carried out a religious and ethnic cleansing of its minorities, the Muslim population in India continues to rise at a rate higher than that of the Hindus.
Since the Muslim community looks at itself as a part of the fraternity of the believers world-wide, they are generally concerned at the fate of the Muslims outside India. This prompted Gandhiji to take up the Khilafat issue. That justifies rallies against Bush when he visits India but red carpet for Musharraf. Hence GoI espouses the Palestinian cause while smothering the horrible plight of the Hindus, Buddhists and Christians in Pakistan and Bangladesh. Softness towards the latter are explained because of the exigencies of the vote-bank politics and the role of petro-dollar. It is because of this umbilical chord that Pakistan keeps harping on the ?plight? of the Muslims in India.
The projection of the Muslims as the only losing community is unconvincing if the totality of the picture is not smothered. Historic problems can'tbe viewed from arbitrarily selected starting points.
Additionally, there is the unique case of the Hindus of India'sJammu and Kashmir: about 10 per cent of the population in 1947, they have been reduced to a tiny number (5000). The rest numbering about 4,00,000 have been compelled to abandon their home and hearth and made refugees in their own land. Now eking out a miserable living in the refugee camps of Jammu and elsewhere for more than 16 years, they have been resorting to distress sell-off of their ancestral properties to the Muslims of the Kashmir Valley for a pittance.
While the Jews can return to Germany now and re-establish their synagogues and claim their property back, and the Asians of Uganda can return, that option is firmly closed to the Kashmiri Hindu refugees. Even after this, a central minister from Kashmir wants a reservation for Muslims!
Muslims of India on the whole are better off, more secure than the Hindus of Kashmir Valley. The point is some minorities are different from other minorities and some majorities are different from other majorities.
A look at this chart would further clarify this enigma of the ?persecuted? minorities and ?pampered? majorities.
The top three positions in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh:
President, Prime Minister and Army Chief
India: Muslim, Sikh, Sikh
Pakistan: Muslim, Muslim, Muslim
Bangladesh: Muslim, Muslim, Muslim
In India'scase, it needs to be noted that Sonia (nee Maino) Gandhi, an Italian-born is the Chairperson of the ruling UPA. That is, she is the de facto head of the government. Her most trusted political advisor is Ahmad Patel
So the share of Hindus (%) in what is called the Indian sub-continent for the top jobs is nil.
Additionally the Deputy Chief of the armed forces in India happens to be a Muslim and how about the comparable figures in Pakistan and Bangladesh? As for some other prestigious positions:
Chairman of the Central Public Service Commission, which recruits the elite civil services:
Chief of the National Planning Commission:
Chief of the Election Commission:
Here also the Hindu share (%) is nil.
Last but not the least, the cricket teams in this part of South Asia:
India: Out of 16 players currently playing there are five Muslims.
Pakistan: So far only two Hindus have played for Pakistan (in 59 years).
Bangladesh: Only two Hindus have played so far but now they are out of the team.
I am leaving out the ?heroes? from the filmdom and the advertisement world in India which are conspicuously getting bereft of Hindus. If that does not mean much, as some would say, why not name the number of non-Muslims recognised in those fields in Pakistan and Bangladesh?
Population figures: While Hindu population is falling steadily, the Muslim population is increasing. This is too well known.
In all, it may be said, very definitively that Hindus as a community are losing political power and clout very rapidly in a ?shrinking and shrunken India?, and would lose whatever is still left in their hands. Having been victors all along, the Muslims can'tclaim to be hapless victims now.
Those who tend to compare the plight of the Blacks in the USA with the Muslims in India are oblivious of history and logic. The Blacks were imported by the Whites as slaves unlike the Muslims who came as invaders and converted the local people. The Black minority has neither ruled the USA nor has it partitioned its country.
Our market-savvy pundits would say that despite the steady political/demographic decline of the Hindus, some of them are very resourceful and so there is nothing to worry. History provides many examples when money-power without the backing of politico-military support just withered away. Moreover, the number of prosperous Muslims is quite substantial. It would be quite revealing to see the percentage of the Hindus in the ever-growing list of the farmers committing suicides in Vidarbha, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and even in the communist-ruled West Bengal
Their socio-economic under-development is explained by social, psychological, political, historical and demographic factors. They also suffers because of their obsessions and misplaced priorities. The Muslim under-representation is also explained by their larger families and fascination for the madrasa.
Poverty of the people (Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, neo-Buddhists, etc) is caused by the phoney policies for the underprivileged, like the ?socialistic? policies enforced by the ?secular? dispensations without creating jobs.
Number game can help in making identity in politics, as it did before partition, but can never become the criterion for any unfair communal entitlements now. It may be recalled that the Jews with 0.21 per cent of the world population have got 22 per cent of all Nobel Prizes. So, how about a campaign against this ?anomaly? first?
(The writer teaches history at Hansraj College, University of Delhi and is a former Member of ICSSR, a former Post Doc Research Scholar, University of London, and Visiting Fellow, Dept of Politics, University of Hull.)