For the last few days, every day the Business Standard publishes a new statistic from the Sachar Report and talks about how screwed up the Muslim commmunity in India is. Most of these seem to have one basic root cause – the education among Muslims sucks. The proportion of school graduates, college graduates, etc. among Muslims is much worse than that for most other communities and that I think underlies most of their misery.
The important difference between Dalit and Muslim leaders is that the former have to face elections. They stand for elections in the reserved constituencies and have to win in order to maintain their base. So they are in a way incentivized to work for their community.
Thing with Muslim leaders is that they are mostly religious and self-appointed. They don’t need to face any elections and the way they can cling to their position is to keep their own community backward. Muslim community in general being backward is actually good for them! And hence they do what they can to keep them backward!!
For a start, there was a report about the syllabus in the Madrasas. “Islamic education” is mostly religiuous and scripture-based and science is not taught. The thing in Deoband apparently still teaches that the sun revolves round the earth! Fantastic. After this kind of education where will the Muslim youth find jobs? Some of them (the lucky few) become clerics. The rest don’t have much of a future. Some of them do get really frustrated and end up joining various terrorist groups which are ever ready to welcome them.
So in a way, even if they don’t teach hatred, the madrasas contribute to terrorism!
What needs to be done is to get the Muslim kids to secular English medium schools which will give them access to decent jobs. it is not an easy task to do, given the stranglehold the clerics have on the community but I don’t think it should be too tough also. Anohter (not very good politically) thing to do would be to derecognize madarsas and force them to offer the syllabus taught in secular schools in return for recognition.
Another couple of related thoughts. When the Christian missionaries opened schools in India, they made sure a certain proportion of the intake was from other communities. While the original intention MIGHT have been (no one knows the actual reason) for conversion, what it did was to integrate the Christian community with the mainstream.
Another thing is that IMHO shias seem much better off than the sunnis. I’m talkign about Bohras/Kutchi memons here. They seem to have developed as a “business community” and because of that realized the value of education and except for unfairly getting mothered in the Gujarat riots are doing pretty well in life.
*AHINDA is a term coined by Peddaramaiah, oops Siddaramaiah (whose political future would’ve been sealed by now). It stands for “alpasankhyaatakaru, hinduLidavaru, dalitaru” which means “minorities, backwards and dalits”. Interesting to note that the bugger doesn’t consider Dalits and Minorities to be backward.