Muslims are second largest religious community after Hindus in India, accounting about fifteen percent of the total population. As a Muslim community they are second only to Indonesia. They are present in every region of India, in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, West Bengal, Asam and in Kerala they are substantial in number. But when viewed as per representation in different government departments in India they are extremely poorly represented. In highest decision making and implementation agencies they are about 02 to 03 percent. In judicial body about 07 percent, in different state’s police forces about 04 percent. While in Politics they have 04 to 05 percent of representation.
As we know in present democracy of the world, power is vested in certain departments such as in legislative bodies, in executive bodies, in judiciary, security forces, army and inIntelligence agencies. And to have share in these bodies education is indispensable. But to utter dismay, Muslims in India do not have adequate numbers of educational institutions to literate their huge but pauperized community. For modern contemporary education they have access only to Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) New Delhi, Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU), Hyderabad and few others. Among these very few institutions, AMU and Jamia are still fighting cases in Apex court for their right to be Minority Institutions as per Constitutional provision of India.
Beside this, Muslims do have seats of education in the form of Madaris, wide spread in every corner of the country but limitation with them is that they are reluctant to add contemporary worldly science education in their curriculum. Owing to this attitude most Muslims are reluctant to send their wards to these educational seats. As per Sachar committee report pertaining to educational status of Muslims in India only 04 percent of Muslims students opt for Madaris, and one reason for this is their parents' poverty.
There are several good and world-class educational institutions in India such as Model Schools (at district level), Jawahar Navoday School (in village areas), chain of Delhi Public Schools, affiliated to CBSE, and various Christian missionaries convent schools. But owing to poor educational status and of poverty Muslims do not have access to these quality schools barring few.
Now only option left to them is AMU, Jamia, and MANUU but these institutions have their own limitations to cater the demanding needs of the poor Muslims. Ever since partition of India, Muslims were forced to bear the guilty conscious of partition in 1947. And almost every government failed deliberatelyor otherwise to provide the due share to the biggest minority community. Now world economy has drastically changed to manufacturing and service sectors which calls for professional education where Indian Muslims lag behind critically.
After oil exploration in Gulf countries a lot of economic opportunities were available but owing to poor education, Indian Muslims failed to reap barring few. Instead, they were employed there as manual labour, driver, and plumbers or to some Semi-skilled professions. Same is the case with Economic reforms in 1991 in India which paved the way for multi-national firms. They demanded professional education, but here too Indian Muslims failed to avail economic liberalisation benefits. Instead, traditional crafts in India poorly hampered due to economic reforms in which Muslims had good share, but now fate of traditional crafts in India is in doldrums.
Now the call of the day is that Muslim community must come together to ensure schools, such as Christian Missionaries and Delhi Public Schools, in order to open a pan India chain up to higher secondary level to ensure quality education. It is pertinent to avail higher education, in case base is not strong to excel in higher education is next to impossible.
This is the pressing need of the Muslims in India. But Indian mass media instead is busy in demonizing the community through TV debates on the uncalled for, issues of Triple Talaq, terrorism , Masjid – Mandir debate mere to satisfy the small chunk of majority community’s interest.
[Amir Hussain, Research Scholar, Department of Social Work, AMU, Aligarh. firstname.lastname@example.org. The above article first appeared in countercurrents.org.]
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