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Inquilab 1857 to Sacchar Report: Nothing changed for the Indian Muslims

January 2, 2008, Aleem Faizee,

Muslims in India constitute an estimated 12 to 15% of the total population

From 1857 to 2007, nothing much has been done for the Indian Muslims. Though Sacchar Report highlights the urgent care this community needs, the Government seems too slow to act on the report.


Leaving behind the dark memories of the renewed terror and trauma for the Muslims in India, the curtain is down for the year 2007. Apart from many other things, the year will always be remembered in the history of Independent India for two things.


First, for the Sacchar Committee Report released in November 2006, that has analyzed the Social, Economic and Educational Status of the Indian Muslims and generated shock waves all across the Muslim world. Once out of the shock, they urged the Government for the implementation of this committee through several platforms. But their persistent campaign failed in convincing the Government to do a bit for the revival of the shattered community. To further complicate the situation, the activities of the forces, always at the forefront to subjugate the Muslims, went totally unnoticed by the Government even as they came out with new set of strategies to further suppress the Muslims.


"It is time the Muslims in India analyze their worsening condition with the same gist with which their enemies in various disguise, in fact the enemies of the country, are planning to subvert them."

Secondly, it is the Government’s decision to celebrate the completion of 150 years of the First War of Independence fought in 1857. While the celebrations did help in clearing the air of suspicions surrounding the Great Struggle at least to some extent, which many still recall as a rebellion, a mutiny and a Gadar, the Indian Muslims if we analyze, got nothing but a big naught. Yet, a close look at the impartial accounts of the Inquilab 1857 and its aftermath, and lessons from those tragic days can work as a sliver lining.


To suggest that the Indian Muslims are being ignored since Independence is a myth. Scrolling down to the pages of Hayat-e-Javed by renowned Urdu Scholar Altaf Husain Hali would reveal that the Muslims were facing the same problems in 1857 too as described in Sacchar Report now. He wrote, “The whole Government is suspicious of the Indian Muslims. And the Muslims, subjected to the kind of brutality and revenge after the rebellion, have lost all hopes in the Government for their well-being.”


Not only this, the condition of the Indian Muslims was far from better even before Inquilab 1857. It is clearly evident after reading ‘Our Indian Muslims’ by William Hunter, who has observed, “The Indian Muslims have reached to such a level that even if they are eligible, the Government policies deny them acquiring the Government jobs. No one is ready to look after their concerns. And for the higher authorities in the Government, they are wary of the very existence of the Muslims.”


This was the condition of the Muslims during those days. The Muslims, who were masters at the moment for hundreds of years in India. Power apart, economically they were so sound that, according to Captain Alexander Hamilton, the wealth of Abdul Gafoor, a Surat based entrepreneur was equal to that of East India Company.


However, well planned and deliberate suppression, sidelining and marginalization of the once flourishing Indian Muslims began the moment the British embarked on their quest for conquering the country in 1757 after defeating Sirajud Dawlah at Palasi. Reached its peak in 1857. Existed till the country was liberated in 1947. And ever since then it continues unabated. Post independence the bifurcation of the country; enthused the anti-Muslim forces even more and they targeted the community with renewed vigor. The kind of vigor that had left even the Prime Minster of the country Jawaharlal Nehru helpless. In his own words, “The Muslims are being butchered in front of my eyes and I could not do anything. Nothing for me is more painful than this.”


It is ironic to see the most powerful Prime Minister the country has ever seen expressing helplessness in saving his fellow countrymen. More ironic is the fact that it has become a trend and even today those in power are doing the same. They keep on expressing their concerns instead of fulfilling their constitutional responsibilities vis-ŕ-vis to the Muslims in India. And while they do so, the hapless community is left to combat new challenges.


“The whole Government is suspicious of the Indian Muslims. And the Muslims, subjected to the kind of brutality and revenge after the rebellion, have lost all hopes in the Government for their well-being.”

Therefore, how long these things will dominate the country is not the cause for concern. The cause for concern is to check if you have analyzed the situation correctly. You do it and you will immediately realize that while the anti-Muslim forces are coming up with newer plans and newer strategies to further subjugate the Muslims, you are far from the right tracks to combat these challenges. Worse, some of the Muslim youths are virtually playing in their hands by resorting to anti-National and terrorist activities.


It is high time the Muslims in India learn lessons from Inquilab 1857 and its aftermath. The Lessons, if learnt correctly, can surely lead to build a new India. A totally new India with peace and harmony prevailing at large and equal opportunities knocking everyone’s doors. It is time the Muslims in India analyze their worsening condition with the same gist with which their enemies in various disguise, in fact the enemies of the country, are planning to subvert them. It is time they analyze their mistakes and plan accordingly. It is time they recognize their foes and their friends. And also the black sheep among them. Else, they should be prepared for even more frightening days in coming years.








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