Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Indian Muslims are largely illiterate and poor

Soutik Biswas:

As historians tell it, during India's first election in 1952, Jawaharlal Nehru was already worrying about the feeble representation of Muslims in the country's positions of authority.

Many more Muslims had stayed back in India than the millions who migrated to newly-born Pakistan after the partition just five years before.

India's first prime minister's concerns about the country's second largest religious group and the largest religious minority were eminently justified.

"There were hardly any Muslims left in the defence service, and not many in the secretariat," says historian Ramachandra Guha.

Next year, in 1953, a group of intellectuals met to discuss forming a political party for the Muslims and spoke about the low representation of Muslims in political positions and bureaucracy.

More than half century later, on India's 60th anniversary of independence, very little has changed.

Today, at over 138 million, Muslims constitute over 13% of India 's billion-strong population, and in sheer numbers are exceeded only by Indonesia's and Pakistan's Muslim community.


Muslims comprise only 5% of employees in India's big government, a recent study found. The figure for Indian Railways, the country's biggest employer, is only 4.5%.

The community continues to have a paltry representation in the bureaucracy and police - 3% in the powerful Indian Civil Service, 1.8% in foreign service and only 4% in the Indian Police Service. And Muslims account for only 7.8% of the people working in the judiciary.

Indian Muslims are also largely illiterate and poor.

At just under 60%, the community's literacy rate is lower than the national average of 65%. Only half of Muslim women can read and write. As many as a quarter of Muslim children in the age-group 6-14 have either never attended school or dropped out.

They are also poor - 31% of Muslims are below the country's poverty line, just a notch above the lowest castes and tribes who remain the poorest of the poor.

India's Muslims adopt Hindu names


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At 11:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe 50% of all muslims in the world are illiterate. Islam is a big part of the backwardness of muslims, but they will never admit this.

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