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Thread: Must see- Secularism

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    Must see- Secularism




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    i have seen this presentation its good.

    i came across an article , please have a look.


    What does Indian secularism offer?
    Submitted by kashif on Mon, 05/15/2006 - 06:06.



    by Azra Razzack

    Indian secularism, on which most of us have grown up, has been intoxicating. This intoxication failed to let us see the impending Gujarat till it tore us apart.

    Intoxication one is told is a beautiful feeling. It makes you light-hearted, elevated, and away from worries. While the secularists basked in the glory of independence, there were other forces at work.

    The Muslims, raising their voice, at such a time, didn't matter. These voices were pacified with 'eid milans' and 'iftar parties' and ever since 1999, with the bus to Pakistan.

    Muslims were left with no choice and were obliged to be grateful to an Indian state which declared itself to be secular in stark contrast to Pakistan which did not.

    This state of intoxication with Indian secularism unfortunately did not allow us to foresee Gujarat. Nor will it allow us to see many other such Gujarats in the waiting if we continue to remain intoxicated. We need to recognise what ails Indian secularism.

    That Indian secularism is problematic which became evident from the recent controversy that was generated in the media and threatened to spill over to the courts and political arena over the official collection of data on Muslims.

    At least that is the message that was given through the protests that came out of the Army controversy. While Advani has used it on a number of occasions to drive home a point, the Prime Minister, succumbing to pressure after having set up a committee to report on the status of Indian Muslims, is equally problematic.

    The Indian Muslim

    Sixty long years have passed us by. It's a brief moment in a nation's history but for individuals it's a lifetime. And that's how it has been for many Muslims who have lived through these years.

    A life-time of excruciating pain and uncertainty. Who can deny that many Muslims have lived with constant threat and terror on an almost daily basis. The word riot has never been alien to any Muslim.

    Even the lucky ones have lived it in their own agonizing ways. One can hardly flaunt the privilege of being 'safe' when others of one's community are being massacred!

    For many in Gujarat, time seems to have stood still for the last 4 years. There has clearly been no reprieve for them.

    However, Gujarat alone does not capture the situation of Muslims in India. That it paints the worst scenario is undeniable but there are many more stories to tell of the Muslims -- of extreme poverty, educational backwardness, human rights violation and sense of insecurity, poor participation in governance, irregular employment, and discrimination in many spheres of life. A very painful and depressing situation to be in.

    In such a situation where Muslims find themselves -- it comes as a rude shock that the mere collection of data about Muslim representation can be grudged and looked upon as appeasement by a vast cross section of people.

    The talk of this as being detrimental to India's secular fabric and as 'obscene appeasement' is as incredible even as it is shameful and highly objectionable.

    That the last time such an exercise was conducted in the early eighties under the chairmanship of Gopal Singh brought no benefit to the community whatsoever, is conveniently ignored.

    The Army as secular

    The Army, it is being said is a secular institution -- a Muslim head count will make it communal. Strange are the ways of Indian secularism. Stranger still is the Prime Minister, whose assertion that the survey is "an exercise in empowerment, not appeasement" and meant to ensure "better targeting of development programmes", has generously exempted the armed forces from sharing their data. By this one amendment Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has, hopefully, saved himself and his party its full term in office.

    The Army, according to him, "will continue to be apolitical, secular, professional and merit-based". One would like to ask the Prime Minister whether this would mean that the police will not, the bureaucracy will not, educational institutions will not? And is he admitting, by any chance, that this is acceptable. Are the armed forces then supposed to be our cloak of secularism?

    By succumbing to pressure based on false alarm and fragile foundations, both the Prime Minister and the defence minister have caused untold damage to the cause of Indian secularism, more than they could possibly be aware of.

    Even as Muslims welcomed the fact that finally, after six decades of false propaganda, a scientific tool was being used to assess their situation, there has been a volte-face.

    That disaggregated data on the Armed Forces could indeed be a threat to Indian secularism, lead to a communal situation and even more preposterous -- "can demoralise the armed forces" -- is something difficult to digest. Support for this, from the august office of the Prime Minister, is equally disturbing.

    To say that data disaggregated along community lines does not exist or cannot be generated is telling a big lie. Let's not bluff ourselves -- Gujarat and many other riot situations have told us another story.

    How records on the basis of community are generated within hours in a riot situation tells us point blank that whether we keep records officially or not -- they exist and can be generated within minutes.

    Despite the hesitation in sharing official figures of Muslims in the Armed forces, it didn't take the Army long to list out meritorious Muslim officers in the Armed forces.

    Muslims have nearly always been identified -- be it in the armed forces, in the market place, in classrooms and schools, in hospitals, at police stations -- nearly and nearly everywhere -- where it has mattered.

    While data collection has generated this controversy, it is precisely in this data collection, the solution to this controversy lies. At the bottom of this lies the absence of clear data leaving room for mischievous interpretations -- threat to the nation, issues of security, Muslims as a pampered community and as mentioned in a daily, "apartheid against majority".

    Misinterpretation and misinformation is readily lapped up when Muslims are involved. With the absence of data the community takes a beating. Data is urgently needed for the truth to be told.

    One cannot also remain naïve to the process of how prejudice is generated and hate propaganda is disseminated.

    The falsehood of Muslim appeasement needs to be taken up if Indian secularism has to work. The story of Muslims needs to be told for it to make a difference. The story of Gujarat alone itself can set to rest the appeasement theory.

    It is in the ignoring and forgetting wherein lies the problem. We need to wake up to the enormity of the situation and give up some of our comfortable existence and get over the intoxication.

    Books such as Dionne Bunsha's 'Scarred: Experiments with violence in Gujarat' need to be read over and over again for us to understand why we should not remain intoxicated any longer.

    Maybe the setting up of peace memorials or museums (on the pattern of the Hiroshima peace park or the Holocaust History Museums), as they exist in many countries across the world, will make a difference.

    Hopefully, such an experiential journey which captures the pain of the victims of violence and conflict, will make us introspect and collectively pledge to never let this happen again.

    __________________________________________________ _____
    Azra Razzack is a reader with the Department of Education, University of Delhi and can be reached at [email protected].

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    This is very important , This is a fact sheet prepared by Justice Sacher Committee (The Committee was setup by the UPA government on March 9th, 2005 to study the Socio-Economic and Educational status of the Muslims in India.)

    You can see it is placed in India Govt. Official website.



    see the report (PDF)


    there is an article related to this report. please have a look


    Government report concedes Indias Muslims are a socially deprived, victimised minority
    By Deepal Jayasekera
    30 December 2006

    A report prepared by a seven-member committee headed by Justice Rajinder Sachar has conceded that Indias Muslim minority faces appalling socioeconomic deprivation and is the victim of official neglect and frequent police harassment and violence.

    The committee, which was charged with investigating the socioeconomic status of Indias 150 million Muslims and recommending means of improving their lot, was appointed by United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in March 2005.

    It has long been patently obvious that Indias Muslims are disproportionately represented among the poor and that they have been the target of official discrimination. From 1998 to 2004, Indias government was led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which openly espouses the Hindu-supremacist doctrine of Hindutva. In 2002, more than 2,000 Muslims were killed and tens of thousands more left homeless by an anti-Muslim pogrom in BJP-ruled Gujarat.

    Nevertheless, the Sachar Committees findings constitute a devastating indictment of bourgeois rule in India. In particular, they puncture the claims of the Congress Party, which dominates the current UPA coalition and has governed India for most of the 60 years since independence, to be the architect of a secular democracy.

    Representing 13.4 percent of Indias population, Muslims are far and away Indias largest religious minority, living, albeit in varying concentrations, in all parts of the country.

    The Congress-led UPA had two major motivations for appointing the Sachar Committee.

    Addressing or at least appearing to address some of the grievances of Indias beleaguered Muslim minority is a way the current government can differentiate itself from the former BJP-dominated coalition, while pursuing the same socially incendiary neo-liberal economic agenda. Sections of the Indian establishment have become apprehensive over the politically destabilising consequences of the growing alienation of Indias Muslims, and in particular of a spurt in support for Islamicist organisations, some of them with terrorist affinities.

    However, so damaging were the Sachar Committees findings to the Congresss secular pretensions that the UPA government delayed the reports release for some two months. Discrepancies between leaked copies of the report and the final version indicate, moreover, that the government insisted that some parts be deleted before making the Sachar Committees findings public.

    The report concedes that Indias Muslims live under a shadow of fear due to a communalised political establishment and state machinery: Communal tension or any untoward incident in any part of the country is enough to make Muslims fear for their safety and security. The lackadaisical attitude of the government and the political mileage sought whenever communal riots occur has been very painful for the Community.

    The report adds that Muslims have come to fear the police and security forces: Concern was expressed over police highhandedness in dealing with Muslims. Muslims live with an inferiority complex as every bearded man is considered an ISI [Pakistans foreign spy agency] agent; whenever any incident occurs Muslim boys are picked up by the police and fake encounters [between security forces and alleged Muslim terrorists] are common. In fact, people argued that police presence in Muslim localities is more common than the presence of schools, industry, public hospitals and banks. Security personnel enter Muslim houses on the slightest pretext. The plight of Muslims living in border areas is even worse as they are treated as foreigners and are subjected to harassment by the police and administration.

    The treatment accorded Muslims by Indias security forces is directly bound up with Indian bourgeoisies use of anti-Pakistan and ant-Muslim chauvinism as a weapon of its class ruleas a means to manufacture national unity and to divert the social antagonisms and frustrations born of acute poverty, inequality and economic insecurity in a reactionary direction.
    Ghetto-isation

    The Sachar report points out that communal harassment is increasingly forcing Muslims into impoverished ghettos: Fearing for their security, Muslims are increasingly resorting to living in ghettos across the country. This is more pronounced in communally sensitive towns and cities.

    This ghetto-isation, in turn, facilitates official neglect and discrimination. It was suggested that Muslims living together in concentrated pockets (both because of historical reasons and a deepening sense of insecurity) has made them easy targets for neglect by municipal and government authorities. Water, sanitation, electricity, schools, public health facilities, banking facilities, anganwadis [day care centers], ration shops, roads, and transport facilitiesare all in short supply in these areas.

    Indias Muslims, reports the Sachar Committee, face deficits and deprivation in practically all dimensions of socioeconomic development.

    In most socioeconomic indicators that the committee considered, Muslims rank somewhat above SCs/STs [the historically-deprived former untouchables (Dalits) and tribal (hunter-gather) peoples], but below all other groups, that is Hindu OBCs [Other Backward Classes or lower caste groups], Other Minorities and Hindu General [mostly those who come from families that would have traditionally been considered upper caste].

    For some measures of social deprivation, Muslims as a group fell below the Dalits, who more than a half-century after the abolition of untouchability continue to make up a grossly disproportionate share of Indias landless, poor and illiterate. And some particularly disadvantaged Muslims groups fell consistently below the Dalits.

    The head count ratio (HCR) of poverty among Muslims is 31 percentsecond only to the SC/ST communities whose HCR is 35 percent. The poverty figure among urban Muslims is higher, with 38.4 percent deemed to be living in poverty, as compared with 36.4 percent of urban Dalits and Scheduled Tribes.

    Here it needs be emphasised that Indias official poverty line is pegged at the bare subsistence level, the income necessary to meet the caloric requirement to do a full days work.

    Using data from the 2001 National Census and National Sample Survey, the Sachar committee shows that Muslims are disproportionately poorly housed; that they use less electricity than other Indians, with the share of villages with no electricity increasing substantially as the size of the Muslim population rises; and that they have less access to running water. While only 25 percent of households in rural India have running water, the figure for Muslim households is a mere 10 percent.

    The share of Muslims having government jobs is just 4.9 percent. Only 4.5 percent of railway workers are Muslim, and of these, 98.7 percent occupy lower-level positions. Muslims constitute just 3.2 percent of those in Indias elite civil service corps.

    The situation is worse in states with large Muslim populations. For example, in West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, and Assam, where Muslims form 25.2 percent, 18.5 percent and 30.9 percent of the population, respectively, their share of government jobs is 4.7 percent, 7.5 percent, and 10.9 percent, respectively.
    Less access to education

    According to the Sachar report, Muslims in India have less access to education than other religious groups. As a result, the literacy rate among Muslims is only 59.1 percent while the national average is 64.8 percent. School enrollment among urban Muslim boys is only 80 percent, as compared with 90 percent of SC/ST boys. Only 68 percent of Muslim girls attend schools, while the figures for Dalit girls and girls categorised as non-Dalit are 72 percent and 80 percent, respectively.

    When it comes to higher education, the Muslim presence is even lower. The report says that in the elite Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), Muslim students constitute only 1.3 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively, of the student body.

    One of the means through which the Indian ruling elite has discriminated against the Muslim minority is through its treatment of Urdua north Indian language that, like Hindi, is a variant of Hindustani, the major distinction being that Hindi uses a Sanskrit-derived script, while Urdu is written in a Persian-Arabic type script. (As a result of the activities of Hindu and Muslim communalists, Urdu, the national language of Pakistan, was redefined as a Muslim language during the first half of the twentieth century.)

    Reports the Sachar Committee: Urdu has been neglected. The fallout of this has been inadequate access to education in the mother tongue for many Urdu speaking children. The neglect has also resulted in poor performance of Urdu medium school students because of poor infrastructural facilities and absence of adequate number of qualified teachers.

    There is evidence that Indias banks, both public and private, also discriminate against Muslims. According to the report, the average bank loan disbursed to a Muslim is two thirds of the amount disbursed to other minorities: [S]ome banks use the practice of identifying negative geographical zones on the basis of certain criteria where bank credit and other facilities are not easily provided.

    According to the Indian Express, the Sachar report also contained statistics showing that Muslims make up a disproportionately high percentage of jail inmates in all parts of India. But these figures have been excluded from the final version of the report.

    Citing an earlier draft of the report, the Express says that in Maharashtra, Indias second most populous state, Muslims constitute 32.4 percent out of all inmates even though Muslims represent just 10.6 percent of the states population. In Gujarat, also in western India, Muslims account for more than a quarter of all prison inmates although they constitute just 9.06 percent of the population. In Karnataka, in southern India, 17.5 percent of jail inmates are Muslim as compared to their 12.23 percent of the population. In Delhi, the Union Territory that is home to Indias capital city, Muslims account for 11.7 percent of the population but 29.1 percent of prison inmates.

    The high presence of Muslims in Indian prisons is a product of the deplorable socioeconomic conditions that they confront and of systematic anti-Muslim bias on the part of the police and judiciary. Thousands of innocent Muslim youths have been caught up in various anti-terrorism dragnetsdragnets that have made use of such draconian anti-terrorism laws as the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) and the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) and allow the authorities to hold people for weeks and months without charge.

    Meanwhile, the Indian state has done nothing to prosecute those responsible for the 2002 Gujarat pogrom and other anti-Muslim atrocities.
    The Congress and the communal partition of India

    Despite the claims of Indias ruling elite concerning the secular and democratic character of Indias polity, Muslims have faced systematic and escalating discrimination since independence.

    That discrimination has its roots in the 1947 communal partition of then-British India along religious-communal lines into a Muslim Pakistan and a Hindu-dominated India. Partition was implemented through violent communal clashes fomented by both Hindu and Muslim chauvinists. These clashes resulted in the deaths of some 2 million, while another 12-14 million people were forced to flee their homes and cross the artificial border that had been drawn across the subcontinent. As a part of this forcible exchange of communities between the newly independent states of India and Pakistan, millions of Muslims were chased out of India.

    Although the Indian National Congress (INC), led by Gandhi and Nehru, denied any responsibility for partition, portraying it as entirely the product of the machinations of Indias departing colonial overlords and the Muslim League, the Congress played a pivotal role in implementing partition.

    It was the Congress leadership that insisted that partition be taken to its logical conclusion and that the British Indian provinces of Bengal and Punjab be partitioned on communal lines, so as to ensure that the new states were as communally homogeneous as possible.

    Even more importantly, it was the Congress that joined forces with the British and the League to reorganise the state structure in South Asia, so as to contain and suppress a mass anti-imperialist movement that between 1945 and 1947 had given rise to a myriad of social strugglesincluding strikes, peasant land-seizures and challenges to feudal obligations, popular revolts against various princely rulers, and mutinies in the British Indian armed forcesand was assuming revolutionary dimensions.

    Organically incapable of leadingand opposed toa struggle to unite India from below through an appeal to the common class interests of the toiling masses, the bourgeois-led Congress chose to unite India from above by accepting partition and inheriting the British-colonial-engineered Indian state.

    Moreover, a large section of the Congress leadership led by Vallabhbhai Patel collaborated with Hindu-chauvinist forces such as the RSS and the princely ruler of Alwar in stirring up anti-Muslim communalism, both before and after partition. Within weeks of independence, Patel and other senior Congress leaders were pressing for measures to reduce the use of Urdu in government and restrict Muslim participation in the police and security forces. Patel, in particular, demanded that Indias Muslim minority prove it wasnt a fifth column for Pakistan.

    The subsequent decades of Congress rule failed to address the basic socioeconomic needs of Indias working people. The deplorable socioeconomic conditions facing the Muslim minority are only an extreme expression of the situation facing the vast majority of Indians.

    In the 1980s, as the Indian bourgeoisies post-independence national economic development strategy began to unravel, the Congress, first under Indira Gandhi and then under her son Rajiv, increasingly resorted to Hindu-chauvinist appeals. This in turn helped pave the way for the Hindu-supremacist BJP to emerge as a major political force.

    In December 1992, a BJP-RSS anti-Muslim chauvinist campaign to build a Hindu temple on the site of the Babri Masjid mosque in Ayodhya culminated in its demolition by Hindu-chauvinist fanatics and the worst communal rioting since partition. The then-Congress government of Prime Minister Narasimha Rao passively allowed this to happen, thereby further strengthening right-wing Hindu communalist forces.

    Some six years later, the BJP managed to become the ruling party in India, indicating a further shift of the Indian bourgeoisie and political establishment to the right and its embrace of an explicitly anti-Muslim Indian/Hindu nationalism.

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    here are some of my personal comments (u have full rights to disagree with me.)

    Nothing is ideal in this world. But one thing i notice about Indian Media and Govt. , that is their too much propaganda about prosperity, equality , Justice , democracy and secularism of india , which is not the case.

    there is a lot to be done......

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    well every other nation has the same questions..... i may not know the answers 2 theze ques... but i m damn sure there must be answers to theze questions..........

    and every1 knows the reality.... i hope it will reveal soon in future...

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    Quote Originally Posted by forumadmin
    here are some of my personal comments (u have full rights to disagree with me.)

    Nothing is ideal in this world. But one thing i notice about Indian Media and Govt. , that is their too much propaganda about prosperity, equality , Justice , democracy and secularism of india , which is not the case.

    there is a lot to be done......
    I completely agree with you. What I noticed is that when the news channels don't get any news, they usually show these topics as "BREAKING NEWS" what they need is to DO something about the problem, and not to merely advise and criticize the govt. for its negligence, lack of interest blah blah. the media is not taking complete advantage of its freedom. I could rather have advised the people what to do.

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