Former Prime Minister of India Dr. Manmohan Singh appointed in March 2005 a high-level committee under the leadership of justices Rajindar Sachar to prepare a report on the social, economic and educational status of the Muslim community of India. Till then there was no authentic information on the social, economic and educational backwardness of this community, thereby hampering proper formulation and implementation of specific policies, interventions and programmes to address the issues relating to its social-economic backwardness. These 7 members High-Level Committee, properly is known as the Sachar Committee on Indian Muslims. The research presented by this community became famous as the Sachar Committee report on the Indian Muslim Community. The committee gave its report in November 2006 and it clearly found that the Muslim community was really “seriously lagging” in every major criterion like education, employment, socio-economic variables to name a few.
One of the major causes that burned the socio-political structure of the Indian Muslim community is social exclusion. Social exclusion keeps a social group outside power centres and resources. It takes the form of segregation from the social, political, economic, cultural, educational and religious domains of society. It thus imbues a sense of superiority and inferiority in members of a society or culture and results in a system of domination and subjugation. These processes ultimately lead to oppression and exploitation. The Muslim community is another excluded group in India. There are more Muslims who live below the poverty line than any other group in India.
The literacy rate among Muslims is 59 per cent, below the national average (65 per cent). Half of the rural Muslim children are illiterate, as are a third of urban children. One-eighth of Muslim children aged between 6 and 13 do not attend school. About 65 per cent of Muslim children in the 6-10 age groups are enrolled, but only about half as many in the next age-bracket (11-14) are. Less than a sixth of the rural Muslim children enrolled in primary school make it to high school. For urban children, the high-school enrolment ratio is 28 per cent. An abysmal 1.3 per cent of Muslim men in rural areas, and an even lower 0.3 per cent of women, reach the graduate level. The percentages for urban areas are 5.1 and 2.5.
A counterpart of the Indian Muslim’s social status is his/her employment status. Nearly half of Muslim men between the ages of 25 and 45 are self-employed, compared to 28 per cent of Dalits, and 40 per cent of Hindus. Only 18 per cent are in regular employment (Hindus, 25 per cent). Muslim under-representation in government jobs is distressingly stark. Data compiled by the Sachar Committee from 12 States (where the Muslims’ population share is 15.4 per cent), shows that they hold a tiny 5.7 per cent of government jobs. In States with a high Muslim population (Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and West Bengal), this ratio is less than a third of their population share. In Maharashtra, it is less than one-fifth.
In Kerala, Muslims account for a seemingly respectable 10.4 per cent of state employees. But this ratio is well under half their population share (24.7 per cent). In West Bengal, Muslims’ share in state employment is an abysmal 4.2 per cent – a fraction of their population share (25.2 per cent). This shows how deep and pervasive is the systemic exclusion and under-representation of Muslims.
Well, these figures are the committee findings dating back to 2006. The information is quoted by Dr. Nazeer Udin of Bangalore University is one of his research papers. Ever since the Muslims of India have faced worse from ‘lynching in the name of Cow’ to the ‘traitors often termed as the pro-Pakistani’ by the ultra-Hindu nationalists. The current Islamophobia in India, if left uncontrolled, may become one of the deadliest nightmares to the world
Being a concerned young Muslim of India, I feel very sensitive towards problems being faced by the community. Muslims in India are besotted with a plethora of problems today: social backwardness, economic deprivation, educational backwardness, social security and so on. I think all these problems are interlinked. However, educational backwardness holds key to solve most of them.