Thursday, November 23, 2006

Making Sense of Rajinder Sachar’s report.

The Justice Rajender Sachar Committee report, now with the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, has caused a stir among the academic and political class. The last we know about it is that the Prime Minister has placed a print order of at least 1000 copies and that he intends circulating them among MPs cutting across the political parties and thinkers across the country.

Thankfully, some enterprising journalists in Delhi have managed to obtain copies of it even before the Prime Minister made copies and gave it to them!. Even if they managed to do this by unethical means, I will not quarrel with them. It is, after all, now impossible for those sections in the higher levels of the bureaucracy to hide the report and the truth. The truth is that large sections of our own citizens have been kept out of the instruments of the democratic state structure because they happened to be Muslims.

And there are reasons to believe that the report would have been concealed from the public realm because the guilty in this case are the same set of people who administered this country for several years and led to the present state of affairs. The report of the Mandal Commission, after all, was preserved without being acted upon for almost a decade because it contained recommendations that were unpalatable to the forces of status quo. Submitted in December 1980, it was kept under wraps during Indira Gandhi’s second coming (1980-84) and throughout the Rajiv Gandhi era (1984-89) and it will have suffered the same fate if V.P.Singh did not find merits in it in August 1990.

This is not to say that the aspirations of the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) would not have been addressed at all. The OBCs, on the other hand, had reinvented themselves in the democratic arena at least a couple of decades before 1990 and that was leading to OBC reservation packages unfolding in State after State between 1967 and 1980. The point is that a report of a commission, set up under the Constitutional provision (Article 340) that warranted the Government to place it as well as an Action Taken Report in Parliament was kept under wraps for 10 years by the elite controlled establishment.

The Justice Sachar Committee was not appointed under any provision of the Constitution. The elite-controlled establishment could have and will have confined this report to a safe-room and thus ensured that nobody knew the truth. The main opposition party – the BJP – would not have spoken about it and the Congress party, having been in power for the longest period after independence (1947 to 1977, 1980 to 1989, 1991 to 1996) could have escaped having to answer as to why the Muslims remained excluded from the mainstream administration.

All this cannot happen now. The Sachar Committee report is before all of us and even if Manmohan Singh’s 1000 copies are sold out, we will have many others willing to publish and distribute copies. And we will soon know for sure that the Muslims as a proportion of the several arms of the democratic institution are far and few and that they are entitled to some positive discrimination.
It is also important now to clarify that Justice Sachar is not a votary or supporter in any sense, of Imam Bukhari or an Osama bin Laden as the BJP and its saffron clad sanyasins would want us to believe. And he is not as ignorant, as some of the illustrious media barons are, to prescribe any reservation scheme for the Muslims on the lines of Mandal. Justice Sachar knows too well that large sections of the Muslims are already eligible for reservations as they are classified OBCs in the Mandal Commission liost itself.

The imperative for the Union Government is that it affect some changes in the OBC reservation package in a way that there are sub-sections within the OBCs and classify the OBC Muslims as one sub-section so that a non-Muslim OBC is rendered ineligible to apply and compete for jobs that are reserved for Muslim OBCs. In doing this, the Government shall also ensure that such caste groups that are Most Backward within the OBCs are also provided such segments so that no one caste benefits entirely out of the OBC reservation scheme.

This alone is not sufficient. There is the need to expand the school education network and in doing so, ensure that schools have the adequate number of teachers, buildings and black-boards. In other words, the sham called sarva shiksha abhiyan will not do. Similarly, it is also important that the clergy is not allowed to determine the way the Muslims will live, dress and what they study.


Blogger vikaspathak said...

Sir, your suggestion of separating the Muslim OBCs from the non-Muslim OBCs within the broader OBC category is a good one. But though, if I remember correctly, 80% of India's Muslims are entitled to OBC reservation, I wonder how the remaining 20% fare vis-a-vis caste Hindus in social and educational terms. This, I believe, must be clearly investigated.
And as you rightly said, Indian Islam requires some more powerful public voices against the clergy's interference in 'secular' matters for Muslims to really reap the benefits.
The Indian Express covered the Sachar findings well. Not only the Congress but the also the CPM -- Bengal being right at the bottom in terms of Muslim representation in state employment -- has to answer some questions. The BJP, of course, can choose not to answer any.
And yes, the point regarding the need for better basic educational facilities is well taken.
Sir do read my views on SC/ST 'creamy layer' on my blog. They have undergone some change in the last 2-3 months.

10:38 AM  
Blogger hyderabadi guy said...


The grip of the Majlis-e-ittehadul Muslimeen on the community remains strong, With a Member representing Hyderabad in the Lok Sabha, five members in the Andhra Pradesh Assembly, 40 corporators in Hyderabad and 95-plus members elected to various municipal bodies in Andhra Pradesh, the All-India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen is one of the foremost representatives of the city’s Muslims and the most powerful Muslim party in India and one can see the partys strenghth if it goes to Hyderabad old city and Parts of Muslim Dominated Villages of Andhra Pradesh everywhere u look u can see MIM written on walls ,lightpoles and buildings leaving aside green flags and posters of its Leadership and there small Offices . The Majlis has brought lot of development to the Old part of the city even after it is said it hasnt done anything by its opponents who are mostly Ex Majlis workers.The Majlis was formed in 1927 “for educational and social uplift of Muslims”. But it articulated the position that “the ruler and throne (Nizam) are symbols of the political and cultural rights of the Muslim community… (and) this status must continue forever”.The Majlis pitted itself against the Andhra Mahasabha and the communists who questioned the feudal order that sustained the Nizam’s rule. It also bitterly opposed the Arya Samaj, which gave social and cultural expression to the aspirations of the urban Hindu population in the Hyderabad State of those days.By the mid-1940s, the Majlis had come to represent a remarkably aggressive and violent face of Muslim communal politics as it organised the razakars (volunteers) to defend the “independence” of this “Muslim” State from merger with the Indian Union.According to historians, over 1,50,000 such `volunteers’ were organised by the Majlis for the Nizam State’s defence but they are remembered for unleashing unparalleled violence against Communal Hindus and the communists and all those who opposed the Nizam’s “go it alone” policy. It is estimated that during the height of the razakar `agitation’, over 30,000 people had taken shelter in the Secunderabad cantonment alone to protect themselves from these `volunteers’.But the razakars could do little against the Indian Army and even put up a fight. Kasim Rizvi, the Majlis leader, was imprisoned and the organisation banned in 1948. Rizvi was released in 1957 on the undertaking that he would leave for Pakistan in 48 hours. Before he left though, Rizvi met some of the erstwhile activists of the Majlis and passed on the presidentship to Abdul Wahed Owaisi, a famous lawyer and an Islamic scholar from jamia nizamia who also was jailed for nearly 10 months after he took over the Majlis leadership as the then govt wanted to abolish the Majlis party but Owaisi refused to do so and was seen as a person who had financially supported the party when it was a bankrupt and weak one after the Police Action in Hyderabad State.Owaisi is credited with having “re-written” the Majlis constitution according to the provisions of the Indian Constitution and “the realities of Muslim minority in independent India”, and fought the legal case for winning back darrusslam mim headquarters for years according to a former journalist, Chander Srivastava. For the first decade-and-a-half after this “reinvention”, the Majlis remained, at best, a marginal player in Hyderabad politics and even though every election saw a rise in its vote share, it could not win more than one Assembly seat.The 1970s saw an upswing in Majlis’ political fortunes. In 1969, it won back its party headquarters, Dar-us-Salaam — a sprawling 4.5-acre compound in the heart of the New City. It also won compensation which was used to set up an ITI on the premises and a women’s degree college in Nizamabad town. In 1976, Salahuddin Owaisi took over the presidentship of the Majlis after his father’s demise who also was also Jailed Various times .This started an important phase in the history of the Majlis as it continued expanding its educational institutions,Hospitals,Banks, including the first Muslim minority Engineering College and Medical College. Courses in MBA, MCA ,Nursing, Pharmacy and other professional degrees followed and now a daily newspaper known as Etemaad Daily. The 1970s were also a watershed in Majlis’ history as after a long period of 31 years, Hyderabad witnessed large-scale communal rioting in 1979. The Majlis came to the forefront in “defending” Muslim life and property Majlis workers could be seen at these moments defending the properties of Muslims in the wake of riots and these workers were very hard even for the police to control them even now it is a known fact that there are nearly about 2500 units of strong members who only act if there is a seirous threat to the Owaisi family and these members are under the direct orders of the Owaisi family which leads the Majlis party leaving aside thousands of workers and informers throughout the State and even outside the country far away till America and the Gulf countries.Salahuddin Owaisi, also known as “Salar-e-Millat” (commander of the community), has repeatedly alleged in his speeches that the Indian state has “abandoned” the Muslims to their fate. Therefore, “Muslims should stand on their own feet, rather than look to the State for help'’, he argues.This policy has been an unambiguous success in leveraging the Majlis today to its position of being practically the “sole spokesman” of the Muslims in Hyderabad and its environs.Voting figures show this clearly. From 58,000 votes in the 1962 Lok Sabha elections for the Hyderabad seat, Majlis votes rose to 1,12,000 in 1980. The clear articulation of this “stand on one’s feet” policy in education and `protection’ during riots doubled its vote-share by 1984. Salahuddin Owaisi won the seat for the first time, polling 2.22 lakh votes. This vote-share doubled in the 1989 Lok Sabha elections to over four lakhs.The Majlis has since continued its hold on the Hyderabad seat winning about five-and-a-half lakh votes each time.Despite remarkable economic prosperity and negligible communal violence in the past decade, the hold of the Majlis on the Muslims of Hyderabad remains, despite minor dents. And despite widespread allegations of Majlis leaders having “made money”, most ordinary Muslims continue to support them because, as one bank executive put it “they represent our issues clearly and unambiguously'’. An old Historian Bakhtiyar khan says the Owaisi family was a rich family even before entering Politics and he says he had seen the late Majlis leader Abdul Wahed Owaisi in an American Buick car at a time when rarely cars were seen on Hyderabad Roads and the family had strong relations with the ersthwhile Nizams of Hyderabad and the Paighs even now the family is considered to be one of the richest familes in Hyderabad.A university teacher says that the Majlis helped Muslims live with dignity and security at a time when they were under attack and even took the fear out of them after the Police action and adds that he has seen Majlis leaders in the front at times confronting with the Police and the Govt. Asaduddin Owaisi, the articulate UK educated barrister from Lincolns Inn College son of Salahuddin Owaisi and Former leader of the Majlis’ Legislature party and now an MP himself who has travelled across the globe meeting world leaders and organizatons and even in war zones compares the Majlis to the Black Power movement of America.The Majlis that emerged after 1957 is a completely different entity from its pre-independence edition, he says adding that comparisons with that bloody past are “misleading and mischievous”. “That Majlis was fighting for state power, while we have no such ambitions or illusions”.He stoutly defends the need for “an independent political voice” for the minorities, which is willing to defend them and project their issues “firmly”.“How can an independent articulation of minority interests and aspirations be termed communal,” he asks and contests any definition of democracy which questions the loyalty of minorities if they assert their independent political identity. “We are a threat not only to the BJP and Hindu communalism, but also to Muslim extremism,” Asaduddin claims. “By providing a legitimate political vent for Muslims to voice their aspirations and fears, we are preventing the rise of political extremism and religious obscurantism when the community is under unprecedented attack from Hindu communalists and the state'’. He can be seen in his speeches speaking against terrorism in the Country and says if the time arises Majlis will stand side by side in defending the Nation and Recently Majlis ittehadul Muslimeen MP Asaduddin Owaisi has Visited Lebanon after the war with israel and met the leaders of the resistance group Hezbollah and he has even visited Bombay and Malegaon Muslims and raised there issues in Parliament and has even represented the police torture victims to the Prime Minister and has given aid From Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen Party Fund.

3:14 PM  

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