Home » Politics and Governance in India, Politics of Minority Appeasement

Literacy rates and “first claims”…UPDATED

22 January 2007 161 views 13 Comments

UPDATE: Added some excerpts from Vivek Gumaste’s article below.

Came across this very well written post, “The sachar muslim literacy rate puzzle” by RealityCheck India recently.

In this thoroughly researched piece, RealityCheck explodes the myth of Muslim backwardness (at least in certain states). He writes, “It turns out that in 10 major states of India, Muslims are more literate than Hindus. This fact is conveniently ignored by the PM while promising them first claim on resources”. Story here and here.

I am sure that the obvious come back to this argument is the plight of Muslims in other states/ regions..

But has anyone bothered to probe just how much of this “backwardness” or under-development is linked to prevailing socio-cultural norms across a large section of Muslims in India?

Polygamy, fatwas against contraception, large families and the severely oppressive situation of girls and women rarely go together with economic betterment and social emancipation.

Related Post: More on Sachar, OBCs, reservations etc

Excerpts from Numbers don’t lie by Vivek Gumaste, January 10, 2012 (emphasis added)

…protagonists of reservation flaunt what they claim to be the gospel of truth — the Ranganath Misra Commission report. But has anyone — politicians or the media — really read it? The answer is a resounding ‘no’.

Devolved with a specific brief, a commission is required to objectively analyse data and draft proposals that mirror the evidence. The National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities, better known as the Ranganath Misra Commission, does exactly the opposite. The report, a rambling 198-page dossier of repetitious material, meanders through irrelevant issues and makes recommendations that are not sustained by its findings.

The question at the heart of any demand for affirmative action is whether the concerned parties are disadvantaged or not. The Commission responds to this query by a comparative analysis of India’s religious communities using educational, health and economic parameters. All data presented below, unless otherwise stated, is extracted from the Commission’s report.

First, let us look at economic criteria like the worker participation rate (WPR), defined as percentage of workers to total population, household incomes and poverty levels. Overall, Muslims register a low WPR of 31.3% compared to Hindus (40.4%) and Christians (39.7%). But this low number is skewed by the dismal 14.1% WPR for Muslim women. When analysed separately, WPR for Muslim men is 47.5% — marginally lower than the national average of 51.7% and not a significant difference that would warrant reservations. To address low WPR among Muslim women, we need to ask it it’s due to the non-availability of opportunities or reasons germane to the community itself, like a voluntary embargo on working women, which can’t be resolved by reservations.

The household income information presented in the report is sketchy, leaving out figures for Hindu, Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST). A survey by the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) provides a better perspective, as indicated by a report from the Economic Times (April 5, 2007): “…. Hindus and Muslims, at a national level, run neck-and-neck on average annual household income (AHI) of R61,423 and R58,420, respectively….Or, to put it differently, an average Hindu household has an income of R168 per day, while an average Muslim household earns R160 a day.”

The Indian Human Development Survey indicates that annual household income of Muslims is better than SC, ST and OBC categories, which constitute 70% of the Hindu community. The below poverty level statistics state that Muslims are on par with Hindus in rural areas with figures of 27.22% and 27.80%. Only urban Muslims with a BPL rate of 36.9% appear disadvantaged.

In education, Christians have the highest literacy rate countrywide (80.3%), while Muslims stand at 59.1%. It’s below the national average of 64.1% but far above the literacy rate among SCs (54.7%) and STs (47.1%). At the primary school level, nationwide, Muslims surpass every community with 65.31% enrolment, followed by Hindus at 54.91%. But at the graduate level, Muslims (3.6%) lag behind Christians (8.71%) and Hindus (7.01%). This could be due to inadequate secular training in religious schools, which the report also acknowledges.

The health indices don’t bolster the final recommendations. The infant mortality rate (IMR)is the worst for Hindus (77.1). Muslims fare better with an IMR of 58.8 and Christians top with an IMR of 49.2.

Therefore, in healthcare, Hindus are disadvantaged; in economic terms, Muslims are as good as all Hindus; in education, the results are a mixed bag…

13 Comments »

  • 1. reverted muslim said:

    Polygamy, fatwas against contraception, large families and the severely oppressive situation of girls and women rarely go together with economic betterment and social emancipation.

    i do accept some points but u hav written above is just absurd…such checkout for yourself

    http://www.turntoislam.com/forum/showthread.php?t=7481

  • 2. B Shantanu said:

    Dear Friend,

    Thank you for reading and making the effort to comment.

    I read the essay that you pointed me to in your link and here are my thoughts

    Sister Noor writes that she came from a purely Hindu familywell let me tell you that a purely Hindu family would never treat its women in this way

    She further says, that in her family, we were always taught to regard ourselves (i.e. women) as beings who were eventually to be married off and have children and serve the husband…well, her family was certainly not living by any Hindu traditions – if this is what they asked her to do and to believe in. I will put up some more links later that will help illustrate the status that women have been granted in Hinduism and under the tenets of Sanatan Dharma.

    The rest of your link article talks about Sister Noors thoughts on Hijab on which much has been written by others more articulate than me so I will not dwell on that too much.

    But I feel that you missed the point in my article..
    The main thrust of the argument was that at least part of the reason for underdevelopment amongst certain sections of Muslims in India was the prevalence of Polygamy, fatwas against contraception, large families and the severely oppressive situation of girls and women

    Here are a few comments and thoughts that would support what I wrote:

    One indicator of the situation of women under Islam is to look at Arabic and Islamic countries. Their condition is best revealed in a few statistics and facts.

    The first is that one in two Arab women can either read or write*.

    Second, as you know, women in Saudi Arabia (the archetypal Islamic society) have severely restricted freedoms such as not being allowed to drive**.

    Third, what do you make of writers like Taslima Nasreen (Lajja) and Betty Mahmoody (Not without My Daughter) and the movie Escape from Taliban – all of which detail first-hand experiences of living in oppression and abiding by strict Islamic codes?

    Fourth, how can you defend laws that treat women and men differently such as some controversial sharia laws that appear to favour men (e.g. rejection of alimony and polygamy?***

    In any case, thank you for commenting and I hope through debate and discussion the truth will finally emergeI have the greatest respect for Islam and Muslims but it cannot be denied that there are certain prevailing practices within its tenets that are hard to justify (Hinduism has its share of these too such as the ones I briefly mentioned above).

    The important thing is not to merely criticise but to take the next step and try and eradicate these evils in our society whether they be amongst Hindus or Muslims.

    ———————————————-

    Sources:
    * From the UN Arab Development Report and an article by Farrukh Saleem that first appeared in The News, Pakistan and republished in The Business (under the title, Core Values, Pg 34, Jan 07 issue)

    ** In fact just a few days back, The most prominent princess in Saudi Arabia’s royal family said Thursday that if she could change one thing about her country, she would let women drive – a rare and direct challenge to the driving ban imposed by the kingdom’s ruling male elite (I am aware that there are other Arab and Islamic countries that let women drive) See: The most prominent princess in Saudi Arabia’s royal family said Thursday that if she could change one thing about her country, she would let women drive _ a rare and direct challenge to the driving ban imposed by the kingdom’s ruling male elite. See this AP report dated. Jan 25, 07 about her comments at Davos.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/25/AR2007012500929.html

    *** From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharia)

  • 3. J.Srinivas said:

    Here are some contradictions I find in Noor’s story.
    First she says, “I came from a purely Hindu family where we were always taught to regard ourselves (i.e. women) as beings who were eventually to be married off and have children and serve the husband – whether he was kind or not.” is opppression. The freedom in western worl is oppression. Then she says that quran forces women to wear clothes from head to toe and cant be free and its not oppression but freedom.
    If her parents allowed her to go to UK and study they must be alteast literates and believe in the freedom of their daughter. Its very very rare to have freedom loving parents to say “serve the husband – whether he was kind or not.”
    Dowry is not part of Hinduism. It was started by some hindu community and it spread all over India. In fact, it have even spread in christian and muslim communities in India. I have seen them asking and giving more dowries.
    She calls praying to Lord Shiva to give a good husband as oppression and not forcibly wearing a dress just because its written in quran.
    Recently the imams in Australia called women not wearing burkas as dead meat!!! Isnt this oppression?
    If its written in quran than even men are supposed to show some parts of their body to only his wife, why there are so many rapes when a violence erupts between muslim and non-muslim community?
    If quran says no compulsion in religion, then why do they teach that non-muslims are enemies if they are not converting?

  • 4. prince of angels said:

    …mr. srinivas u have lot of misconceptions against islam as wel as hinduism….in brief islam is modern religion whose tenets are based on rationality and reason…wheras hinduism is an age old pre historic religions whose tenets are based on irrationality , lack of reason and stone age mode of rules…i ask persons who oppose burqa…will they allow their women folk to go naked outside….or wearing alluring skimpy dresses….if also they allow them the outside wrld wil tke advantage of it and will make indescent approaches twrds such women…to all ppl who thnk islam discriminates against women or see burqa as a sign of oppression…i ask them will they not ask their wives to cover their bodies wen outdoors…..or y indian govt. discriminates against women by introducing separate ladies compartment in trains…and separate ladied toilets….isnt this sign of backwardness and oppression >???…wen a cristian nun wears hijab she is respected and wen a muslima wears hijab she is considered oppressed….??…but for ur information even muslimas choose to wear burqas…willingly…..i apologize if i hurt nyons sentimnts…i jst put forwrd xampls and didnt wish to hurt anyone personlly…

  • 5. B Shantanu said:

    @ prince: You mention that:

    “…islam is modern religion whose tenets are based on rationality and reasonwheras hinduism is an age old pre historic religions whose tenets are based on irrationality , lack of reason and stone age mode of rules

    Please read up a bit on Sanatan Dharma before making such statements (and while you are at it, you may also want to do a bit of research on Islam)

    2. “i ask persons who oppose burqawill they allow their women folk to go naked outside.or wearing alluring skimpy dresses.

    Can you please tell me who gave “men” the authority to allow (or not) or decide what a woman should or should not wear?
    Do you think women cannot think for themselves?
    Do they have to be “told” and “permitted” to do everything?

    Please read some of the posts on my blog on this issue…after that we can have a debate (time permitting, on my side). A good start would be this post: http://satyameva-jayate.org/2007/09/11/on-jeans-indian-men-and-indecent-behaviour/

    3. Your citing of “separate ladied toilets” as an example of discrimination is way off the mark…I hope you were not serious when you wrote it.

    As I wrote before, you are welcome to comment on this blog but you dont have to be provocative to be taken seriously and you certainly can make it a little bit easier for everyone by writing full words and proper sentences.

  • 6. Praada Verna said:

    Prince of whatever!!

    The religion of rationality has a “tradition” of selling daughters to the septa and octogenarian Saudis in Hyderabad. That poor father of “many” has no other option left, but to survive with that money.
    I have always observed the Indian muslims always gloat over the glory of Mughal rule and never show what is he as an individual. Only thing that rides their mind is to maintain themselves to be called or classified as a true muslim, but not as an individual of substance.
    I have got the independence to judge and “change” the ways of my stone age religion.
    Allegations and counter allegations do not add anything.

  • 7. v.c.krishnan said:

    Dear Shantanu,
    Please do not take me amiss when I state the following.
    One must understand that the Muslims were on top of “BHARAT” for nearly a thousand years and all of a sudden they find themselves at the bottomless pit.
    They have been so ghettoised over the years that they have not thought for themselves.
    In view of their domination for so many years over a society, one which has still not lost its spirit inspite of being beaten, killed , raped , converted, their places of worship destroyed, demolished, and converted into graveyards, that way of life has still survived!!!
    Not only has it survived, but it is now growing thoughtful and reflective.
    It has converged upon a systematic questioning of the way of life and its dogmatic description given by a few unknowns!
    It is growing from strength to strength and rather than being cowed down inspite of being treated shabbily by its own government!
    When a person of that faith looks at this scenario, what else can one EXPECT! EXCEPT SHOCK AND AWE!
    That is the reason for this flawed thinking of them.
    As things start moving faster and faster in this momentous world I am sure they will realise their folly and fall in line with true thinkers.
    Regards,
    vck

  • 8. prince of angels said:

    shantanu…u told me to do research on islam and sanatan dharma….not an interestng reply…even i cld suggest you the same…

    certainly not, men r not authorised to command women…but certainly they can advice women, gve them a suggestion….so tat they want their beloved ones whom they respect and protect to get respect even from outside wrld and also modest dressings protects women form getting molested and can safeguard their honour…otherwse the rape incidents will still rise and wil not end specially in india….wich witnessed recently a mass molesting incident at gateway of india on new years eve…

    ofcorse i was damned serious wen i wrote about separate ladies toilets…in the same way i wld blame todays sports and olympic organisations tat they discriminate against women by keeping separate male and female sports events…

    praada verna or verma watever…..
    …the religion of rationality has a tradition of sellng dauters to aged men.(note:- its a tradition not a religious act)….but the religion of irrationality has so many religious acts such as 1. selling dauters virginity to the priests(devdasis)…
    2. burning women alive….
    3. shaving off widows head and isolating her off from the wrld and gvng her animalistic treatment…
    4.not allowing a widow to remarry…
    5. child marriages…
    6. killing small infants and sacrificing them to deities…
    7. treating dalit women worser than animals…
    i can go on and on but the list wont end…
    the ppl who frst raised their voice against most of such stone age hindu practices were muslims supported by some britishers like lord bentinck and social reformers like raja ram mohan roy , dayanand saraswati , justice ranade , gokhale etc..
    they wer muslims who tried hard to abolish the evil practise of sati….they wer muslims who brought reformation of women rights of hindus and dalits….
    Now u decide wich religion is rational…
    u have got the independence to change ur religion coz ur religion needs to be modified and changed…somthng tat is erroneous needs to be corrected….but somthng tats foolproof need not be changed…

    u claim tat muslims gloat over glory of mughal regime….i dnt thnk ders anythng wrong in tat…
    wen hindus can gloat over the glory of shivaji or rana pratap who wer small time kings y cant a muslim gloat over the mughal empire whose emperors ruled not only whole of india but even contries outside india….the most effective among them was aurangzeb whose rule spread over almost eight contries of the present world…

  • 9. B Shantanu said:

    @ prince: This is the last time I am replying to your comments…For the most part, they are half-baked opinions meant to provoke and I for one have better things to do…

    But I will indulge you one last time.

    On to some of your points:

    “…modest dressings protects women form getting molested and can safeguard their honourotherwse the rape incidents will still rise and wil not end specially in india.wich witnessed recently a mass molesting incident at gateway of india on new years eve”

    I am not going to dignify this outrageous statement with a response…

    “…ofcorse i was damned serious wen i wrote about separate ladies toiletsin the same way i wld blame todays sports and olympic organisations tat they discriminate against women by keeping separate male and female sports events”

    ditto; see above

    “...the religion of irrationality has so many religious acts…”

    Again, your ignorance about “Sanatan Dharma” shines through…I see no point in arguing with someone at this level.

    “…but somthng tats foolproof need not be changed”

    I assume you mean that Islam is foolproof and hence does not need to be changed? In that case, please read some posts in this category: http://satyameva-jayate.org/category/islam-reform/

    “.they wer muslims who brought reformation of women…”

    How do you reconcile this with what I wrote in my comment dated Feb 7th?

    “…muslims gloat over glory of mughal regime.i dnt thnk ders anythng wrong in tat

    .the most effective among them was aurangzeb whose rule spread over almost eight contries of the present world”

    Well said…what more can I say?!

  • 10. prince of angels said:

    …..i m sorry to say but no one has ever replied or counter argued to any of my points….i ve already made my points….i knew no one can answer coz …truth is never sweet but coms in bitter pills….as far as ur allegations tat my remarks are outrageous….its real surprisng…evry one is gvng same type of commnts and how com only my statements are outrageous…????..i too dont wanna indulge in sch issues till anybody gves me a befitting reply…..i once agin apologize if i hurt anybodys sentiments….wats the use of tis blog if ders no skeptical analysis to the opinions….sorry if i said anything wrong…

  • 11. Ankit said:

    I think one point we Hindus miss when we discuss this is that 70% of Hindus already HAVE reservations in the form of SC/ST/OBC reservations.

    Muslims who have the same socio-economic status as SC/ST/OBC and way behind upper caste Hindus do not have any reservation on the same lines as SC/ST/OBC Hindus.

    In states that they ARE doing well, there is exclusively quota in the OBC quota for Muslim in the state like Kerela, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka e.t.c.

    Ofcourse upper caste Muslims would probably be doing better than SC/ST/OBC but they form under 20% of the total Muslim population in India.

    The rest of the 70-80% of the Muslim population would benefit with sub-quoatas like in Kerela, Karnataka e.t.c. But they should also have a creamy layer condition so that well to do OBC Muslims are removed from the quota list.

  • 12. sat said:

    Reservations should only be based on economic crieteria. Period. The day Indian politicians wake up to this, India will grow. Until then, good talent will continue to leave the country and help other countries prosper. India’s prosperity would be a consequential event, but India will never become a leader nor a driving force.

  • 13. B Shantanu said:

    From A fairer share by A.K. Verma, Wed Sep 12 2012:
    Sixty nine Muslims from various parties were elected to the UP assembly. Yet, questions have often been raised about the inadequacy of Muslim representation in UP politics.

    However, recent municipal elections for 630 nagar nigams, nagar palika parishads and nagar panchayats in UP, held over June and July, demolish this perception. Not only have Muslims been well represented in all municipal bodies, their presence is proportionately greater than their share in the state’s population, which is 18.5 per cent.

    In fact, the proportion of Muslim MLAs and MPs in UP has always exceeded their share in the population. Some suggest that they have been used as votebanks by parties that espouse the “Muslim cause”. However, the political empowerment of Muslims in urban and semi-urban areas, evident in the 2012 municipal elections, punctures this votebank theory.

    The State Election Commission does not provide any data on the basis of religion, but it has put the names of all the 12,000-odd elected representatives of 630 civic bodies on its website. Scanning the lists, one finds that out of 11,816 seats, Muslims have won 3,681, that is, 31.15 per cent of the seats. This is a striking jump, compared to the 17.12 per cent share of Muslims in the UP assembly elections in 2012 and the 8.75 per cent share in the parliamentary elections of 2009.

    This increased representation of Muslims is not confined to any one region of UP. Rohilkhand, with a 34 per cent Muslim population, tops the list with 53.5 per cent Muslim representation in various municipal bodies. This is followed by Awadh, west UP, east UP and east UP (north). Even in Bundelkhand with 6.69 per cent, and the Doab with 11.2 per cent Muslim populations, the Muslim share in civic bodies is higher, at 8.87 per cent and 15.62 per cent respectively. If we look at specific civic bodies, the trend is mirrored — there there are 88 per cent Muslim members in Mubarakpur (Azamgarh) and Kakrala (Badayun) nagar palika parishads, and 93 per cent Muslim members in Kheri (Lakhimpur) and Kithor (Meerut) nagar panchayats. These four places represent different regions — east UP, Rohilkhand, Awadh and west UP, respectively. This holds true of other sub-regions too.

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