UTTAR PRADESH — As Uttar Pradesh is going to polls next month, a new report has revealed that Muslims of the most populous state of India lag far behind on many socio-religious categories (SRCs) such as “education, economy, employment, housing, landholding, access to credit and other development indicators.”
The report by the Centre for Development Policy and Practice (CDPP) ‘Development of Muslims in Uttar Pradesh—released on January 9, paints a picture of the disempowerment of the Muslim community in the state.
Muslims constitute 19.26 per cent of the total population in Uttar Pradesh against 14.23 per cent of the Muslim population in the country.
The CDPP report states that “the relative socio-economic conditions of the Muslims are generally known to be inferior to that of Hindus.”
“They suffer from various kinds of deprivations in the state,” the report notes.
This report covers wide areas that affect Muslim public life, livelihoods, educational progress, economic mobilities, and factors that generate and add to further inequalities and it also suggested policy measures to overcome the issues.
Muslims are landless as compared to Hindus
The report notes that the members of the Muslim community are landless as compared to Hindus in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
According to the report findings, 48.05% of Muslims in Uttar Pradesh were landless compared to Hindus who are less than 25.83%. “Compared to 59.47% Hindus about 83.4% of Muslims owned land below 1 acre, on the other end, 0.80% of Muslims own 7.5-10 acres of land, whereas over 1.87% Hindus own more than 10 acres of land,” the report states.
Muslims are educationally backward
The most critical handicap for Muslims of the state is their educational backwardness, states the report.
According to the report, 71.2% of Muslims above 15 years are illiterate, compared to the 58.3% national average. “Moreover, only 16.8 per cent of Muslims have education above the middle level and only 4.4 per cent of Muslims have a university degree,” it says.
The report, however, notes that the educational attainment of Muslims is improving over time, but they remain behind other social groups including SCs
Huge gap in unemployment with other communities
The report states that 44.7 per cent of Muslim workers were engaged in agriculture in 1993-94. By 2009-10 the share of Muslim workers in agriculture had declined to 36.5 per cent. “The proportion is significantly lower for Muslims as compared to all other social groups. However, the decline was faster in the case of the other social groups,” it says.
According to reports, about one-fourth of Muslim workers are engaged in mining and manufacturing as compared to less than one-tenth of workers in the case of other social groups. However, the change has not been marked over time.
“Construction workers show a marked increase in their share in employment over the period. The share of Muslim workers in services is significantly higher as compared to SC and OBC workers but lower than that for other workers,” the report said.
UP Muslims poorest among others
The report revealed that according to NSS 2009-10 Monthly Per Capita Consumer Expenditure among Muslim households was Rs 752 in Uttar Pradesh as compared to Rs 988 in India as a whole.
“The poverty ratio is higher for Muslims than for all social groups in the state,” it says.
According to the report, a larger proportion of Muslims in the U.P. is engaged in less regular and low-income occupations as compared to India.
In rural areas of five districts of Western Uttar Pradesh, Muslims ranked bottom in all social groups in the major indicators of socio-economic development, the report notes.
In the composite index of development, Muslims ranked 10th along with Scheduled Castes and below the Other Backward Castes, according to a report, it says
Government attacks Madrasas with schemes
The report states that Madrasa education (among Muslims) is facing unprecedented challenges from within and without. The internal pressures relate to the need to teach subjects such as English, science, and technology, which would enable madrasa graduates to enter the professions while preserving the major fields of study of the traditional Dars-e Nizami curriculum”.
The report claims that the discourse of Madrasa modernization allows the BJP government to exercise control over what Madrasas teach and how.
“Meanwhile, there are mounting external pressures on madrasas from the Indian state, which sees them as anti-national, antiquated, and irrelevant”, the report said.
Apart from allegations of terrorism against some boys’ Madrasas, administrators have been asked to make video recordings of their celebrations on Independence Day to prove their loyalty to India. Allegations of corruption and misuse of government funds have also been raised.
Government attacks source of income of Muslims
The report states that the government was discouraging Muslim entrepreneurs to do certain businesses like the meat or leather business.
“Though the large population of the country is non-vegetarian, the BJP and its parent organization RSS primarily Brahmin (upper Caste), Hindu Vegetarian clan continue attacking Muslims for the beef consumption and business of meat selling and leather”, the report comments.
Many BJP ruled states in India have banned the sale of beef.
“What needs to be pointed out at the outset is that the conditions of Muslims in UP is worse than in India,” the report states.
The current government of the state has failed in providing an equal share of socio-economic development to Muslims in Uttar Pradesh, it says.
Commenting on the report, the All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi said that the report is “empirical proof that Muslims were not appeased under any rule rather they were exploited by the different governments ruling UP. Muslims of UP certainly deserve better than this.”
“The findings of this paper seek answers from the SP, BSP or BJP who have ruled the state for many years as to why they have deliberately pulled down the growth rate of the Muslims under their rule”, Owaisi wrote on Twitter.
This story first appeared on twocircles.net