Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Stop generalizing, calling Indian Muslims 'backward': Talk on facts, social indicators

Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

'You don't look like Muslim'.

Many people have heard this line time and again from their non-Muslim friends.

This is because it is deeply embedded in their mind that Muslims are backward.

It's a bias, they have grown up with. Either at home or through media, the society--it's conditioning.

Backward, on what social indicators? How the entire Muslim community can be termed backward?

And aren't Hindus backward? But many Muslims also keep repeating the line 'Muslims are backward'.

Either its sex ratio or discrimination with women and girl child, infant mortality rate or acute malnutrition, dowry deaths, even other social backwardness parameters like child marriages or other indicators, Muslims don't perform bad.

Yes, as far as education is concerned, Muslims are a bit behind. But there are Hindus too, large sections who are far behind. Visit rural parts of the country or tribal hamlets, you'll see the poorest of poor--sans proper clothes, malnourished and without bare minimum facilities.

More people who die of hunger or the poor and homeless who die because of natural factors--heat or cold in extreme seasons, while sleeping in the open, are Hindu. Ya, but in that case, it becomes another category--caste or tribe, not 'Hindus'.

Muslims are more urbanized and have a different social system, there are a lot of factors that need not be explained here, but they helps them survive despite all odds. But by parroting the sentence that Muslims are backward, many educated Muslims too fall in this trap.

It is defaming Muslims for no reason. There are tremendously educated people among Muslims, there are actors and sports persons, there are Muslim achievers in all fields just like in Hindus or Sikhs, Christians or Jains.

Yes, benefits of schemes don't reach large section of Muslim masses just like certain other sections. Often, state policies and lack of due representation are among the reasons. But that doesn't make Muslims 'backward'.

Muslims are working hard, also making progress despite the fact that they are under-represented in government jobs, in MNC's management, politics, and don't get reservation. Still, the community members are doing their bit, trying to move ahead despite all odds.

But it is need of the hour to expose this 'backward community' narrative. It is not at all true that Muslims are backward. There is poverty, there are issues, but terming 'Indian Muslims' as a whole is backward, is wrong.

Nasty but cleverly crafted. This propaganda, this vilification campaign has serious affects. It hurt self-belief, confidence of youth, many of whom genuinely believed that, 'there was something wrong with the community', 'we are most backward'. It's a bad joke, terming a huge population--200 million as 'backward'.

We must be realistic, we must be aware, we must know where we lag. But we definitely don't allow ourselves to be branded. We understand how some do get a sadistic pleasure in spreading such lies. You can't generalise and target a community, using falsehoods.

It has no basis. It is just an attempt to sully the image of Muslims.

READ: Myths about Indian Muslims and backwardness among community