Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Stop calling Indian Muslims 'backward': Muslims are not backward on most social indicators

'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 malnutrition, dowry deaths, even social backwardness parameters like child marriages or other indicators, Muslims perform far better.

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.

Muslims are more urbanized and have a different social system, a parallel economy, that helps them survive. But by parroting the sentence that Muslims are backward, we 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 trying hard to progress despite the fact that they are under-represented in jobs, in politics, and don't get reservation. Still, the community members are working hard, trying to move despite all odds.

But we should get rid of 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.

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

Photo courtesy ShutterStock in Hindustan Times. LINK