A four cornered welfare program, stressing on education, economic condition, employment living condition and communal situation was devised for the development of Indian minorities which is still being known as “Prime Minister’s 15 Point Programme for the Welfare of Minorities”. Indian Muslims are the largest minority community of India. They are also the most neglected minority community of the country, various study and survey reports bear testimony to their backwardness and pathetic conditions. No country of the world can afford to keep within it a community or sect consisting of more than 20 Crores deprived people, who lag far behind in the national development and can still hope to pace towards excellence in global competition. For, India to become the super power of Asia or the emerging economic super power in South-Asia it is very necessary that Indian Minorities, specially the Indian Muslim Community get the due and equitable share in the national resources and progress simultaneously with the country. They must also get the equitable share of the benefits from the Nation’s progress and development.
Have they got it?
The reports like Gopal Singh Minority Panel report (1983) and Justice Sachar Committee report (2006) suggest that despite assurances and big plans, nothing concrete was done for the welfare and development of Indian Muslims. In 1981, Shrimati Indira Gandhi formed the Gopal Singh Minority Panel to look into the conditions of the religious minorities of India, specially the Indian Muslim community. This minority panel submitted its report in 1983 which laid bare the fact of discrimination with and neglect of the largest minority community in the country.
But the findings of Justice Sachar Committee report after more than 23 years are no less shocking than Dr. Gopal Singh Minority panel report. Therefore it can be inferred from the perpetual pathetic condition of Indian Muslims that instead of serious efforts, the dirty vote bank politics is being played in the name of the welfare of minorities. It is upon the Muslims and minorities to contribute their share of vigilance, supervision, monitoring and critical analysis of implementation of all the programs which are initiated in the name of “Minority–Welfare”. Certainly, if the government and bureaucracy may be blamed for the negligence and act of omission to its duty towards the effective implementation of minority welfare programs, the minorities and specially, the Indian Muslims must also cannot escape the responsibility of not being alert, awake and vigilant on their part.
The great Indian Muslim leader, reformer, writer and intellectual Sir Syed Ahmed Khan rightly advised Indian Muslims to believe in self and acquire education and knowledge of highest standard as far as possible then only they will be able to change their fortune .
The great leader of lower-castes and father of Indian constitution, Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar called upon his followers to believe in self-help and self-confidence to get rid of 5000 years old slavery of backwardness. Indian Muslims and other minorities don’t need better advice than these. Along with their constitutionally justified struggle to seek their legitimate share of benefits in the resources and development of their country, they cannot ignore the golden advice of the well-known leaders of minorities like Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar and others to believe in self-help, self-confidence and self-excellence. These are the golden mantras which can put an end to the political exploitation of minorities, and lead them to the political as well as socio-economic empowerment.
From the time Dr Gopal Singh Minority Panel report was submitted, till Justice Sachar Committee made its suggestion to the Government of India on how to improve the overall conditions of Indian Minorities. We were assured time and again that the Prime Minister’s 15 point program for the welfare of the minorities is taking care of the welfare and development of Indian Minorities and it cannot be out of a sudden that Justice Sachar Committee report findings show conditions of Indian Muslims in some parts of the country gone from bad to worse during this period. The observation made by Justice Rajender Sachar that the plight of Muslims in some part of the country is worse than that of SC’s, ST’s and other backward communities explicitly show that the minority welfare has remained on paper during all these years. Ground realities and facts clearly deny the claims of minority welfare and the accusation of minority appeasement as well. The overall condition of Indian Muslim Minority community as found and reported by the Sachar Committee, does not indicate that this is the community which has been appeased and pampered and has been showered upon by grants and subsidies, as has been accused by Hindutva forces. Neither has it reflected the claim as true, that through the Prime Minister’s 15 point program for the welfare of minorities, Indian Muslims have been granted social economic and political justice and empowerment.
Post Sachar Committee Report, there is a hurricane of announcements of more programs, schemes and projects in the name of welfare of minorities and more promises to grant equal share to minorities. It is also inviting more hostile, more aggressive, more vitriolic counter allegation of appeasement and pampering of minorities. Only the next report like Justice Committee will tell the truth.
Are Indian Muslims truly a punching bag in Indian Politics or a part of democracy?