By Dr Syed Zafar Mahmood, (Northern Voices Online)
Duly supported with authentic data, the Justice Rajindar Sachar Committee gauged in 2006 the Muslim deficit in India vis-a-vis any other community or social group. This Committee and the Justice Ranganath Mishra Commission (2008) recommended a series of affirmative actions to be taken by the Government in order to restore justice to Muslims and ameliorate their plight to the level of national averages. However, very little, say less than ten percent, of follow up action has been taken so far that includes amending the Waqf law, instituting the national minorities scholarship schemes and establishing the national commission for minority educational institutions. A host of major recommendations whose implementation would make the real difference still remain confined to the portals of these two landmark reports of recent Indian history. Though the 2014 parliamentary election manifestos of the Congress Party and Aam Aadmi Party did belatedly take note of some of these many remaining recommended steps.
The main reason of Muslim backwardness is the community’s gross under-representation in the Lok Sabha (lower house of parliament) and provincial assemblies as well as the judiciary and the bureaucracy. The presidential order of 1950 denies to Muslims (13.4% of total Indian population), Christians and Zoroastrians access to 15%+ seats in every legislature, judiciary and the civil service. Justice Mishra Report says its a black law infused in the statute from the back gate; the Supreme Court agrees. Yet, this anathema remains on the statute book mostly to the chagrin of Muslims who are the dominant minority. Simultaneously, as a double jeopardy, Justice Sachar Committee has pointed out that a large number of the parliamentary and assembly constituencies with huge Muslim population and quite low presence of the Hindu/Sikh/Budhist barbers, tailors, blacksmiths, sweepers etc named in the Constitution as Scheduled Castes (SC) have been reserved for the latter. On the other hand, there is another set of constituencies with high SC population but low Muslim visibility that have not been reserved for SCs. Thus, Sachar Committee recommended that the Delimitation Commission should be appointed and mandated to remove these anomalies. Secondly, the definition of Scheduled Caste needs to be purged of religious parochialism. These actions are yet to be taken.
In the meanwhile, Muslims themselves need to take crucial affirmative action. We are not in the habit of doing that even though our faith mandates us to do so; in fact the basic elements of Islamic system warrant devotion of at least one third of the individual’s existence for the sake of the community. In Surah Al-Qadr Allah says that the night of mystic glory is better that one thousand months. That’s a strong divine indication that from inception to infinity the average human life is of about 84 years. The first one third segment is for self, the second for self and family and the third is mostly for the community. Using Allama Iqbal’s terminology I’ve named the members of the third segment as Keemiyagar; that means the alchemist who turns ordinary metals into gold. They continue to have robust limbs and brain but have fulfilled their responsibilities. They will have to come forward to change the community’s track. Zakat Foundation of India runs a Department of Delimitation. According to its research even among the 85% unreserved constituencies there is abundant potential for substantial Muslim win. For instance, in U.P. that sends the largest number of members (80) to Lok Sabha, there are 63 unreserved seats. Out of these, in 18 seats Muslims are 25-52%, in 23 Muslims are 15-24% and in another 18 Muslims are 10-14%. Similar is the demographic-electoral reflection in most of the states.
In every Indian constituency with 15% Muslim population or more the local Keemiyagars will have to form a group of 10-12 persons of their ilk, name it KGP (Keemiyagars Political) and begin working from a room in one of their own houses. They can google and collect information from the Registrar of Census Operations and Election Commission regarding the Muslim population and percentage in their respective constituencies – otherwise obtain it from the ZFI office by writing an email. They need to comprehend the major Muslim issues at the national, provincial and local levels and their solutions and start intensely working on these within the constituency by way of advocacy and meaningful activism. The next parliamentary election will be held after five years or less; during this period every state assembly will also be re-voted. But within the next two years or so the KGP would have won the hearts of the local Muslims so much that they will tend to vote en masse a candidate of the KGP’s choice.
Another parallel group of Keemiyagars will have to be formed in each constituency, named as KGA (Keemiyagars Administrative) that would select the academically ablest graduate or PG boys & girls and encourage them to prepare well and appear at the civil services competitive examinations organized by the central and provincial public service commissions. These fellows will have to be sent for coaching in professionally & privately run most successful coaching institutes for civil services for which funds will have to be garnered from within the local community. Mind you the main purpose of this exercise will not only be getting good employment to the community youth but to empower the community.
With these measures in place, within the next 5-7 years Muslims of India will inshaAllah begin feeling a fresh breeze of optimism, buoyancy, confidence and a useful sense of direction. All this will catapult them to a pedestal of equality that’s our cherished constitutional value.
Roadmap: Preparing for Muslim Mirror 2020 By Dr Syed Zafar Mahmood, President Zakat Foundation of India, ZakatIndia.org Step 1: Read the Cause and Plan of Action in English, Urdu or Hindi at http://zakatindia.org/Preparing-for-Indian-Muslim-Mirror-2020.html Step 2: Select your parliamentary or assembly constituency (say 'X') where you usually live. Step 3: Identify & involve some more selfless persons of your kind (KGPs). Click http://zakatindia.org/images2/millatkikamanform.doc Take printout of the ZFI Form, you may fill it, scan it and email it to ZFI at firstname.lastname@example.org Step 4: Identify an office table in an outer room of one of your houses. Step 5: Have a computer with strong internet connectivity. Step 6: Google the demography of X. Go to the internet site of Registrar of Census Operations and look for Census 2001 (Census 2011 religion wise data has not yet been uploaded). Find out the total population and the total number of Muslims in X. What's the percentage of Muslims in X. Take printouts and open a new file and keep in there. Paste one copy on the wall. Step 7: Download village-wise and ward-wise charts and maps of (i) Total population, (ii) Muslim Population and (iii) Muslim percentage. Take printouts, keep in file and paste on wall. Step 8: Identify all the Waqf properties in X. Go to the website of Central Waqf Council: wamsi.nic.in and look for the details of all waqf properties in X. Take printouts. Open another file and keep printouts. Paste one set on the wall. Step 9: Personally visit each Waqf property, talk to the persons on site, obtain information, take photos. Who is the Mutawalli ? Obtain original Waqf Deed and take its photo. Make sure that Mutawalli is the rightful person. Make an assessment whether each Waqf property is being fully utilized for the purposes that have been mentioned in the Waqf Deed. Whether there is proper income being received from the property. Is there any encroachment. Whether accounts are being meticulously maintained. Whether any court cases are going on. Whether in the interest of the Waqf property the case is being properly represented in the court. Whether the rents are being received at current fair market rates. Step 10: In the website of Central Waqf Council there are three schemes. Please download and read them: (a) Industrial Training Institutes http://centralwakfcouncil.org/traning_institute.php (b) Vocational Training Centres http://centralwakfcouncil.org/vocational_traning.php (c) Book Bank / Library http://centralwakfcouncil.org/bookbank.php Step 11: Go to the website of central Ministry of Minority Affairs minority affairs.gov.in Access all the Government welfare schemes for minorities: (a) Advertisement inviting proposals from Registered Societies/Registered Companies/Trust etc. for imparting Coaching Programme 2014-15 (b) Multi-sectoral Development Plan (c) Scholarship Schemes (d) Free Coaching & Allied Scheme (e) Grant in Aid Scheme to State Channelising Agencies of National Minorities (f) Development & Finance Corporation (g) "Nai Roshni"- The Scheme for Leadership Development of Minority Women (h) "Seekho aur Kamao (Learn & Earn)"- The Scheme for Skill Development of Minorities. (i) Support for Students clearing Prelims conducted by UPSC/SSC,State (j) Public Service Commission(PSC) etc. (k) Nalanda Project: Faculty development program for minority higher educational institutions (l) Minority Cyber Gram Step 12: Access the website of the central Ministry of HRD, read and deeply understand so many educational schemes, for instance: (a) Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (b) Scheme to Provide Quality Education in Madrasas (SPQEM) (c) Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (d) Incentives to Girls for Secondary Education (e) National Means Cum-Merit Scholarship Scheme (f) Financial Assistance for Appointment of language Teachers (g) Adolescence Education Programme (h) Scheme for construction and running of Girlsâ€™ Hostel for students of secondary and higher secondary schools (i) Model School Scheme (j). Scheme of Vocationalisation of Secondary Education At + 2 Level (k) Model School Scheme - PPP Mode (l) Saakshar Bharat (m) State Resource Centre (n) Jan Shikshan Sansthan (o) Assistance to Voluntary Agencies (p) CENTRALLY SPONSORED SCHEME ON TEACHER EDUCATION Step 13: Access the website of the central Ministry of Home Affairs, read and understand the following schemes: (a) Assistance to the victims of terrorist and communal violence http://www.mha.nic.in/sites/upload_files/mha/files/SCHEMEIS2-0112.pdf (b) Kabir Puruskar http://www.mha.nic.in/sites/upload_files/mha/files/pdf/Kabir-Puraskar-Scheme.pdf (c) Assistance to voluntary organizations in the cause of national integration http://www.mha.nic.in/sites/upload_files/mha/files/pdf/AsstVOLRG(E)-060309.pdf VERY IMPORTANT: Step 14: Read all these schemes carefully, take printouts, keep in separate files, paste copies on wall, identify the possible beneficiaries of these schemes in different Mohallahs, Villages, printout application forms, fill the forms on their behalf, complete the required documentation, send these applications by speed/registered post to the officer concerned and follow up what happens there, etc. Step 14: Download similar schemes from your state govt websites and take similar action. Step 15: Request the Friday Imams & Khateebs to also tell the audience the meanings and Mafhoom of the Arabic Khutba. Help them in doing so. Obtain from them the standard Friday Arabic Khutba which they deliver every week. Get it authentically translated in local language and give the translation to him. Step 16: Also request them to pre-plan the topics and prepare the contents of the local language speech which they deliver on Friday. Some advice is available at http://zakatindia.org/images/Ashabus%20Suffa%20Brochure.pdf Step 17: Access Prime Minister's 15 Point Program for Minorities at http://www.minorityaffairs.gov.in/pm15point Carefully study and analyze each point. See in X as to what extent these points have been implemented. Wherever there is lack of implementation, take up the matter with the officers concerned. Petition them under RTI Act and follow up. Step 18: For national level Muslim problems and their solutions please click http://zakatindia.org/20PointsActionPlan.html Likewise, if you have any Muslim issues specific to your state please do research on these, collect authentic data and take these up with the authorities / Govt concerned. Step 19: Keep informing the local media and the Friday Imams & Khateebs of all the work that you have been doing for widest publicity among the local Muslim community. You can even issue press releases and public fliers and brochures. Step 20: Keep emailing, every Sunday, all the above information to email@example.com so that it is immediately uploaded on the website. During your researches and activities if you find something additional that needs to be included in this Roadmap, please so email at firstname.lastname@example.org .