URGENT: A Letter from Indian Muslim Youth to #ChetanBhagat

JULY 1, 2013

If you agree with the following Text and wish to be one of the signatories of this letter, please send your signature (Name, Profession , City/State) at activist.journalist@gmail.com by 12 PM tomorrow (2nd July 13).

Dear Mr. Bhagat,

At the very outset, let us make it clear that we are not fans of your regressive fiction. Therefore, we write to you not as crazy fans but as Indian Muslim youth, who felt utterly patronized, insulted and hurt after reading your article, ‘Letter from an Indian Muslim Youth’ . You might have not realized this, but in pretending to render “a strong modern Indian Muslim voice’’ to the youth and the Muslim community at large, you have ripped them of their agency. You have reaffirmed stereotypes that many in the community have been fighting against. Heard of the Muslim god and his flock?

Sir, one does not need a name like Ahmed or Saeed or Mirza, or even be a Muslim to show one’s genuine concern for the community. One just needs to see beyond one’s own prejudice and biases. Believe us, this disgusting piece of your writing made us more nauseous than any of your (or Madhu Kishwar’s) love-verses to Modi. Your article is nothing but an extension of the thought process that anything Muslim is backward and regressive. Since you have assigned to yourself the task of bearing the moral burden of the community, would you care to explain what a ‘Muslim cap’ is?

We agree with you when you say political leaders make promises that go empty post elections. And that there are Muslims who have achieved much without any ‘’cap-wearing politician’’ helping them. But who is this leader that you are suggesting; one who would understand ‘’the desire’’ of the Muslim youth ‘’to come up in life’’ and ‘’inspire us to do better’’? Is it by any chance the mass murderer, Narendra Modi?

You know what hurts? That people pretend to care for you when they don’t. When in fact they use you to grind their own axe. How cleverly you turn everything that the Muslim youth face today – “being frisked with greater attentiveness, denied renting an apartment” – into a product of the community’s inherent backwardness, as if it bears no relation to the increasing communalization of our polity and society.

What makes you think that the ‘cap’ wallahs exercise a great deal of influence within the community? Interestingly, one particular party has been lately seeking a lot of photo-ops with precisely these kinds of community leaders. Make no mistake Mr. Writer. They don’t.

“Because of you”, you write castigating an imagined Muslim leadership, “people feel we vote in a herd.” Now, isn’t that really clever, Mr. Bhagat. People feel we vote in a herd because certain parties never tire of screaming hoarse about ‘minority appeasement’ and ‘vote banks’, even though, any psephologist or political scientist, or even an ordinary Muslim youth at Chai dukaan will tell you that Muslims vote just like any other community does: according to a mix of factors: local, national but above all, keeping in mind who will preserve their interests best. And their interests do tend to include the safety of life and livelihood.

We are sorry, Mr. Bhagat, but the ‘’democratic republic’’ you talk of is not so democratic. If it were so, Afzal Guru wouldn’t have been executed to ‘’satisfy the collective conscience of the nation’’. Muslim youth would not have fallen prey to minority witch-hunting, and their killers not decorated with gallantry awards. Adivasis in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Orissa would not have been ripped of their fundamental rights to live with dignity. Dalit poets would not have been falsely charged under sedition laws.
Loving one’s nation is well and good, but being blinded by patriotism is not. Why do Indian Muslims always have to prove their allegiance to India? Why can’t they also be critical of their country?

The party whose path you are treading has had Indian Muslims pass through too many Sita-like ordeals of fire, Agni Pariksha. You may have the privilege to turn a blind eye to the post-Babri Masjid Demolition violence, the Gujarat pogrom, but many others don’t. How then do you think a leader who doesn’t even have the integrity to apologize for his complicity in the Gujarat pogrom represent Muslim youth’s aspirations for ‘’scientific way of thinking, entrepreneurship, empowerment, progress’’ and above all, ‘’personal freedoms’’? And just by the way, have you heard of the word, ‘Justice’?

Name Profession City (State)
1. Rafiul Alom Rahman, Student, Delhi University, Delhi
2. Mahtab Alam, Civil Rights Activist and Journalist, Delhi
3. Javid Parsa, Student, Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad
4. Zulaikha Jabeen, Researcher and Activist, Raipur, Chhattisgarh
5. Shahnawaz Malik, Journalist, Delhi
6. Abdullah A Rahman, Student, TISS Tuljapur
7. Abu Zafar, Journalist, Delhi
8. Mahtab Azad, Development Consultant, Araria (Bihar)
9. Ali Amir, Student, TISS Mumbai
10. Gauhar Iqbal, Eauntropneur, Delhi

Status of the Implementation of Sachar Committee Recommendations for Social, Economic and Educational Development of Muslim Community


The Government took decisions on the recommendations of the Sachar Committee (Prime Minister’s High Level Committee on Social, Economic and Educational status of the Muslim Community of India) pertaining to various Ministries/Departments. The status of implementation of the decisions taken by Government on the follow-up action on the recommendations of the Sachar Committee is as under:

1 Department of Financial Services :

(i) All public sector banks have been directed to open more branches in districts having a substantial minority population. In 2007-08, 523 branches were opened in such districts while in 2008-09, 537 new branches were opened. In 2009-10, 743 new branches and in 2010-11, 814 new branches were opened. During 2011-12, 619 branches have been opened up to 31st December 2011. A total of 3236 branches have been opened since 2007-08.

(ii) RBI revised its Master Circular on the 1st July, 2011 on priority sector lending (PSL) for improving credit facilities to minority communities. As on 31st December, 2011, Rs.1,54,789.90 crore, which is 14.83% of total PSL, were provided to minorities.

(iii) To promote micro-finance among women, 6,03,087 accounts have been opened for minority women with Rs. 6611.87 crore as micro-credit in 2011-12 upto September, 2011.

(iv) All public sector banks are organizing awareness campaigns in blocks/districts/towns with substantial minority population. In 2011-12, 1658 awareness campaigns were organized in such areas upto September, 2011.

(v) Lead banks have organized 618 entrepreneurial development programmes in blocks/districts/towns with substantial minority population upto September, 2011 and the number of beneficiaries is 9065.

2  Ministry of Human Resource Development:

A multi-pronged strategy to address the educational backwardness of the Muslim community, as brought out by the Sachar Committee, has been adopted, as given below:-

a) Under the Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya (KGBV) scheme, criteria of educationally backward blocks has been revised with effect from 1st April 2008 to cover blocks with less than 30% rural female literacy and in urban areas with less than national average of female literacy. Under the scheme, 450 KGBVs have been operationalised in minority concentration districts, so far. 70 KGBVs have been operationalised for minority concentration districts against the target of 107 during the year 2011-12 upto December, 2011.

b) Universalization of access to quality education at secondary stage called Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) has been approved. The scheme envisages preference to minority concentration areas in opening of Government schools. State Governments have been advised to accord priority to setting up of new / upgraded schools in minority concentration areas while appraising proposals under this scheme. 158 New Secondary Schools have been approved in 2011-12 upto October, 2011.

c) One model college each would be set up in 374 educationally backward districts (EBDs) of the country. Of 374 EBDs, 67 are in identified minority concentration districts. During 2011-12, five model colleges have been sanctioned in MCDs, and funds of Rs. 2.67 crores have been released upto 30th Sept., 2011.

d) Under the Sub-mission on polytechnics, financial assistance is provided to the States/UTs for setting up of polytechnics in un-served and under-served districts. 57 districts out of 90 minority concentration districts are eligible for consideration under the scheme. So far, 46 minority concentration districts have been covered for setting up of polytechnics, and an amount of Rs.222.66 crore have been released upto 30th Sept., 2011.

e) Preference is given by the University Grants Commission for provision of girls’ hostels in universities and colleges in the areas where there is concentration of minorities especially Muslims. The UGC has sanctioned 284 Women’s hostels and released Rs.201.55 crore till 30th Sept., 2011 during 11th Plan in Minority Concentration Districts/area.

f) The Area Intensive & Madarsa Modernisation Programme has been revised and bifurcated into two schemes. A Scheme for Providing Quality Education in Madarsas (SPQEM) has been launched with an allocation of Rs. 325 crore for the Eleventh Five-year Plan. It contains attractive provisions for better teachers’ salary, increased assistance for books, teaching aids and computers, and introduction of vocational subjects, etc. An amount of Rs. 92.77 crore has been released upto 31st Dec., 2011 against budget provision of Rs. 150 crore. The other scheme, which provides financial assistance for Infrastructure Development of Private aided/unaided Minority Institutes (IDMI), has been lauched with an allocation of Rs. 125 crore for the Eleventh Five-year Plan. During 2011-12, an amount of Rs. 21.88 crore has been released against budget outlay of Rs. 50.00 crore upto 31st Dec., 2011.

g) For subsequent access to higher education, the Certificates issued by the State Madarsa Boards, whose Certificates and qualifications have been granted equivalence by the corresponding State Boards, would be considered equivalent by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), Council of Board of School Education in India (COBSE) or/and by any other school examination board.

h) Academies for professional development of Urdu medium teachers have been set up at three Central Universities namely, Aligarh Muslim University, Jamia Milia Islamia University, New Delhi and Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad. During 2011-12, 4718 Urdu Teachers have been trained under Refresher Courses/Workshops.

i) Under the revised scheme, financial assistance is given for appointment of Urdu teachers in a Government school in any locality where more than 25% of the population is from Urdu speaking community. The financial assistance would be based on the prevailing salary structure of Urdu teachers employed with schools of the State Government. Honorarium is also admissible to part-time Urdu teachers.

j) The States/UTs have been advised to undertake community based mobilization campaigns in areas having a substantial population of Muslims.  Saakshar Bharat is being implemented in 372 districts out of 410 eligible districts where adult female literacy is 50% or below as per 2001 Census. Out of 88 Muslim dominated districts, 61 districts have been covered under Saakshar Bharat.

k) Jan Shikshan Sansthans (JSSs) are envisaged in the revised schemes. At present, JSSs are imparting vocational training in 33 out of the 88 Muslim dominated districts in the country.

l) The mid-day meal scheme has been extended to all areas in the country from the year 2008-09 and also covers upper primary schools. Blocks with a concentration of Muslim population are being covered under this scheme.

m) All State Governments/UT administrations have been advised to use existing school buildings and community buildings as study centres for school children.

n) National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has prepared text books for all classes in the light of the National Curriculum Framework-2005 (NCF). 14 States have revised their curriculums as per the NCF 2005 while 9 States are in the process of doing so. Ten States/UTs use textbooks of neighbouring States or NCERT textbooks.

o) Thirty five universities have started centers for studying social exclusion and inclusive policy for minorities and scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. Besides, 1280 Centres of Equal Opportunity (CEOs) have been established in 51 universities during 2009-10 and 1345 and 1367 such centres are proposed to be established during 2010-11 and 2011-12 respectively.

3 Ministry of Minority Affairs :

(a) An expert group, constituted to study and recommend the structure and functions of an Equal Opportunity Commission (EOC), submitted its report on 13th March, 2008. The concept of diversity index has been subsumed in the EOC. The draft Bill for EOC is under consultation with other Ministries/Departments concerned.

(b) The Waqf (Amendment) Bill, 2010 as passed by the Lok Sabha was referred to the Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha on 31st August, 2010. The Select Committee held its 22nd Meeting on 12.12.2011. The Report of the Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha on the Waqf (Amendment) Bill, 2010 and the evidence tendered before the Select Committee were placed on the Table of the Rajya Sabha on 16th December, 2011.

(c) The Government has accorded ‘in-principle’ approval for restructuring of National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation (NMDFC). A consultancy firm has been appointed to work out the details for restructuring of NMDFC. The firm had submitted its draft reports which were examined in the Ministry. The Report and the views of the Consultancy Monitoring Committee are under consideration.

(d) An Inter-ministerial Task Force constituted to devise an appropriate strategy and action plan for developing 338 identified towns having substantial minority population, has submitted its report on 8th November, 2007. The concerned Ministries/Departments have been advised to give priority in the implementation of their schemes in these 338 towns.

(e) Three scholarship schemes for minority communities namely, pre-matric scholarship from class –I to X, post-matric scholarship from class XI to PhD and merit-cum-means scholarship for technical and professional courses at under-graduate and post-graduate levels have been launched. Under these schemes, Rs. 649.21 crore have been sanctioned for award of scholarships to 33.90 lakh students belonging to minority communities in 2011-12 upto 31st December, 2011. Further, a fellowship scheme called Maulana Azad National Fellowship Scheme for M.Phil and Ph.D scholars has been under implementation. 756 fellowships and 3778 renewals have been sanctioned by University Grants Commission (UGC) and financial assistance for Rs. 51.98 crore has been released up to 31st December, 2011.

(f) The corpus of Maulana Azad Education Foundation (MAEF), which stood at Rs. 100 crore, was doubled to Rs. 200 crore in December, 2006. The corpus was, however, increased during 11th Plan period to Rs. 700 crore. Under the scheme of MAEF, since 2007-08, 419 NGOs have been given grants-in-aid for infrastructure development of educational institutions and 48471 scholarships were awarded to meritorious girls in classes-XI and XII.

(g) A revised Coaching and Allied scheme was launched in 2006-07. Against the target of 6000 candidates for 2011-12, financial assistance has been given to 90 students/candidates belonging to minority communities. Funds to the tune of Rs.4.00 crore have been released against the budget provision of Rs. 16 crore, up to 31st December, 2011.

(h) A Multi- sectoral Development Programme (MsDP) was launched in 90 identified minority concentration districts in 2008-09. Plans of 90 minority concentration districts (fully in 68 and partly in 22 districts) in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Assam, Manipur, Bihar, Meghalaya, Jharkhand, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Orissa, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Uttrakhand, Mizoram, Jammu & Kashmir, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh have been approved and Rs.2588.34 crore released to State Governments and Union Territory Administrations up to 31st December, 2011 since launching of the programme.

4 Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation:

A National Data Bank, to compile data on the various socio-economic and basic amenities parameters for socio-religious communities, has been set up in the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.

5 Planning Commission:

(a) An autonomous Assessment & Monitoring Authority (AMA), to analyse data collected for taking appropriate and corrective policy decisions, was set up in the Planning Commission. Since the term of the AMA ended on 15th January, 2011, the Planning Commission has reconstituted the AMA and the newly reconstituted AMA has conducted few meetings.

(b) A comprehensive institutional structure for fostering skill development has been set up in Planning Commission to address the skill development needs of the country including minorities. It includes National Council on Skill Development, National Skill Development Coordination Board and a National Skill Development Corporation.

6 Department of Personnel and Training:

(a) Department of Personnel & Training has developed training modules for sensitization of government officials. These modules have been sent to the Central/ State Training Institutes for training.

(b) State Governments and Union Territory Administrations have been advised by Department of Personnel & Training for posting of Muslim police personnel in Thanas and Muslim health personnel and teachers in Muslim concentration areas. Guidelines have also been issued by Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Human Resource Development and Ministry of Health & Family Welfare advising States/UTs for similar action.

7 Ministry of Home Affairs:

(a) A High Level Committee, set up to review the Delimitation Act, has considered the concerns expressed in the Sachar Committee report regarding anomalies with respect to reserved constituencies under the delimitation schemes and submitted its report.

(b) A Working Group in the National Advisory Council (NAC) drafted a Bill titled “Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice & Reparations) Bill, 2011”. The NAC sent the Bill to Ministry of Home Affairs on 25.07.2011. The draft Bill is under examination in Ministry of Home Affairs.

8 Ministry of Urban Development and Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation:

For facilitating the flow of funds under the Jawarharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), Urban Infrastructure Development Scheme for Small and Medium Towns (UIDSSMT), Integrated Housing & Slum Development Programme (IHSDP) and Basic Services for Urban Poor (BSUP) to towns and cities, having a substantial concentration of minority population, necessary steps have been taken to ensure that Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) for such towns and cities include adequate provisions for minorities.

(a) Under UIDSSMT, Rs. 2672.34 crore has been sanctioned for 88 towns having a substantial minority population.

(b) Under IHSDP, projects costing Rs. 1897.69 crore are for 101 towns having a substantial minority population.

(c) Under BSUP, Rs.7086.47 crore has been sanctioned for 17 towns.

(d) Governments of Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Punjab, Chhatisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Lakshadweep, Puducherry and Kerala have given exemption to Waqf Board properties from Rent Control Act, while Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland have informed that no Waqf property exists in these States.

9 Ministry of Labour and Employment:

An Act has been passed by the Parliament for providing social security to workers in the un-organized sector, which, inter- alia, includes home based workers.

10 Ministry of Culture:

Meetings of circles of Archaeological Survey of India have been held with State Waqf Boards to review the list of waqf properties which are under the Archaeological Survey of India.

11 Ministry of Health and Family Welfare :

Dissemination of information regarding health and family welfare schemes is being undertaken in regional languages in minority concentration areas.

12 Ministry of Panchayati Raj:

State Governments have been advised by Ministry of Panchayati Raj and Ministry of Urban Development to improve representation of minorities in local bodies.

As per information furnished by Ministry of Panchayati Raj, States/UTs of Uttarakhand, Kerala, West Bengal and Lakshadweep have mentioned that provisions for ensuring representation of minorities in District and Panchayat level exist. The State Governments of Himachal Pradesh and Orissa have informed that the matter is under consideration.

Ministry of Urban Development has informed that State Governments of Kerala, West Bengal and Haryana have implemented the guidelines.

13 Ministry of Information & Broadcasting :

The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has been regularly releasing features of various themes associated with minority welfare covering issues such as scholarship schemes, initiatives taken in pursuance of the Sachar Committee Report.


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