Muslims of the Sub-continent

Muslims India Pakistan Subcontinent

A dominant view among several writers in Pakistan has been that the majority Muslim population of Pakistan and Bangladesh are privileged to hold important positions in civil/military bureaucracy, judiciary, and parliament, while Muslim children have the choice to attend centers of learning right from schools to colleges and universities vis-à-vis India. Read more about Muslims of Subcontinent.

And in agriculture, commerce, trade industry, and banking, Muslims enjoy full rights. On the other hand, there are 15% Islamists in India and therefore, in principle, they should have a 15% share in the aforementioned sectors. Whereas the Muslims’ share is between 0% to 4%. “There are hardly any Muslims’ in the armed forces and civil bureaucracy.”

Do these writers also hold the view that had there been a united India, and no Pakistan and Bangladesh, the condition of Muslims of Pakistan and Bangladesh been any better than that of the Muslims of India?

They further refer to the status of Muslims in pre-Partition India and state that during the British period there were hardly any Muslims in government service, in business, and trade, while the Hindus had a complete hold over all sectors of public life and economy. “Muslims were not offered jobs in the business sector as they were considered to be weak in Mathematics and accounting.” It is presumed.
They then went on to eulogize Mohammad Ali Jinnah who in their view liberated the Muslims of Pakistan and Bangladesh. And had he not demanded a separate homeland, the 22 crore Muslims of Pakistan and 17 crores Muslims of Bangladesh had been facing the same treatment as 17 crore Muslims of India.

Hence, out of 56 crores Muslims, Jinnah was able to get due rights to 39 crores Muslims. They further expound that if the Muslims of Bangladesh were free today, again the credit goes to Muhammad Ali Jinnah as he had not separated East Pakistan from India in 1947, it could not have become an independent country in 1971.

Finally, the person of Muhammad Ali Jinnah is glorified by stating that we cannot find any other example in history comparable to Jinnah.
Now all the above contentions have several logical and factual fallacies which need to be addressed.

One; was the main purpose behind the creation of Pakistan tied to getting good jobs or parity with non-Muslims or Pakistan was supposed to be the cradle of Islam where a truly Islamic society was to be established. If the purpose was to get Muslims into privileged positions and equal rights, in that case, the Bengalis who constituted the majority Muslim population had to pay a very heavy price to get the same.

By the way, why did the “magnificent building” owned by Muslims and none others constructed by Jinnah crumbled in 1971? Today, Bangladeshi Muslims hate Pakistani Muslims more than anyone else. Hence, is it not naïve to view every phenomenon in the religious context? Are there any political, economic, social, and cultural factors too, which have been conveniently ignored?
Did the Muslims of India not pay a very heavy price to get the privileged positions, and what about the non-Muslims who duly deserved these positions, were in tens of thousands, and were banished just because they had a different faith? And was the application of violence, which was exercised on a wide scale during partition, the only way out to get privileged positions?
Was separation the only way to get an education that ensures better job opportunities? Have we been able to eliminate illiteracy and enhance the literacy rate which is 80% in India and 57% in Pakistan?

Has the Muslim majority in Pakistan surpassed its non-Muslim counterpart in India? In Iran, Bahai’s cannot get higher education as per law; do Indian Muslims also face such restrictions in India?

And who is responsible for Muslim backwardness in Muslim majority Pakistan. 71% population of Balochistan lives below the poverty line; are the Indians responsible for that?

And one major factor remains that Muslims were way behind in education vis-a-vis non-Muslims. Not only that, they opposed modern education. Were the Hindus against Sir Syed Ahmad Khan? Akbar Allahabadi who himself enjoyed lucrative postings under the English himself was a staunch opponent of modern education.

What did the All India Muslim League do for Muslim education in United India? Were all Muslims illiterate before partition and became literate after partition when they migrated to Pakistan? On partition, there were around 90 Muslim bureaucrats in united India.

Sahibzada Khurshid Ahmad khan was chief commissioner Delhi, who along with the rest except three left India for Pakistan to get high positions without any competition. By the way how many Muslims vis-a-vis Hindus got the title “sir?” Before partition 70% population of Kolkata comprised Hindus; then how come between 1935 and 1947, four mayors of Kolkata were Muslims? Namely, Molvi A.K Fazal-ul-Haq, A.K.M Zikriya, Abdur Rahman Siddiqui and Syed Muhammad Usman. In 1946 Islamists were 53% of the population in Punjab but in the police, they were 70%. In 1947 there were 36.2% Muslims in the Indian army.
Some also demand a 15% quota for Indian Muslims as they are 15% of the population. Would they mind inform us how much quota was reserved for Bengali Muslims in United Pakistan who were more than 50% of the total population? And, are minorities getting their due share in present-day Pakistan? 40% population of Malaysia constitutes non-Muslims; do they get a 40% share in public offices?

How many non-Muslims in Malaysia occupy high positions in the government? What is the policy of Bhoomi-Putra? Is it not keeping non-Muslims away from important positions?
Are the non-Muslims of Malaysia justified in initiating a movement for secession? Did the Hindus of India ever demand privileged treatment vis-a-vis Muslims before and after partition?

Was Abul Kalam Azad not the president of Congress for five years? Was Bacha Khan not a Congress leader for so many years? Why did India, a Hindu majority country have four Muslim presidents, namely, Dr. Zakir Hussain, Muhammad Hidayatullah, Fakharuddin Ali Ahmad, and APJ Abul Kalam? By the way, a Hindu cannot be the President or Prime Minister of Pakistan as per the constitution. Mohammad Hidayatullah, Mirza Hameedullah Baig, Aziz Mubashar Ahmadi and Altamash Kabir have been the chief justices of India.

Several Muslims have even topped UPSC competitive exams. Mohammad Habib, the historian, topped the BA exam held in 1916 in Allahabad. In 1947 he made the presidential address to the Indian History Congress. His son Irfan Habib is a renowned Muslim historian of India. Mohammad Ali Chhagla was chief justice Mumbai High Court. Sikandar Bakht and Salman Khurshid have been India’s foreign ministers. Shahabuddin Yaqoob Qureshi and Syed Naseem Zaidi have been India’s Chief Election Commissioners.

Azim Premji, one of the richest men in the world is an Indian Muslim. Syed Akbaruddin has been India’s ambassador to the UN.

Salman Haidar has been India’s foreign secretary while Syed Asif Ibraheem has headed the intelligence Bureau. Jamil Mahmood, Sami Khan, Syed Ata Hasnain, Zameeruddin Shah, Mohammad Ali Aariz, and Idrees Hasan Latif were all three-star generals in the Indian army while Havaldar Abdul Hameed won Param veer Chakra during the 1965 war. Iftekhar Khan Pataudi, Ghulam Ahmad, and Mohammad Azharuddin have been captains of the Indian cricket team while Dalip Kumar, Mohammad Rafi, Shahrukh Khan, and Amir Khan have ruled Hindi cinema. Hence, it is wrong to state that Muslims were left behind in India. Muslims who have the potential to flourish can surpass anyone anywhere in the world.

However, if you abhor modern education, keep blaming others for your backwardness and live in an imaginary world of past glory nothing will change for you, whether you are in Pakistan or in India.

Yes, the creation of Pakistan did benefit, the political leaders who had no constituency in the newly created state. Two, bureaucrats who wanted rapid promotions. Three the landed aristocracy feared loss of agricultural lands. Four, business tycoons, who wanted a non-competitive open field. And finally, those who wanted to grab property and businesses left behind by the non-Muslim upper-middle class.

What did the man in the street get? That question remains unanswered! (Written by Waseem Altaf)

Leave a Reply