The K Chandrashekhar Rao Government was behind Muslim vote for a long time. He has captured the minds of the rest of the segments of the society with his Telangana rhetoric, but the Muslim vote is still not in his grasp. In fact the Majlis party AIMIM has strengthened its hold on the Muslim vote winning one more seat in the GHMC elections than that of previous occasion.
To break the stranglehold KCR is going for the juggler announcing the reservation of 12 per cent for Muslims in the state. It is an election promise and he claims it will be based on a study based on the social and economic backwardness of the Muslim population. He is playing the trick played by many a politician in the past.
The constitution bars reservations based on religion. In order to provide 12 per cent reservation to Muslims relaxation should be given to the stipulation that the reservations should not exceed 50 per cent. This requires approval of the Parliament. Per se, it is a complex legal and legislative process which may or may not see the light of the day. The fundamental issues related to Muslim backwardness have nothing to do with reservations, it has multiple aspects outside the grasp of a legislative dictate. Reform is the basis for transformation in a society, Muslim leaders consider reform as a threat to their community. They dare anyone to speak on Muslim personal law. They prefer standstill, they fear the loss of control of their people, they fear cries for equality and opportunity in their community. How does any government tackle such a situation with a community which does not want change? Is reservation the only answer?
Out of the 76 recommendations of the Sachhar Commission Government of India has accepted 72. As per the latest report of the Ministry of Minority Affairs the current status is as follows –
All 43 decisions taken by the Government on the recommendations of Sachar Committee have been grouped under the following major focus areas:
- Education (15 decisions)
- Skill Development (2 decisions)
- Access to credit (6 decisions)
- Special development initiatives (2 decisions) – MsDP, JnNURM
- Measures for affirmative action (4 decisions) – Equal Opportunity Commission, Diversity Index, National Data Bank and Assessment & Monitoring Authority.
- Waqfs (4 decisions)
- Miscellaneous (10 decisions) – Communal Violence (Prevention) Bill, multi media campaign, Delimitation Act, Sensitisation etc.
However, after 10 years of Sachar Commission, the latest data shows not much shift in parameters related Literacy rate, Enrolment in Madrasas (in fact increased from 10.3 Lakh in 2001 to 17 Lakh in 2011, Sex ratio, Work participation, Percentage of share in Central Government departments and Police Forces etc.
The progress of a community is hastened by agents of change. Hindus were blessed to have towering leaders and reformers like Swami Vivekananda, Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Dr Hedgewar, Guruji Golwalkar and many more who endeavoured to transform Hindu society into a progressive and equitable society. This is a continuous process and accepted among Hindus as a norm. Our Muslim brethren need the same, the agents and leaders of change who can transform the community. No reservation can achieve the objectives of development but for a concerted community effort on the path of progress. The Telangana Government by pushing for Muslim reservations is actually pushing them backward. Instead, they should focus on the plethora of schemes for minorities and ensure their effective implementation while pushing for societal transformation if they can.
By Rama Murthy Prabhala
(The writer is vice president of a multinational software company)