Muslims, was the "PC" Card

Mark F. Tritsch tritsch at MZDMZA.ZDV.UNI-MAINZ.DE
Sat Dec 9 11:59:12 UTC 1995

I agree with Gary Tartakov that it is important to keep in mind that 
India's Muslims are just as much Indians as the Hindus are.

I would like Dan Lusthaus to say what exactly are the REAL ISSUES, 
which he fears we are losing sight of. In fact I'm not sure we've yet 
even caught sight of the real issues in this thread. It's all been too 

Here's my attempt. I just found the following news item:

The muslim population in the country has shown a decadeal growth rate of
32.74% as against 22.76% in case of Hindus as per 1991 census, Minister of
State for Home Affairs Ram Lal Rahi informed the Lok Sabha on Thursday.

Now I know from personal experience that this is something that 
really makes your average person in the street in 
Nagpur, Pune or Bangalore BUZZ if he's Hindu, been to school, 
works hard and has just two children because he or his wife use 
contraception: "Along come these Muslims and have God knows how 
many kids!"

Then there are the cricket matches. Pakistan wins and the "Indian" 
Muslims break out into jubilation! "Well where do they belong?"

Surely the job of the student of India is to try to see solutions to 
the problems. How can the disproportional, abysmal poverty and 
ignorance of the Indian Muslims be ameliorated as quickly as possible, 
how can the influence of their clergy be reduced, so that they become 
part of the future, not a chain to the past. That means including the 
study of the Muslim side of India in Indology (there I agree very 
much with JB Sharma). OK, these are social-political issues, but if 
we're going to discuss such non-issues as PC...

We might be talking about the quota question here. Does this work as 
a kind of modern extension of the caste system? That might be a good 
thing. Or does it only cement the differences?

I think people concerned with women's rights and education might also 
have something to say about Muslim India (really we all should be).

The recent history is important: how and why Congress made such a 
hash of giving the Muslims a "we" feeling about India. Was it because 
Congress was elitist, and  simply recruited what was left of the 
Muslim feudal leaders, after the rest had gone to Pakistan? If so, 
what is the "handle" on the Muslim masses today? Is there some way in 
which the Muslim can be both religious and Indian (after all, just 
trying to secularise the problem out of existence doesn't work in 

The rest of the history - medieval and all that - is important for 
intellectuals, but that has its limits. If we stay within them, we're 
back in the same elitist trap, and all our talk is as useless as that 
of the Congresswallahs. 


Mark Tritsch

Very important PS: No offence is meant to readers who, being Muslim, 
may feel they are being spoken of "in the third person".

DR. MARK F. TRITSCH      (Tel/Fax: +49 611 691497)

Institut fuer Zoologie III
Johannes Gutenberg Universitaet
55099 Mainz

Schnappschuss internationale Forschungsnachrichten
Breslauer Strasse 14 b
65203 Wiesbaden


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