Hindu dharma is implicitly at odds with monotheistic intolerance. What is happening in India is a new historical awakening... Indian intellectuals, who want to be secure in their liberal beliefs, may not understand what is going on. But every other Indian knows precisely what is happening: deep down he knows that a larger response is emerging even if at times this response appears in his eyes to be threatening.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Minority question

KR Phanda

On August 8, the Supreme Court delivered a landmark judgement on the appeal filed by a section of the Jain community that the Union Government be directed to notify Jains as a minority community under Section 2(C) of the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992. The court observed: "After the verdict in the 11 Judges Bench in TMA Pai Foundation Case, the legal position stands clarified that henceforth the unit for determining status of both linguistic and religious minorities would be the State (Civil Appeal No 4730 of 1999, August 8, 2005).

The apex court, however, impressed on the National Commission for Minorities that "instead of encouraging claims from different communities a list of notified minorities under the Act, should suggest ways and means to help create social conditions where the list of notified minorities is gradually reduced and done away with altogether".

The objective laid down by the Supreme Court is laudable. The court's directive could possibly be achieved in two ways. First, the very concept of minority be abolished. The concept is a farce and has been imposed by the majority. It is common knowledge that Muslims who ruled India for 600 years, though only 10 per cent in number, always considered themselves in this period as Sultans and Badshahs.

In 1906, under the leadership of Sir Aga Khan, the Muslims led a delegation to Lord Minto at Shimla and asked for reservations in all spheres as a Muslim minority. They extracted all concessions till 1940 when they declared themselves as a nation and ultimately got a separate homeland in 1947. Pandit Nehru, who wanted to remain in power did not have enough support in the Pradesh Congress Committees, provided for special rights and privileges for Muslims in the Constitution. This was patently an anti-national act because no self-respecting country would have even recognised Muslims as a minority. This act was instrumental in vivisecting the country.

Therefore, this vicious label of 'minority' must go if India wants to protect its unity and integrity. Second, these special rights for a Muslim minority discriminate against the majority and also cause the majority to pay for the running of minority institutions and programmes.

These privileges for the Muslim minority had forced the Ramakrishna Mission, Arya Samaj and Brahmo Samaj to seek minority status in the courts of law. For example: Why should Hindu taxpayers money be used to pay for running AMU when majority of admissions are reserved for the minority or for running of madarsas. Do Hindus get any subsidy from the Government when they visit their holy places? No, not one paisa. Why then should the Government subsidise the Haj pilgrimage by Muslims and that too by using Hindu taxpayers money? At the State/Central level, these measures are increasing the fiscal deficit and causing State finances to go out of control. On the dawn of independence, zamindari and jagirdari were abolished.

How come wakfs, which are the biggest landlords in urban India continue to flourish even today? These wakfs were originally set up by Muslim invaders who confiscated Hindu lands and properties. Is there any justification for this institution to exist in independent India? These are standing symbols of Hindu humiliation and should be abolished forthwith. With the discontinuance of props provided by the Centre/States, the minority-majority distinction will automatically disappear.

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