SYLLABUS SECTION: GS I (SOCIETY)
WHY IN THE NEWS?
Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked the BJP national executive in Hyderabad to reach out to deprived and downtrodden sections in communities other than Hindus, which includes groups such as Pasmanda Muslims in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
WHO ARE PASMANDA MUSLIMS?
- Pasmanda, a Persian word, means the ‘ones left behind and is use to describe depress classes among Muslims,
- Who have been deliberately or consciously exclude.
- Pasmanda has become an umbrella identity use by backward,
- Dalit and tribal Muslims to push back against caste-base discrimination within the community.
- The term Pasmanda Muslim was first used in 1998 by Ali Anwar Ansari when he founded the Pasmanda Muslim Mahaz.
ARE MUSLIMS DIVIDED ALONG CASTE LINES?
- Muslim society in India can be broadly classified into Ashrafs (the “noble” elite or “honourable ones”), Ajlafs (backward Muslims), and Arzals (Dalit Muslims).
- Ashrafs claim to be either descendants of Muslims from Arabia, Persia, Turkey, Afghanistan (Syeds, Sheikhs, Mughals and Pathans),
- Or upper-caste Hindu converts (Rajput, Gaur, Tyagi Muslims etc)
- Ajlafs are middle-caste converts who were into ritually “clean” occupations — they include momins or julahas (weavers), darzi or Idiris (tailors), and rayeens or kunjaras (vegetable sellers).
- Arzals—who were first recorded in the1901census— are from the lowest, “untouchable” castes like halal khors, helas, lalbegis or bhangis (scavengers), dhobis (washermen), nais or hajjams (barbers), chiks (butchers), and faqirs (beggars).
- The Rajinder Sachar Committee formed in 2005 to study the social, economic and educational condition of Indian Muslims.
- The Justice Ranganath Mishra Commission, which submitted its report in May 2007, noted that the caste system impacted all religious communities in India, including Muslims.
WHAT PERCENTAGE OF INDIAN MUSLIMS ARE PASMANDA, AND WHERE DO THEY LIVE?
- In the absence of a caste census, no specific numbers are available.
- The Sachar Committee put the share of OBC and SC/ST Muslims at 40% (all India 2004-05).
- But Pasmanda activists and scholars say they make up 80-85% of India’s Muslim population.
- Pasmandas are under-represented in jobs, legislatures and government-run minority institutions, as well as community-run Muslim organizations.
- They demand conducting a caste census, restructuring of existing reservation categories, and state support for artisans, crafts persons, and agricultural labourers, who are among the most impoverished of Muslims.
Read more: UPSC CURRENT AFFAIRS
SOURCE: INDIAN EXPRESS