An Open Letter to Hon’ble Minister for Minority Affairs, Shri Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi

An Open Letter to Hon’ble Minister for Minority Affairs, Shri Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi

Shri Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi,

Hon’ble Minister for Minority Affairs

Respected Sir

At very outset I must apologise to you for questioning your patently illegal and unconstitutional decision to award 5 crore scholarships exclusively to Muslim students (and ZERO scholarships to poorest Hindus) which violates the Right to Equality of millions of the poorest Hindu students This blatant discrimination by your honour against the majority community is a deliberate act of gross violation of Article 15(1) of the Constitution which stipulates, “The state shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them”.

Additionally this discriminatory diktat also violates the solemn Oath of Office administered to you by the Hon’ble President at the time of your appointment as a Cabinet Minister. The said Oath reads as follows:

I, (name), do swear in the name of God (or, solemnly affirm) that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India as by law established, that I will uphold the sovereignty and integrity of India, that I will faithfully and conscientiously discharge my duties as a Minister for the Union and that I will do right to all manner of people in accordance with the Constitution and the law, without fear or favour, affection or ill-will.

 — Schedule III, Constitution of India

मैं, (अमुक), ईश्वर की शपथ लेता हूँ/सत्यनिष्ठा से प्रतिज्ञान करता हूँ कि मैं विधि द्वारा स्थापित भारत के संविधान के प्रति सच्ची श्रद्धा और निष्ठा रखूँगा, मैं भारत की प्रभुता और अखंडता अक्षुण्ण रखूँगा, मैं संघ के प्रधानमंत्री/मंत्री के रूप में अपने कर्तव्यों का श्रद्धापूर्वक और शुद्ध अंतःकरण से निर्वहन करूँगा तथा मैं भय या पक्षपात, अनुराग या द्वेष के बिना, सभी प्रकार के लोगों के प्रति संविधान और विधि के अनुसार न्याय करूँगा।

— तीसरी अनुसूची, भारत का संविधान

Prima facie your decision to shower crores of scholarships only on Muslims and other minorities is motivated by desire to favour your co-religionists. It also smacks of utterly disdainful attitude towards the poorest Hindus. The said scheme shows ‘affection’ for Muslims and ill-will towards Hindus.

I am indeed surprised that you are not aware of the fact that the Indian Muslims are decidedly ahead of Hindus in most human development indicators. For decades an unsubstantiated narrative has been propagated by votebank- besotted politicians that economically the Indian Muslims are more disadvantaged than the Hindus. This falsehood was unabashedly used by the powerful pro-votebank lobby embedded in the UPA government to bestow substantial unmerited benefits and concessions, including crores of scholarships plus cheap educational and entrepreneurial loans showered exclusively on Muslims and four other minorities, namely the Christians, the Sikhs, the Buddhists and the Parsis. The only ‘apartheid group’ deliberately excluded by the UPA government and you from millions of scholarships and several lakh crore worth cheap loans happen to be the unwashed daughters and sons of nearly 34 crore Hindus living below the poverty line – mostly in terminally ill and famished rural areas.

It is difficult to believe, Sir, that you are unaware of the startling facts disclosed by Shri Salman Khurshid in his Press Conference on May 29, 2012, boasting about multiple benefits showered on the Muslims and four other minorities on the basis of Justice Sachar Report. Among other things the said press conference disclosed that not one single scholarship out of the two crore freeships was given to the needy daughter or son of the poorest Hindus. Nor were any cheaper educational or entrepreneurial loans advanced to any Hindu poor, while funds worth several lakh crores were advanced to the children of the five super-favoured minorities. These extraordinary favours were granted only to Muslims and four other minorities and by design the poor Hindus were excluded. Kindly note my following legal objections to the scheme launched by you.

  1. The first well-documented rebuttal of the flawed findings of Justice Sachar came on September 2, 2006, when a well-researched paper was circulated by Prof. Sanjay Kumar of the Centre of Studies for Developing Studies, New Delhi, in a seminar organized in Indian Institute of Public Administration. The research of Prof. Sanjay Kumar presented in a packed hall of scholars revealed that there was highly any difference in the economic and educational status of the Hindus and the Muslims. His research further highlighted that the proportion of ‘the very poor’ Indians was higher among the Hindus than among the Muslims. A survey conducted in the year 2004 by the Centre of Developing Societies showed that the percentage of ‘very poor’ Hindus was 31 percent while the percentage of the ‘ very poor’ among Muslims was only 24 percent. Thus on the basis of the CDS survey the percentage of the ‘very poor’ people among the Hindus was nearly 25 percent higher than among Muslims ! Mysteriously the important findings of Prof. Sanjay Kumar based on a survey were ignored by Justice Sachar despite a clear direction to Sachar Committee in the Notification dated March 9, 2005. to “obtain relevant information from Departments/ agencies of the Central & State Governments and also conduct an intensive literature survey to identify the published data, articles, and research on relative social, economic and educational status of Muslims in India at the State, regional and district levels” to address the problems faced by Muslims. More importantly, Prof. Sanjay Kumar’s research paper highlighting his important findings was duly sent to Justice Sachar by our Thinktank, Patriots’ Forum’. But the former Chief Justice of Delhi High Court chose to ignore the truth altogether for reasons best known to him and declined to give us a personal hearing despite repeated requests.
  2. Justice Sachar’s cleverly-contrived strategy of religion-based discrimination against poorest Hindu children was implemented in pursuance of the communally divisive votebank policy enunciated in the former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s notoriously famous “Muslims and Minorities First” policy statement made on December 9, 2006. Inexplicably the aforesaid policy statement was made by the former Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh on the birthday of Sonia Gandhi. The reasons for choice of the date best left unstated, though the Raisina Rumour mill ascribed it to Shri Ahmed Patel!
  3. Sir, I and other ignorant Indians like me would like to know from your honour why this wanton discrimination is being practiced against 34 crores poorest Hindus belonging to the famished hoi polloi of rural India ? The figure of 34 crore Hindus living below the poverty level has been derived from the government-accepted Suresh Tendulkar Report which revealed that 37.2 percent Indians were living below the poverty line. On a rough count 34 crore Hindus constituted nearabout 37 percent of the total Hindu population in 2009.
  4. The four privileged minorities sharing two crore scholarships with Muslims were Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis all of whom are show stealers in literacy, education and longevity.
  5. The data pertaining to five globally recognized human development indices namely the Infant Mortality, the Child Mortality, Degree of Urbanization and Life Expectancy at Birth has always been available in public domain. The data conclusively proves that Muslims are better off than the Hindus in most human development indices. As explained above, Hindus are far behind Muslims in the first four human development indices. Only in one human development indicator, namely i.e., literacy the, Hindus with 65.1 percent literacy are marginally ahead of Muslims who have the literacy average of 59.1 percent, as admitted by Justice Sachar in his report. Surprisingly Justice Sachar did not have the moral courage to identify and write that the one single factor responsible for lower Muslim literacy average in 2001 was the lower ratio of literacy among Muslim women at a meagre 50.1 percent which was lower by 3.6 percent than the national average of female literacy at 53.7 percent.
  6. The important cause of lower female literacy among Muslims ignored by Justice Sachar has its roots in the diktats of religious leaders restricting education of girls beyond a certain age and Ulema’s insistence on the customary veil. Unfortunately most Hindus, including their spiritual gurus, telemedia analysts and the so-called intellectuals belong to the well-to-do middle class. Their children do not need free scholarships, nor cheap loans. It is a shame that they remained indifferent to the pathetic economic condition of the poorest Hindu masses, especially those trapped in the terminally ill rural areas ? They never cared to know that in four, out of the five globally recognised human development indices, the majority community is lagging behind the Muslims, the Christians, the Buddhists, the Parsis and the Sikhs ?
  7. The ongoing discriminatory policy against the majority community, mostly the rural Hindus, was launched by the Prime Minister with great fanfare in June, 2006, in the garb of Prime Minister’s New 15 Points Programme for Welfare of Minorities. Through a sleight of hand the poorest Hindu children were deprived of any share in the twenty million scholarships showered on Muslim, Christians, Buddhists, Parsis and the Sikhs.
  8. The most shocking aspect of this biggest post-independence scam is that the Christians,Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis are miles ahead of Hindus in human development indices.
  9. Another rebuttal of Justice Sachar’s fudged facts was made public in the findings of Rajesh Shukla, a Senior Fellow of the National Council of Applied Economic Research, published in the Economic Times, New Delhi, on April 5, 2007, re-confirming that there was hardly any difference in the economic status of the Hindus and Muslims. Among other things, Rajesh Shukla’s survey disclosed that the Sikh community were ‘the Sardars in Prosperity’, with Christians closely following behind them.
  10. Another important rebuttal of Justice Sachar’s fabricated finding was out in public domain in October, 2010, which disclosed a significant quantum jump of 5.4 years in the Life Expectancy of Muslims which rose to 68 years – way ahead of Hindu longevitywhich was 65 years. According to the National Family Health Survey-2 held in 1998, an average Muslim living for 62.6 years, i.e., barely 1.2 years longer than his Hindu counterpart who lived only for 61.4 years. And within 7 years Muslims forged ahead with a quantum jump of 5.4 years. Does it not show that Muslims are economically better placed, better fed and live in far better health than their Hindu counterparts?

To sum up, a systematic and rational analysis of the comparative scores of the Hindus and the Muslims in various human development indices reveals that in the four globally recognised economic development indicators the Hindus are lagging far behind the Muslims and four other religious minorities. This truth was established a number of times by different research studies.

Even a casual examination of Sachar Report reveals a series of ugly tricks devised to trample upon the Right to Equality of the eighty percent citizens of India on the ground of religion. Even now the poorest students belonging to the majority community are being denied proportionate share in millions of scholarships and cheap loans because they happen to belong to the politically-pariahed religion called Hinduism? Unfortunately no Hindu or non-Hindu political leader has shown the guts to question this implementation by you of ‘exclusive minority development’ programme, tom-tomed as ‘inclusive growth’.

Before closing, I am citing below two prominent instances of deliberate fudging of facts by Justice Sachar in his report.

  1. Shri Sachar deliberately did not take into account the documented fact that according to the National Family Health Surveys Nos. 1 (1992-93) and 2 (1998-1999) the Muslims were better placed than Hindus in four major human development indicators, namely the Infant Mortality, Child Mortality, Degree of Urbanisation and Life Expectancy at Birth. After admitting this important fact on pages 37-38 of his report that in infant and child mortality and life expectancy at birth the Muslims were better placed, Justice Sachar took recourse to suppressio veri, suggestio fallaci, by attributing it to the highly inventive argument that it could be due to better child feeding practices prevalent among Muslims. Instead of candidly admitting that the Muslims were better fed and had access to better medical care the retired Chief Justice decided to weave the yarn of ‘better child feeding’ practices among Muslims.
  2. Another instance of suppressio veri, suggestio falsi by Justice Schar is the horrid description of the plight of Muslim women on page 13 (Chapter 2). which was false beyond belief. Astoundingly the retired Chief Justice wrote thus about the plight of Muslim women thus: “Everything beyond the walls of the ghetto is seen as unsafe and hostile – markets, roads, lanes and public transport, schools and hospitals, Police Stations and government offices.”

No sane man can honestly believe that Muslim women are treated so shabbily in India? Many of them, including Dr Najma Heptullah, Teesta Setalwad, Saba Naqvi, Shazia Ilmi and several score more Muslim women are participating in debates in public spaces including the Indian Parliament, the State legislatures and on television channels. How dare Justice Sachar label them as imprisoned in the walls of ghettoes? Many more instances of fudging of facts can be cited from Sachar report but I must refrain from highlighting them due to paucity of space here.

Kindly ensure justice to all poor students and ensure that there is no bias against anyone.

I hope to be excused for intruding on your valuable time by making this lengthy submission.

Yours faithfully

Ram Kumar Ohri

P.S. I am a retired officer and author of 5 books including ‘The Majority Report’ and dozens of articles.

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Ram Ohri

Ram Ohri is a former IPS officer and writes regularly on security issues, demographics, and occasionally, on policy.