India’s Muslims

Barbara Crossette in The Nation:

_1554231_muslims300 India's Muslims have deep grievances. Reports by Indian experts substantiate these grievances with statistics; Muslim victims of Hindu attacks fill in the anecdotal evidence; outsiders concur. A Council on Foreign Relations study concluded in 2007 that Indian Muslims are “marginalized” and that the government was dealing only “to some degree” with the problem. A United Nations report further suggested that such conditions could spark serious unrest.

The most recent, most unvarnished survey of Indian Muslim life was carried out by a panel led by Rajindar Sachar, a former chief justice of the Delhi High Court. The findings of that survey were published in late 2006 and sent to Parliament. It has been a touchstone for debate ever since.

The Sachar report acknowledges that Muslims enjoy religious freedom in India, but it paints a grim portrait of their daily lives and chances for advancement, even as India's economy flourishes. The report concludes that “not all religious communities and social groups…have shared equally the benefits of the growth process. Among these, the Muslims, the largest minority community in the country, constituting 13.4 per cent of the population, are seriously lagging behind in terms of most of the human development indicators.”

More here.