Muslim representation in Civil Services – An Analysis

By M Naushad Ansari,

Among 875 selected candidates, this year, 21 are Muslims. Last year, out of 791 selected candidates, 31 were Muslims. Hence, from around 4% in 2009 the Muslims’ selection in the Civil Services Examination, popularly known as IAS exams, has come down to around 2.5%. Only remarkable achievement this year is that the topper is a Muslim, Shah Faesal, coming from Kashmir.

Before Faesal, the IAS topper from the community was Amir Subhani of Bihar in the year 1987. Jawed Usmani of UP was IAS topper in 1977. Syed Shahabuddin, ex-Member of Parliament and, presently, the President of All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat, was the first Muslim from Bihar to get second rank in civil services exam in 1958. That was then the highest rank a Muslim got since Independence. In 2001 Shahla Nigar, also from Bihar, became the first Muslim woman to get second rank, the highest ever in 50 years for a Muslim woman.

Many of the analysts are observing that since the percentage of Muslim graduates works out to be nearly four per cent, their selection is not much below this ratio. This analysis is based on half-truth, illogical, misleading and totally wrong notions. There is also an attempt to dilute the demand of Muslims' reservation in government services by convincing the people that graduates among them happen to be lower, hence lower representation. Scientifically, until the proportion of non-Muslim graduates is taken into account, a logical analysis cannot be carried out.

According to Sachar Committee Report, the proportion of Muslim graduates, during 2004-05 was 3.4 per cent. Among the 'General Hindus' it was found to be 15.3 per cent, among 'SC/ST Hindus' it was 2.2 per cent, among 'OBC Hindus' it was 4.4 per cent and among 'other minorities' it was 8.9 per cent. In short, roughly 7.7 per cent of non Muslims were found to be graduates as against 3.4 per cent among Muslims. (Page 67, Sachar Committee Report)

We don’t have detailed data on the above social sections. However, one can broadly conclude that this 7.7 per cent of non-Muslim graduates could corner 96 per cent and 97.5 per cent of seats in the Civil Services Examination in the year 2009 and 2010 respectively, leaving 4 per cent and 2.5 per cent for Muslims in the respective years. That means the ratio of success among non-Muslim graduates was more than twelve times of the ratio of graduates among them, whereas, for the Muslims it was almost at par.

Therefore, to analyse the issue of gross under-representation of Muslims in the Civil Services, the whole issue needs to be studied in to-to. Hence, the reasons for under-representation are not only those that meet our eyes!

(Naushad Ansari could be contacted on


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