Muslim Reservation

By Tanvir Saleem,

Recently a prestigious Muslim seminary has called for granting reservation to the Muslims. This is not a new demand. Many committees and politicians from time to time have called for the reservation of the Muslims. The plight of the Muslims is not hidden from anybody. At places and in certain aspects they are worse than the Dalits. It is a common fact that the condition of the Dalits have improved by the reservation that has been granted to them. They are on upward mobility. Progress of Dalits and the downfall of Muslims are discussed in many forums. It is true that after independence where Dalits have moved forward, Muslims have been pushed back. The condition of Muslims is miserable in every field. In the last sixty two years, there is absolutely nothing for them in the job market and they stand nowhere in business and in other fields. The small scale industries which before were in their hands are now in shambles. Whether, it was a conspiracy or it happened due to the industrial revolution is beyond the scope of today’s discussion, but the fact is that these are now out of their hands and are now in the hands of non- Muslims or other capitalists. In these industries Muslims roles have been reduced simply to that of day laborer, which is pathetic. In these situations it is essential that they be provided reservation to move them forward.

The foremost question that comes to mind is whether all Muslims can be provided reservation or not? To get the answer we should consult the constitution because without having the basic understanding of the constitution it will be meaning less to talk about the reservation for all the Muslims. Our constitution prohibits providing reservation on the basis of religion because the spirit of the constitution is secular is secular. Hence, without constitution amendment reservation for all Muslims is not possible. We all know that changing the constitution is a herculean task, and if attempted, will be a blunder because this will provide the communal elements an opportunity to polarize the nation on communal lines which will be detrimental for the national unity and growth.

At this time it is advisable for us to focus on the reservation for the “Pasmanda” or the backward sections of the Muslim community, because it will be in accordance with the spirit of the constitution. Based on the Mandal commission report, backward Muslims should get approximately nine percent from the allocated 27% reservation allocated for the OBC Muslims. This will be in accordance with the tenets of the Indian constitution. At this time, any reservation which is based on religious grounds will be Himalayan blunder.



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