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Realizing Sachar – Time has come

Realizing Sachar – Time has come
Parveen Mansoori, one of the teachers has been teaching for last 5 years. Stitching classes for girls and women are run in Fatehwadi for 30, 60 or 90 days depending on existing skill sets. There are all ages of women from 14 to 50 years come to learn but mostly girls of 14-20 years come to the class most. Total of around 24 girls come in 3 shifts to learn.  Photo: Chintan  Location: Gujarat

Parveen Mansoori, one of the teachers has been teaching for last 5 years.
Stitching classes for girls and women are run in Fatehwadi for 30, 60 or 90 days depending on existing skill sets. There are all ages of women from 14 to 50 years come to learn but mostly girls of 14-20 years come to the class most. Total of around 24 girls come in 3 shifts to learn.
Photo: Chintan
Location: Gujarat

More than five years have passed since the Sachar Committee Report was approved by the Union Cabinet but like the fate of many other ambitious committees and their recommendations, this one is also drifting away into the shackles of slumber.

The seven member Justice Rajinder Sachar Committee was appointed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh government to examine the social, economic and educational status of the Muslims. It submitted its observations along with its recommendations which have great significance and relevance. It is the first systematic study of the Muslim community in independent India based essentially on three types of issues relating to identity, security and equity.

Among the very many recommendations of the Sachar Committee few stand out and have the potential to unleash the ripple of positive discrimination that would resonate across the Indian society to bring the Muslim sections at par and to facilitate the long awaited justice.

It recommended setting up of an Equal Opportunity Commission to address concerns of deprived minority groups, to institute a nomination procedure for participation of minorities in public bodies, to promote religious tolerance by initiating a process to evaluate textbooks for appropriate social values.

To better upon the status of education it recommended to evolve the University Grants Commission and to link the financial allocations to diversity in student population. The above mentioned recommendation is sure to be welcomed by each and every section of our society as it talks about the collective good and equality of opportunity.

For empowering any section of the society, the first and foremost step should be to facilitate political empowerment of that very section as it would eventually provide a fillip for their social and economical empowerment by safeguarding their interests.

As observed by Sachar Committee, they do not have sufficient participation in governance and administration. Though Muslims have a share of 13.4% in the country’s population, but there representation on government jobs is just about 5%.

The lopsided representation should be dealt with in a mission mode so as to bring them at par with other socio religious groups. Apart from making these important observations, this report also throws light on many aspects which would definitely prove effective to mitigate the misleading assumptions prevailing in the Indian society which have falsely downgraded this community.

As per the report, the Muslim community in India has a better sex ratio than other socio-religious groups. It even fares better than others on indicators like Child mortality and Infant mortality rate(IMR).

So, this report is the answer to all that speculative criticism which apparently was an attempt to justify the agitation against the reservation for this section.

We have been marketing India as a secular nation for long now but how far have we actually realized secularism? The all pervasive bad state of affairs pertaining to our largest minority has the answers.

As enshrined in our constitution, no discrimination can be done in any sphere based on a religion. Let us ask ourselves, is that followed in spirit?  Have we not been prejudiced for certain sections of the society? Do we really treat others the same way as we treat our fraternity?  These questions have sad answers revealing the sad truth of discrimination in all walks of life.

Recently questions have been raised on the prevailing practice of “Housing Apartheid”.

It refers to the denial by non-Muslim sections to sub-let their houses to Muslim families solely based upon their vague and meaningless apprehensions and the compelling prejudices. And surprisingly even the so called educated people indulge in such disgusting acts of discrimination in a nation boasting secular credentials. “We only allow Indians as tenants, not Muslims”, one of them said. Can it get more ridiculously insane?  With the prevalence of such behavior how are we supposed to integrate all sections of Indian society? On one hand we talk of assimilation and integration but on the other we don’t even allow them inside our houses. This hypocrisy will only institutionalize differences and make matters worse. This is just one example and this apartheid can be observed in all walks of life.

Time has come where we need to get our act together and realize secularism in letter and in spirit. The orthodox and fundamentalist sections striving to maintain status-quo so as to safeguard their dominance need to be rooted out. Time has come to live up to the secular values of our constitution.

Time has come to realize Sachar!

 

(Swapnil Tembe – Graduated from IIT Kharagpur and currently pursuing Masters in Public Administration has a passion for writing on issues of social relevance.)


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