‘Urban Indian Muslims wary of state-controlled economy’
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A vast majority of Muslims living in urban centres feel they would be better off in a liberalised economy as they believe they were discriminated against in a state-controlled economy, particularly when it comes to jobs and housing, noted author Christophe Jaffrelot said on Monday while arguing that there was a decline of Muslims in India in socio-economic and political terms.
Jaffrelot is a research director at CNRS and teaches South Asian politics and history at Sciences Po in Paris as well as at King's College, London.
He said urban Muslims tend to think that less of state was more helpful to them. "They think that they were discriminated against by state that was not considering them as part of the national social fabric," he told The Indian Express. The Indian edition of Muslims in Indian Cities — a book co-edited by him — was released on Monday by Vice-President Hamid Ansari. The book is a sociological study of the condition of Muslims in a dozen urban centres.
Elaborating, Jaffrelot said at least a section of the urban Muslims felt a certain element of bias against him in state policies. For instance, he said Urdu was given official language status in Uttar Pradesh — a state which has a significant Muslim population — only in 1989.
"When it comes to jobs and all, many Muslims think a liberalised economy is good if they have the right education," he said.
Ansari pointed out that "any generalisation for so large a number spread over a vast area, is hazardous". "Besides, Muslims of India are not a homogenous entity," he said.
The Vice-President said a realisation is dawning among Indian Muslims that "as equal partners in a democratic polity governed by the ideals of social, economic and political justice, they can make the weight of numbers felt in political decision-making and seek a fair access to it."
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