If India is really our country, it should stand up for us now. It is not a problem of Bodo or Assamese people, but of the whole country.” – Member of Parliament from Kokrajhar, Assam, Mr S.K. Bwismuthiary making a fervent appeal to his fellow Indians just a day before the start of the monsoon session of the Parliament.

Close to 4 Lakh people have been displaced from their homes and are living in more than 300 government camps, an overwhelming majority of them are indigenous Bodos. These government camps are mobile dens of contagious diseases like Malaria, Diarrhea, Scabies etc. The native Bodos & other Assamese have been displaced from their homes and have been made refugees in their own land by illegal migrants from Bangladesh. Let it be unequivocally stated that no other modern country on planet earth would have tolerated such a plight of its own people at the hands of foreigners, but for secular socialist democratic republic of India. For those Marxists & non-Marxists who had missed the repetitive farce of history, welcome to Assam, for here you shall get a second opportunity to see in slow-motion how the Pandits were systematically displaced from Kashmir – only difference being the Bodos/Assamese enacting the role of Pandits.

On the day that the Kokrajhar MP made his fervent appeal, television channels across the spectrum were having detailed panel discussions on the new found combative nature of Madam Sonia Gandhi in the parliament against “illegitimate” remarks of L.K Advani. The same television channels who have time and again discussed the difficulties of a Shabana Azmi or a Emraan Hashmi in trying to procure a house for themselves in upscale housing societies. Mainstream news media is deaf to the voice of India and is busy peddling stories from its immediate neighbourhood or social circles, while there are a million Assams waiting to explode across the nation.

A mid-sized town on Maharashtra-Karnataka border from the 1970’s to the present day: The tale of Usman Bhai & Dr More

In this nondescript town of a mixed religious entity there lived more than 2 Lakh people in the 1970’s, which has now been more than doubled. Dr More, an entrepreneurial physician had set up his dispensary on the Chak-Naka-Dargah road, an area predominantly populated by the Muslim community in the 1970’s. Since there were no other health care facilities in the surrounding region in that era, the entire Muslim populace of more than 10 thousand depended on Dr More for all their healthcare related issues. In fact, Dr More’s popularity was so high that many prominent political parties had tried unsuccessfully to persuade him to contest the local body elections in that region.

On the other side of the same town, Usman Bhai, an entrepreneurial Dubai returned small time businessman, had set up a small Kirana & general stores on the main road leading into Adarash Nagar, a predominantly Hindu dominated colony (in almost the similar era of mid 70’s).

In the mid 80’s, the local Masjid trust, flush with funds and land decided to utilize the government’s policy of encouraging minority educational institutions and started a Medical College and Hospital to cater to the poor Muslims of the district. Thus by the early 90’s, quite a few locals had graduated with an MBBS degree and were looking to set shop in the Muslim dominated areas of the district. Consequently, by the mid 90’s two other clinics had sprung up near Dr More’s, yet, due to large scale population increase the number of footfalls did not dwindle in the original dispensary.

Dr More’s son, a surgeon by then, had read the writing on the wall and had invested on a plot of land on the other side of the town, where he was building a 20 bedded hospital. Meanwhile, Usman bhai was joined by his younger sibling (another returnee from the middle east), who had set shop as a baker adjacent to his brother’s general store. Even though senior Dr More was continuing with his practise in the Dargah region, he was facing increasing hostility from his neighbourhood, until one day the inevitable happened. The local Maulvis, egged on by the community doctors, issued a Fatwa barring all Muslims from getting any kind of treatment from the “Hindu Hakeem” (the ostensible reason being the death of a kid suffering from severe jaundice in Dr More’s clinic). Consequently, Dr More not only had to shut his dispensary but also sell it off at a throwaway price to a resident doctor. Local folklore has it that he was the last Hindu to walk out of that area.

Today More hospital is a popular landmark near Adarsh Nagar colony and just a stone’s throw away is Hindustan Super Market, a three storied mall selling everything from a needle to the latest electronic gadget under one roof, it is owned by the Usman brothers. On the other side of the town, Dr Dabeer Ahmed has set up a small multi-speciality hospital on the same location, where once the famous More clinic stood. Adjacent to Dr Ahmed’s hospital is a patho lab run by his wife Dr Fatima Ahmed (alias Dr Anita Patil; theirs was an interreligious love marriage, and she had to convert).

The inconvenient truth of Muslim ghettoization in India

Contrary to what the media wants us to believe, Muslims as a race are increasingly ghettoising themselves and pushing away the non-Muslim populace from their areas, especially in moffusil India. Census data or other such surveys do not capture the full story; in order to better understand this phenomenon, the one marker that comes in handy is the data from the election commission of India. In fact, the study of polling booth level electoral rolls is the most wholesome and fool-proof methodology to understand the reality of ghettoization. This author has been continuously working on presenting a comprehensive picture of the demographic changes in all the 543 LS seats ever since the recent Uttar Pradesh elections and till now the results have been stunning to say the least. Let us look at three random Muslim dominated polling booths from different parts of India to make sense of this demographic challenge

  1. Polling booth number 307, consisting of Shokhwana, Jilhata, Kaseta & Khaletola subdivisions, is part of the Bangermau assembly segment in Uttar Pradesh and has 1185 votes, 613 male and 572 females. It has only 80 Hindu voters and an overwhelming majority of 1105 voters belong to Muslims. In 1981, this same area (pre-delimitation, of course) had 530 voters and 35% of them were Hindus.
  2. Polling booth number 173 in the Mominpura Ilaaka of Gulbarga-north assembly constituency in Karnataka consists of 967 voters with 470 female and 497 males. Out of these 967, only two voters belong to the Hindu community and 965 voters are Muslims. In 1981 close to 30% of the populace in Mominpura was that of Hindus.
  3. Polling booth number 62 of Jalupura in the Kishanpol assembly segment of Jaipur, Rajasthan, has 1125 voters and the total number of Hindu voters stands at 18. Although we do not have the historical data from 1981, local sources ascertain that the population in this region was somewhere in the range of 70-30 in favour of Muslims, whereas today it is close to a 95-5 representation.

Muslims are a highly urbanized set of people, with most of them living in cities and towns rather than in villages. The latest Census data shows that now 31.16% of India lives in the urban areas and a whopping 40.15% of the Muslim populace lives in the ghettoized cities and towns, as opposed to less than 60% in rural areas (which are also increasingly ghettoized anyway).

Delimitation as a tool to legitimize ghettoization

At various times in India’s electoral history, the exercise of delimitation has been carried out as a critical review of the existing electoral map. Mostly, this has been an exercise to reformulate the reserved seats for SCs & STs on a rotational basis and no one has made an attempt to understand the far reaching effects of delimitation on other tenets of Indian society in terms of electoral advantages or disadvantages. Surprisingly, even the ideological right has not attempted to comprehend the process of delimitation and has more or less remained silent apart from few disparate voices from the likes of K.N. Govindacharya.

Take the above example of Gulbarga north assembly constituency in Karnataka: In the pre-delimitation era, the entire city of Gulbarga was encompassed as one single assembly constituency and had a voter representation of roughly 60% Hindus and 40% Muslims, yet the electoral history of this assembly seat is riddled with victories of Muslim League and INL (Indian National League, an offshoot of Muslim League) represented by Mr Qamrul Islam – who has since been incorporated into the larger Congress parivar. In that era it was quite difficult for the non-Muslims to win this seat because of high voter turnout in the Muslim areas (almost 90% at times) and the division of opposition votes by Congress, various strands of Janata Party/Janata Dal and BJP. By 2004, finally BJP had managed to consolidate all the non-Muslim (mainly Hindu) opposition votes to present a viable platform against Mr Quamrul Islam, but all of that was changed by delimitation.

Gulbarga

2004

1999

1994

1989

1985

Non-Muslim

BJP = 48.58%

BJP = 41.58%

BJP= 30.85%

JD = 30.46%

JD = 41.40%

Muslim (QI)

Cong = 46%

Cong=48.84%

INL = 44.37%

INL = 43.15%

INL = 40.24%

Data source Election Commission of India. [Red represents victorious party, QI= Qamrul Islam]

In the post-delimitation era of 2008, Gulbarga was divided into three assembly segments, namely; North, South and Rural. The Gulbarga north assembly segment is now overwhelmingly Muslim in nature and Mr Qamrul Islam of Congress won the seat by an unprecedented 15% vote margin in 2008. If it was difficult earlier, now it is next to impossible for any non-Muslim candidate to win this seat – It is in effect, for all practical purposes, a Muslim reserved constituency.



This scenario is being replicated across the length and breadth of the country within various degrees of limitations. In the recently concluded UP assembly elections, SP got just an additional 3% vote share but won 120% more seats in the post delimitation scenario! Similarly on a national level, Congress vote share in both 1999 as well as 2009 general elections was almost the same, but the LS seats it won got doubled in 2009 – allies and coalition only explains a part of that incredible Congress success of 2009. On the other hand, if a seven letter word explained the defeat of NDA in 2004, then the spectacular success of Congress in 2009 is not a 3 lettered acronym (EVM) but a 12 lettered intervention known as DELIMITATION – but alas! How does one convince Mr Subramanian Swamy to concentrate his energies on the later rather than chase the mirage of the former?

This process has dangerous portends for not only the ideological right but also to parties like BSP that do not overtly depend on minority votes. In fact political parties should be worried about the direction that this Frankenstein monster is bound to take. The logical trajectory of this process is going towards the pre-independence, pre-partition, British idea of separate electorates to give adequate representation to Muslims of India – recently Harsh Mander (of the NAC fame) presented a 91 page report titled “promises to keep”, about the aftermath of the infamous Sachar Committee report wherein he just stops short of recommending a separate Muslim electorate.

The argument that the law of averages makes delimitation a zero sum game is as flawed as the hypothesis of ghettoization being an end in itself for the secure living of an entire race of people. In fact, a combination of other factors like unbridled migration of both the legal and illegal variety and the higher growth rate of Muslim population have agglomerated the risk factors of a dangerous path towards internal civil imbalance. First let us consider the growth of population; till 2011 the TFR (total fertility rate) of Muslims was pegged at 3.6 and recently planning commission of India dubiously reduced it to 3.1, while other international organizations have still maintained a TFR rate of 3.8 for the Indian Muslims (including various UN bodies). Even taking the dubious planning commission fertility rates as the norm, a Muslim woman still gives birth to almost 1 extra kid in comparison to a Hindu woman (practically double), for the same planning commission assigns a value of 1.6 to the Hindu TFR. Despite similar inaccuracies in the census data – electoral rolls are the real thing and they vary considerably from the census data, especially in terms of Muslim population percentage – analysis of 50 years of census data gives us a stunning picture of Muslim population growing almost double the rate of Hindus in the next decade.

Year All Hindus Muslims Christians Sikhs
1971 24.8% 23.4% 31.2% 36.0% 32.0%
1981 24.8% 24.2% 30.8% 19.2% 26.2%
1991 23.8% 22.8% 32.9% 17.0% 25.5%
2001 21.5% 20.0% 29.3% 22.1% 16.9%
2011 21.0% 19.2% 30.7% 12.6% 13.65%
2021* 19.5%* 16.8%* 30.3%* 11.9%* 12.90%

Data source: census of India by Government of India. [*Projections for 2021 based on mathematical straight-line-curve methodology]

This huge increase in population coupled with ghettoization and delimitation turns the entire electoral map of India upside down, when this deadly cocktail is sprinkled with the problem of migration, the implementation of a separate electorate – of the pre-independence vintage – inches closer to a political reality. Impact analysis of these factors tells us that in effect almost 25% of all assembly segments in UP would fall into the “Muslim-reserved” category by 2021, that number ought to have been far higher but for reservation of seats for SC & STs. The clamour for de-reservation of these SC/ST seats is increasing with each passing day, in fact Sachar Committee has already recommended that many of these seats must either be de-reserved or Muslim candidates must be allowed to contest in these reserved constituencies. The latest voice in support of de-reservation has come from none other than the Sonia Gandhi championed NAC member, Mr Harsh Mander. The next generation socio-political confrontation would be waged along the fault lines of reservation. Congress and other “secular” parties have already taken the first step in that direction by inculcating minority quotas into the system – in the recently concluded UP elections.

Internal security & ghettoization

The other dimension of ghettoization in India is the migratory influence on altering the fundamentals of the society. There are two components to this aspect;

  1. Unbridled internal migration
  2. Illegal external migration

At the outset it can be argued that internal migration is not such a bad thing in the classical sense, maybe even desirable in terms of aspirational socio-economics, but there is a historical context to it. At the time of partition almost 90% of all the elite Muslims moved out of India and into Pakistan, leaving essentially poor Muslims back in India with not much land holding in rural parts or business establishments in urban parts. Thus even in 1961 while only 18% of India lived in the urban areas, almost 27% of the Muslims lived in urban areas (a 3rd more than national average), because poor Muslims were left with no option but to provide low-cost urban labour. Instead of improving the lot of Muslims, for 65 years secularism has utilized them as a tool for electoral victories over rivals and the Muslims have simply continued to migrate into their urban cocoons. This has created what is termed in the local slang of moffusil India as, “chota Pakistan“, in almost every major town/city of India. In these chota Pakistans, Hindus are almost barred from an entry pass, let alone conduct any business, and such a state of affairs have created such deep rooted divisions among the society that it is creating irrevocable damage to India’s national integrity.

Illegal migration on the other hand is a far bigger problem than what is perceivable from the surface. What is happening in Assam and what is waiting to happen in West Bengal is an overt manifestation of illegal migration in those border areas, what this broad picture misses though is a more widespread undercurrent in various cities of India. The fact about illegal migrants in Mumbai, running into a few lakhs, is quite well known, unlike the missing facet of a more geographically widespread Bangladeshis across India. For instance, as per conservative estimations, there are anywhere between 20 to 30 thousand illegal immigrants in Bangalore at any given time and many of them are involved in shady activities – in 2005 when Dance Bars where banned in the city, there were about 145 establishments employing close to 3000 dancing girls and almost 20% or about 600 of those were illegal Bangladeshi migrants. The buzz in town is that a former commissioner of police of Bangalore is willing to go on record to throw light on some of these numbers and also expose some of the prominent politicians and their families (belonging to the minority community) having links with known suspects of the South-Asian underworld – maybe an explosive memoir will hit the book shops in the near future.

As per national crime bureau statistics, one out of every four prisoners in India (both under-trials as well as convicts) is a Muslim and almost 80% of them are involved in violent crimes. Another startling fact is that almost 35% of violent crimes committed by Muslims go unpunished because many are never caught, a whopping 65% of India’s most wanted list contains Muslim names. The dubious 404 page Sachar committee report glosses over these statistics and even accuses the state of being insensitive towards minority concerns rather than suggesting a long term solution to high prevalence of crime among the community. The top 3 states in the violent crimes chart of India for 2011 are Jammu & Kashmir (33.7%), Manipur (33%) and Assam (30.4%), incidentally, two of those states are either outright Muslim majorities or an almost Muslim majority. Yet all of these issues are dismissed by the secular socialists and instead a victimhood narrative is painted around the Muslim community and the state machinery is accused of being incompetent. Let us for a moment accept their argument that India & Indians are incompetent and look at statistics from a completely independent international agency: Interpol has issued 990 red-corner notices against Indians and people of Indian origin in the last 12 years (between 2001 to 2012) and an astonishing 54% of those belong to the Muslim community – most crimes involve trafficking of weapons, counterfeit currencies and terrorism, what is more, only 27% of these crimes were committed in India.

Even violent crimes are probably a more palatable facet of the Islamic ghettoization phenomena – let us set different standards of civility for the community, just like different laws – the more worrying factor for India are the number of sleeper cells and terror modules that go almost totally unnoticed by the local law enforcement agencies, for they do not have any workable model of intelligence gathering mechanism in these ghettos. Recently, hundreds of Burqa clad women physically prevented the entry of police officers into a Muslim dominated area of Sitapur district of Uttar Pradesh; it is suspected that in the ensuing milieu one of the key terror suspects Bashir (Hamza) of the Indian Mujahidin (and also a close aide of Riyaz Bhatkal) managed to escape. Fortunately, Delhi police did manage to arrest Bashir later in Lucknow, but their luck might not favour them every time. Internal security cannot be held hostage by human rights evangelists, or by media outrage of the Ishrat Jahangir variety, or for that matter by even political correctness, for we are racing against time to avoid the destiny of our Islamic neighbourhood.

Islamic encounters with the failed states of South Asia

 

 

Epilogue: On the eve of 65th independence day let us take a re-look at a side-story to India’s partition which is related to the health issues of Mohammed Ali Jinnah, who was suffering from tuberculosis & lung cancer and died in September 1948, just 1 year after the partition of India and independence of Pakistan. Many historians and biographers of Nehru and Gandhi have time and again peddled this story to indulge in a bit of historical phantasmagoria of what ifs; what if only Gandhi or Nehru or Patel knew of the debilitating disease of Jinnah and what if India’s independence was postponed only by a year – India could possibly have remained united. This is nothing but juvenile over indulgence of India’s secular historians. In reality, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who had terrific intelligence gathering mechanisms even in pre-independent India, was probably fully aware of the situation and yet decided to go ahead with the partition. It is a tribute to Patel’s farsightedness and vision that India is what it is today, for he had realized much earlier that partition along religious lines was inevitable if India were to survive in the long run without separate electorates and communal riots of the Punjab & Bengal kind. Today the ghettoized Muslim states of South Asia are either failed states or on the path to failure, if India wants to remain an oasis of success in the subcontinent then it has to combat the internal sabotage of Muslim ghettoization – which is a far greater problem than Naxalism or the proposed balkanization of India by its enemy states.

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Praveen Patil

Praveen Patil

Analyst of Indian electoral politics and associated economics with a right-of-centre perspective.