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Kerala's Muslims record highest literacy

Though Muslims are in a minority, they are highly literate in comparison with other communities in eight states.

india Updated: Dec 28, 2006 22:22 IST

Literacy rate among Muslims is the lowest in the country from among the different communities, but they fare better than the majority Hindus in eight states.

The literacy rate among Muslim males was high -- above 80 per cent -- in Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Gujarat, according to a new book `Population of India in the New Millennium: Census 2001' by noted researcher and demographer Mahendra K Premi.

As for Muslim women, a high literacy rate of about 70 per cent was recorded in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh.

Muslim men had the highest literacy rate of 93.7 per cent in Kerala, almost at par with Hindus who had a literacy rate of 93.8 per cent, as per the 2001 Census.

In Chhattisgarh, the literacy rate of Muslim males was 90.5 per cent, while Hindus lagged behind at 76.8 per cent in the state.

In communally-sensitive Gujarat, Muslim men fared better than Hindus with an 82.9 per cent literacy level compared to the majority community's 79.1 per cent literacy rate.

Muslim men had a better literacy rate than their Hindu counterparts in six states -- Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and Tamil Nadu.

The percentage of literate Muslim women was higher than that of the Hindu community in nine states -- Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa and Tamil Nadu.

It seems the level of economic and social development of the state is not the only important factor in Muslim literacy rates but it is the tradition of sending children to school or not," Premi, a former JNU professor, says in the book.

At the national level, both Muslim men and women have the poorest literacy rates of 67.6 per cent and 50.1 per cent respectively.

The overall literacy rate of the country as per the 2001 Census is about 65 per cent.