Muslims make up for 11.5 per cent of the state population, compared to 14.2% in the country, according to the religion-wise census for Maharashtra compiled by the office of registrar general of India and published in the economic survey of the state for 2015-16.
The Muslim population in the state is largely urbanised and clustered in metros, with Mumbai suburbs accounting for the largest chunk of their population at 17.95 lakh, followed by Thane city at 13.55 lakh and Aurangabad city at 7.78 lakh. They also account for a little less than nearly half of the island city’s population at 7.73 lakh.
The second largest minority community is the state is Buddhists at 5.8%. The community makes up for 0.7% of the country’s population.
Little wonder then that the political parties, including the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) seem to have given up on the biggest minority and are instead wooing the Dalits.
The survey report tabled in the state legislature on Thursday, which has also published district-wise break-up of religious population in the state, along with literacy and sex ratios, throws up some interesting figures.
The literacy level of Muslims in the state is 83.6%, higher than the all-India average of 68.5% for Muslims and 73.3% for Hindus, the largest majority in the country. The literacy rate of Hindus in the state is 81.8 per cent.
Interestingly, the state’s biggest majority and minority community have literacy level higher than the country’s average, but their sex ratio is below the national average.
The sex ratio of Muslims stands at 911, against the national average of 951. The sex ratio for Hindus stands at 928, opposed to the national average of 938 for the community.
The urban sex ratio of Muslims stands at 893 and Hindus at 894. The sex ratio of Christians in Maharashtra at 1,031 is better than the national average at 1,023.
The figures point out that the literacy and education levels may not improve inherent gender biases within communities.
“One could roughly conclude the concentration of Muslim population in urban areas has improved the education and literacy levels. The contradiction is that such areas, be it Mumbai or Aurangabad, will also see politics on religious and identity lines. It remains to be seen whether this electorate will vote on these lines or opt for more cosmopolitan and development agenda,” said B Venkatesh, a political analyst.