Are Muslims a more unequal society in India?
The question one can answer on the basis of data is whether Muslims are a more unequal society in India than other religions
Speaking to BJP workers in Bhopal on June 27, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reiterated his Pasmanda Muslim outreach. “A section of their own religion has exploited Pasmanda Muslims, something that hasn’t been discussed in the country. Several generations have had to suffer”, Modi said.
To be sure, this is not the first time someone is raising the question of socially driven economic inequality within the Muslims. The question of social stratification among Muslims, like caste among Hindus, was discussed by sociologists such as Imtiaz Ahmad (he died earlier this month) in the 1970s itself. Even in politics, Muslim leaders such as Ali Anwar who was a Janata Dal (United) MP from Bihar, have played a key role in championing Pasmanda – the term refers to the socially backward groups among Muslims – politics.
Whether or not the Prime Minister’s outreach will bring political dividends for the BJP is a question which cannot be answered. However, the question one can answer on the basis of data is whether Muslims are a more unequal society in India than other religions, which is what Modi’s statement seems to suggest. This two-part data series, which is based on official statistics, will seek to do exactly that. The first part will look into the question of intra-religion inequality and the second part, the economic status of Muslims vis-a-vis other religions in India.