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Veil off a few myths on Muslims in India

Here are six popular beliefs about Indian Muslims. More and more people believe in them without realising the need to verify them. Here?s a reality check.

india Updated: Jan 26, 2006 04:48 IST

Here are six popular beliefs about Indian Muslims. More and more people believe in them without realising the need to verify them. Here’s a reality check.

The special focus of the first Hindustan Times CNN-IBN State of the Nation Poll was the mood of the Indian Muslims. The Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), which carried out the survey, posed several questions to the 15,141 respondents. Besides, several special questions were asked to 1,510 Muslim respondents. Of them, 46 per cent were women, 64 per cent were from the rural areas and 42 per cent from the north Indian heartland states.

Myth of Muslim population

According to the latest Census, Muslims comprise 13.4 per cent of the Indian population. But that is not what people think. When asked to gauge the proportion of Muslim populace, only one in every six came close to hitting the bull’s eye. A majority interviewed cited figures well above double the real Muslim population.

Myth of extra-territorial loyalty

This myth is not spoken about, but hinted at. The Indian Muslims are not quite loyal to this country. In this survey, all but two per cent of the Muslims said they were "proud" or "very proud" of being an Indian.

Myth of Islam and democracy

Thanks to the US propaganda, this is now a global myth. Islam is not compatible with democracy. Three-fourth of Muslims, nearly the same proportion as Hindus, firmly reject any non-democratic alternatives.

Myth of Muslim Personal Law

Personal Law tops the Muslim agenda and they will defend it at any cost. But when asked about the most important problem faced by Indian Muslims, 69 per cent chose livelihood issues compared to only 4 per cent, who spoke of religion. An overwhelming majority disapproved of polygamy or 'triple talaq'.

Myth of Muslim appeasement

Muslims are a pampered lot. But they do not feel so. One out of every five interviewed said they had personally faced discrimination on religious grounds. The more educated and affluent experienced greater discrimination.

Myth of irreparable Hindu-Muslim rift

Many believed that Gujarat caused an irreparable rift. But the survey shows only 13 per cent Muslims feel that it cannot be bridged and about the same feel that it made no difference in the first place. The bulk feels that Gujarat had sparked tension, but things are getting back to normal.

First Published: Jan 26, 2006 02:05 IST