Why (Dalit) Muslim/ Christian reservation is dangerous?
While we do expect the above announcements (on points listed in previous part) very soon, we did receive a letter of clarification from Sri Ramdevji when we raised our concerns about his stand on (Dalit) Muslims reservation for being anti-national. The letter confused us more because in this letter, he very clearly rejected the very concept of reservation based on caste or religion and stated that he believes only in reservation on basis of economic status. This is in sharp contrast from his support of caste-based reservations for (Dalit) Muslims. We reproduce the letter here: Sri Ramdevji on Article 341
We would thus request Sri Ramdevji to offer a more detailed and unambiguous stand on this issue of paramount national importance so that all clouds of doubt and concerns are removed. After all, on matters of motherland and mother culture, no chances can be taken irrespective of personalities.
Here are the reasons why we consider inclusion of Muslims and Christians under purview of Article 341 defining Scheduled Castes (also called Dalits wrongly due to political reasons) a very dangerous demand and appeal to all nationalist forces to vehemently oppose it.
Insult of Islam and Christianity
1. The biggest positive that Muslims and Christians showcase about their great religions is that all Muslims are equal or all Christians are equal. Any discrimination among fellow Muslims is anti-Islamic and any discrimination among fellow Christians is anti-Christianity. This is what we are made to understand through all official and religious channels of communication. So inclusion of selective people in Article 341 on basis of birth would break the very foundation of these religions. No Imam or Father would ever acknowledge that one can remain a Muslim or Christian and yet be classified as separate from other Muslims or Christians.
Thus, inclusion of these minority groups as lower castes in Article 341 directly insults these great religions and hence completely illegal. To ensure respect for all religions, and specially minority faiths like Islam and Christianity, is first and foremost legal and constitutional obligation for all of us and the government.
The other alternative that remains then is to include all Muslims and Christians into Article 341. That would indeed be welcome, but then why spare rest of Hindus? Include everyone into Article 341 and let each of us benefit from Article 341. After all who apart from Netas and Abhinetas (Political leaders and actors) is not a deprived class in India today?
And if it be admitted that Islam and Christianity also endorse inequality, then why single-out Hinduism as casteist in texts of schools and colleges? Instead of teaching that caste-inequality as emerging from historical Hindu practices, then all texts should be improved to term casteism as an evil afflicting all religions. There should be chapters on Muslim movements against Islamic caste-system and not merely chapters on Amdebkar and Phule. There should be ample references to Christian and Muslim evil practices and not merely so-called Hindu dogmas.
Ask any proud Muslim or Christian why he or she considers their religion to be better than Hinduism. And the first reason he would proudly assert is absence of inequality on basis of caste. Is this not double-standard then?
If the argument be that Christianity and Islam adopted the evil of casteism from Hinduism, then it should be clearly mentioned that Hinduism is the common generic foundation of Islam and Christianity – whether good or bad. Is it not dishonesty to blame Hinduism for everything bad and showcase every goodness as non-Hindu? We can prove that almost everything in Islam or Christianity is derived from or originally belongs to Hinduism . (For example, Islamic Music, story of Christ (Krishna), Islamic idol-constructions, Islamic architecture….) Thus, this anti-Hindu dishonesty in education system where you blame Hinduism for everything evil but shy away from hailing it as foundation for goodness across religions and regions, is the root cause of whatever religious misunderstandings we have today.
We appeal to Sri Ramdevji to allocate specific focus and funds towards this. We will support him in every way. And until significant opinion polarization happens on this issue, any short-sighted move of including (Dalit) Muslims in SC/ST quota would be anti-Muslim, anti-Christianity, anti-Hindu and anti-India.
Double benefits for few, none for others
2. Minority groups already get several advantages by virtue of being minorities. They get special minority rights, concessions, preferences and aids across various sectors under Minority Development Programs. Including them under Article 341 would give them duplicated benefits and hence be double-injustice to unreserved poor from majority religion. So very clear points should be first laid out to make sure that one does not get benefit as a Muslim and as an SC/ST both.
Remove backwardness from source
3. The whole concept of Article 341 was to be a stop-gap arrangement while the country evolves to a casteless society based on equality. It is the vote-bank politics that ensures its continuity today. Countries like USA have been able to tackle apartheid through more effective affirmative actions than a flawed tool of granting reservations. So instead of adding more and more groups into it and shrinking the playing ground for merit, the effort should be on replacing reservation based social justice with models of financial and educational inclusion as practiced in countries which have demonstrated significant improvements in quality of life of deprived sections.
Certain societies are backward not because they are debarred from achieving any position in country, but because they do not have right resources to reach the level of competencies to achieve those positions. Societies can never improve through reservation for chosen few, but only by providing right resources and facilities to make them more competent and achieve any position.
Has not Dr APJ become a top-scientist and then President due to his competence? Did he require any caste-certificate or minority-certificate to achieve it? We need to create more APJs.
Danger of unethical conversions
4. Inclusion of Muslims and Christians in Article 341 would potentially wipe-off an entire Hindu population of the country and push Hindus towards a minority status in their own nation. This is an open fact that Christianity and Islam are proselytizing religions. There are many influential groups owing allegiance to these religions who have a clear goal of making entire world Christian or Muslim and for whom converting someone as Christian or Muslim is considered an essential criteria to achieve Heaven in these Semitic religions. Thus you would find dedicated and well-funded conversion groups belonging to these religions that use every hook and crook to justify their end goal – conversion of vulnerable Hindus.
Billions of dollars from Europe and Middle-East are pumped in to the nation through official and unofficial channels for the single goal of Hindu conversion.
Accordingly, they focus actively on evangelization or Dawah. Go to any Church or Mosque and tell them that you are keen to convert. And they would immediately do the needful with all legal and ritualistic work. Now go to any temple. The priest there would be confused and in most cases ask you to go to any lawyer than a temple. This is because Hinduism does not have a goal of conversion. Whatever little conversions you may hear about in recent times is as a defense mechanism against ploys of evangelists and Dawah agents. Hinduism essentially believes in freedom of belief and does not condemn anyone to Hell simply because he is non-believer in a particular deity.
Now Article 341 acts as a natural deterrent to designs of conversion agents of Islam and Christianity to decimate Hindu population. Today, India is the only attractive destination for conversion activists because Hindus are the only people susceptible to conversion due to their openness with regards to religion. A reduction of Hindu population will impact not only Hindus but entire world owing to strategic position of India and its people. Apart from Hindus, rest of the population west to India is already split into Muslim and Christian. How they converted through might of sword is amply clear by even a cursory glance on Medieval History of Europe and Asia.
Christian missionaries are extremely active in tribal and less-developed areas and have done massive conversions over last few decades. However Article 341 benefits drives these neo-Christians to still claim themselves to be Hindus in legal matters. Thus official Christian population figures remain low.
Muslim conversion agents believe in superstitious Ghazwa-e-Hind prophecy which claims that they will go to Heaven and Jesus will be born again after India becomes a Muslim majority nation. So they would use every ploy to make a dent in Hindu demographics. However, dawah agents being much more fanatic, cannot accept someone being a Muslim but officially showing himself as a Hindu in legal matters. That would be haram as per Sharia experts. Thus, the population growth in Muslims in India (highest for any religious group) is only through biological means. Once, they get included in Article 341, there would be no stopping these fanatic dawah agents from converting vulnerable deprived Hindus through force, deceit or greed.
Remember that we are talking of not 1 or 2% but 25% of our population that comes under SC/ST category.
In fact, Sri Ramdevji mentions in his explanation sent to us that he is against unethical or forceful conversion and demands ban on it. However he fails to explain how one can differentiate between unethical and ethical conversion? Agniveer converted more than 10,000 recently and made Vedic Brahmins out of erstwhile Dalit Muslims and Christians, and many Dawah agents and Missionaries are crying foul because such events were unheard of till recently. We would like to understand what Sri Ramdevji opines on this – is this sin or virtue?
The crux of the matter is that in a world where everyone has freedom of belief, he also has freedom of propagating those beliefs. Just as we love to propagate Vedas, and Sri Ramdevji loves to propagate Hathayoga, similarly a Father or Imam may love to propagate Islam or Christianity. There is no way one can call any of these unethical even though we may have sharp personal opinions on each of these. For example, in Saudi Arabia, Agniveer, Swami Vivekanand or Father of a Church may have been debarred from their activities. And in USA, Sri Ramdevji may have faced severe legal actions for selling non-clinically approved treatments for serious diseases as panacea. Whether any of these acts is right or wrong is something we can all debate upon and have individual opinions. And further, how do we identify unethical and ethical practices in method of propagation is a matter of even more complexity.
For example, just think of how Muslims and Christians happen to be 35% of the population of subcontinent today? Was Islam and Christianity spread in ethical ways in medieval ages by saints like Ghori, Ghazni and Babur? Is it not that for 1000 years, we were forced to allow ‘unethical’ damages to happen, and now suddenly we should call for a full-stop in name of ‘ethics’ without allowing opportunity to even reverse the damage done? Is ‘ethics’ something that only hurts the peaceful majority of this nation?
Sri Ramdevji admits in his statement sent to us that he is aware of conversion of Hindus that may happen through manipulation of provisions of Article 341. But he simply suggests that unethical conversions should be banned without getting into how ‘unethical’ conversions can be identified and controlled. Again opinions may be sharply divided on this and Sri Ramdevji may himself dissociate from this discussion for same reasons why he advocated reservations for Muslims in first place.
But irrespective of these opinions, one cannot allow tinkering with legal provisions and bring slightest threat to demographics of the majority population of the country. Unless a detailed and thoroughly convincing mitigation plan be brought forth to public, even a generic suggestion towards such dangerous policies would be anti-national.
All responsible and influential leaders of the country should speak a word on such critical issues only after they have done thorough research and analysis. Their casual shallow opinions, when expressed in public can lead to damage to interests of peaceful majority and communal tensions. Just imagine, tomorrow there may be foolish demands even for religious reservations in Indian military!
Such populism has already cost us a lot, and hence this is not something that is expected from saints who keep interest of nation foremost, vow to Sanyas Dharma of truth and consider none less than Swami Dayanand Saraswati as their role model.
Huge population at risk
5. The estimates for so-called Christian Dalits demanding inclusion under Article 341 is hardly 0.75% of Indian population. And so-called Muslim Dalits are only 1% of entire Muslim population or 0.13% of Indian population. (based on NSSO and Census Reports by Govt of India).
Thus the dangerous move of providing benefits to less than 1% of our population would threaten to impact 25% of our population that comprise SC/ST.
The concerns of such negligible minorities can be well-addressed by alternative affirmative action programs that are proven to be more effective worldwide than reservations. And if such minority groups be given reservations, why not so many other other less-minor but socially and economically backward groups? For examples poor Brahmins and Rajputs who find no state protection for their traditional occupations of rituals and warfare.
On contrary allowing this suicidal demand would lead to an anti-Hindu wave that threatens to damage our foundations like never before in history. In fact, even the Congress government – considered anti-Hindu by many – which has ruled India the most also did not ever tinker with provisions of 341. Of course, now things are changing for worse with desperation to woo minority vote-bank in wake of corruption scandals that get exposed and threaten the kursi. But if someone supports inclusion of (Dalit) Muslims in SC/ST, in our opinion he or she is no way different from the political party hating whom is so fashionable today!
‘Dalit’ is insulting. Poor is in every caste
6. Often people confuse between Dalit and poor while making such sweeping statements and thrive more on emotional hyperbole. Further, Dalit is in fact a derogatory term having no mention in constitution as well. Now caste and poverty need not be synonymous. There are affluent people from so-called lower castes and people dying from hunger from so-called upper castes. If at all the domain of reservation must be expanded for unavoidable reasons, it should be on economic ground rather than adding yet another element of religion. Sri Ramdevji fully endorses this in his letter of explanation sent to us. We thus expect him to retract his statement supporting religious reservations.
Muslim backwardness is global. We should address the roots.
7. Vast majority of Muslims already get reservations under OBC category. Still they are most backward community and unable to compete even within OBC category, as per various research findings including Sachar Committee report. And that is not the case in India alone. Worldwide, Muslims remain the most educationally-deprived and economically unproductive community, even in Muslim majority nations. The cases of human rights violations are greatest in these nations. Thus, the root causes of Muslim backwardness are much deeper and fundamental than lack of opportunities in job sector.
This is true that all Muslims are not terrorists. This is also true that there have been many patriots from among Muslims who make us all feel proud and inspired. For example, Ashfaqullah Khan, Hakim Suri, Abdul Hamid, APJ etc. But this is also a bitter truth that 99% of dreaded terrorists in world today are those claiming to fight for Islam.
Those sincere about emancipation of (Dalit) Muslims should be daring enough to understand and address these core issues than be swayed by myopic vote-bank inspired gimmicks. Because such gimmicks only strengthen the powerful forces that have already hijacked Islam and keep rest of the population busy enjoying their lollypops while they plan yet another nuisance.
In next part, we shall review what actually needs to be done for those concerned about promoting social equality.