Monday, November 27, 2006

The Rajinder Sachar report, Part I

Ok, so you've heard of the Rajinder Sachar committee report. At the least, you've heard of a report doing the rounds - the one which first tried to split the army across communal lines, and later lamented the poor state of Muslims in the country.

The conclusion of the report is something we all expected. Muslims are worse off in many areas of health, education, employment than even the Dalit community. Most Muslims live in ghettos, in slums, and have lower-than-average access to credit, to education, and to jobs. The only area where the community has adequate representation, the report says, is in our jails. Sordid.

No one can argue with the conclusions of the report, in terms of the facts presented. However, once the report came out, we had the usual cacophony of voices, criticising all and sundry for the community's backwardness, arguing how the discriminatory Indian state was jailing more Muslims considering them to be terrorists, and of course, asking for reservations for Muslims, further reservations for Dalit Muslims, and so on. Fortunately, it didn't reach a high enough crescendo to actually ask for reservations in Parliament!

We should examine these arguments in some detail. Let's take the easiest one first - the question of a far higher Muslim "representation" in our jails than in the population. Why is this so? But before that, we should ask, is it really a sign that the state discriminates against Muslims? To answer that question, we should impose another question on ourselves. Is the number of criminals 'produced' by a community only a factor of its population? So, should we have precisely 80% Hindu criminals, of which 52% are OBCs, some 2% are Brahmins, and precisely 13% Muslim criminals? This kind of pseudo-logic is one propagated by our 'intellectuals' (read commies). The argument goes - since everyone is equal, everyone is equally likely to commit a crime (as the women's rights advocates argue - every man is a 'potential rapist'). Since everyone is equally likely to commit a crime, the number of criminals who belong to a community should be proportional to its population (actually, these worthies would say "male population", but that would be blatantly sexist). Ergo, if a community has a higher 'representation' in the jails, it is being targeted. Conventional wisdom, don't you agree?

Unfortunately, this is just convenient wisdom. Anyone familiar with the criminal justice system will tell you that factors like a high level of education, fruitful employment, family support and a standing in the community all go a long way in keeping people away from crime. Therefore, communities that are less likely to foster these characteristics are more likely to have criminals amongst their midst, not to mention the fact that in this country, it is the rich that get away with murder while the poor pay for even the slightest crime.

So, yes, there is discrimination, but it is economic, not social. The State is targeting the poor, not the Muslims.


Sumanth said...

While i could'nt agree more with two points...

1. This is convenient logic
2. India is split on social status ...

Please Lemme qualify on the social point

We are split on POWER status

The have's and Have nots
HAVES == 1) every DAMN politician 2) Those with lot of MONEY haveing vested interest with 'P's 3) THOSE bakras who VOTE for them and have musucular strength

If you do not fall under any of these categories you can struggle hard but and may even succeed in India but with with Bad bruises for no altercation from your side.

Stier said...

I find this report really the most absurd of all the reports of the innumerable committees formed by the government. But more than that what i really find absurd is why the government still goes with the social status rather than the economical status.

Damnit, i think one of the priorities in front of the government, when India became independent was the removal of poverty. But looks like successive governments have just forgotten that objective and are more interested in the social upliftment. When will these goddamn politicians get it into their thick heads that economic improvement will have the corresponding social upliftment they are after.

Actually, are they after any social upliftment??? I feel they are interested only in one upliftment. Economic upliftment of themselves

Gops said...

Totally agree with both you guys...