Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Study: Indian Muslims Worse Off Than Untouchables and Falling Further

A recent Dartmouth study by three researchers has reported that "Muslims (in India) now have considerably worse upward mobility (29) today than both Scheduled Castes (37.4–37.8) and Scheduled Tribes (32.5–32.7). The comparable figure for African Americans is 34."

The research paper titled "Intergenerational Mobility in India: Estimates from New Methods and Administrative Data" says that "higher caste groups (in India) have experienced constant and high upward mobility over time, a result that contradicts a popular notion that it is increasingly difficult for higher caste Hindus to get ahead".

Dartmouth researchers' analysis focuses on two mobility measures: (i) the expected outcome of a child born into the bottom half of the parent outcome distribution (upward interval mobility, henceforth referred to as upward mobility); and (ii) the expected outcome of a child born into the top half of the parent distribution (downward interval mobility).

Indian Muslims at Bottom in Social Mobility. Source: Dartmouth College


Panel A  in the above figure presents bounds on trends in upward interval mobility, or the average rank among sons born to fathers in the bottom half of the father education distribution. Panel B presents bounds on trends in downward interval mobility, or the average education rank among sons born to fathers in the top half of the father education distribution. Panel C presents bounds on trends in the proportion of sons completing primary school, conditional on being born to a father in the bottom half of the education distribution. Panel D presents bounds on trends in the proportion of sons attaining a high school degree, conditional on being born to a father in the bottom half of the education distribution.

The Dartmouth paper by Sam Asher, Paul Novosad and Charlie Rafkin confirms what an Indian government commission headed by Justice Rajendar Sachar found back in 2006 by saying that "Muslim disadvantage has been widely noted, including by the well-publicized federal Sachar Report (2006)".  Here's an excerpt of the paper:

"India’s Muslims constitute a similar population share as the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (14% for Muslims vs. 16.6% for SCs and 14% for STs). Muslims have worse socioeconomic outcomes than the general population (Sachar Committee Report, 2006). While Muslim disadvantage has been widely noted, including by the well-publicized federal Sachar Report (2006), there are few policies in place to protect them and there has not been an effective political mobilization in their interest. Muslims have also been frequent targets of discrimination and even violence."

The discrimination and violence against Muslims that the paper refers to has only gotten worse since the election of Hindu Nationalist leader Narendra Modi to India's highest office in India in 2014.

Earlier this year, an 8-year-old Muslim girl Asifa Bano was locked in a Hindu temple, drugged, gang-raped for several days and then bludgeoned to death in Indian occupied Kashmir, according to a report in a leading American newspaper.

Gang Rape Victim: 8-Year-Old Asifa Bano
Support of Rapists: 

The horror of a Muslim child's rape and murder was made even worse when the ruling BJP-affiliated right-wing Hindu lawyers marched in defense of her attackers. Prime Minister Narendra Modi reluctantly condemned the crime after waiting for several days. His belated acknowledgment came in response to international outrage.

Is this just another rape in India? Did the child's Muslim faith make her a target? Has Islamophobia gone mainstream in India?  To answer these questions, let us put some context to what is happening in Modi's India.

India saw about 39,000 rape cases reported in 2016, a 12% jump over the prior year, according to Indian crime statistics.  Children were reported as victims in 42% of the cases.

It is hard to say how many of the rape victims were Muslim.  What is known, however, is the exhortation by iconic Hindutva leaders to rape of Muslim women.  Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, one of the founders of right-wing RSS who Prime Minister Modi describes as "worthy of worship", is among them. After getting elected to the highest office in India, Modi paid tribute to Savarkar by laying flowers at his portrait that hangs in India's Parliament.

VD Savarkar, in one of his books titled Six Glorious Epochs of Indian History, elaborates on why raping of Muslim women is not only justified but encouraged.

Savarkar has used revisionist Hindutva history to exhort his followers to rape Muslim women as payback for historic wrongs he believes were committed by Muslim conquerers of India. “Once they are haunted with this dreadful apprehension that the Muslim women too, stand in the same predicament in case the Hindus win, the future Muslim conquerors will never dare to think of such molestation of Hindu women,” he writes.

Hindutva Revisionist History: 

American history professor Audrey Truschke, in her recently published book "Aurangzeb: The Life and Legacy of India's Most Controversial King" has argued that colonial-era British historians deliberately distorted the history of Indian Muslim rule to vilify Muslim rulers as part of the British policy to divide and conquer India.  These misrepresentations of Muslim rule made during the British Raj appear to have been accepted as fact not just by Islamophobic Hindu Nationalists but also by at least some of the secular Hindus in India and Muslim intellectuals in present day Pakistan, says the author.  Aurangzeb was neither a saint nor a villain; he was a man of his time who should be judged by the norms of his times and compared with his contemporaries, the author adds.

Truschke says the original history of the Mughal rule was written in Persian. However, it is the English translation of the original work that are often used to distort it. Here's what she says about it in her book:

"The bulk of Mughal histories are written in Persian, the official administrative language of the Mughal empire but a foreign tongue in India today. Out of necessity and ease, many historians disregard the original Persian text and rely instead on English translations. This approach narrows the the library of materials drastically, and many translations of the Mughal texts are of questionable quality, brimming with mistranslations and abridgments. Some of these changes conveniently served the agendas of the translators, especially colonial-era translations that tend to show Indo--Muslim kings at their worst so that the British would seem virtuous by comparison (foremost here is Elliot and Dowson's History of India as Told by Its Own Historians). Such materials are great for learning about British colonialism, but they present an inaccurate picture of Mughal India."

Modi's Record: 

In 2002 when Narendra Modi was chief minister of the Indian state of Gujarat, hundreds of young Muslim girls were sexually assaulted, tortured and killed.  These rapes were condoned by the ruling BJP, whose refusal to intervene lead to the rape and killing of thousands and displacement of 200,000 Muslims.

Since his election to India's top elected office, Modi has elevated fellow right-wing Hindu extremists to positions of power in India. Yogi Adiyanath, known for his highly inflammatory anti-Muslim rhetoric, was hand-picked in 2016 by Modi to head India's most populous state of Uttar Pradesh.

Adiyanath's supporters brag about digging up Muslim women from their graves and raping them. In a video uploaded in 2014,  he said, “If [Muslims] take one Hindu girl, we’ll take 100 Muslim girls. If they kill one Hindu, we’ll kill 100 Muslims.”

Yogi wants to "install statues of Goddess Gauri, Ganesh and Nandi in every mosque”.  Before his election, he said, “If one Hindu is killed, we won’t go to the police, we’ll kill 10 Muslims”.  He endorsed the beef lynching of Indian Muslim Mohammad Akhlaque and demanded that the victim's family be charged with cow slaughter.

Madhav S. Golwalkar, considered among the founders of the Hindu Nationalist movement in India, saw Islam and Muslims as enemies. He said: “Ever since that evil day, when Moslems first landed in Hindusthan, right up to the present moment, the Hindu Nation has been gallantly fighting to shake off the despoilers".

In his book We, MS Golwalkar wrote the following in praise of what Nazi leader Adolf Hitler did to Jews as a model for what Hindus should do to Muslims in India: "To keep up the purity of the Race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic races -- the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well-nigh impossible it is for races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindusthan to learn and profit by."

Social Hostility Against Minorities in South Asia. Source: Bloomberg

Rise of Hindu Nationalists: 

The situation for India's minorities, particularly Muslims, has become a lot worse in the last two years with Hindu mobs raping and lynching Muslims with impunity. The 2016 election of anti-Muslim radical Hindu priest Yogi Adiyanath as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state, is seen as a clear signal from Mr. Modi that his anti-Muslim policies will continue.

Mohammad Akhlaq is believed to be the first victim of Hindu lynch mobs claiming to be protecting the cow. He was accused of consuming beef. For more than a week Prime Minister Narendra Modi remained silent over the incident and even after he spoke about it, he did not condemn it outright. The ruling BJP officials even tried to explain it as the result of the genuine anger of the Hindus over the slaughtering of a cow.

Pew Research Report:

A Pew Research report from data collected in 2015, about a year after Modi rose to power, found that the level of hostility against religious minorities is "very high". In fact, it said India scores 9 for social hostilities against religious minorities on a scale of 0-10.   Other countries in "very high" category for social hostilities include Nigeria, Iraq and Syria. Pakistan's score on this scale is 7 while Bangladesh is 5.5.

Pew Research Report on Religious Freedom

History of Anti-Muslim Riots in India:

Paul Richard Brass, professor emeritus of political science and international relations at the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington, has spent many years researching communal riots in India. He has debunked all the action-reaction theories promoted by Hindu Nationalists like Modi. He believes these are not spontaneous but planned and staged as "a grisly form of dramatic production" by well-known perpetrators from the Sangh Parivar of which Prime Minister Modi has been a member since his youth.

Here's an excerpt of Professor Brass's work:

"Events labelled “Hindu-Muslim riots” have been recurring features in India for three-quarters of a century or more. In northern and western India, especially, there are numerous cities and town in which riots have become endemic. In such places, riots have, in effect, become a grisly form of dramatic production in which there are three phases: preparation/rehearsal, activation/enactment, and explanation/interpretation. In these sites of endemic riot production, preparation and rehearsal are continuous activities. Activation or enactment of a large-scale riot takes place under particular circumstances, most notably in a context of intense political mobilization or electoral competition in which riots are precipitated as a device to consolidate the support of ethnic, religious, or other culturally marked groups by emphasizing the need for solidarity in face of the rival communal group. The third phase follows after the violence in a broader struggle to control the explanation or interpretation of the causes of the violence. In this phase, many other elements in society become involved, including journalists, politicians, social scientists, and public opinion generally. At first, multiple narratives vie for primacy in controlling the explanation of violence. On the one hand, the predominant social forces attempt to insert an explanatory narrative into the prevailing discourse of order, while others seek to establish a new consensual hegemony that upsets existing power relations, that is, those which accept the violence as spontaneous, religious, mass-based, unpredictable, and impossible to prevent or control fully. This third phase is also marked by a process of blame displacement in which social scientists themselves become implicated, a process that fails to isolate effectively those most responsible for the production of violence, and instead diffuses blame widely, blurring responsibility, and thereby contributing to the perpetuation of violent productions in future, as well as the order that sustains them."

"In India, all this takes place within a discourse of Hindu-Muslim hostility that denies the deliberate and purposive character of the violence by attributing it to the spontaneous reactions of ordinary Hindus and Muslims, locked in a web of mutual antagonisms said to have a long history. In the meantime, in post-Independence India, what are labelled Hindu-Muslim riots have more often than not been turned into pogroms and massacres of Muslims, in which few Hindus are killed. In fact, in sites of endemic rioting, there exist what I have called “institutionalized riot systems,” in which the organizations of militant Hindu nationalism are deeply implicated. Further, in these sites, persons can be identified, who play specific roles in the preparation, enactment, and explanation of riots after the fact. Especially important are what I call the “fire tenders,” who keep Hindu-Muslim tensions alive through various inflammatory and inciting acts; “conversion specialists,” who lead and address mobs of potential rioters and give a signal to indicate if and when violence should commence; criminals and the poorest elements in society, recruited and rewarded for enacting the violence; and politicians and the vernacular media who, during the violence, and in its aftermath, draw attention away from the perpetrators of the violence by attributing it to the actions."

Summary:

A recent Dartmouth study by three researchers has reported that "Muslims (in India) now have considerably worse upward mobility (29) today than both Scheduled Castes (37.4–37.8) and Scheduled Tribes (32.5–32.7). The comparable figure for African Americans is 34."  The Darthmouth paper adds that " (Indian) Muslims have also been frequent targets of discrimination and even violence."

India is seeing a spate of gang rapes and lynchings of Muslims by Hindu mobs who have been emboldened by the rise of anti-Muslim Hindu Nationalist leader Narendra Modi since his 2014 election to the highest office in India.  In their writings, iconic Hindutva leaders like Savarkar have encouraged rape of Muslim women. The elevation of radical Hindu Yogi Adiyanath to the top job in Uttar Pradesh by Mr. Modi has further alarmed India's Muslim minority. University of Washington's Professor Emeritus Paul Brass, who has documented the history of anti-Muslim violence in India,  describes it as "a grisly form of dramatic production" by well-known perpetrators from the Sangh Parivar of which Prime Minister Modi has been a member since his youth. Pew Research report on religious violence confirms India's status as a country with "very high" levels of social hostilities against religious minorities.  There appears to be no relief in sight for them at least in the foreseeable future.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Islamophobia Goes Mainstream

700,000 Indian Troops vs 10 Million Kashmiris

Muslim Lynchings in Modi's India

Yogi Adiyanath as UP CM

Hindu Nationalists Admire Hitler

Hinduization of India Under Modi

Muslim Victims of Gujarat 2002

India's Superpower Delusions: Modi's Flawed Policies

13 comments:

Shams N. said...

Sometimes these statistics are not a true depiction of facts. There are over 11 USD billionaires in India, all with legit income. Wipro's owner Azim Premji is worth $200 Billion. India's biggest pharma's owner is a Muslim with $6.3 Billion worth.

With a matching Muslim Pakistani population, there are more Indian Muslim film actors, more engineers, and more doctors. Indian top nuclear scientist, their atom bomb maker, as well as the top aerospace man behind their rockets were both Muslims.

Riaz Haq said...

Shams: "There are over 11 USD billionaires in India, all with legit income. Wipro's owner Azim Premji is worth $200 Billion. India's biggest pharma's owner is a Muslim with $6.3 Billion worth."

The status of a few successful token Indian Muslims is not representative of the vast majority of them in India.

Indian Muslim deprivation is born out by Indian government's own data as reported by Sachar Commission.

Read the following:

https://www.riazhaq.com/2014/05/maulana-azads-grandniece-says-muslims.html

Nayyer Ali said...

India has failed to live up to its promise of being a truly secular state where religion does not disadvantage you. This was Jinnah's concern, that Muslims would always be second-class citizens in a unified India and why he demanded an independent Pakistan. For all its problems, the socioeconomic status and the future prospects of the Muslims of Pakistan or Bangladesh is far higher than in India, where they are sliding further down the ladder. While there are anecdotal successes, and Bollywood has a high share of Muslims, for the vast Muslim masses India has failed them. With Modi and the BJP, it is sliding further into anti-Muslim bigotry and bias.

Nayyer Ali said...

BTW, Azim Premji's net worth is about 16 billion dollars, not 200 billion, which would have made him the richest person on the planet. Premji has set up an educational foudation that he has funded with 2 billion dollars, hopefully that will do some good assuming it is directed at the disadvantaged Muslims of India.

Riaz Haq said...

‘Tell Everyone We Scalped You!’ How #Caste Still Rules in #India.The crimes are happening across the country and #Dalits are not simply killed: They are humiliated, tortured, disfigured, destroyed. #Modi #BJP #Apartheid https://nyti.ms/2Dvj4ll

When Sardar Singh Jatav set out walking on a muggy night in early September to talk with the men who employed his son, he found them already waiting for him in the road. But they were not in the mood for discussion.

The higher-caste men greeted Mr. Sardar with a punch to the face. Then they broke his arm. Then they pinned him down. Mr. Sardar shrieked for help. Nobody came.

One higher-caste man stuffed a rag in his mouth. Another gleefully pulled out a razor. He grabbed Mr. Sardar’s scalp and began to lift and cut, lift and cut, carving off nearly every inch of skin.

“Take that!” Mr. Sardar remembers them saying. “Tell everyone we scalped you!”

Mr. Sardar is a Dalit, a class of Indians who are not just considered lower caste, but technically outcaste — what used to be called untouchable. Bound at the bottom of India’s Hindu society for centuries, the Dalit population, now estimated at more than 300 million, has been abused for as long as anyone can remember.

And now, according to crime statistics, the violence against them is rising.

This might seem surprising against the new narrative India is writing. So much has changed. Millions of people have been lifted out of poverty. The Indian economy is now one of the world’s biggest. Everywhere in the country, there are new roads, new airports, new infrastructure.

But in many places, especially in poorer rural areas, caste infrastructure is still the one that counts. And those who rebel against it, like Mr. Sardar, are often greeted with unchecked brutality.

It is violence intended to send a message, pain inflicted to maintain India’s old social order. The crimes are happening across the country and Dalits are not simply killed: They are humiliated, tortured, disfigured, destroyed.

“We have a mental illness,” said Avatthi Ramaiah, a sociology professor in Mumbai.

“You may talk about India being a world power, a global power, sending satellites into space,” he said. “But the outside world has an image of India they don’t know. As long as Hinduism is strong, caste will be strong, and as long as there is caste, there will be lower caste,” he added.

”The lower castes don’t have the critical numbers to counterattack,” he said. And the result has been violence that he described as “intimate, sadistic and cruel.”

In late October, a 14-year-old Dalit girl was beheaded by an upper-caste man whose wife said he hated the girl specifically because of her caste. A Dalit scavenger was tied up and fatally whipped outside a factory in May, in a beating captured on video and broadcast across India. In March, a Dalit man was killed by higher-caste men for riding a horse (traditionally, Dalits aren’t supposed to do that).

“Such incidents would not have happened in my childhood,” said Chandra Bhan Prasad, a well-known political commentator (and a Dalit). “In my childhood, a Dalit would not ride a horse. Before 1990, most Dalits worked for someone. Now they are paying a price for their freedom.”

For decades, India has struggled to de-weaponize caste. When the Constitution was being written in the late 1940s, intellectuals knew caste was a sore spot that needed to be urgently addressed. They included specific protections for Dalits, who make up about 15 to 20 percent of India’s 1.3 billion people.

Affirmative action programs, though they have generated deep resentments among upper castes, have helped some Dalits escape poverty. Today there are Dalit poets, doctors, civil service officers, engineers, and even a Dalit president, though it is mostly a ceremonial post.

Riaz Haq said...

#Indians demand citizenships of countries they settle in and they get angry if denied; yet they, today's #Hindus, consider #India's #Muslims and India-born #Muslim rulers and their descendants outsiders. #BJP #Modi https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-whats-in-a-name-for-indias-muslims-a-lot-of-hurt/

Amrit Dhillon is a New Delhi-based journalist.

Indians have often demanded that the countries to which they have migrated should, after a suitable period, grant them citizenship. If a government refuses to do so, they become angry. It’s my right, my children were born here, I am settled here, this is my home now.

Fair enough.

Yet descendants of the Muslim Mughal dynasty, which ruled India for almost 400 years, are considered outsiders by those same people who wish to claim citizenship, today’s Hindus. Although their forefathers came from Central Asia, the Mughals settled in India. Some took Hindu wives, made India their home and died here. So why is the current government, ruled by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), busy renaming towns to remove any names that sound even remotely Muslim and replacing them with Hindu ones? The federal government has given consent to the renaming of at least 25 towns and villages in the past year. The latest is in Uttar Pradesh where BJP chief minister Yogi Adityanath has renamed Faizabad district as Ayodhya. Last year, he gave Mughalsarai railway station a Hindu name. Last month, he renamed Allahabad city as Prayagraj. Other BJP chief ministers are also going to get rid of Muslim-sounding names.

Why do Hindus, who are the majority and currently ruled by the BJP, which glorifies Hindu culture, seem so insecure? So much so that renaming a city satisfies some obscure and deep need? From their behaviour, you would think they were a besieged minority seeking solace in symbolic acts.

Indians, of course, are not the only ones to rename cities. The Bolsheviks (who even renamed their country) turned St. Petersburg into Leningrad to honour Lenin. Opposing empires have turned a beautiful city variously into Byzantium, Constantinople and Istanbul. The Vietnamese got rid of Saigon (a westernized form of the traditional name) and made it Ho Chi Minh City as a rejection of French colonialism. Ever since the end of apartheid, South Africans have renamed streets, airports and towns to obliterate those given by their Afrikaans oppressors. And Indians have renamed major streets named after British personages for the same reason – to repudiate their colonial rulers.

But to erase names given by the Mughals, their own ancestors? This is not the same as repudiating foreign rulers (the British) or indigenous oppressors (the Afrikaans). The reason for the renaming is that the BJP and some of its supporters cannot abide the act that India was ruled by Muslims. Externally, they feel loathing and hatred for the Mughals qua Muslims. Internally, they feel sheepish and diminished that a Hindu-majority country came to be ruled by Muslims and for so long.

This practice is plain silly. The BJP have three Muslim ministers in the government right now. Why not get them to change their names, too? And why not, as respected historian Irfan Habib has suggested, get the BJP president Amit Shah (a Hindu, of course) to change his surname because the name Shah is of Persian origin?

Riaz Haq said...

#Indians demand citizenships of countries they settle in and they get angry if denied; yet they, today's #Hindus, consider #India's #Muslims and India-born #Muslim rulers and their descendants outsiders. #BJP #Modi https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-whats-in-a-name-for-indias-muslims-a-lot-of-hurt/

Amrit Dhillon is a New Delhi-based journalist.


The renaming business, if taken to its logical conclusion, would require that insecure Hindus stop eating biryani (a Mughal dish), stop wearing the sherwani (a long, formal coat), stop listening to Sufi music and shut down the Taj Mahal (don’t laugh – some members of the Hindu fringe claim preposterously that the monument built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan was originally a Hindu temple). In fact, the Taj Mahal in particular upsets Hindu extremists because it is the symbol of India for the world – and it is Muslim.

When you suffer from an inferiority complex, you feel compelled to launch a renaming campaign as a way of telling your Muslim minority, your fellow-citizens, that they have made no contribution to India’s cultural life. That whatever the Mughals did is of no value, despite the fact that it is their buildings and monuments that Indians and foreigners admire.

Indian Muslims have already been forced by this government to be on the defensive over the issue of beef, which has been used to attack and lynch them. But to go on a renaming spree, which sends the message that their cultural contribution is zero, is the height of pettiness and a new low.

The latest spate of renaming is also an insult to Indian voters. A general election is due next year and it takes no great depth of political analysis to see that the BJP hopes that renaming cities will help voters forget that it has hardly fulfilled any of its grandiose promises and that life for most ordinary Indians continues to be as hard as ever. So rename cities rather than create jobs.

Rename Faizabad rather than tackle the pollution in Faizabad. Rename Mughalsarai railway station rather than keep the platforms clean and give travelers modern amenities. Rename Allahabad rather than remove the stinking piles of rubbish and drains clogged with filth.

In fact, under this government’s own Ministry of Urban Development’s cleanliness rankings last year, most of the major cities in Mr, Adityanath’s state, Uttar Pradesh, one of India’s poorest, fared badly on all parameters. But why bother trying to address that?

Getting rid of Muslim names is both a spiteful petty act against Muslims and bread and circuses.

Riaz Haq said...

#Hindu Nationalist saffron brigade is working tirelessly to scrub #Modi’s #India clean of vestiges of the #Mughals by writing them out of school textbooks, renaming cities and roads, and neglecting Mughal monuments monuments.http://www.openthemagazine.com/article/books/mughal-lite

INDIA IS GRIPPED by Mughal fever these days. Seemingly obsessed with premodern India’s most famous empire, the saffron brigade works tirelessly to scrub Modi’s India clean of vestiges of the Mughals by writing them out of school textbooks, renaming cities and roads, and neglecting Mughal monuments. When Hindu nationalists are not marginalising the Mughals, they villainise these long-dead kings as proxies for modern-day Indian Muslims. All actions provoke a reaction. And so popular curiosity about the Mughals has expanded apace with Hindutva’s anti-Muslim exertions. The political abuse of Mughal history raises the stakes of popular knowledge about this dynasty and their legacies in India.

Parvati Sharma’s Jahangir : An Intimate Portrait of a Great Mughal (Juggernaut; Rs 599; 319 pages) and Ruby Lal’s Empress: The Astonishing Reign of Nur Jahan (Viking; Rs 599; 304 pages) are among the most recent efforts to wade into these fraught waters and educate the public about key Mughal figures. Sharma tracks the life of Jahangir (1569-1627), the fourth Mughal king, while Lal devotes her attention to his favourite wife, Nur Jahan (1577-1645). Jahangir and Nur Jahan were only married for 16 years (1611-1627), but their alliance defined much about both of their lives. They were the ultimate power couple. He sat on the throne, and she wielded power behind the scenes (how much power is the subject of scholarly debate and a question that animates Lal’s book). Still, neither author has written about this pair, but rather each has chosen to write a narrative biography of a single royal figure.

Biography has been a late-bloomer in the discipline of history, and the jury is still out on its ultimate acceptance as a productive way to analyse the past. For decades, most professional historians wrote off biography as a crummy way to do history. Things began to shift in the 1980s and 1990s as some historians saw anew in biography a way to produce social history. Still, the genre has its share of detractors. Writing in 1999, Stanley Fish slammed biography as ‘minutiae without meaning’ and ‘a bad game’ that is less edifying to readers than watching professional wrestling. In recent years, historians have characterised biography as ‘the bastard child of academe,’ ‘the [historical] profession’s unloved stepchild’ and, quite simply, ‘a lesser form of history.’

While many professional historians have long turned up their noses at narrative biography, everybody else feels differently. As Richard Eaton has observed: ‘People are profoundly drawn to the personalities and life-stories of others.’ Seeking to quench or at least address this popular thirst for biography, William Dalrymple—who has done more than any scholar to awaken public interest in Mughal history—wrote in 2005 that more historians ought to write ‘serious biography or narrative history’ of India’s pre-colonial rulers. Historians have responded to this call. For instance, Sunil Khilnani told the history of India through 50 lives as a radio programme, set of podcasts, and a book (Incarnations: India in 50 Lives, 2016). In addition, non- historians have attempted to produce narrative histories.

Riaz Haq said...

How #India Is Benefiting in the #Trump Era. India policymakers often seem not only comfortable with President Donald Trump’s foreign policy, but enthusiastic about it. #Islamophobia #Modi #BJP https://nationalinterest.org/feature/how-india-benefiting-trump-era-38067

Over the last fifteen years or so, no area of American foreign policy has been more promising than U.S.-India relations. The relationship has gone from strength to strength since the end of the Clinton administration. Today, India policymakers often seem not only comfortable with President Donald Trump’s foreign policy, but enthusiastic about it.

No doubt this has something to do with his tough approach to Pakistan. But it’s also about China. The Indians finally have a partner in Washington who sees China in the same geopolitical terms they do. More than that, they see an American administration willing to risk its relationship with China in furtherance of a balance in the region.


New Delhi should understand, however, that there are limits to the benefits they can expect from American geostrategy. Access to American military technology, yes. Ever closer security cooperation, yes. Exemption from America’s pressure on Iran, yes. Even, eventually, exemption from sanctions for Indian military cooperation with Russia.

But not trade concessions. Appealing to the China threat will not call off the Trump administration’s pressure on longstanding trade complaints. There may have been some uncertainty about this early on in the new administration. Not now. New Delhi must come to grips with American trade concerns on their own terms—unrelated to broader strategic convergence.

This relates directly to current trade negotiations. In a nutshell, India wants continued access to the General System of Preferences (GSP), i.e. duty-free treatment for roughly $6 billion of the $50 billion in goods India ships to the United States every year. And the United States wants better access to Indian markets.

These discussions cover several product areas—such as medical devices and dairy products. They also encompass issues not directly related to exports, such as differences over where investors store their digital data. That’s a big issue for American credit card and Internet companies, and part of a major global debate.

At this point, however, the key to unlocking a deal is India’s tariffs on high tech goods—seven tariff lines, including smartphones, smart watches and telecommunications networking equipment.

The impasse stems from the “Make in India” initiative. As the name implies, this is an effort to encourage the manufacturing of more products in India. It is industrial policy—no different, except perhaps in effectiveness, than Beijing’s “China 2025” program. No different, except in terms of scale, than America’s use of tariffs to promote its steel and aluminum industries—something India has rightly protested.

In the specific cause of promoting investment in the information and communications technology (ICT), New Delhi has enacted a series of new tariffs. The problem is that this violates commitments it made under the WTO’s 1996 Information Technology Agreement.
----------------

The fact that final assembly for many of these products is in China does not matter. Appeal to common U.S.-India geostrategic interest vis à vis China is not going to win the day. American companies support the administration’s push for market access. Their interests and the interests of the people they employ will shape the Trump administration’s approach. If India wants to become a leader in ICT manufacturing, it should do so in keeping with its WTO commitments. It will not find in America a partner willing to help it compete with China to the detriment of Americans’ own commercial interests.

Riaz Haq said...

Stats on destruction of lives and property in #India Occupied #Kashmir

Killings: 94,479
Custodial killings: 7,048
Disappearances: 10,125
Gang rapes: 10,283
Civilans blinded: 188
Kids orphaned: 20,085
Women widowed: 20,005
Buildings destroyed: 106,071

https://medium.com/@cjwerleman/why-the-world-ignores-indias-violence-in-kashmir-c49f51bb21f9?fbclid=IwAR2mwyxGBg84B8agBtXkeEsu8fuaz-pyVUSSXdHKoN7bR6NSXP5BMC6UsX0

Riaz Haq said...

#India is Legislatively Discriminating Against #Muslims with #CitizenshipAmendmentBill- This, Not #Trump's Wall is The Real Human Rights Scandal. #Modi #Hindutva #BJP #Islamophobia https://eurasiafuture.com/2019/01/09/india-is-legislatively-discriminating-against-muslims-this-not-trumps-wall-is-the-real-human-rights-scandal/ via @eurasia_future

Determining the citizenship of peasants in India has always been a difficult task due to the lack of modern local governance in remote and rural regions, as well as due to the fact that many of the people in question simply do not have any modern documentation that is typically used to determine one’s status as a citizen. It is against this background that India’s lower house of Parliament has decided to pass a proposal as part of the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019, that would see all un-documented Indian residents have their status normalised as full Indian citizens – with the exception of Muslims.


The passage of the new proposals have led to riots in India’s eastern Assam state where last year, four million Muslims were left off of citizenship rolls, effectively leaving them stateless even though most of these people had spent much or even all of their lives in India. While many believe that the controversial bill won’t be cleared by the upper house of India’s parliament, the fact that such an explicitly discriminatory piece of legislation could even be considered, says a great deal about the anti-Islamic tricks that Premier Narendra Modi’s BJP has up its sleeves in the run-up to this year’s general election.

While India has not even been able to conduct a proper tally of its own residents and has struggled throughout 2018 to attempt and conduct such a thing without resorting to overt discrimination, the wider global media has been focused more on Donald Trump’s border wall than on India’s wholesale discrimination against 172 million of its Muslim citizens, as well as the discrimination against millions of non-documented Muslims who know no other home than India.

Legally, Trump’s border wall does not violate any part of the US constitution and it is of course the right of every nation to physically secure its borders, just as Pakistan and Turkey have done in respect of portions of their borders with hostile neighbours. But what India is doing is something very different. India is punishing millions of people in Assam and beyond, for the fact that they were brought to India as genuine refugees and had lived for years in a system with widespread deficiencies in local governance that did not allow for a traditional normalisation of their status within India.


The current citizenship proposals do in fact acknowledge past deficiencies in local and regional governments that have left many millions of people without genuine social security. While New Delhi seeks to rectify this situation in respect of undocumented Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis and others so long as they can prove that they have lived normal lives in India for at least six years, Muslims are not covered by the new legislation which acknowledges past injustices against those who arrived in India after leaving Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

Interview: 'Post Sachar Report, Condition of Indian Muslims Unchanged'
Academic Maidul Islam speaks about the socio-economic status of Indian Muslims, the specific problems of Bengali Muslims and political accusations of 'Muslim appeasement'.

https://thewire.in/rights/interview-post-sachar-report-condition-of-indian-muslims-unchanged


The situation of Muslims in India is dismal as far as socio-political marginalisation of the community is concerned. Such socio-political marginalisation has a long history after the formation of the Republic of India.

However, in the recent past, the process of marginalisation and insecurity among Muslims has been a result of a series of mob lynching incidents in the name of cow vigilantism, targeting Muslim youth under the bogey of “love jihad” and low-scale communal riots in various parts of the country. There are also credible studies showing the denial of housing to Muslims in non-Muslim localities, aggravating the process of ghettoisation of the community.

Moreover, the under-representation of Muslim minorities in the Indian parliament after 2014 has now reached an all-time low. On parameters like literacy rates, mean years of schooling, the percentage of graduates, Muslims, Scheduled Castes, and Scheduled Tribes lag behind upper caste Hindus, Hindu OBCs and other religious minorities.

There is a higher degree of landlessness among Muslims than any other social groups, while Muslims are second to Dalits in small landholding. Both Dalits and Muslims are lagging behind any other social group on counts of land ownership, average land possession and average land cultivation.

Moreover, Muslim presence in top corporate boards and Muslim presence among the wealthiest Indians is negligible, along with Dalits and Adivasis. The Muslims are broadly located in the informal sector labour force, small peasantry, artisanal industries, petty production and small trade. The available data on unemployment and monthly per capita consumption expenditures show that Muslims, Dalits and Adivasis are behind other social groups.

The empirical data provided by the Post-Sachar Evaluation Committee Report (2014), Report of the Expert Group on Diversity Index (2008), India Exclusion Report (2013-14), 2011 Census and latest NSSO reports suggest that Indian Muslims are a socio-economically backward community.

In many cases, the socio-economic situation has worsened due to the burden of socio-political marginalisation and increasing prejudices in the context of a growing trend of Islamophobia. At the same time, the tragedy of Indian Muslims is that there is a sustained level of neglect towards the socio-economic issues of the community.

First, the problems of Muslims are inadequately understood by governmental agencies and political leadership. As a result, the state either ignores the real issues of the Muslims or tries to resolve them through a piecemeal approach.

Second, the lack of a progressive leadership among the Muslim community in India has traditionally meant that the problems of Indian Muslims have been restricted to the issues of identity (for example, Muslim personal laws, minority educational institutions, fatwas against controversial authors, and so on) and security (immunity from communal violence).

In effect, the visible conservative leadership among Indian Muslims have not been passionate enough to articulate the demands of equity (modern education, health, income, employment, and so on).

Third, mainstream popular culture such as Hindi cinema has misrepresented the identity of Indian Muslims by using age-old stereotypes and vilification without showing the actual problems of Muslim minorities.

As a result, only the wrong notions, misconceptions, and myths regarding Muslims proliferate and permeate in large sections of non-Muslims. The structural problems of the Muslim minorities hardly get attention for remedy.

Riaz Haq said...

#Facebook in #India Is Drowning in Anti-#Muslim #Hate Speech. #Modi #BJP #Islamophobia - VICE News

https://news.vice.com/en_us/article/mb8xxb/facebook-in-india-is-drowning-in-anti-muslim-hate-speech

At the end of February, Facebook launched an ad campaign in the Indian state of Maharashtra that was designed to inform users about resources available to protect against harassment and hate speech.

But instead of informing the public, it enraged them.

Facebook’s mistake: portraying a troll as a member of the lower Dalit caste, an oversight that essentially reinforced ugly stereotypes against the very group that is most discriminated against on its platform. Hundreds of users reported the ad as hate speech, and within a day the ad was removed. But the incident symbolized Facebook’s mounting failures in its biggest market, particularly when it comes to the spread of harassment and hate speech.

In fact, despite Facebook’s efforts, it’s barely made a dent in that department: 93 percent of all hate speech posts reported to Facebook by monitoring group Equality Labs remain on the platform — including content advocating violence, bullying and use of offensive slurs, according to a new report from the South Asian advocacy group, which is dedicated to ending caste-based discrimination, Islamophobia and religious intolerance.

Facebook's inability to curb hate speech is disproportionately harming India's Muslim minorities and at times spilling over into real-world violence, according to the report, which draws worrying comparisons between the situation in India and the platform's failures in Myanmar, where it was used to fuel violence against the Rohingya Muslim minority.

“Facebook has failed its caste, gender, and religious minority users.” Thenmozhi Soundararajan, one of the authors of the report, told VICE News. ”By its own community standards, it has not fulfilled the bare minimum required to ensure that hate speech and disinformation does not become normalized in the platform.”

OVERRUN BY ISLAMOPHOBIA

Facebook has faced near ceaseless criticism at home and abroad for the often-unchecked megaphone it provides to hate mongers and merchants of disinformation. In India, those flaws appear super-charged and directed primarily at one community: Muslims. According to the report:

Islamophobic content was the biggest source of hate speech on Facebook in India, accounting for 37 percent of the content reported by Equality Labs. Fake News (16 percent), casteism (13 percent) and gender/sexuality hate speech (13 percent) were the next biggest groups.

43 percent of the hate speech Facebook initially removed was restored within 90 days, and 100% of these restored posts were Islamophobic in nature.

Facebook repeatedly states it responds to the majority of reports in under 24 hrs, but Equality Labs found that the median response time in India was 48 hours.

Facebook said it has removed some of the content Equality Labs flagged as breaching its Community Standards, though it has not seen the full report. But the company did not respond to a question about why so much of the content that was removed later reappeared on the platform.

Overall, researchers pinned the blame squarely on Facebook, which it described as ill-equipped and unprepared to deal with the torrent of hate speech on its platform. With almost 300 million active accounts and potentially hundreds of millions more still to join, India is Facebook’s biggest market, and its most challenging, with unique obstacles to overcome,. “Indian religious and socio-political contexts are complex enough to require their own review and co-design process to adequately address safety.” the report said.

But instead of tailoring a solution to cope with India’s specific challenges, the company continues to rely on community standards and practices designed for western markets, Equality Labs says, that don’t track with India’s challenges.