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Mainstream, VOL LVIII No 39, New Delhi, September 12, 2020

Promoting Fraternity: Courts to the Rescue | Ram Puniyani

Stay on Transmission of Hate Program of Sudarshan TV

Friday 11 September 2020

by Ram Puniyani*

Prashant Bhushan, the upright legal luminary and social activist, has shown the mirror to the Judiciary in a remarkable way. But that’s not the whole story. Recently two interventions of the Courts do give a hope that the judiciary can also come forward to preserve the democratic values in the society. The first one of this was the judgement where the Tabiligi Jamaat members were exonerated from the charges of spreading Corona (Corona Jihad, Corona bomb). The second one is the courts coming to stop the transmission of the series ‘Bindass Bol’ by Sudarshan TV. Its Editor Suresh Chavhanke in his tweet had announced the relay of the series which aims to expose the UPSC jihad, Civil Service jihad by Muslims. As per him through a conspiracy the Muslims are infiltrating (ghuspaith) into our bureaucracy by getting place in the UPSC exam, which will entitle them to become IAS or IPS officers.

Mr. Chavanke through a 45 Second promo of his serial claimed that ‘Jamia Jihadis’ will be occupying the prestigious positions of power through this Jihad. Interestingly of the 30 odd candidates who qualified in the exam from Jamia, 16 were Muslims and 14 Hindus. The Jamia Students approached the Court for a stay on this serial, which the Courts granted on the grounds that this serial, is likely to spread hate in the society. A joint letter of retired Civil Servants, ‘Constitutional Conduct Group’ who have served the Indian Government in various capacities and have no political affiliation, stated “It is completely perverse to allege that there is a conspiracy to infiltrate Muslim officers into the services, or to use terms like UPSC Jihad or Civil Services Jihad in this connection. These communal and irresponsible statements amount to hate speech and are defamatory of an entire community.”

As such “Muslims make up 3.46 per cent of the country’s 8,417 IAS and IPS officers. Of 292 Muslim officers, 160 are among the 5,862 who had been selected through the Civil Services examinations conducted by the UPSC, while the remaining 132 are among 2,555 who were promoted to the IAS or IPS from the state civil services on the basis of seniority and performance, which is also assessed by the UPSC.
(https://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/muslims-add-up-to-3-in-ias-ips-list/). The other data is also very revealing. In the 2019 examination, 35 out of 829 selected candidates were Muslims. That comes to 4.22%, whereas their percentage in the population of India, according to the 2011 Census, is described as 14.2%. In the 2018 examination, out of 759 successful candidates, just 2.64%, or 20, were Muslims. In the 2017 examination, out of 810 successful candidates, 41, that are 5.06%, were Muslims.

Chavhanke claims that these candidates are given the option of Arabic studies due to which they are able to compete and succeed. All in all Sudarshan TV and its Chief Chavhanke are on ideological track, where Muslims should not be in any position of power and authority. This is what their majoritarian politics wants.

The truth is there are fewer Muslims, much less than their percentage in population. As such bureaucracy, should be operating on the principles of Indian Constitution, above the narrow consideration of religion. Chavhanke and his tribe, who are in abundance, are on lookout for more issues, twist them and demonize Muslims. This serial is actually liable for punishment under several clauses for hampering national integration.
As such the percentage of Muslims in the Government services is abysmally low. This average of 4% in top jobs goes along with around 5-6% of Muslims in overall Government jobs. This has a lot to do with the economic and educational status of Muslims, worsened by the insecurity caused by the regular repeated violence against them, manifesting in acts of violence like Bhivandi, Jalgaon, Bhagalpur, Meerut, Malyaana, Mumbai, Muzzafarnager and lately in Delhi.

Various commissions and committees have gone into the issue of plight of Muslims into Government jobs. Gopal Singh Commission, Rangnath Mishra Commission and lastly Sachar Committee have given the similar observations that Muslims are grossly underrepresented in the jobs and their representation in jails is much higher than their percentage in population.

Their political plight has also worsened over the years and the representation in the Parliament and state Assemblies is on constant decline. Many a Muslim leader has gone to the extent of saying that any way they have been marginalized at political and social level, so let’s focus only on education. Even many oversees Indian groups of Indian origin also try to promote the educational efforts of Muslim community.

It is paradoxical that Jamia Mila Islamia, which has been targeted by Chavhanke ranks among the top Universities of the country. The economic decline of Muslim community, insecurity and ghettoisation has dealt a severe blow on the aspirations of Muslims, Muslim youth in particular.

Saeed Mirza’s classic, Salim Langde Pe Mat ro’ (Don’t feel sorry for the plight of Salim Langde’), brilliantly shows the dilemmas of Muslim youth in choosing the path for their future. They realize that getting jobs is as difficult for them as they are Muslims, so why bother so much about education!

While Chavanke’s efforts also questions the integrity of UPSC, which is above board. Such a dimension in social thinking will worsen the process of communal divide and lead to increased marginalization of Muslims. There are photographs Chavahanke greeting Narendra Modi and Amit Shah from close quarters. The channel is close to RSS ideologically.

This coming, divisive act coming on the back of propaganda of Tabhligis undertaking Corona Jihad, is a terrible move, which needs to be countered. Jihad seems to be the dog whistle to demonize Muslims, land jihad, love jihad, UPSC jihad and what have you. Court by staying this have done a yeomen service to promoting the cause of fraternity, the core value of Indian Constitution. And this example gives the hope that Indian pluralism and diversity has a good chance to survive.

* Dr Ram Puniyani is a former professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT Bombay). and well known columnist and social educator on human rights and communal harmony.

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