India has many laws to oppose discrimination. But like the Americans of those times, Indians too have come up with their own segregation strategies.
However, Indian Muslim is not give the same opportunity in India. From all the available statistics it is clear that the tools of prosperity have bypassed Muslims in India. There are not many Muslims in private schools, not many Muslims in engineering colleges, not many Muslims in the IT industry. There are two things happening here – one, while the Hindu middle class as a group is growing in size through time bringing more and more people into its fold, the same is not true for Muslims. They are somehow left out of the rise of prosperity that India has witnessed in the last sixty years. Two, there is an active campaign though not through explicit laws, but through many direct and indirect actions of many Hindus, to discriminate against Muslims thereby reducing their participation from the areas of opportunity.
Such segregation is not confined to only primary schools. A rough estimate of the profile of people in most IT companies would reflect the same. The number of Muslims would be very low. In one of the companies that I am familiar with, there were not more than 1% Muslims in an organization which had nearly 2,500 engineers. In a study conducted on IT industry in Bangalore in 2006, 88% were Hindus, while 5% were Christians and only 2% Muslims. 71% belong to upper castes (half were Brahmins).
Segregation is already in action and taking place for many decades now. Indian Muslim does not live in your apartment complex, he does not show up at your workplace. He does not sit next to you in your school. India has institutionalized its own segregation methods against Muslims.
Muslim is the new Dalit in India. Their participation in the mainstream is not reflective of their representation in population and the worrying trend is they are being marginalized and segregated more with time. We have to realize and reckon this before it is too late.
The struggle by the black population to overthrow segregation in United States of America culminated in a new Civil Rights Movement under various leaders including Martin Luther King Jr. With the two new bills passed by Congress and Senate, Civil Rights Act in 1964 and Voting Rights Act in 1965, the Jim Crow laws were reversed and the rights of blacks were restored to make him an equal citizen without discrimination. One of the key items introduced by Lyndon Johnson’s government was the affirmative action- to proactively increase the participation of blacks in all mainstream positions so that their numbers reflect their proportion in the population.
Similarly, something sinister was happening in India for more than two thousand years in India where lower castes were systematically discriminated, ostracized and marginalized. However, India has found an antidote to that poison – through the tool of reservations. Though highly discredited as a tool for politics, the bitter pill of reservations alone has brought socioeconomic change to the plight of millions of lower castes in India.