Rajat Sharma


rajat-sir A paper prepared by Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister has revealed that while the share of Hindus in India’s population decreased by 7.8 per cent from 84.7 pc in 1950 to 78.1 pc in 2015, the share of Muslims increased by over 43 per cent from 9.8 pc in 1950 to 14.1 per cent in 2015. No absolute numbers were given in the paper titled “Share of Religious Minorities: A Cross-Country Analysis (1950-2015) by Shamika Ravi, Abraham Jose and Apurv Kumar Mishra. The paper also disclosed that the share of Jains decreased from 0.4 pc to 0.3 per cent in the last 65 years, while share of Christians rose from 2.2 pc to 2.4 per cent, and that of Sikhs rose from 1.2 per cent in 1950 to 1.9 pc in 2015. Soon after the disclosures in the paper were made public, a public debate has begun over social media, mostly over the imbalance between Hindus and Muslims in society. While BJP leaders attributed this to “appeasement policies” during Congress rule, Congress described it as a ‘ploy’ to divert people’s attention from other pressing issues in the current general elections. Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi said, more such ‘ploys’ are in the pipeline, because, according to them, BJP leaders have realized that their party is going to lose the elections. AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi, who normally advocates Muslim interests, listed out the number of siblings of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to Home Minsiter Amit Shah and former RSS chief ‘Guruj’ M. S. Golwalkar. Owaisi said, this was a tactic to pave the path for declaring India a Hindu state. The PM-EAC paper has also pointed out how that while Hindus shrank by nearly 8 pc in the last 65 years in India, the share of Hindus in neighbouring countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Myanmar and Nepal has registered a steep decline. Union Minister Giriraj Singh alleged that a conspiracy was afoot during 60 years of Congress rule to convert India into an Islamic state. RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav questioned the figures saying no nationwide population census was carried out in 2021 due to Covid pandemic. He alleged that the BJP was trying to “fool the voters by raising questionable issues”. Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Surendra Jain said, the 44 per cent hike in share of Muslims was obviously on the lower side, because the number of illegal Muslim migrants and infiltrators has not been added. “This is a dangerous trend”, he said. Asaduddin Owaisi said, “if BJP was not stopped, the day will soon come when India will become a Hindu Rashtra”. What I feel is: since electioneering is in full swing across India, there is more political sniping rather than a serious debate on facts relating to population imbalance. No doubt, this will impact the current elections, but the issue is serious. In a diverse country like India, where Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and other communities live together, population imbalance can cause serious problems for the social fabric. The battle can begin over control on resources in states where the imbalance is more. Assam and Kerala are two examples. Similarly some bordering areas of West Bengal, Eastern UP, Seemanchal region in Bihar, Nooh in Haryana and Bharatpur in Rajasthan, are pockets were population imbalance caused riots and communal tension in recent years. Not only India, there are several countries in the world which are facing similar problems. All of us need to be careful. The paper on PM-EAC that was made public has been prepared by some social scientists, and it clearly says that if Muslim population increases at a faster pace, the number of Muslims across the world will leave Christians behind by 2060, and by 2070, India could emerge as the country having the largest Muslim population in the world. Congress leaders have been saying that Muslims have the first right on the nation’s resources, while some opposition leaders are promising reservation for Muslims. In such a situation, it is natural that this issue will be raised during electioneering and the opposition may have to reply to questions on this issue.

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