Note: IndiaFacts reader Mr. Ram Kumar Ohri, a retired IPS officer has sent in an open letter to IndiaFacts. The letter, published without making any edits tells a squalid story of how poor children have been, and continue to be robbed of their rightful scholarships.
An Open Letter to Shri Salman Khurshid
SORDID STORY OF ROBBING CRORES OF POOREST CHILDREN OF SCHOLARSHIPS
During times of deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” – George Orwell
Not many people know that by using the flawed and fabricated findings of Sachar Committee, Salman Khurshid, the former Minister of Minorities Affairs, robbed the unlettered daughters and sons of nearly 34 crore Hindus living below the poverty line, mostly in rural areas. The High Level Committee chaired by Justice Sachar was born in sin of grave constitutional impropriety. The task assigned to Justice Sachar had been entrusted in 1992 by the Indian Parliament to the National Minorities Commission by enacting a special law called The Minorities Commission Act, 1992. All responsibilities for protection of the rights of minorities and ensuring their welfare had been assigned by the Parliament in terms of the aforesaid legislation to the Minorities Commission. Therefore the very act of the Prime Minister constituting a High Level Committee in March 2005, by an executive fiat for one single religious minority was patently unconstitutional and bad in law. The worst aspect of the sinister move, however, was that Justice Sachar did not inform the PM that what was being was a blatant violation of the Constitution.
For decades an unsubstantiated belief has been propagated across the country that economically and educationally, Muslims are more disadvantaged than the Hindus. This falsehood is being unabashedly used by the powerful pro-Muslim vote bank lobby to bestow many unmerited benefits and concessions, including nearly twenty million scholarships and concessional educational loans exclusively on the Muslims and four other minorities. But it was revealed by Salman Khurshid’s Press Conference on May 29, 2012, that not one single scholarship was given to the daughter or son of the poorest Hindu. Nor were any cheaper educational or entrepreneurial loans advanced to any Hindu poor, while funds worth several lakh crores were advanced to the children of doubly blessed five minorities, namely the Muslims, the Christians, the Buddhists, the Parsis and the Sikhs.
Strategy of Discrimination
This strategy of religion-based discrimination was implemented in pursuance of the communally divisive vote bank policy enunciated in the Prime Minister’s notoriously famous “Muslims First” policy statement made on December 9, 2006. Inexplicably the aforesaid policy statement was made by Dr. Manmohan Singh on the birthday of Sonia Gandhi, Chairperson of the United Progressive Alliance.
The worst aspect of the ongoing discrimination is that crores of poor Hindus belonging to the perennially famished hoi polloi of rural India have been deliberately deprived of any share in the 20 million scholarships awarded to the five minorities, including four economically and educationally better placed communities than the Hindus. These four super-privileged minorities are the Christians, the Parsis,the Buddhists and the Sikhs all of whom happen to be show stealers in literacy average, economic prosperity and education.
The data pertaining to infant and child mortality, degree of urbanization and life expectancy at birth available in public domain proves that it is the Hindus, not the Muslims, who are the most disadvantaged religious group. Following are the five major globally recognized human development indicators :
i) Infant Mortality;
ii) Child Mortality;
iii) Life Expectancy at Birth;
iv) Degree of Urbanisation ;
The Hindus are far behind the Muslims in the first four human development indices, except literacy in which Hindus with 65.1 percent literacy are marginally ahead of Muslims who have the literacy average of 59.1 percent. But Justice Sachar did not have the moral courage to identify and write that one single factor responsible for lower Muslim literacy average was the lower ratio of literacy among Muslim women at a meagre 50.1 percent. It was lower by 3.6 percent than the national average of female literacy at 53.7. Thus, this important cause of lower female literacy among Muslims ignored by Justice Sachar was the diktats of Muslim religious leaders restricting education of girls beyond a certain age and insistence on the customary veil.
Plight of Hindus
Unfortunately most Hindus, including their spiritual gurus, telemedia analysts, self-anointed intellectuals and political leaders belong to the prosperous fraternity and well-to-do middle class. Their children do not need free scholarships. No wonder they have thus remained indifferent to the pathetic economic condition of the poorest Hindu masses, especially those trapped in the terminally ill rural areas. These busybodies strutting across the political and spiritual universe have never cared to know that in four out of the five globally recognised human development indices, the majority community is lagging behind the Muslims, the Christians, the Buddhists, the Parsis and the Sikhs.
That explains how the children of 34-35 crore poorest Hindus were led to slaughter on the altar of Sachar Report! The daughters and sons of nearly 340 million poorest Hindus were robbed in broad daylight of their rightful share in 20 million scholarships by the ruling politicians in an ugly bid to promote the ‘exclusive development’ of five minority communities. And lo and behold, this deprivation of the poorest Hindu children was done in the garb of ‘inclusive development’ !
The ongoing discriminatory policy against the majority religious group, mostly the rural Hindus, was launched by the Prime Minister with great fanfare in June, 2006, in the garb of Prime Minister’s New 15 Point Programme for Welfare of Minorities. Through a sleight of hand, the poorest Hindu children were deprived of any share in twenty million scholarships showered on Muslim, Christians, Buddhists, Parsis and the Sikhs. The most shocking aspect of this biggest post-independence scam is that the Christians, Buddhists, Parsis and the Sikhs are the real show-stealers in literacy and education–way ahead of he Hindus.
Examining the Sachar Report
A careful examination of Sachar Report reveals a series of ugly tricks devised to trample upon the Right to Equality of eighty percent citizens of India on the ground of religion. Could it be that the poorest students belonging to the majority community are being denied proportionate share in millions of scholarships and financial largesse worth thousands of crores because they happen to belong to the politically-pariahed religion called Hinduism? No Hindu or non-Hindu political leader showed the guts to question this implementation of ‘exclusive minority development’ programme tom-tomed as ‘inclusive growth’.
Enumerated below are two prominent instances of fudging of facts by Justice Sachar in his report.
- Justice Sachar deliberately refused to consider the documented fact that according to the National Family Health Surveys Nos. 1 (1992-93) and 2 (1998-1999) the Muslims were better placed than Hindus in four major human development indicators, namely the Infant Mortality, Child Mortality, degree of Urbanisatioin and Life Expectancy at Birth. After admitting this important fact on pages 37-38 of his report, Justice Sachar took recourse to suppressio veri, suggestio fallaci, by attributing it to the highly inventive argument that it could be due to better child feeding practices prevalent among Muslims. Instead of candidly admitting that the Muslims were better fed and had access to better medical care the retired Chief Justice decided to weave the yarn of ‘better child feeding’ practices among Muslims. Could there be a worse example of falsification of the data available in public domain?
- Another instance of suppressio veri, suggestio falsi is the horrid description of the plight of Muslim women on page 13 (Chapter 2) which was false beyond belief. It boggles the mind:
Everything beyond the walls of the ghetto is seen as unsafe and hostile–markets, roads, lanes and public transport, schools and hospitals, Police Stations and government offices.
Can any Indian honestly believe that Muslim women are treated so shabbily in India ?
Many more instances of fudging of facts can be cited from the report of Justice Sachar. These are being left out because of shortage of space.
To sum up, a systematic and rational analysis of the comparative scores of the Hindus and the Muslims in various human development indices reveals that in the first four globally recognised economic development indicators the Hindus are lagging far behind the Muslims and four other religious minorities, namely the Christians, the Buddhists, the Parsis and the Sikhs. This truth was established four times by four different studies, though Justice Sachar ignored the documented truth for reasons best known to him.
Rebuttals galore for the Sachar Report
The first well-documented rebuttal of the flawed findings of Justice Sachar came on September 2, 2006, when a paper was circulated by Prof. Sanjay Kumar of the Centre of Studies for Developing Studies, New Delhi, in a seminar organized at the prestigious Indian Institute of Public Administration. The research of Prof. Sanjay Kumar presented in a packed hall of distinguished scholars in the auditorium of the I.I.P.A. revealed that there was hardly any difference in the economic and educational status of the Hindus and the Muslims.
The indepth research based on a survey by the Centre for Developing Societies further highlighted that the proportion of ‘the very poor’ Indians was higher among the Hindus than among the Muslims. The survey conducted in the year 2004 showed that the percentage of ‘very poor’ Hindus was 31 percent while the percentage of the ‘ very poor’ among Muslims was only 24 percent. Thus, on the basis of the CDS survey the percentage of the ‘very poor’ people among the Hindus was nearly 25 percent higher than among the Muslims ! It was a very significant finding of Prof. Sanjay Kumar, based on a survey comprising 27,000 random samples.
Mysteriously this important finding was ignored by Justice Sachar despite a clear directive in the Prime Minister’s Notification dated March 9, 2005 to Justice Sachar’s High Level Committee to “obtain relevant information from Departments/ agencies of the Central & State Governments and also conduct an intensive literature survey to identify the published data, articles, and research on relative social, economic and educational status of Muslims in India at the State, regional and district levels” to address the problems faced by Muslims.
More importantly, Prof. Sanjay Kumar’s research paper highlighting these important findings was duly sent to Justice Sachar by a Think tank named Patriots’ Forum. But the former Chief Justice of Delhi High Court chose to ignore the truth altogether.
The second rebuttal of Justice Sachar’s fabricated findings came in October, 2010 when the National Health Survey- 3 (2005-2006) revealed a quantum jump of 5.4 years from 62.6 years in the life expectancy of Muslims within a short span of 7 years, i.e., between 1998 and 2005. The advantage which Muslims had over their Hindu counterparts in life expectancy at birth was barely 1.2 years in 1998-1999, but it grew to 3 years in 2005-2006, as revealed by the National Family Health Survey -3.
And the master mystery of mysteries was that the results of the National Family Health Survey of 2005-2006 were released in October, 2010–i.e. after a long delay of four years! This inordinate delay was responsible for facilitating the implementation of Sachar Committee’s recommendations favouring the Muslim community. The discriminatory largesse of 20 million scholarships and cheaper educational and entrepreneurial loans of several lakh crore rupees was showered on Muslims, along with 4 minorities in gross violation of the Right to Equality enshrined in the Constitution.
The third rebuttal of Justice Sachar’s fudged facts was made public in the findings of Rajesh Shukla, a Senior Fellow of the National Council of Applied Economic Research published in the Economic Times, New Delhi, on April 5, 2007, reconfirming that there was hardly any difference in the economic status of the Hindus and Muslims. Among other things Rajesh Shukla’s survey disclosed that the Sikh community were ‘the Sardars in Prosperity’ with Christians closely following behind them.
The fourth rebuttal of Justice Sachar’s findings came on February 24, 2011, in the reply to a Parliament Question answered by Vincent H. Pala, the Minister of State for Minorities in Lok Sabha admitting that the central government had no data pertaining to the number of persons living below the poverty line according to religious denominations. If as late as the year 2011, the government had no data about the number of Muslims and Hindus living below the poverty line, why were the fudged findings of Justice Sachar accepted and implemented several years ago?
The fifth demolition of the lies propagated by Sachar Committee came on October 24-25, 2011, when in a Seminar jointly organized by the United Nations Development Programme and India’s Planning Commission at Claridge’s Hotel, two scholars of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (Sukhdeo Thorat and Amaresh Pandey) presented a research paper reconfirming that there had been far greater poverty reduction among the Muslims than among the Hindus between 2004-2005 to 2009-2010.
Despite these five research-based rebuttals of the Sachar Report, the multidimensional discrimination against the unwashed daughters and sons of the poorest Hindus, living below the poverty line has continued at a fast pace, perhaps in deference to the policy announcement made by the Prime Minister in December, 2006, on Sonia Gandhi’s birthday.
Radio silence from Hindu secularists say
It is, however, for the self-anointed Hindu secularists to analyse and explain why no poorest of the poor Hindu child was considered eligible for even one single scholarship out of twenty million freeships showered by Salman Khurshid on the privileged children of Muslim and Christian parents. According to a half page advertisement published in The Pioneer, New Delhi, on February 15, 2014, “over Rs. 1,95,000 crore of bank credit was showered on 5 minorities”. In sharp contrast, not one rupee worth of bank credit was made available to anyone of the 35 crores Hindus living below the poverty line.
Most importantly, Prof. Suresh Tendulkar’s research had revealed that in 2009 approximately 37.2 percent Indians were living below the poverty line. It meant that roughly, the unwashed children of 34-35 crore Hindu les miserables were debarred from applying for scholarships and educational loans in an unethical bid to consolidate a vote bank of five minorities. Such a policy of robbing the poorest on the ground of religion by recourse to a sleight of hand has no parallel in the history of any democratic country. Only a legal eagle like Salman Khurshid could do it with remarkable dexterity and finesse !
Now the time has come for the hon’ble Minister to explain to 34 crore Hindus living below the poverty line, mostly in rural areas, why their hungry, emaciated and unlettered children were robbed of the rightful share in 20 million scholarships and educational loans totaling several thousand crore rupees.
IndiaFacts Staff articles, reports and guest pieces