Is India Becoming a Land of Discrimination?

When we started our journey as an independent country in 1947, we had visualised a country free from inequality and discrimination. We had enshrined in our Constitution the fundamental principles of liberty, equality and fraternity. Now the government wants us to believe that after 75 years we have entered the golden 25 years of “Amrit? Kal?”. They ask us to celebrate it day in and day out.

But the reality is quite disappointing. Discrimination and inequality is continuously increasing. Joblessness and inflation is destroying the people. Frustrated youth are resorting to violence. They see that the economy has been pawned to a handful of capitalists and the common citizens are suffering from lack of resources and stark poverty.

How can we explain that this poor country of 140 crore people has the dubious distinction of having the third richest person of the world in the person of Gautam Adani. Is it a matter of pride that it should be flashed on TV screens and celebrated on the front pages of newspapers? On the other hand, we see that more people have been pushed below the poverty line. Crony capitalism has dug its feet firmly and the poor are getting poorer.

Oxfam is an international organisation which has been actively working in 74 countries of the world to improve the social and economic conditions of the people. Its India chapter Oxfam India on September 15 released India Discrimination Report 2022. It has highlighted especially the discrimination against Muslims, Dalits and other marginalised sections of India. This report is based on Government of India data. It details the discrimination against women and labour forces also.

The report deplores that there have not been many attempts to quantify discrimination faced by marginalised communities across the country. It says that Muslims continue to face discriminatory challenges in accessing salaried jobs and income through self-employment in rural areas as well as urban areas, where their percentage is higher. According to the report, “Regular salaried non-Muslims in urban areas earn `20,346 on average which is 1.5 twice higher than Muslims who earn `13,672. This means non-Muslims are earning 49% more than Muslims in regular employment. This report requires a deep analytical study by social scientists and more so by those who value justice and equality.

Muslims should also think how they can get their portion in the developmental cake of the country. How they can uplift themselves, and how they can plan to stand on their own feet. Unfortunately, in the prevailing hate-filled atmosphere fight against injustice is becoming more and more difficult.

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