ECSAS 2023 – Turin 26-29 July

THE MINORITIES WITHIN MINORITIES: A POLITICAL STUDY OF THE PASMANDA COMMUNITIES IN INDIA

Presenter

Shukla Srijan - Azim Premji University, School of Development, Bangalore, India

Panel

27 РMuslim agency within and against India’s regimes of urban segregation

Abstract

 Contemporary Indian politics is witnessing a change, where the Modi government has started an outreach to the Muslims not as a monolithic community but recognising the socio- economic hierarchy existent in the Indian Muslims. The Modi government also claims of a large number of Pasmanda (backward Muslims, who constitute a majority of Muslims in India) beneficiaries of the central and state-led schemes. Though positive, the recognition seems to be only superficial. The paper critically examines the implementation of the existing social welfare schemes in Uttar Pradesh (which has a high population of marginalised Muslims). With extensive fieldwork done in Uttar Pradesh the paper finds that not only the claims of higher numbers of beneficiaries from the Pasmandas are inaccurate but also there are no existing schemes addressed towards the Pasmandas or Dalit Muslims. Thus, the paper argues that in the absence of affirmative action and negligible political representation the forms of segregation Muslims face is directly related to their socio-economic conditions which in turn are derived from their marginalized caste identities. Whether physical violence or active segregation which is central to Uttar Pradesh’s current politics the backward Muslim castes are the ones to suffer most. In conclusion, this superficial outreach is only exacerbating the loss of Pasmanda livelihoods and thus is pushing them towards more and more social, political and economic segregation.