Pasmanda Muslim Community
- There has been a considerable churn within the Indian Muslim community in response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s appeal to the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) to make an outreach to deprived minority groups such as Pasmanda Muslims, especially in Uttar Pradesh.
Who are the Pasmanda Muslim Community?
- There are three classes within the Indian Muslim community: Ashrafs (the upper class), Ajlaf (the backward class), and Arzal (most backward class).
- Estimates place Ashrafs between 15% and 20% of the Muslim population.
- Pasmanda, which literally translates as “those marginalized” or “those left out,” is a collective noun for the remaining 80%–85% Ajlaf and Arzal.
- The Pasmanda Muslims’ occupational profile, which includes barbers, weavers, potters, faqirs, bidi workers, etc., reflects the Indian caste system’s rule of hereditary occupational specialization.
- Most of them are low-wage labourers who are employed in the unorganized sector, which is characterized by appalling working conditions.
- Therefore, “Pasmanda” is not a caste but rather a class that stands for the Muslim community’s oppressed and downtrodden castes.
The Age-Old Cultural Ties:
- The Pasmanda Muslims’ identity as well as problems with social justice and stratification within the Muslim community have come into the focus as a result of this development.
- It is true that Islam does not recognise the caste system as it has historically existed among Hindus.
- However, due to their long-standing coexistence with Hindus, it has been absorbed into Muslim culture.
- The uniqueness of Indian Muslims is found in their “lived reality,” which shows a greater sociocultural affinity for Hindus than for Muslims in other countries.
- Political parties have not taken into account this internal stratification among Muslims, emphasising mainly religion as the groundwork for inclusion instead.
- Because of this, the Muslim elites, or Ashrafs, who are numerically less than the Pasmandas, have monopolised the majority of the “Muslim representation” in various political parties.
- The Pasmandas’ preferred themes have been undermined by the Ashraf-driven Muslim politics’ overemphasis on emotive subjects like Muslim personal law and the Babri Masjid.
Source The Hindu