Can Pasmanda Caste Muslims Ever Make a Parallel Rise and Rule Jammu & Kashmir?
Jammu & Kashmir is India’s Muslim-majority administrative unit. Whilst Muslims represent over 95% of the inhabitants of Kashmir valley, they’re a considerable minority within the Jammu area, constituting just about 40% of the entire inhabitants of Jammu area, together with an vast majority in Pir Panchal and close to majority in Chenab valley of Jammu area. But curiously, the so-called “Muslim” management throughout Jammu and Kashmir valley stays suffocatingly within the palms of higher caste Kashmiri, Dogri and Pahari Muslims. The one exception is the nomadic tribal neighborhood of Gujjar and Bakarwals, a Scheduled Tribe neighborhood and the one Pasmanda Muslim neighborhood of J&Okay that which is able to declare some extent of political empowerment, regardless that even that’s not precisely proportional to their inhabitants within the Union territory.
The explanation why I need to carry this query within the context of Jammu & Kashmir is as a result of the rising social statement of Pasmanda Muslim neighborhood in north India, which is now difficult the dominance of higher caste Muslims within the political setup of Indian polity and critical their honest political illustration that fits their robust numerical majority of just about 85% of the entire inhabitants of Muslims in India, a lot more than even (estimated) 75% of Hindu Dalits, OBCs and Adivasis that shape the entire Hindu inhabitants of India.
Initially, allow us to first perceive the concept that of ‘caste’ versus ‘elegance’ within the context of Muslim society of Kashmir valley in addition to remainder of India. Whilst theologically Islam is an egalitarian religion that teaches equality and there’s no thought of “caste” in Islam, the social evil of casteism alternatively discovered its means amongst Muslim converts of each Kashmir valley and remainder of India, in spite of the promise of early Muslim Sufi missionaries of Islam being a casteless social way of living.
The caste gadget amongst Muslims of South Asia does now not strictly adhere to Hindu Brahminical ‘Varna gadget’, however as an alternative there are loads of ‘biradaris’, which might be an identical of Hindu ‘jatis’. The Muslim ‘biradaris’ in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are loosely organised underneath three-fold classification. On the most sensible are, what’s referred to as ‘Ashrafs’ or higher caste Muslims that declare descendance from Arab and Central Asian Muslims immigrants. This class additionally contains Muslim converts from higher caste Hindus like Rajputs and Kshatriyas. The second one class contains ‘Ajlaf’ Muslims or those that have transformed from occupational Shudra Hindu castes like weavers, tailors, washermen and so forth. In fashionable occasions, they’re additionally described as OBC underneath the Charter of India. The closing class on the backside of the pyramid are the ones Muslims, who’ve transformed from Dalit Hindus, which might be classified underneath ‘Arzal’ Muslims or Scheduled Castes. Then there are Muslim tribal and nomadic communities as smartly, who’re additionally positioned on the backside of this unofficial caste gadget amongst Muslims of South Asia.
The caste gadget amongst Muslims of J&Okay more or less follows this trend, the place Syeds and Pirs are at most sensible, adopted by way of occupational castes like Wani, Khandey, Lone and so forth., after which Shudra castes like Chopan, Hajjam, Hani and so forth. On the backside lie Kashmiri Muslim Dalits known as ‘Wattals’, a neighborhood traditionally engaged in guide scavenging.
Pasmanda Muslim activists of north India level to close absence in their neighborhood now not most effective from Muslim social and cultural organisations like All India Muslim Non-public Regulation Board, but additionally from state-funded minority establishments like Aligarh Muslim College and Jamia Milia Islamia, either one of which they level are staffed solely by way of higher caste Ashrafi Muslims from Syed, Pathan and Mughal ‘biradaris’. The placement is by the way now not any other in J&Okay both, whether or not just about all Muslim non secular charitable, social organizations are underneath the hegemoneous regulate of higher caste Kashmiri & Dogri/Pahari Muslims.
Pasmanda Muslim activists moreover level at their woeful low illustration within the political arrange of Indian polity, which has remained in dominating stranglehold of higher caste Ashrafi Muslims, who aren’t greater than 15% of Indian Muslim inhabitants. Khalid Anis Ansari, a Pasmanda highbrow, in his writing issues that out of 400 Muslims, who had been elected to the Lok Sabha from first Lok Sabha until 14th Lok Sabha, a staggering 340 had been from higher Ashraf Muslim castes and most effective 60 contributors had been from Pasmanda Muslim neighborhood, which means that an 11% inhabitants of Indian Pasmanda Muslim inhabitants had most effective 0.8% illustration within the Lok Sabha for almost seven many years. For Jammu & Kashmir, there can be most likely no member ever from Pasmanda Muslim neighborhood within the Lok Sabha, although Gujjar and Bakarwal neighborhood had few representatives within the Meeting or erstwhile J&Okay state. This can be a extremely shameful report for our state that says to have an awesome Muslim majority standing.
Pasmanda Muslim activism has come of age in north and western India in parallel to rising Dalit and Hindu OBC social, cultural and political statement and accordingly many Pasmanda Muslim-focused social organisations have arise in numerous portions of India, together with All India Backward Muslim Morcha of Dr Ejaz Ali, All India Pasmanda Mahaz of Ali Anwar from Bihar and All India Muslim OBC Organisation of Shabbir Ansari from Maharashtra. The Pasmanda motion in the remainder of India has taken inspiration from motion of reformation and political statement by way of Dalit and OBC icons like Jyotiba Phule, Periyar, Baba Sahab Ambedkar, BP Mandal, Kanshi Ram, Mayawati, Mulayam Singh Yadav and Lalu Yadav.
Whilst there’s nonetheless no political organisation only pushed by way of Pasmanda Muslim management in any state of India and lots of the calls for for political assertation are at this time serious about giving extra political illustration to Pasmanda Muslim castes inside of present political birthday party arrange, a Pasmanda Muslim-focused political birthday party might also arise in long run in states like UP & Bihar, the place Pasmanda Muslim activism may be very top. That is sure to create a ripple impact in Jammu & Kashmir as smartly, whilst more youthful generations of Pasmanda caste Kashmiri and Dogri Muslims follow rising Pasmanda Muslim motion in remainder of India and also are turning into an lively player of problems touching on emancipation of the neighborhood. I’m positive that point isn’t a long way, when each Kashmir valley and Jammu areas may even see a parallel upward thrust of political elegance from area’s huge Pasmanda caste Muslim neighborhood.
The creator is state secretary of Folks’s Democratic Entrance and will also be reached @javedbeigh throughout social media platforms. Perspectives expressed are his private.