INSIGHT

Understanding the Backward Classes of Muslim Society
P S Krishnan

The identification of and reservation for the backward classes among Muslims has been a contentious issue, most recently in Andhra Pradesh. However there is a clear case, on constitutional grounds, for such reservation. A detailed discussion of the national situation and reservation measures in some states.

P S Krishnan (pskrishnan63@yahoo.com), a former secretary to the Government of India, is presently adviser to the government of Andhra Pradesh and has worked in the field of social justice for SCs, STs and BCs and on identification of backward classes in a number of religious communities.

opular impression associates Islam in India with Muslim invasions and forcible conversions. In fact, the spread of Islam in the peninsula and also in many other parts of the country is the story of gradual growth essentially through traders and itinerant Sufis who settled among the local indigenous population (Heredia 2008: 49). Large-scale maritime trade was carried on by Arabs from Saudi Arabia and by Persians after the fifth century, i e, since before the origin of Islam, with the Malabar (north Kerala) coast (Haurani 1951 and Kerala State Gazetteer 1986: 284) and the eighth or ninth century AD with the Coramandel Coast of Tamil Nadu (Bayly 1989: 71-78 and 86-87) and west coast, north of Kerala (Momin 1978: 118), present coastal Maharashtra and Karnataka. With the appearance of Islam in Arabia, the Arab traders and Muslim religious teachers became the channel for introduction of Islam in Kerala. According to tradition, very soon after the death of the Prophet, a group of 20 Muslims, who arrived in 643 AD in Kerala (Tofutul Mujahideen: 286) to preach Islam, founded the first Indian mosque at Kodungallur, in today’s Thrissur district, nearly a century before the first arrival in India in 711 AD of a Muslim conqueror, Muhammed bin Qasim (Heredia: 48) whose invasion of Sindh was a sporadic short-lived event. A Muslim inscription in present-day Koyilandi in Kozhikode district, dated Hijra 166, makes it clear that the spread of Islam took place long back in Malabar by conversion and by the settlement of Arab traders (Kerala State Gazetteer: 284). The Mappilas of Malabar are the descendants of these first Indian Muslims and subsequent converts. Commencing in the 12th century, the Samoothiri (Zamorin) of Calicut (Kozhikode) established close relations with Arab traders resulting in Calicut becoming
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pre-eminent in the trade of pepper and other spices and luxury articles popular in the west. An indigenous Muslim community grew up around warehouses and settlements of Arab Muslim traders, stretching from Cannanore (Kannur) in the north, extending to various towns of Malabar, which coexisted peacefully with the Hindu majority.1 North of Kerala, the first caravan of Arab migrants to the Konkan area arrived in 699 AD. In 714 AD, a large group of Iraqi Muslims came to the Konkan to escape persecution by Hajjaj bin Yusuf. They interacted with the local Hindu population, mainly the fisherfolk of Konkan. Their progeny came to be known as Nawaits, who are the ancestors of the Kokni Muslims (Momin 1978: 118). Small colonies of Arab traders settled in various points in and near the ports in the region from Thane to Bhatkal and further south from the eighth century onwards. In the Tamil country, well before the waves of invasion from central Asia, which gave rise to the medieval Muslim sultanates of north India, Arab traders and navigators settled along the Coramandel coast in the eighth or ninth century AD (Bayly: 71-73, 86-87). Sufis from other parts of the Muslim world also provided focus for the transmission of Islamic ideas and teachings. The chain of Muslim trading towns that grew along the Coramandel coast through the agency of Sufis and Arab traders extended up to Pulicat, in the south of the present Andhra Pradesh. From the coastal areas, the Muslim population spread into the Tamil hinterlands and other inland regions of the south as early as the 13th to 14th century AD. This progress of Islam extended into the adjoining Telugu areas like Nellore and Penukonda in Andhra Pradesh. These developments and the emergence of Muslim society in the Deccan including the present Andhra Pradesh took place before the earliest military foray of a Muslim ruler of the Delhi sultanate into the Deccan, namely, Alau’d-din Khilji’s first campaign against Devagiri, the Yadava kingdom, in 1296. A few Muslim missionaries and saints had taken their abode at various centres in towns and
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The influence of the Sufis in the spread of Islam has also been noticed in north Indian areas such as Rajasthan. concepts of “high” and “low”. etc. It was not the sword that did it all. but if he changes his name to a hodge-podge English name. Arab geographers and traders who came in the ninth and 10th centuries speak of colonies of Arab traders in Gujarat who had centuries of history behind them (Mishra 1985). anthropologists. census demographers. from Thiyya/Ezhavan and Pulaya/Cheruman in Kerala. By the 13th century. it is all right. prior to the first Turkish invasion of Gujarat by Ulugh Khan and Nusrat Khan in 1297 (Mishra: 6-8). which this author prepared and furnished to the government of Andhra Pradesh in June 2007 (hereafter the AP Report). land-controlling groups. There are many instances of religionbased opposition to caste-based social order starting with the Tamil Bhakti movement in the mid-sixth century to various other similar movements in different parts of the country up to the 16th century. both of whom carried the protest powerfully to the secular sphere as part of their religious reformist movements and promoted marriages cutting across barriers of caste/“untouchability” (Basaveswara) and tribe and non-tribe (Sankar Deb). Shame upon them that such wicked and diabolical customs are allowed. Buddhism and Jainism have been considered counterpoints to the brahminical social order and have been associated with socially equalitarian character. socially knowledgeable administrators. Mala.INSIGHT villages in the three kingdoms of Deccan (Devagiri of Yadavas. it is all right…. hierarchy. with varying degrees of emphasis. (Krishnan 1994) shows that the people of “untouchable” and other “low” castes did all along have a perception of the inequalities of (and arising from) the caste system vol xlv no 34 and were preoccupied with finding ways of escaping even if only partly from that system and its rigours. The most eloquent and perceptive observation of the social reality of conversions to Islam and the social character of most of the converts to Islam is found in the following words of Swami Vivekananda (1897): The Mohammedan conquest of India came as a salvation to the downtrodden. And in north India as a whole they were mainly from artisan and other august 21. The beginning of the 14th century witnessed a large number of saints of different orders in the Deccan. Sastri 1965 – cited in Krishnan). the Muslim community had proliferated in all parts of the region. In Bengal (the present West Bengal and Bangladesh). This history of dissent. It would be the height of madness to think it was all the work of sword and fire. Adi-Andhra and Arundatiyar in Andhra. Oppert 1972. to the poor. it should not be surprising that the persons of “low” and “untouchable” castes also moved to Islam wherever and whenever opportunity was available. historiographers. while some were from “upper” castes. detailed in “Report on Identification of Socially and Educationally Backward Classes in the Muslim Community of Andhra Pradesh and Recommendations”. growing out of its original limits of a trading community to include indigenous occupational groups like oilmen. Gujarat and Kashmir (Lawrence 1982). Dwarasamudram of Hoysalas) and had gathered around them a cluster of devotees some of whom must have been new converts to Islam. Legend has it that at the instance of the famous Khwaja Nizam’ud-din Aulia of Delhi. 2010 47 . Motivation for Conversion While political patronage and postconquest coercions may have played some role in the spread of Islam. or to a Mohammedan name. The perceptive observation of Swami Vivekananda is supported by studies of numerous scholars. There is evidence to show that the “untouchable” and other “low” castes were straining at the leash even in the ancient and medieval periods and there are indications of protest against caste-based inequalities and Economic & Political Weekly EPW of thirst for equality (Krishnan 1994). masons. in different parts of the country. Artisan and trading castes were trying to break loose from domination by the brahminical social order supported by the brahmins and dominant cultivating. Purely secular challenges were represented by the self-assertion of artisan-traders which grew with urbanisation.…. which I have brought out in greater detail elsewhere. That is why one-fifth of our people have become Mohammedans. continuous from ancient times. show that most converts to Islam were from the Chandal (Bengali “Sharal”) and Rajbansi/ Koch in Bengal. hereafter referred to as BCs). The towns of the Coramandel region of Tamil Nadu where artisans and trading castes were in greater strength were bastions of Jain and Buddhist influence during the Pallava times and later. i e. beginning with Ikhtyaruddin Muhammed ibn Bhaktiyar’s sack of Nadia. … Was there ever a sillier thing before in the world than what I saw in Malabar country? The poor pariah is not allowed to pass through the same street as the high-caste man. Saint-reformers of these movements criticised the caste system. Stein 1985. Madiga. Who Were the Converts to Islam? Against this background. The earliest glimmerings of resistance to castebased rigidities are linked with religion (Davids 1997. it is seen from a number of studies that a good number of the traditionally disadvantaged and deprived sections of people of India moved to Islam to escape the degradations imposed on them by the caste system and to improve their lot. They could not carry their dissent and protest to the secular sphere. Many of them were drawn from castes now categorised as scheduled castes (SCs) and Socially and Educationally Backward Classes or Other Backward Classes (SEdBCs/OBCs. A good part of their outpourings was dissent and protest of or on behalf of “lower” and “lowest” castes. etc. This is a continuing story from ancient times. bands of Sufis left Delhi and came south to propagate and spread Islam in the Deccan and further south (Joshi and Hussain in Sherwani et al (ed. protest and challenge. Warangal of Kakatiyas. Chuhra and Chamar in Punjab. c 1203-04 (Sarkar 1972: 2).) 1973). This happened whether quietly through Sufis or Muslim traders or under more congenial circumstances when the ruler and ruling classes were Muslim and thereby the pressure from the exclusively “upper” caste ruling classes eased. etc. with the exceptions of a few like Basaveswara in Karnataka and Sankar Deb in Assam. contact with Muslims especially in the field of trade and missionary work began much earlier than the Muslim conquest of Bengal in the 13th century. These. This was during the Rajput rule in Gujarat.

Demy 8vo. Census Commissioner of 1931. 995 MODERNITY AND ITS AGENCIES Young Movements in the History of the South Touraj Atabaki (ed. the “lowest of all”. 178p. Imtiaz Ahmed (1978) and M K A Siddiqui (1974). as found by them. Sufism was born as a protest movement against this deviation from the original Islamic social ideology of egalitarianism and simplicity. Demy 8vo. 695 for our complete catalogue please write to us at: 4753/23. These castes. 2010. Russell and Hiralal 1916. demographers and anthropologists show the existence of a number of Muslim groups. 412p. Rs. include hierarchy. 475 MADRASA EDUCATION IN MODERN INDIA A Study Saral Jhingran 978-81-7304-856-2. Ajlaf. 2010. Rs. SinghaRoy (ed) 978-81-7304-869-2. Rose 1911. 1050 THE STEPPE IN HISTORY Essays on a Eurasian Fringe Suchandana Chatterjee 978-81-7304-882-1. even the change of religion does not destroy the caste system. 995 FROM FIRERAIN TO REBELLION Reasserting Ethnic Identity Through Narrative Peter B. Elliot 1969. either by the same name or by altered non-pejorative names. 2010.. B R Ambedkar refers to this census report while acknowledging that Islam speaks of brotherhood. 1250 SURVIVING AGAINST ODDS The Marginalized in a Globalizing World Debal K. which had a direct impact on Muslim society in complete derogation of Islamic tenets of equality and fraternity. viz. the “noble”. Louis Dumont (1970). Demy 8vo. The glossaries of castes and tribes of different regions of India prepared by various British and Indian ethnographers. fraternity and egalitarianism. Rs. Its features. MANOHAR PUBLISHERS & DISTRIBUTORS 48 august 21. 1250 INTERROGATING SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT Global Perspectives and Local Initiatives Debal K. New Delhi-2 Phones: 2328 4848.com vol xlv no 34 EPW Economic & Political Weekly Emergence of Social Stratification The social ideology of Islam is uncompromisingly egalitarian and upholds equality and fraternity. 254p.com Website: www. & trs. 400p. which includes all “occupational” groups and converts of “lower” ranks. Later. 474p. He points out that the Bengal census is illustrative and census reports of other provinces show MANOHAR NEW ARRIVALS DISSENTING VOICES AND TRANSFORMATIVE ACTIONS Social Movements in a Globalizing World Debal K. observed. can be described as a continuing conflict between the overwhelming ambience of caste and lslam’s social ideology of equality. in one of its aspects. 2010 . which includes all undoubted descendants of foreigners and converts from “upper” caste Hindus.. contact with people like Iranians and Spaniards who already had well-defined systems of hierarchy. -2010. As J H Hutton. but doctrinal justification and sanction are absent in it. Thurston 1909. and there are many Muslim castes as well as Hindu (Hutton 1980 (1946)).. Rs. It has been able to mitigate but not eliminate caste. Soren (eds.. Demy 8vo. are found to observe it in practice. Islamic social ideology has been able to partly but not fully succeed. 2010. Hutton 1946. 546p. Andersen.INSIGHT “occupational” castes and also “untouchable” castes. N K Bose (1951).. Nesfield 1885. The social history of Muslim society in India. Marine Carrin and Santosh K. The preachings of reputed Persian scholars like Nasir-ud-Din at-Tusi and the theories of Ziauddin Barani. Arzal. In this conflict. 2010. Rs.. for Muslims who do not recognise it as valid. The stratification and concepts of “high lineage” and “low lineage” brought in by the Turkish Central Asiatic and Afghan Muslims who invaded and settled in north India (Ansari. At that time India had already developed its own form of social stratification known as the caste system. 2010. Ibbetson 1920. Bose 1958 and Srinivas 1964). G 1960 and Ansari. Rs. Demy 8vo. early Islam shook the traditional foundations of Arab hierarchy. It was with this altered state of social organisation that Islam came to north India in the 12th century.) 978-81-7304-879-1. led to the emergence of stratification in Muslim society (Ahsan 1960). Caste-like Stratification The dichotomy between the social ideology of Islam and existence of a caste-like stratification in Muslim society in India has been noticed by many scholars like Hutton (1946). H N 2007) and the caste system of India were a lethal combination and produced a heady mixture. SinghaRoy (ed) 978-81-7304-877-7. in the course of conquests. 190p. are evidence of the promotion of a stratified inegalitarian social order and deprivation of downtrodden Muslims (Ansari. Risley 1891. the “mean people”. and. Rs.) 978-81-7304-841-8. The Census Report 1901 for Bengal records the existence of three social divisions recognised by Muslims. “caste was in the air” and neither the followers of Islam nor of Christianity could escape the infection of caste. Ansari Road. 424p. Iyer 1909.manoharbooks. occupational specialisation – I would prefer to call it a linkage with a traditional occupation – and endogamy. Crooke 1906. 2327 5162 Fax: (011) 2326 5162 email: sales@manoharbooksl. in some places. the famous 14th century historian and political theoretician. Daryaganj. With this ideology. Rs. The census lists castes under each division with a social precedence as among the Hindus... almost analogous to jatis (see Siddiqui 1978. 495 SHADOWS OF SUBSTANCE Indo-Russian Trade and Military Technical Cooperation Since 1991 978-81-7304-849-4. with connotation similar to the “Chandal” among Hindus and with whom other Muslims will not associate and who are forbidden entry into the mosque and use of public burial grounds. Demy 8vo. but deploring that caste among Musalmans has remained (Ambedkar 1990 (1940)). SinghaRoy (ed) 978-81-7304-871-5. Ashraf. Demy 8vo. The early Muslim community was inspired by this ideology and marked by simplicity. M N Srinivas (1968). find place in the presidential schedules of SCs and lists of BCs. Demy 8vo. 2328 9100. H N 2007). 2010.

2%. he points to certain redeeming features. The practice of common worship by all Muslims. Among the “non-untouchable” Muslim groups are counterparts of certain large Hindu “untouchable”/SC castes. Ajlaf and Arzal. however. they are yet to recognise all BC groups of Muslims in some states. Ajlaf and Arzal and made local lists of castes/communities/ endogamous and inter-generationally continuous social groups of Muslims in different parts of India. The centre and the governments of the north Indian states have been remiss in recognising socially and educationally backward classes and providing social justice measures for removal of their all-round backwardness and this has adversely affected BCs of Muslims along with BCs of Hindus. is no more than correction of unconstitutional religion-based discrimination against them. the actual social practice of Muslims in all regions of India parallels that of their Hindu neighbours. there has been a tendency in south India. they form a minuscule proportion of the Muslim population – the highest estimate provided by anyone is 1. were continuously pursuing the objective of getting all Muslims recognised as backward and provided reservation. 2010 49 . Both the commissions prepared lists of BCs. though in respect of some states there are lacunae and gaps. carried forward collectively the social and educational backwardness of the pre-conversion constituent Hindu castes. At the same time. Both commissions included specific groups of Muslims in the lists of BCs recommended by them state-wise. The category of Sheikh in Andhra Pradesh as a conflation of “lower” castes is also seen in varying degrees in West Bengal. Thus. despite these redeeming features. 1979-80. Melacheri in Lakshwadeep and Sheikh in Andhra Pradesh. Prior to this and prior to Independence. refers to the categories of Ashraf. which were not noticed and recognised for no fault of theirs. The criterion for identification of BCs is free from any religion-related stipulation and any caste or community or intergenerationally continuous social group which fulfils the criteria of backwardness can and should be included in the BC List irrespective of religion. two Commissions were appointed by the President of India. Mysore. Muslim BCs. Numerous scholars have undertaken studies of Muslim society in different parts of India. But. In terms of this Article. at long last. Apart from this. this lacuna in identification occurred only in Andhra Pradesh till recently. drawn from the non-BC classes. Mandelbaum (1972) in his overview based on various studies points out that despite doctrinal equality of all Muslims. Approach towards BCs of Muslims Article 340 of the Constitution deals with the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes including the process of their identification. which. reservation was provided by the maharajas in the peninsular princely states of Kolhapur. STs and BCs and not for any religious community as a whole. to merge and conflate into a larger collective identity like Mappila in Malabar of Kerala. I have surveyed and analysed numerous such studies focused on different parts and regions of India and also compendia like the Global Encyclopaedic Ethnography of Indian Muslims compiled by Samiuddin and Khanam (2008) as well as preindependence and post-independence district gazetteers and the Anthropological Survey of India’s People of India series and various census reports and from these I have portrayed the all-India picture of Muslim society and social stratification. 1953-55 and the Second Backward Classes (Mandal) Commission. Travancore and Cochin and by the Madras Presidency (under the rule of the non-brahmin Justice Party) and the Bombay Presidency. right from the Kaka Kalelkar Commission onwards. Kashmir and to a lesser extent Gujarat. inter se hierarchical ranking of endogamous hereditary groups and dwells on the disabilities of Arzal. the “untouchables”. the elites of the Muslim society. they failed to place the case of genuine BCs of the Muslims for inclusion in lists.INSIGHT similar facts and he underlines that Muslim society is not free from the well-known social evils of Hindu society. This enterprise has not succeeded because the Constitution provides for recognition of and provision for social justice measures including reservation for only SCs. Labbai in Tamil Nadu. caste-like practices. One of them is that while “untouchable” groups do exist among Muslims. where conversions mostly were from “untouchable” and other “lower” castes below the level of peasantry and artisanry. like inter-dining of all groups and worship by all in the same mosque with the exception of the Arzal. In south India. the belated Central List for various states and the State Lists do include such classes of Muslims also. the Backward Classes (Kaka Kalelkar) Commission. I have noticed and brought out in the AP Report certain other aspects of stratification in Muslim society. largely composed of agricultural Economic & Political Weekly EPW labour and other labour castes. Muslims or specific groups of Muslims were part of the lists of BCs in these princely states and the Madras Presidency. Accordingly. He concludes that it is not misleading to speak of Muslim jatis. Muslims in the case of Kerala and Karnataka and specific groups of Muslims in the case of Tamil Nadu and august 21. on account of this line pursued by the elite classes. and the absence of theoretical justification for this unequal hierarchy. reinforces the Islamic social ideology of equality and counteracts and ameliorates. brought out the prevalence of stratification and hierarchy under the names of Ashraf. These lacunae and gaps are because of ignorance of Muslim society and Muslim social stratification on the part of the eminent members vol xlv no 34 of the majority religious community who have been in charge of identification of BCs and also because. though it does not fully eliminate. Further even after the BCs have been recognised by the centre and the northern states. hierarchies of unequal birth-groups whose boundaries are preserved through endogamy continue to exist and no efforts have been made by the elite of the Muslim society to remove the social and educational backwardness of the “lower” groups who constitute the bulk of the Muslim population of India in all regions. In the AP Report. However. To remove misperceptions and recognise and enfranchise. except in some instances of the very small groups of scheduled caste-counterparts. Both of them rejected the representations from some Muslim organisations seeking that all Muslims should be treated as backward and on that basis be given educational aid and adequate representation in government services.

The Kalelkar and Mandal Commissions included in their BC lists for northern states a number of Muslim communities like ansari/julaha/momin (weavers). lohar. as the term is commonly understood. august 21. the Kalelkar list contained only three small occupational communities of Muslims. But both these lists and the Mandal criteria had only limited coverage in the south. But. Thus. in the main. but the Kalelkar list had the redeeming feature that it included methan and tulukkan who are major constituents of Muslims in Travancore-Cochin. were. kasaab (butchers). where the bulk of the Muslim population does not. mostly castes of former agrestic slaves/serfs. and conversions were from “untouchable” castes and other “low” castes which were generally below the level of the artisan and similar “occupational” communities and did not have specific “occupations”. was able to rightly cover the major part of the Muslim population in Tamil Nadu and northern Kerala. nai. agricultural wage-labourers. These south Indian castes.2 the Mandal Commission consistently with its general approach did not include Muslims in its list for Karnataka. 2010 vol xlv no 34 EPW Economic & Political Weekly 50 . teli. Both the Kalelkar list for TravancoreCochin and Mysore and the Mandal list for Kerala and Karnataka omitted “Muslim” which had figured in the BC lists of Mysore as well as Travancore-Cochin ab initio since before Independence. taking note of the fact that the Hindu caste system pervaded in various degrees through the nonHindu communities of India also. each of which is associated with a specific caste or community unlike agriculture which is “open” to all (though the level at which different castes/communities work is not “open”). For Mysore. tenantsat-will. other labourers. namely. this did not happen in the case of the Kalelkar and Mandal lists for Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. post-Constitution successorstates of Travancore-Cochin/Kerala and Mysore/Karnataka. The Kalelkar list for Hyderabad State had only six occupational communities. darji. both the central commissions nullified the socially realistic wisdom of the monarchies of Mysore. Though Karnataka had found its own socially realistic solution. the term “occupational” as used in India excludes agriculture and refers to non-agricultural occupations. and though the inclusion of Muslims as a whole was upheld by the High Court of Karnataka in 1979 in Somashekarappa and Others vs the State of Karnataka. badhai. which carried with them their pre-conversion traditional occupational link and related social status and often the same occupation-based community name. belong to artisan and other “occupational” communities. evolved two “rough and ready” criteria for identifying non-Hindu OBCs. viz. etc)” (GoI 1980). halalkhor (sweepers and scavengers). “(i) All untouchables converted to any non-Hindu religion.INSIGHT Andhra Pradesh have always been ab initio part of BC lists in these states. by ab initio including all Muslims in the list of BCs. (Examples: dhobi. dheemar. The identification of mappila and labbai as BCs and their inclusion in the State Lists of Madras/Tamil Nadu and TravancoreCochin/Kerala and in the Kalelkar and Mandal lists for those states. gujar. on account of lack of understanding of the social background of the Muslims of south India. The Mandal Commission (the order appointing which dated 1 January 1979 was issued under the signature of this author as joint secretary in charge of SC and BC development and welfare in the ministry of home affairs). and (ii) Such occupational communities which are known by the name of their traditional hereditary occupation and whose Hindu counterparts have been included in the list of Hindu OBCs. which was continued by the postIndependence. Though they had an occupation. the Mandal list being more thoroughgoing. The Mandal list for Karnataka had better coverage than the Kalelkar list for Mysore. dhunia/ naddaf/mansoori (cotton carders). kumhar. from which the bulk of the conversions to Islam took place. Travancore and Cochin (who cannot be accused of “vote-bank politics”). The second criterion was very efficient in identifying BCs of Muslims in north India where the bulk of the Muslim population belongs to such “occupational” communities. to a significant extent. agriculture. and petty peasants. but even this better Mandal coverage of Karnataka kept out the major part of Karnataka’s Muslim population. in a way parallel to Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

the Supreme Court in its landmark judgment of 16 November 1992 in the Mandal case4 upheld reservation of 27% for BCs and the principle of common-listing. the high court refused to stay. recommended that they should not be included in the OBC list on account of its understanding that the concept of BC listing under Articles 15(4) and 16(4) of the Constitution was applicable only to Hindus. which together accounted for only a small proportion of Muslims. faqer (semi-nomad beggars). both on the basis of the recommendations of an expert committee. including in respect of Muslims/BCs of Muslims. and two other groups. completing the process in the northern states and most southern states. constituted into a separate sub-group with a 3. advised in 1998 the rejection of the request of these communities as they are vol xlv no 34 Central List In the first-phase state-wise Central List thus notified by the central government. they were. removed many of these gaps/lacunae/ omissions and difficulties in respect of such Muslim communities. on challenge. laddaf/dudekula/pinjara/pinjari (cotton carders). the Second Backward Classes (Venkataswamy) Commission (1986) and the Third Backward Classes (Justice Chinnappa Reddy) Commission (1990) and in the consequent successive state government orders. In Karnataka through the Miller Committee 1918-1921. august 21. found also in Tamil Nadu). the Nagan Gowda Committee (1961). of preIndependence vintage in most of the south. the Karnataka High Court in Somashekarappa case upheld in 1979 the government’s order in respect of inclusion of “Muslim” in the OBC list as perfectly justified and pointed out that their being a religious minority is no ground to exclude them from the BC List. 2010 51 . sangtarash (stone-carvers). the Kalelkar list included only the small community of dudekula (occupational counterparts of north Indian Dhunia). The Mandal list and the Central List did not include three small communities of Muslims included later in the State List. After a stay order of about two years. As Muslim BCs were not able to compete with certain castes in the former sub-list. and hajjam (barbers).5% sub-quota carved out of the 30% BC quota. On challenge. The National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) set up in 1993 under an Act pursuant to a direction of the Supreme Court for the purpose of examining requests for inclusion and complaints of under-inclusion or over-inclusion in the Central List of BCs. For Andhra. in line with that judgment. which.INSIGHT namely. In the case of the Mandal Commission. The state government rejected this recommendation and continued to retain Muslims in the BC list. along with mappila and dudekula (basically of Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. After exclusion of SAP/S or CL in compliance with the Supreme Court’s direction and the preparation of central (common) state-wise list. These three communities are numerically inconsequential and make no difference to the fact that about 90% of the Muslim population has found legitimate place in the State BC Lists and Central List for Tamil Nadu. after an unconscionable delay of nearly 10 years. after intensive public hearings and on the basis of well thought-out guidelines formulated by it after examining the criteria/indicators of the various central and state Commissions. nearly 44 years after adoption of the Constitution. In 1989. mehtar (Muslim) (Muslim scavengers). qasa/qassab/quraishi (butchers). set up BC commissions to bring their lists. The State BC Lists that emerged after these commissions were virtually the same as the lists that existed earlier. in 2007. Rejection of Kalelkar and Delayed Acceptance of Mandal The central government rejected the Kaka Kalelkar Commission’s Report (1955) on untenable grounds in 1961. the central government in August 1990 accepted its recommendation to provide 27% reservation of posts for the BCs. The Mandal list for Andhra Pradesh was limited to dudekula and synonyms.5 a number of state governments. often inappropriately referred to as “creamy layer” (CL) of identified backward castes/communities. viz. mehtar (Muslim) and katika/kasai (butchers). The NCBC. after pubic enquiry and examination of documents. which was actually inherited from the Madras list. of which I was a member. the Karnataka Backward Classes (Havanur) Commission (1972-75). in addition to certain identified Muslim communities. Muslims as a whole were consistently retained in the State BC List. State Commissions and State Governments After the judgment of the Supreme Court in 1963 in the Balaji case relating to Karnataka. (ii) Karnataka: Inclusion of “Muslim” in entirety ab initio in State List and inclusion of Muslim BCs comprising bulk of Muslim population in Later Central List for Karnataka. many communities of Muslims were included but some others could not find place as they could not satisfy the criterion Economic & Political Weekly EPW not socially backward and the central government notified accordingly. of commonality. except Andhra Pradesh and states of east India where the process of identification of Muslim BCs has been rudimentary or a non-starter. subject to the condition of exclusion of socially advanced persons/sections (SAP/S). The state-wise position is outlined below: (i) Tamil Nadu: Inclusion of Backward Communities of Muslims ab initio in State List and in Later Central List for Tamil Nadu. reservation for BCs commenced at last on 13 August 1993. There were some small changes/additions on the basis of the recommendations of the Sattanathan Commission. but said that Muslims may be classified under Articles 15(1) and 16(1) and provided facilities similar to that of BCs. 1969-70 and the Second Backward Classes (Ambasankar) Commission of 1985. There was a deviation in the Havanur Commission’s report which while recognising the educational backwardness and inadequate representation in the services and poverty of Muslims. The bulk of the Muslims of Tamil Nadu continued to remain in the BC list by the inclusion ab initio of labbai which consists of a conflation of a number of “untouchable” and other “lower” castes.3 The government’s order also laid down that in the first phase the central BC list shall consist of those castes/communities which were common to the list of each state and the Mandal list for that state. Tamil Nadu distributed its undifferentiated list of BCs into “Backward Classes” and “Most Backward Classes” with separate sub-quotas of 30% and 20% respectively. especially of south India.

taking into account the inability of “Muslims” to compete with some of the castes in its sub-category of BCs. excluding five socially advanced Muslim communities which constitute a very small proportion of the Muslim population of Kerala. but it has got methodological limitations and. The groups who moved to Islam in north India were mainly artisan and artisanal castes and other “occupational” castes – occupational as understood in India. different from the major landowning Jat of north India) (Government of Gujarat 1978). Ghanchi (oil pressers). (iii) Kerala: The Mandal list for Kerala and consequently the first phase Central List included “mappila”. which they found to be socially and educationally backward. Therefore. whether as owner peasants or as agricultural labourers. which. Even this compilation may not be exhaustive. therefore. as was done by the states of Kerala and Karnataka.INSIGHT Unlike Tamil Nadu. the Bakshi Commission of 1976 identified a number of specific communities of Muslims and also communities which were partly Muslim such as Faquir (mendicants). Jat (Muslim) (nomadic cattlerearers. “Muslims” excluding nine communities which were not found to be socially backward and the central government notified this accordingly. are underestimates. On account of the basic principle of equality in Islamic social doctrine the occurrence of caste-based or caste-like practices lost part of their rigours and rigidity. The NCBC. It is. The Kerala State List ab initio has distributed BCs into sub-categories with subquotas. “Muslims” did not find a place. the mere process of identifying each such group having inter-generational continuity and identity. many of its figures. Bihar and Madhya Pradesh. There is a methodological difference between the north and the south in the identification of BCs of Muslims. And that within the mosque and generally in the religious sphere no caste difference is followed. The All-India Backward Classes Federation (headquartered in Bhopal) has compiled a list of 103 Muslim communities/groups which have been included in the Central Lists of BCs for different states. advised the central government to include. The high court rejected a challenge to inclusion of Muslim/Mappila and to other communities in State of Kerala vs Jacob Mathew. Pinjara and synonyms (cotton carder) and Hajjam (barbers) (Government of Madhya Pradesh 1983). it got limited to very small groups like the Halalkhor and Mehtar. Julaya (Garana) (weavers). mentioned in Sachar Committee’s report. In Gujarat. the Government of India included “Muslim” in the Central List for Kerala. i e. This was rectified by the NCBC after public hearings and study of the report of a premier social science research institute. In 1994. Those who were left out made requests to the NCBC. Many of the communities in the northern State Lists were also included in the Mandal list and. The Mahajan Commission of Madhya Pradesh in 1983 recommended the inclusion in its State List of 29 artisan and other occupational communities of Muslims like Julaha/momin (weaver). Karnataka (like Kerala and Andhra Pradesh) has always distributed its BCs into categories/groups with sub-quotas. though certain specific identified Muslim BCs were continued. therefore. The excluded communities are numerically small and the bulk of the Muslim population of Karnataka remains in the Central List of BCs. it constituted “Muslims” into a separate sub-category with a sub-quota of 4% carved out of the total BC percentage. In the Mandal list and consequently the Central List for Karnataka. after public hearings and enquiry and study of available literature by a bench. None of them recommended or treated Muslims or any other religious community as a whole as socially and educationally backward. where it still exists. in fact. excluding those engaged in agriculture. up to the limit of the line of backwardness. which had been commissioned by the NCBC to study whether the Muslims in Kerala are a single homogeneous community or whether there are any identifiable inter-generationally continuous social/ occupational groups within the community known by distinct names and if so whether any or all of them are socially backward. namely. The National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) has made estimates.6 Inclusion of BCs of Muslims by State Commissions The commissions of some of the states other than those of south India and the respective state governments identified and included in their BC lists specific communities/social groups of Muslims. in the range of 80 to 85% in the northern states and even higher in the southern states except Andhra Pradesh as explained below. but left out “Muslim” of Travancore and Cochin. After conversion their traditional occupational pattern and other features had remained the same as before conversion and they have retained the same social identity and often the same community name which is usually based on the name of the traditional occupation. This methodology was able to cover the bulk of the Muslim population of north India who belong to backward social formations. the Ananthakrishna Iyer International Centre for Anthropological Studies (AICAS). tendered advice to the central government for inclusion of those castes/ communities which are socially and educationally backward and the Government of India issued notifications accordingly. in the Central List for Karnataka. led to the inclusion of the bulk of the vol xlv no 34 EPW Economic & Political Weekly 52 . which have been modified from time to time. thereby covering the entire Muslim population of Malabar. one of which is Muslim/Mappila. which was in the State List all along. They are the same castes which now find place in the list of BCs and SCs of Hindus. 2010 population of each state. found place automatically in the first phase Central List. No doubt. But this methodology has not been and will not be appropriate for southern states on account of a significant difference in the pattern of conversion to Islam in the two parts of the country. after public hearings. there is this difference that the practice of “untouchability” towards SC converts to Islam seems to have disappeared or got attenuated or. in northern states like UP. Northern State List There is no census of the population of communities/groups of Muslim BCs and their proportion to the total Muslim august 21. Following the NCBC’s advice. The broad methodology in north Indian states was to list Muslim communities which are clearly socially backward. while retaining certain small extremely backward groups of Muslims in the category of the “Most Backward” as before.

which are below the level of peasantry and artisanry and. C. This was only a continuance of the entry in the old Madras list. from More Backward/ Most Backward categories of BCs. already in the list.8 the state government set up the First Backward Classes (Anantaraman) Commission in 1968. etc. As a result. but. but out of all of them it included only Dudekula along with its synonyms Laddaf. Nomadic and SemiNomadic Tribes. noticing that they suffered the same disability and the same social status as Arekatika/Katika. artisans and the artisanal castes and other “occupational” castes have generally not moved to Islam. “Quresh (Muslim butchers)”. Vimuktha Jatis. the state government issued orders which inter alia included “Quresh (Muslim butchers)” in the list. At the same time it cannot be denied that there are social groups which are intergenerationally continuous. misunderstood the egalitarian ideology of Islam and its practice in the mosque to mean social equality in the non-religious sphere too. Pathan. the Hindu community of butchers. STs and BCs to 65%. The NCBC received requests for inclusion of Muslims in the Central List for AP august 21. the Muslim community in the south has taken the shape of a community of agricultural labourers and other miscellaneous labourers and. But the state government restored the status quo ante. the BC list recommended by the vol xlv no 34 commission. of identifying and excluding such specifically non-backward communities/social groups and including the rest of Muslims in the Central List of these states. taking the total reservation for SCs. the Hyderabad list in respect of Telangana area and the combined list of Andhra Pradesh. raised the proportion of reservation for BCs to 44% as recommended by Muralidhara Rao. Sheikh. the latter more explicitly. B. Mochi. one of the communities noticed by Anantharaman but omitted in his list in 1970. and which are known by their distinctive names. But. This can be called the “bottomupward approach”. urban unorganised labourers. following urban migration. Dudekula and Mehtar (Muslim) were the only two Muslim BC communities that came into the first phase Central List for AP. Fortunately. The Anantaraman Commission referred to certain groups like the Dudekula. In these states. in states which have got the realistic practice of categorisation of BCs. Mysore/Karnataka and Madras in respect of Malabar perceived the correct position and found appropriate solutions ab initio. Conversion to Islam was mostly from castes now known as SCs and from castes now known as BCs. thanks to its being present in the Tamil area also. The NCBC. Muralidhara Rao persisted with Anantaraman’s other error by recommending the deletion of “Mehtar (Muslim)” which the state government did not accept. Such social groups of traditional merchants. are definitely not socially backward. inexcusably unaware of the Proviso to Clause (3) of the Presidential Order which excluded Muslims of the listed castes from the definition of SCs. as understood and practised in India. distributing them in four groups (A. traditionally linked with scavenging. therefore. etc”) of the BC list in 1972. Muslim communities or groups like the Syed. Bohra. calculatedly and logically adopted a top-down methodology in the south Indian states. struck down first by the High Court. at the same time. but cancelled out its own finding by recommending that it be not included in the list of BCs because it was already included in the SC list. simultaneously. Khoja. which had also ruled against the state’s earlier integrated list in 1963 in Sukhadev. those specific Economic & Political Weekly EPW communities of Muslims at the lower end of the spectrum which retained their link with their traditional occupations. particularly in Kerala and Karnataka. Momin. The high court struck down only the order enhancing the percentage of reservation and did not negate the additions to the list including Quresh (Muslim butchers). etc. AP: Lacuna in Identification Andhra Pradesh fell between the two stools of the north Indian and south Indian methodologies of identification of BCs of Muslims. 2010 53 . Four years after Muralidhara Rao. exceeding the Supreme Court’s 50% limit. and thereby having been noticed by the Tamil-centric Madras Government. Cutchi Memon. This commission also noticed the low social status of the Muslim Mehtar. In the south. the presence of Muslims was limited to the Dudekula community. D) with separate sub-quotas. traders. warriors and the like. Darzi. although unintentionally. whose social profile does not go with social backwardness as conceived in the Constitution of India and as further clarified by the Supreme Court. ranking low in the “hierarchy of occupations” (Ambedkar’s term coined in 1916) and retaining the related identity like Darvesu in Karnataka were also included in the Central List on the advice of the NCBC. It took two years for the government to notice the grievous error regarding the Mehtar (Muslim) committed in 1970 and include it in Group A (“Aboriginal Tribes. the identity of which is preserved through endogamy or the concept of “Kufv”. Moghal. Both of them. scholars. contained only Dudekula and its synonyms (in Group B – “Vocational Groups”) which was no more than the continuance of the limited knowledge of the Tamil-centric Madras Government about Muslim society of Andhra. On account of the cumulative misperception of the two state commissions and the Mandal Commission.7 striking down the state’s integrated BC list of 1966. Apart from repeating the misperception of Muslim society. Pinjari. Travancore-Cochin/Kerala. The Second Backward Classes (N K Muralidhara Rao) Commission was set up in 1982. Against this background the “bottomupward” approach adopted in north India has not been possible in south India. went out of the BC list almost as soon as they were belatedly included. leaving out social groups which are not socially and educationally backward. however small their size and however limited their proportion in the total Muslim population of the state. which together constitute no more than 15% to 20% of the total Muslim population are not included in the list of BCs.INSIGHT Muslim population. This commission made a marginal improvement in the existing list by recommending inclusion of one more Muslim community. “Quresh” is the same as “Kasab”. and the list accordingly issued by the state government in 1970. Noorbash in its list. Kasab. In the Andhra list inherited from the composite Madras state on the formation of the Andhra state in 1953. Thus. namely. Consequent on the Supreme Court judgment in State of Andhra Pradesh and Another vs P Sagar. whereby Quresh.

6 during public hearings of the Jharkhand 61. Thus. MP and India 76.8 44.2 46. and are separately identifiable. they are not today separately identifiable – this goes to the credit of the influence of Islamic social ideology and its regular reinforcement in the mosque.3 63.8 24.9 12.2 56.2 9. This was struck down in Archana Reddy11 on the grounds that the nexus of social backwardness in respect of the Muslim community as a whole was not established. Table 1 gives the picture for India as a whole and some of the major states. there were deficiencies in the commission’s procedure and because total reservations exceeded the 50% limit.8% of Hindus are in the categories of SCs.9 15.5 Karnataka are all underestimates.0 ties and from information gathered Bihar 109. In 2004.4 1993 to February 2000 during which Rajasthan 56. The AP government did have the broad impression that there has been lacuna regarding BCs of Muslims. are not recognised as SCs on account of the proviso to clause (3) of the presidential order specifying SCs. the leadership of the Muslim community failed specifically to seek the inclusion of such backward communities of Muslims and only pressed for inclusion of the Muslim community in its entirety.Table 1: Percentage of Muslim Population in 2001 and SEdBC Muslim Population Figures in 1999-2000 and 2004-05 logical limitations of the NSSO’s State Population Muslim % of SEdBC Muslims and General (2001) population Muslims among Total Muslim Population identification of BC Muslims which (Millions) (2001) (%) SEdBC Muslim General Muslim they undertook for the first time in 1999-2000 2004-05 i e. like.1 of the AP report.8 member-secretary from August Delhi 13.1 21.6 38. (3) Even Muslim communities who are counterparts of Hindu SC communities. but was cancelled out in the same year unintentionally. in Karnataka is really in the range of Taking all these factors into account the Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Bihar. Economic and Educational Status of the Muslim Community of India. that the state government had not consulted the State BC Commission.5 24.1 10.8%. ST and BC to 51%.INSIGHT from a number of organisations. Jharkhand and MP should be in the report is worse than that of Hindus as range of 80% to 85% and the proportion a whole.2 5. On account of certain methodo. on the basis of the sample data of the NSSO’s 55th (1999-2000) and 61st Reports (2004-2005) gave the proportion of the Muslim population covered by lists of BCs. the figures for states 1999-2000 2004-05 1. for example.4 59.8 52. Notwithstanding proportion of BCs among Muslims can these deficiencies. as extracted from Appendix Table 1. the Sachar-NSSO data show that 75.2 10. as in the past. the (4) The overall condition of Muslims as proportion of BCs among Muslims in UP. The case of other genuine backward classes of Muslims suffered again because.MP 81. though this has not been adequate to remove low social status. non-SEdBC Muslim 1999-2000.9 11.9 40. AP 52.2 period almost all requests for in.4% of the total Hindu population are in the list of AP Government Moves SCs and STs (as per the census) and BCs (on the basis of Mandal estimate projected from 1931 Census). a number of social groups or sections among them have high social status as seen from the occupational profile of Muslim communities given in the Anthropological Survey of India’s AP volume of its survey report titled “India’s Communities”.9 78. it came about that till recently AP remained the only peninsular state and one of the few states of India in which only a fraction of the Muslim population found place in the BC list. august 21.7 89. There was also the constitutional issue of import. and BCs.4 36. Taking India as a whole.3 59. the state government.2 55.5 8.2 44.3 benches of the NCBC of which I was Uttaranchal 53. and the second the substantive ground of exceeding the 50% limit since the 5% reservation for Muslims took the total for SC.objectively and logically be only more based data are indicative and bring out than the proportion of SCs + STs + BCs the glaring shortfall in AP. on the basis of the recommendation of the State BC Commission passed an Act declaring the entire Muslim community as socially and educationally backward and provided 5% reservation for them.8 48.7 18.7 45. Even by the Sachar estimate/NSSO data for 2004-05.7 43. This was compounded by the ignorance of the majority community about Muslim society. In the case of AP. the Muslim Mehtar and Muslim Gosangi.3 16.4 31. It advised rejection of the request for inclusion of the Muslim community in its entirety on the ground that it is not a socially homogeneous class or community. Jharkhand.8 13. Quresh (Muslim butchers) came into the Central List but still remained out of the State List at that stage. In 2005. The Sachar Committee’s Report.9 sentatives of BC Muslim communiUP 174.9 On that basis it advised the inclusion of Quresh (Muslim butchers) which is what the Muralidhara Rao Commission had recommended in 1982 and had been notified by the state government in 1986. brought out in the Sachar Committee’s Bihar.2 51. 76.2 93.2 0.7 clusion were disposed of either by advices for inclusion or for rejection. presenting data contained in the Report of the Prime Minister’s High Level (Justice Sachar) Committee for Preparation of Report on Social. as seen from Anantaraman and Muralidhara Rao reports.3 From my personal knowledge Karnataka Tamil Nadu 62.7 40.6 63.7 68. the NSSO’s sample.8 99. The proportion of BCs among Muslims in AP cannot be less in view of the following facts: (1) The bulk of the Muslim population consists of those who before conversion to Islam belonged to “untouchable” and other “lower” castes (present SCs and BCs).7 19. This was struck down by the High Court of Andhra Pradesh in T Muralidhara Rao case10 on two grounds – one of them technical. (2) Though SCs were prominent among those who moved to Islam.6 83. in two of vol xlv no 34 EPW Economic & Political Weekly 54 . among Hindus. 2010 Highlighting AP Lacuna The report this author prepared highlighted this gap. STs.2 36.2 47.8 gathered from authentic repreKerala 31. it declared the entire Muslim community as BC and provided 5% reservation for them.7 38. this proportion comes to 74.6 54.8 75.6 13.3 80.4 5. Thus.4 62.0 55.028. and those sections or communities among Muslims from whom requests have been received and who are actually socially backward can be considered for inclusion in the list of BCs.3 like UP.5 89.

Economic & Political Weekly EPW The state government issued an ordinance. and posting the matter for further orders and consideration of a Constitution Bench in August 2010. Plot No 46. the state governmentformed a committee and sought this author’s help in identifying socially and educationally backward classes of the Muslim community in accordance with the principles arising from the Constitution and its interpretation by the higher judiciary. The fast-track method is one of identifying castes/communities which can be seen patently to be socially backward on the basis of their linkage with traditional occupations which are esteemed as low (relatable to the Ambedkarite concept of hierarchy of occupations) without need for elaborate enquiry and other evidence unless there is contra-material in any particular case. its intention of providing 10% reservation for BCs of Muslims. which ensured that the 50% limit was not breached and is also justified by the estimated population of the identified BCs. In order to make it operational. eliminate one of the real grounds that have created the feeling of subjection to injustice prevalent among Muslims. one more group which had come to its notice during its enquiries (which had not been recommended in the AP report because the ASI had not noticed it). a comprehensive survey was made covering the various points briefly outlined in this article and against that background and on the basis of unquestionable facts. the judicial standard of review of a plenary legislation as laid down by a catena of Supreme Court judgments were pointed out. for this purpose.denied benefit of reservation in education and employment vol xlv no 34 for four years in succession. especially Muslim youth. Ranganath Mishra Commission Report and their own survey data and made its statutory recommendations to the state government recommending the social groups identified by me. It will remove the unconstitutional discrimination that has existed against them in some State Lists and. and (2) the Act is religion-specific and will encourage conversions to Islam.INSIGHT the concurring judgments. which was almost unanimously passed. and thereby help the creation of an atmosphere which will promote social harmony and national integration. The constitutional position regarding the inapplicability of American concepts of strict scrutiny. etc. On the factual side. and the specific exclusion of the latter 10 from the list and leaving “Dudekula” and “Mehtar” listed in 1970 and 1972 as before. Continuing Lacuna There are still a few states. identified 13 backward social groups of Muslims of AP and one residuary group and also identified 10 socially advanced groups of Muslims and recommended the inclusion of the former in the State BC List as a separate Group E with 4% reservation. added certain synonyms on the basis of their enquiry and recommended 4% reser vation for them. This is over and above the existing low 7% reservation for BCs whose identification is slow and incomplete. took into account the materials in the report. “narrow tailoring”. of the concepts of “suspect legislation”. the available at Akshara-The Executive Partner 8/3/1089. The state government communicated the AP report to the APCBC for its consideration. on 8 February 2010. the Sachar Committee Report. inviting objections and comments. to some extent. the now identified BCs of Muslims of AP have got the long. the APCBC and other respondents was argued elaborately both on constitutional as well as factual grounds. without noticing that the Supreme Court had in 200212 categorically ruled out the relevance and applicability of these American concepts to India. in turn. The state government has promptly filed its Special Leave Petition in the Supreme Court and after hearing the state’s counsels as well as the respondent writ petitioners’ counsels the Supreme Court passed an interim order on 25 March 2010 allowing the Act to continue to be implemented except in respect of the residuary group. the fact that nobody had shown any material against the fact of social backwardness of any of the identified social groups and that the identified groups were covered by the Mandal Commission’s “rough and ready” method for identification of BCs among non-Hindu religious societies. in the Central List. Further. followed by legislation. I was appointed advisor to Government of Andhra Pradesh. In the last three years about 27. 2010 . Backward Classes Welfare in 2007. the state government will have to exhaustively identify all BCs of Muslims. West Bengal announced. This was challenged in a series of writ petitions in which the case of the state. That commission put the report on the web site transparently. “compelling governmental need”. particularly in east India where the process of identification of BCs has either not started at all or is at a rudimentary stage. “least restrictive alternative” and “strict scrutiny” evolved by the US Supreme Court in a totally different constitutional context. to ensure that Muslim BCs are not exposed to unequal competition with the relatively less backward of the BCs. Of these. Thus. being counterparts of already identified Hindu BCs and/or converts from “untouchable” and other “low” castes. held public hearings. The High Court of AP struck down the State Act by a majority judgment of 5 against 2 on 8 February 2010 mainly on two grounds: (1) defects in the state commission’s procedure. In the report. one each into the state civil ser vice and the state police service – most probably a first for Muslim women in AP. A few of this category have for the first time got selected to class-I state services including two young women.000 BC Muslims of Group E have got admission into professional and other higher educational institutions. This will. Significance of Completion of Identification Removal of the remaining lacunae in identification of BCs of Muslims is part of the constitutional mandate and a matter of their right. and by the “fast-track” method in the NCBC’s guidelines for identification of BCs. Andhra Pradesh Committee 2007 At that stage. Srinagar Colony Hyderabad 500 034 Andhra Pradesh Ph: 23736262 55 august 21.

21-23 March at Madras.). which entrusted the task of categorisation to the expert committee of 1993 that was soon countermanded (why. (originally pub in Madras Journal of Literature and Science. ed. citing Tofutul Mujahideen. Risley. Chapter 29 in Mandelbaum. p 3. N K (1951): “Caste in India”. 8 Sri Sukhadev and Others vs the Government of Andhra Pradesh (1996 1 An. 6 1964. Gustav (1972): On the Original Inhabitants of Bharatvarsa of India (Delhi: Oriental Publishers). cited in A R Momin (1978). Bayly. by whom and how is for another occasion). Ghaus (1960): Muslim Caste in Uttar Pradesh (A Study of Culture Contact) (Lucknow: Ethnographic and Folk Culture Society). which is yet to receive the attention of decision-makers. 4 Vols (Calcutta: Office of the Superintendent of Government Printing). Nesfield. Notes 1 Kerala Gazetteer (pp 285-86). 5 1963 Supp 1 SCR 439: AIR 1963 SC 649. we have two patterns of categorisation. William (1906): Tribes and Castes of the North-Western Provinces and Oudh. Heredia. Edgar (1909): Castes and Tribes of South India. Final Report. Sir Denzil Charles (1920): Punjab Castes (Lahore: Superintendent of Government Printing). Abida and R Khanam. Rose. Function and Origin (Bombay: Oxford University Press). 2001. Vol 1 (Delhi: Manager of Publications). Thurston. Sarkar. Susan (1989): Saints. 1987-88 and 1988-89). first published 1963. at different levels of backwardness and capacity for inter se competition. Dumont. pp 71-78 and 86-87. below the level of peasantry. Mishra. Folklore and Distribution of the Races of the NorthWestern Provinces of India. Lawrence. Ibbetson. K A Nilakanta (1965): The Culture and History of the Tamils (Calcutta: Firma K L Mukhopadhyay). Hasan Nishat (2007): “Social Classification of Indian Muslims: Genesis and Consequences” in Ashfaq Hussain Ansari (ed. p 252. M K A (1974): Muslims of Calcutta: A Study in Aspects of Their Social Organisation (Calcutta: Anthropological Survey of India). which contains the testimony of Zainuddin. p 76. Islam in Local Contexts: Contributions to Asian Studies. (1973): History of Medieval Deccan (1295-1724). South Asia Books (first pub 1903). (pp 253-59). Russell. p 62. which will do justice to BCs. with separate sub-quotas. p 2. T W Rhys (1997): Buddhist India. Srinivas.). 2007. The blueprint for this is contained in the Report of Planning Commission’s Working Group on the Empowerment of BCs. David G (1972): “Social Aspects of Introduced Religions”. University of Madras. ed. No extraneous considerations should be allowed in the process. Chapter 10. 1973: Chapter II by P M Joshi and Mahdi Hussain. Baba Saheb (1990): Dr Baba Saheb Ambekdar Writings and Speeches.). Saurabh Chaudri vs Union of India. B Archana Reddy and Ors vs State of AP and Ors. paperback (first pub 1980). One is the southern pattern by which they are placed in a separate sub-category. published under the authority of the Government of Andhra Pradesh. p 118. M N (1964): “Social Structure”. State Editor. David G. 2 Vols (London: Trubner). J C (1885): Brief View of Caste System of the North-West Provinces and Oudh (Allahabad: Government Press). Simple data to facilitate this are/can be easily made available. but this requires revision. Basic Problems of OBC and Dalit Muslims (New Delhi: Serials Publications). This will help Muslim BCs (mostly artisan and labour) as well as Hindu and other BCs. Mandelbaum. P S (1994): “Socially and Educationally Backward Classes or Other Backward Classes – What Should They Mean to Indian Nation Builders”. p 49. Government of Gujarat (1978): “Report of the Socially and Educationally Backward Class” (Justice A R Bakshi) Commission of Gujarat 1976).INSIGHT BC lists have to be carefully sub-categorised with separate sub-quotas. 7 AIR 1968 SC 1379. First Part. Volume I. 2 Vols (Calcutta: Government Printing Press). Horace A (1911): A Glossary of the Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and the North-West Frontier Provinces. J H (1946): Caste in India: Its Nature. cited in Kerala Gazetteer. Tofutul Mujahideen translation. Ansari. 10 2004 (6) ALD 1 (LB) T Muralidhara Rao vs State of AP and Ors. Government of India. vol xlv no 34 EPW Economic & Political Weekly 56 . 38. 2 Reported in ILR (1979) 2 Kant 1496. with Muslim BCs being part of the Most Backward Classes with a separate sub-quota. The centre. Man in India. Hutton. pp 201-02 Haurani (1951): Arab Sea Faring in the Indian Ocean in Ancient and Early Medieval Times (Princeton: Princeton University Press). op cit. p 19. Government of Madhya Pradesh (1983): Madhya Pradesh State Backward Classes Commission. (First published December 1940).). Reservation is only one of the comprehensive package of various social justice measures required to help the BCs and reach the level of equality in all fields and in all respects with the advanced classes as envisaged by the Constitution. Ambedkar. Vol 1. including Muslim BCs. pp 228-29. 4 1992 Supp (3) SCC 217. Madras. Krishnan. C Satish (1985): Muslim Communities in Gujarat (New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal). 3 This I may add was on the basis of my advice rendered in my capacity as secretary of ministry of welfare in 1990 in which I refuted the spurious and unconstitutional objections that had been piled up against the Mandal Report and against reservation for BCS in the previous decade’s “examination” which was really an operation burial. p 56. Crooke. Siddiqui. P B. p 286. 31. 3 Vols (Lahore: Government Printing Press). Madras and Centre for South and Southeast Asian Studies. 1942. p 284. Samiuddin. Stein. J N (1972): Islam in Bengal (Thirteenth to Nineteenth Century) (Calcutta: Ratna Prakashan). Basic Problems of OBC and Dalit Muslims (New Delhi: Serials Publications). 1700-1900 (Cambridge. august 21. Man in India. The Gazetteer of India. Ahsan. Davids. Sir Henry M (1969): Memoirs of the History. Elliot. UK: Cambridge University Press). Society in India (Bombay: Popular Prakashan). L Anantha Krishna (1909): The Cochin Tribes and Castes (Madras: Higginbotham). – (1968): “Mobility in the Caste System” in Milton Singer and B S Cohn (ed. Sherwani. 2010 What Next? Inclusion in the list is only the first step. – (1980): Caste in India (Bombay: Oxford University Press) (first published 1946). pp 243-68. 7 Vols (Madras: Government Press). pp 73-97. in working out categorisation of the Central List. Swami Vivekananda (1897): “The Future of India” in Lectures from Colombo to Almora.). Caste and Social Stratification among Muslims in India (New Delhi: Manohar). LT 298. – (1978): “Caste among the Muslims of Calcutta” in Imtiaz Ahmad (ed. Part I. which this author was the chairman of. A number of states and the centre are non-starters in categorisation. cited by Dilip Karanth in Ashfaq Hussain Ansari (ed. 12 2003 11 SCC 146. 4 Vols (Nagpur: Government Printing Press). Rudolph G (2008): Changing Gods: Rethinking Conversion in India (New Delhi: Penguin Books). References Ahmad. XVII (Leiden). 9 NCBC Advice No AP 64-67/2002 dated 4-7-02. Goddesses and Kings: Muslims and Christians in South Indian Society. Bose. Louis (1970): Homo Hierarchicus: The Caste System and Its Implications (Delhi: Vikas Publishing House). Robert V and Hiralal (1916): The Tribes and Castes of the Central Provinces of India. though belated. pp 73 and 78-80. Vol 8: Pakistan or the Partition of India. Imtiaz. p 78. (1978): Caste and Social Stratification among Muslims in India (New Delhi: Manohar Publications). 11 2005 (6) ALD 582 (LB). pp 107-23. ed. 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