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Inclusion for Democratization


Manjur Ali

MUSLIM BACKWARD CLASSES: A SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE
By Azra Khanam
Sage Publications, New Delhi, 2013, pp. 298, Rs. 795.00

VOLUME XXXVIII NUMBER 4 April 2014

If we believe Alistair Macmillan, India has surprised democratization theorists and fits the case for ‘deviant’ democracy. Despite the persistence of inequality, poverty, illiteracy, corruption and low urbanization, it has been able to remain a democratic state. This argument could be borrowed to explain the situation of minorities, especially Muslims, who have been party to this process despite facing the challenges of socio-economic exclusion and political under-representation. According to Javeed Alam, in the post-Sachar period, Muslims entered into ‘the phenomenon called Citizen Politics, which can only be plays on secular precinct…The behavioral change in Muslim attitude toward politics started with the Janata Dal government led by V.P. Singh…’ But, if we look at the Muslims’ voting pattern, secularism has been a part of their approach since Independence and is not a post-Sachar phenomenon. For instance, Muslims have been voting and electing Hindus. But, further democratization of India depends on the agenda of Muslim inclusion in the development process. The Sachar Committee Report, along with the Rangnath Mishra Report, has shown the way forward to the policy makers. However, lack of error free data about Muslims restricts the inclusion process. More research on the community is the priority as it is with the book under review.   The author has conducted fieldwork in Pihani block, district Hardoi, Uttar Pradesh. A sample of 500 respondents (households) was drawn. All the respondents were married males. 67.6 per cent of the respondents belong to the age group of 22-41 year and were mostly illiterate. A two-stage sampling has been conducted. At the first stage, purposive sampling has been opted for in the selection of village and wards and at the second stage, simple random technique has been employed in the selection of household as a unit of investigation. All the villages and wards were selected on the basis of the concentration of Muslim OBC population. However, inclusion of only male respondents is a major limitation of the methodology. Apart from that, the author has reiterated the patriarchal mindset when she directed the question of family planning only to the women (p. 149). She could have explored the social-economic, cultural and political outlook of OBC Muslim women. While analysing the response from the field, the author finds a relationship between the landholdings and size of a family. In Pihani, many Muslim OBCs (58 %) are living as a nuclear family, while 38 per cent are living as joint family. The ...


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