Atiqul Mobin SM*
Human Rights Law Network, New Delhi, India.
Received Date: July 06, 2015; Accepted Date: August 24, 2016; Published Date: August 30, 2016
Citation: Atiqul Mobin SM (2016) Minorities and Ghettoization: Community Perception, Coping Mechanism and Everyday Struggle. Arts Social Sci J 7:212. doi:10.4172/2151-6200.1000212
Copyright: © 2016 Atiqul Mobin SM. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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This paper talks about the situation of religious minority with special focus on Muslim community and the process of their ghettoization in Indian context. It will explain role of the state, neighborhood and other social impediments in pushing minority to the periphery of the society and leading it to ghettoization. It will also include the perception of being a minority community, its coping mechanism and everyday struggle with some world overview. It will also look into the role of media in stigmatization process of Muslim community.
The main body of this paper comprises experience of territorial alienation and issues related to self-identityexclusion from the mainstream which is an all too often phenomenon which Muslim face in their everyday life which has led to the ghettoization of the community.
The paper will be highlighting key issues relating to the continuing tensions and marginalization felt by minority communities in urban areas focusing specifically on the unique Muslim experience. The paper concludes by asking how we can work to reduce the alarming rate of exclusion and disenfranchisement felt in Muslim such community. Connections are made from the past to the present in terms of both forms of exclusion and the seemingly intractable problems that even migration and generational change have been unable to transform.
Muslim community; Linguistic; Republic; Socio-political
Minority is a fluid identity in south Asia like everywhere in the world. It is characterized by language, culture, religion and ethnicity. But in democracy the important marker is the position of ‘nondomination’ or ‘powerlessness’. The concept of majority and minority is rooted in democracy hence it creates different minorities in the society. This concept can also be understood by the access and control over the democratic institutions power. Distance from these sources of power or denial of access define the majority and minority.
Constitutionally, religious and linguistic minority is a cultural category and does not recognize the issue of power and political representation. Recognition of different minorities involves state obligation under international law and entitlement to right and claims.
However, Prof. Imtiaz rightly argues that “minorities are not based on religious difference alone. They are based on social disadvantage and deprivation.” The word “ghettoization” refers to the process whereby people belonging to minority groups are made to live in particular areas of cities and towns due to factors relating to their religious, ethnic or racial background [1-3].
Probably, the most widely accepted theoretical definition of minority is the one by Francesco Capotorti, a Special Reporter of the UN Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities. In accordance with Art 27 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Capotorti defined a minority group as,
“a group which is numerically inferior to the rest of the population of a State and in a non-dominant position, whose members possess ethnic, religious or linguistic characteristics which differ from those of the rest of the population and who, if only implicitly, maintain a sense of solidarity, directed towards preserving their culture, traditions, religion or language.”
Mr. J. Deschenes’ definition shifted the emphasis from preservation of identity to their collective will to survive and their desire to achieve equality with the majority in fact and in law.
“A group of citizens of the state, constituting a numerical minority and in a non-dominant position in that state, endowed with ethnic, religious or linguistic characteristic which differ from those of the majority of the population, having a sense of solidarity with one another, if only implicitly by a collective will to survive and whose aim it is to achieve equality with the majority in fact and in law.” (UN Subcommission’s Resolution 1985/6 adopted at its 38th session).
Minority in numerical concept is also questionable in some situation where as majority group could be in situation of nondominance, deprivation and social disadvantage (Lhotsampas of southern Bhutan).
Also numerically small groups are not necessarily subordinate (Drukpa Ngalong in Bhutan) or backward or less likely to have access to opportunities (Newaris in Nepal; Mohajirs in the early phase of state formation in Pakistan).
Why minority is ghettoized
“Ethnicity, nationality and citizenship are all identities but the basis of them differs. Citizenship is an instrument of equality in democratic states, but ethnicity and nationality are often invoked by states to confer or deny equality”. Oommen TK, social scientist.
‘An ordinary city is in fact two cities, one the city of the poor, the other of the rich; each at war with the other’, said Plato in his work, The Republic. The idea of two cities within one is therefore not new. But, the two cities are formed on an ethnic basis, with one ethnic group forced to live in its own enclave, then that enclave is called a ghetto. The term ghetto comes from medieval Venice, where it described the walled-off quarters in which the Jews were forced to live- a barbarous, discriminatory policy. (Mahadevia Darshini: ‘A City with many Borders-Beyond Ghettoization in Ahmedabad’).
During World War II, ghettos were city districts (often enclosed) in which the Germans concentrated the municipal and sometimes regional Jewish population and forced them to live under miserable conditions. Ghettos isolated Jewish communities by separating them both from the non-Jewish population and from other Jewish communities. The Germans established at least 1,000 ghettos in German-occupied and annexed Poland and the Soviet Union alone. The Germans regarded the establishment of ghettos as a provisional measure to control and segregate Jews while the Nazi leadership in Berlin deliberated upon options to realize the goal of removing the Jewish population.
Ghettos are of three types: closed ghettos, open ghettos and destruction ghettos. Closed ghettos (situated primarily in Germanoccupied Poland and the occupied Soviet Union) were closed off by walls, or by fences with barbed wire. The German authorities compelled Jews living in the surrounding areas to move into the closed ghetto, thus exacerbating the extremely crowded and unsanitary conditions. Starvation, chronic shortages, severe winter weather, inadequate and unheated housing and the absence of adequate municipal services led to repeated outbreaks of epidemics and to a high mortality rate. Most ghettos were of this type. Open ghettos had no walls or fences, but there were restrictions on entering and leaving. These existed in German-occupied Poland and the occupied Soviet Union, as well as in Transnistria, that province of Ukraine occupied and administrated by Romanian authorities. Destruction ghettos were tightly sealed off and existed for between two and six weeks before the Germans and/or their collaborators deported or shot the Jewish population concentrated in them. These existed in German-occupied Soviet Union (especially in Lithuania and the Ukraine), as well as Hungary [4-6].
The Hindu nationalists or rights wings organizations point out that Muslim king in north India destroyed or mutilated many Hindu temples. For example invaders from Kabul and Afghanistan destroyed and devastated cities and temples in north and west India. This concept has been implanted in the minds of society through text books and other sources. Then in the Moghul Empire, the infamous stories of Aurangzeb intolerance towards Hinduism are told. Amartya Sen writes in the article ‘threats to secularism’ “Even Aurangzeb's own son, also called Akbar, who had revolted against his father, had allied himself with Hindu Rajputs in battling against Aurangzeb's imperial power. In response to Aurangzeb's letter to him denouncing the Rajputs, Akbar wrote eloquently on the excellence of his allies. Later on, when Aurangzeb drove Akbar away from Rajputana, he joined up with Shivaji's son Raja Sambhaji, making a united front against Aurangzeb”. Facts which would otherwise increase communal harmony are not presented. During the time of British administration it is being propagated by right wings organization that Muslims were given special treatment and were part of administration. Then partition of country into India and Pakistan and that all Muslims should be in Pakistan has also been implanted the young minds. On the contrary the fact is that only 5% of Muslim had the desire for creation of Pakistan and that too were elite class. They saw their future as bleak in India and they sensed opportunity in newly carved nation for high growth. These stereotyping of Muslims and blaming has significantly influences majority Hindus in adjusting within the plural society. To testify the statement the history of Riots between the two communities since independence and for that matter before independence also.
Politics of intolerance is expressed by xenophobia and racism and it is supported and promoted by right wing politics everywhere. For instance, in Pakistan it has taken the form of sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shias. In Bangladesh it is discrimination against Hindu, Buddhist, Christian and the indigenous people of Chittagong Hill.
Ghettoization as a process and phenomena
The term ghetto was originally used for the Jews living in one part of the European cities and not being part of the mainstream society. When we compare the ghettoization of Muslims and Jews then the reason and features are contrasting. Socio-political and economic backwardness are the main reasons for the ghettoization of Muslims whereas in case of Jews the preservation of culture, customs and being exclusive in nature. In case of Jews it was kind of natural ghetto but for Muslims it has been enforced ghettoization. High density population, poor hygienic and sanitation conditions, no presence of government health system, no school etc. are the symbols of Muslims ghetto. Ghettoization as a process has been characteristics of minorities throughout the world [7-9].
If we briefly analyze the world scenario then we found that throughout Europe, cultural barriers separate Muslim ghettos from mainstream society. In general, European Muslims belong to the underclass. British Muslims are mostly Indo-Pakistani; French Muslims are largely Algerian, Belgian Muslims are immigrants from Morocco, etc. In many of these countries where Muslim populations are largely homogenous, the forces of isolation are stronger than the forces of integration. This is because many such communities, due to their socio-economic status, live in areas of high deprivation, which are often set apart from mainstream urban areas. Furthermore the media portrays the community as “the other” with its ‘Islamophobic’ reporting and coverage of local affairs.
The separation of Muslims from the mainstream society and living in particular high density area of city has been enforced ghettoization. Anti-Muslim riots and pogrom sometimes under the tutelage of state authorities in co-ordination with anti-Muslim Hindutva group have forced Muslims in several places to shift to separate localities for safety. This process started in mid-1970s and was heightened after the Bhagalpur riots 1989. Then thereafter demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992 which led to communal riots in many parts of the country pushed the Muslim population to live in separate location. This process of ghettoization could be seen in case of Godhra riot 2002. Muslims were forced to flee in the separate areas to save their lives. In places where there have been no riots majority of Muslims prefer to live in the locality for sense of security. Many middle class Muslims, who would otherwise, could afford to live in other ‘posh’ Hindu locality also live in the Muslim dominated area. They are forced to live in the area because Hindu landlords refuse to rent out flats to Muslims. This has been the case with many TISS Muslim students who looked for the rented house in nearby locality. Even I have faced the same situation (but I got flat in Hindu locality only). The similar scenario of ghettoization but in different context has been faced by British Muslims in England. In the paper ‘English Muslims and Ghettoization: Trends and consequences’, Alyas Khan, Ola Uduku and Christopher Cripps, write about British Muslims “In the case of Muslim Asians, often they were forced by circumstance to re-create the close knit communities that they had left behind in the ‘mother country’, as accommodation was often denied them on racial grounds and non-whites were excluded from social housing provision well into the 1970s. Many migrants in such situations had no alternative but to seek to live in areas which had community members who were able to help rent or sublet accommodation to their indigenous colleagues and over time were able to help with property purchase. This was particularly significant for Muslim Pakistanis who often were unable to obtain mortgages on religious grounds, and therefore had to find or borrow the capital to purchase housing often in poorer areas of the city which in turn often became racially segregated as indigenous ‘white’ residents moved out of areas they felt were, and sometimes verbalized as, “swamped”.
“Jogeshwari, Nagpada, Mumra, Sivaji Nagar, Mohammad Ali road, and many other towns and cities in India are characterized by one common issue; they all are home to significant close-knit.
Muslim communities, Culture, social characteristics, and of course religion separate these areas from the rest of the society. Now the question is “does the pressure to ‘integrate’ and get out of this ‘ghetto’ seems to be overwhelmingly on Muslims only? This could be controversial but the fact of the matter is that as Muslims, there is more reason to feel integrated in the mainstream society than perhaps other communities [10-12].
Muslim has been subject of intense focus, scrutiny and sometimes abuse from the international community especially western nations because of international terrorism and war in the recent past. In the backdrop of these backlashes and stereotyping Muslims, there is urgency to look into the community from microscopic point of viewvis- à-vis, relation with state, state policy, relation with other community, forces in the society who are acting against, are inherent to the process of ghettos.
Stigmatization and labeling of certain community especially Muslim is a larger problem of the Indian society. Preventing stigmatization and labeling of the people who feel disowned by mainstream Indian society pose challenge for policy makers and Indian society. This process of stigmatization and labeling is a social wound which should concern every individual who believes in ‘unity in diversity’ and plural society. This process cannot be changed by individual formal interaction rather it should be strengthened by law enforcement, civil society and change in socio-political and economic condition. Symptomatic policies effort by the state has been in-futile in solving the problems of Muslim ghettoization in cities. Attacking the cause of the problems and working with the people has been concern in the policies.
We would like to list down certain phenomena which are compelling for Muslims to live in ghettoized condition which are linked to the grievances in general.
• Economic backwardness compared to other section of the community. The reason has been the absence of Muslim industrialists since independence and also most zamindars were most affected by the abolition of Zamindari system. Irfan Habib write in article ‘problems of the Muslim minority in India' “Muslims being a heavily urban community, accounted for a very large section of artisans such as weavers and metalworkers and these strata have continuously suffered under the deindustrialization of colonial India, and then under the present regime when craft unemployment has grown enormously; and Muslims are discriminated against in matters like the grant of licenses and permits”. He clearly says that Muslims were discriminated by the state and also trade was suffered because of the unemployment in the sector. This led them to live in the worst of the condition called slums or ghettos which are largely Muslim populated.
• Educational backwardness is worse than OBC and Dalits according to Sacchar Committee report. Drop-out rate among Muslims is the highest at the level of Primary, Middle and Higher Secondary compared to all. Only 17% Muslims above the age of 17 years have completed matriculation as compared to 26% for all. The debate about the lack of modern education in Muslim community has been in the academic discourse for decades. Regarding the minority education and attitude of state in removing the backwardness Irfan Habib writes that “First, there is the plan already implemented in different degrees in various states, to subsidize the madrasas, by funding posts, etc., so as to enable them to provide a limited amount of modern education along with religious instruction for which they have been established. Secondly, for higher education, there is being shown a propensity to rely heavily on private minority institutions, established (and aided) under Article 30 of the Constitution, which having been allowed by the Supreme Court the right to reserve seats for the minority concerned, are expected to take up an increasing amount of the burden of educating Muslims. Both these methods offer questionable alternatives to the State's meeting its own responsibility by establishing and running modern schools and colleges in localities containing substantial Muslim populations with equal access provided to Muslim entrants. Despite much being said about it, the fact remains that effective steps in spreading the Government's own educational network to cover Muslims are woefully insufficient in most states. As for madrasas and minority institutions one must remember the dictum of the US Supreme Court that 'separate' can never be 'equal. To let large numbers of Muslim children read in Government-subsidized madrasas appears to be a flagrant violation of Article 28(3), since madrasas are institutions whose basic objective is 'religious instruction'. But even if this were constitutional, should it not be a necessary part of the school education, assured constitutionally to all children, that it should be modern and secular? By letting Muslim children read exclusively in madrasas, they are denied precisely such an education notwithstanding the nominal addition of conventional subjects. Moreover, to the extent that general schools lose Muslim children to madrasas, they themselves begin to acquire a Hindu or single-denominational character. On both sides this is a prescription for the breeding of communal prejudice and the killing of any sense of 'plurality' about which so much is otherwise said”.
• Discrimination in employment in public services such as police, they have been excluded by deliberate design (for example, G B Pant’s secret circular in Uttar Pradesh) for large no of years. Still the representation is very minimal as per Sachar Committee report. Also because of educational backwardness they are not recruited in competitive exams.
• The insecurity of life and property has always been with the Muslim community. Be it any communal riots or any terrorist attacks, Muslims are always targeted by state. Biasness of Police has been documented in all major riots against Muslim community. According to a report by Shaban  article ‘Ghettoization, crime and punishment in Mumbai’, the proportion of inmates in jail is much higher that of Muslims with respect to the overall population. Muslims constitute about 13.4 per cent of the total population in the country, but their share in total jail inmates is about 21.5 per cent. The share of Muslim prisoners was 28.4 per cent and 22.5 per cent of the total detenues and under trials, respectively, in jails in 2004.
• International events such as 9/11, the ongoing situations in Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan, Mumbai terror attack, Bosnia and the 7th July London bombings, would arguably necessitate a greater understanding of Muslims and Islam. However, the problem has been that much of the ‘education’ has been passed down from tabloids, which have mainstreamed a few extremist voices to cover the real voices of the Muslim community. This has worsened the isolation of the community and in some cases has alienated resources and support for a community that lives in deprivation and disadvantage. Too often mainstream agencies fail to bypass gatekeepers in communities and address the real issues facing them.
Apart from above mentioned issues we would suggest that these three issues:
• Access to adequate infrastructure.
• The acceptance of ethnic identity; comprising its culture; music, food, etc. physical icons and symbols; mosques, Islamic schools by mainstream society as an equal part of today’s diverse Indian culture.
• Having a voice, and being consulted on, local community development-related matters have been the most crucial problems that the Muslim Community in India has confronted for decades. These issues concern the British Muslims also. (English Muslims and Ghettoization: Trends and consequences’, Alyas Khan, Ola Uduku and Christopher Cripps). The resulting effects of the sociopolitical events in India in various forms of terror strike and communal tension have begun to take on the attributes of the ghetto – where the feared “other” resides.
The marginalization of Muslims in India, and its economic, political and social boycott have been systematically advocated by extremist political parties in India like the BJP, and the results of such exclusion have been murder, rape and destruction. The riots and rioting milieu of yesteryears could not ever create a permanent rupture in intercommunity relations nor were they able to relocate issues of statehood and citizenship in the aftermath of the violence. Shahjahan Demons, proselytizers and liquid fear: communal expressions in contemporary India,  Riots remained primarily a law and order problem and would invariably find (whether in Jamshedpur; 1979 or Meerut; 1981 or to a large extent Anti-Sikh riots of 1984) the once vacillating state compelled to respond to the situation positively albeit reluctantly.
Post-independence, the religious identity of Muslims has become as threatening to themselves as it is today. Muslim are looked upon everywhere with suspicion and mistrust. Indian politics revolves around communal issues and identity. Politicians cause riots and they also have the power to prevent them through their control of state governments responsible for law and order . Here political competition is intense, parties representing the majority ethnic groups or eyeing their votes use anti minority propaganda, protests, demonstrations, and physical attacks to precipitate riots. This assures majority ethnic groups, who identify with the party and vote for it on this basis. The state governments protect minorities when it is in their electoral interest to do so. Riots are the key defining factor in the history of the struggle for dominance of one community over another. The areas where the ghettos exist in Mumbai are mostly overcrowded slums with hardly any of the amenities and facilities of which the rest of the city boasts. The ghettoization of Muslims suggests that the city is now communally more polarized.
In Gujarat a law called Ashant dhara 1992 is applicable only in Ahmadabad after the Babri masjid demolition. Home Minister at that time Haren Pandya brought this law saying it will decrease ghettoization. Now the question arises that will such type of law will help in decreasing ghettoization or will increase the alienation leading to ghettoization of Muslims and also where is the media in all this, why this has been not taken by the media? Role of media is also questioned and is debated as a factor leading to ghettoization. The information disseminated by media about a particular community and the irresponsible reporting done by it somewhere aids in maligning of the image of the community and pushing it to the periphery of the society and creating hatred and misbelieves. Often portrayal of Muslims as uncultured, uneducated and violent behavior has created a typical image among other communities. Ignorance has become a regular element for media. Ignorance towards highlighting the lack basic amenities and social condition prevailing in Muslims neighborhoods has somewhere shown the alienation attitude of media towards the community residing in these areas.
Vilification of an entire community for incidents of terror would not help in understanding the problem but would only lead to misunderstanding. Irresponsible media reporting about the incident and lack of validity of the story questions its accountability. The recent revelation of ‘saffron terrorism’ behind the blast perpetrated by Hindu extremist organizations include 2006 Malegaon blasts, Mecca Masjid bombing (Hyderabad), Samjhauta Express bombings and the Ajmer Sharif Dargah Blast by the Hindu group Abhinav Bharat has somewhere made us to rethink the entire politics played against any blast that occurs where Muslim outfit like LeT and Indian Mujahidin are accused as main conspirator. The irony in all this is that it’s not the perpetuators of crime who are highlighted but the entire community is labeled for this and stigmatized. The biasness in the use of state laws like MCOCA and TADA force the community to question about the state intentions and commitment towards its citizens. Secularism was increasingly seen as a favour to the minorities but democracy and the rule of law were intrinsically linked to secularism [15,16].
In Mumbai Mumbra and Jogeshwari has often hit the media headlines for the wrong reasons. A section of the majority community and the media have regarded Muslim inhabitants of Mumbra as being loyal to Pakistan and members of Pakistan’s intelligence agency Inter- Services Intelligence (ISI). The labels applied to the people are now extended to the place so that Mumbra is referred to as mini-Pakistan and even local authorities do not show any enthusiasm to develop amenities and facilities in Mumbra.
Educational under achievement among socially excluded groups living in high crime, low income neighborhoods has been a cause for concern. Moreover children and youth from such neighborhoods are very prone to crime and fell into addiction. In Shivaji which falls under Mumbai’s Ward M register maximum cases of body assault across Mumbai? Here cases of addiction to drugs are very much high among children and youths. Most of the cases register here are committed under the influence of drugs. Police here have an assumption that a person residing in these areas are uncultured and uneducated and goes on even to labeling them as criminal and terrorists. Police biasness towards Muslims who are in majority in this area can be easily seen apart from the ignorance of civic bodies towards the locality. This area has a Human Development Index of 0.05 which is less than the sub Saharan region. This under achievement is in large part a product of exclusion from school, or dropping out of school, either before the official school leaving age, before they have achieved a basic vocational qualification or before they have achieved a qualification commensurate with their present or potential level of attainment. So the lack of educational facilities unemployment, poverty, deteriorated physical environment, and limited social mobility due to ghettoization has led to the criminalization of youth.
Ever unanswered question
The decades of denial of opportunities and entitlements which one community that is Muslim among others such as SC/ST and Dalits have faced, will have backlash on society. This community has been regarded with suspicion from all-over the globe because of terrorism. In India also this community is singled out for genocidal violence and humiliated by being treated as though permanently on probation for citizenship. The right-wing propaganda of ‘minority appeasement’ if in any case government tries to make some symptomatically policy to improve the situation. Moreover those policies does not look to attack the cause of the problems rather does the patchwork in society. As against this, the Sachar committee has revealed the lack of educational and employment opportunities, minimal beneficiaries of government credits and the consequently attenuated life choices that confront the majority of Indian Muslims. Ironically these so called ‘appeasements’ program has contributed to the Muslim community backwardness and ghettoization (for example, Madarsa education system was not modernized).
In Marx dialectic materialism theory there is one of the laws which say that gradual accumulation of quantitative change brings change. So, the decades of accumulated frustration, resentment and anger of many young Muslims and for that matter all those who are excluded and marginalized from the mainstream of national life society, may well prompt them to take rebellious path. The time for the change is not known and may be what is called ‘nodal point’ in Marxist term, has not reached. How do we deal with this seemingly intractable situation? The socio-political and increasing economic world events that have enabled the rampant Islamophobia in many areas to emerge remain with us and can flare up with unpredictable effects at without warning [17-19].
Another point is why the development of Muslim is discussed as the development of particular community rather not as development of nation? Why the problems of Muslim are located to problems of community and not as of whole nation? Why not state makes policies which eliminate the causes of ailments in society rather than symptoms? Why not civil society put pressure on government to implement Sachar Committee report? Why a community should be asked to prove its nationalist credentials over and over again? Why this community is grossly underrepresented in the administrative services and the police? There are many more questions which would be unanswered by the Indian society [13,14].
The integration of Muslim community into the mainstream society has always been in academic discourse, Muslim and non-Muslim politicians discussions, and by civil societies promotion of communal harmony. About this integration, Ranjit Hoskote writes in the article ‘The Price of Exclusion published in The Hindu dated, 12 December 2006. For the goal of ‘integration’ too often implies merely the procedural assimilation of a group into a mainstream that has already been named and defined; in this case, an idea of India that is underwritten by a tacitly Hindu world-view and Indic civilizational assumptions set in contradistinction to the West Asian belief systems and cosmologies. Observe the etymology of the word ‘assimilation’: from the Latin assimilare, to render something much the same as another, at the cost of its own distinctive identity. The tragedy with the modern nation-state's notion of integration is that, while often disclaiming an official culture, it tends to adopt the majority culture as its standard and demands that every minority group should define itself accordingly. The challenge before the 21st century Indian nationstate would be to emancipate the Muslim community from the syndromes of other-imposed marginalization and self-imposed ghettoization; to catalyze its participation in public life while assuring it of the right to a cultural distinctiveness, with the provision that this should not permit Muslim ecclesiarches to contravene the Republic's basic charter of human freedoms”. Pluralism and diversity and tolerance cannot be demonstrated by fostering Muslim clerical elite that can be used for votes to particular party or coalition. Society need to give more than the national flag in the hands of child with traditional cap (topi) on the head. We need to remove topi covering head which has unable the young mind to come out of the stigmatization and labeling.
Promoting inclusive development and mainstreaming would be greatly assisted by a constantly updated National Data Bank and the establishment of appropriate fast-track mechanisms to ensure equal opportunities. Affirmative action could be furthered by reference to a suitably constructed diversity index. Ranjit Hoskote further adds in the article ‘The Price of Exclusion published in The Hindu dated, 12 December 2006 “A more inclusive and sensitive approach to the writing of history would be integral to this initiative. Through an initiative that should span school-level education as well as higher academia, literary activity as well as the electronic media, Indians must find means of overcoming the deep-rooted (or hard-wired, if you prefer) prejudices against Islam, Muslim culture, and the so-called Muslim period in Indian history. These prejudices are, invariably, the products of a deeply flawed schema of periodization created by colonial and nationalist historians, a reading of India's past that has conspired to divide our present and thrown our future into doubt”. This would be again a question on state for the appeasement of minority?