THE high-profile Indian Parliament attack ended up with the hanging of Afzal Guru in a Delhi jail last week. The Indian court wrote in the judgment that though there was no direct evidence, Guru should be hanged to satisfy the collective conscience of the nation.

What is meant by the collective conscience of the nation? Does the Indian nation get satisfaction over hanging of an alleged convict on whom the case evidence is not complete?

This is the state of justice in world’s largest democracy. The plight of Muslims is evident, be it Kashmir, Jharkand, Assam, Mumbai or Gujrat. They are facing a scenario unprecedented in the world.

The distribution of power and quotas in India also keeps Muslims excluded. Take the example of the UP state: the distribution of quotas for jobs and education is: 23 per cent to scheduled castes, 25 per cent to backward classes (Bahojan Samaj), two per cent for the armed forces, while the remaining 46 to 48 per cent go to Brahmans.

Muslims can only seek two to four per cent seats while their population is more than 20 per cent in the state and 73 per cent of the minorities’ population.

Even then they say that India is a secular state while the system easily excludes Muslims from their due rights.

Indian Muslims are patriotic to their country even after such atrocities because they do not have any other alternative. Beyond their borders they see us fighting each other on ethnic grounds.

It is evident that Indian civil society is taking a pragmatic and optimistic approach towards this alienation of Muslims in Indian society.

DR TARIQ ALI     Karachi

Updated Feb 13, 2013 02:55am

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Comments (45) (Closed)

Akbar Ahmed
Feb 13, 2013 03:20pm
Afzal Guru is a terrorist which is proven beyond doubt; I do not understand why Pakistan is making such a big issue. We muslins in India are much better off and more progressive compared to fellow Muslins of Pakistan. I am from Deccan Hyderabad where we make up ~ 18% of the population and the Mayor of this grate city is a Muslim. You said it right that you are all patriotic to our beloved nation India and fully support my country's decision to eradicate the terrorist whose aim is create disturbances and kill fellow citizens irrespective of their religion
civi varghese
Feb 13, 2013 12:11pm
I think the article is biased.The writer may not have any idea about situations?I am a south indian. In our state Kerala muslims have reservations in government jobs and universities.Even though Christians are minorities,they are not liable for reservations! If you have rational mind, you will agree that the conditions of muslims in india is far better than that in pakistan.
Feb 13, 2013 12:39pm
He was guilty of trying to kill innocent people whay does it matter if he was a muslim or not he deserved the punishment he got.
Feb 14, 2013 01:50pm
Tariq saheb, In India there is constitutional provision for job reservations (only govt jobs) for Scheduled castes (15%) scheduled tribes( 7.50%) and other backward castes (27%). There is no reservation for so called upper castes. They, along with Muslims have to to aspire for the remaining 51% govt jobs. Muslims don't benefit from reservations because Muslims are not supposed to have any disadvantaged groups. By the way, upper caste Hindus are as much anguished by caste based reservations as any one else. But the other side of the story is that govt jobs are only a small fraction of the job market in India. Usually lazy and incompetent people aspire for them. Thanks to the booming economy, it is the private sector which offers the real plum jobs. I am sure your Muslim brothers will find themselves competent enough to bag them. Further, given the sad plight of Muslims in India, I am sure there must be a beeline of Muslims at Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi for a Pak visa? But you know very well, as acknowledged in your article, that Muslims are indeed better off in India than in Pakistan. There are problems in India, but we will get over them in due course. But Pakistan's health is so bad that it's pain will only end with the final disintegration of the half-nation. Just watch - Baluchistan is the second step after East Pakistan.
Feb 13, 2013 03:24pm
Respected author you need to understand that India being a secular country is averse to the idea to giving quota on the basis of religion.As far as your contention of clandestine discrimination against muslims in India is concerned let me remind you that the three Khans of Bollywood,A.P.J Abdul Kalam ,Fakhrudin Ahmad,Current External Affairs Minister Salmaan Khurshid,Current Vice President of India Hamid Ansari,S.Y Kureshi(Former Chief Election Commissioner),Javed Akhtar etc depict a secular and unbiased approach of India. Sometimes I feel that Pakistan in it's desperation to justify two nation theory at any cost i.e. to validate its creation keeps on portraying Indian Muslims in poor light ignoring the leaps they have made in a secular India.
Feb 13, 2013 11:51am
Complete wrong analysis. Watch videos of Afzal Guru on Youtubes, where he narrated how he committed the crime along with Pakistanis (Ghazi Baba), attacking the Indian parliament and killing 10 police personnel's. Afzal Guru no doubt was leading a normal life when he was brainwashed by Pakistanis for "Jihad". This is for Pakistani journalists, wrong analysis and falsification will not make right about the facts. Do not twist the real facts, otherwise it falls on your own country too, and that is what Pakistani militants are on rampage in Pakistan.
Jag Nathan
Feb 13, 2013 07:31pm
Indian Muslims must migrate to Pakistan if they are not happy with what they have in India. Christians, Jews, Parsis, Sikhs, Buddhists all do well in India and have a share of the national success far ahead of tehir numbers. If Muslims don't have it, that because of their leaders, their mullahs and tehir attitudes. They should not expect anything more in India for the majority of us (includes all other minorities other than Muslims) will not allow any affirmative action to benefit Muslims based on their faith. Pakistan was reserved for them and they must go there if they are not happy with their bag of goods.
Feb 14, 2013 01:51pm
If Indian Muslims want religion based reservations in govt jobs, they should migrate to Pakistan where they will get 100% reservation.
Anand Jha
Feb 13, 2013 03:24pm
One cannot describe the cruelty and the indescency on behalf of ruling party who unfortunately represents India. Mr. Guru as described by jail official was a true gentlemen , and in absence of any direct evidence how can a capital punishment will be given. He was even deprived of meeting his family last time- it's a shame. I categorize it as state sponsored terrorism. Being an Indian I have got a duty to protest against this form of injustice.and I feel very sorry for Mr. Guru and his innocent family.
Feb 13, 2013 01:24pm
I wonder what happened to the collective conscience of the free world?
Feb 13, 2013 03:26pm
In India we had 3 Muslim Presidents till date. We have several super stars(Sharukh, Salman, Aamir, Saif...) in our Film industry who are Muslim. Our national cricket team has Muslim player, including previous captain Mohammed Azharuddin. Is this possible for minorities in Pakistan? Before looking at "plight of Muslims" in India, look at plight of Humans in Pakistan.
Feb 13, 2013 04:05am
You wish.
Feb 13, 2013 05:10am
Doc - India is secular because the constitution does not discriminate against folks based on religions/sects. You won't see any blasphemy laws here. Every democracy or secular nation has its faults and so does ours. Whatever exclusion you talk about is due to refusal of Muslims to integrate with the society (its true with Muslims in Western countries as well). Other minorities (with population far less than Muslims) are not whining, in fact they're in better shape than majority Hindus. Additionally not all Muslims suffer. Bohras & Memons fare better and are one of the richest communities here. Columnist M.J. Akbar pointed out the responses of Hindus & Muslims in India to materialism/globalization in a column else where. Muslims have shut themselves out (more women in burkha, more men with beards, more literal interpretations) and gone in a shell, having no clue how to deal with the changes. Hindus on the other hand are indulging in materialism, whole hog. Both extremes need to be avoided.
Feb 13, 2013 05:11am
Make your facts correct. Do not follow mullah media. Afzal Guru was a terrorist. Don't mix religion with terror. Muslims in India are better placed than most of the so called Islamic countries. Sunnis are not killing Shias or vice versa. There is no issue for Qadianis either. Indian Muslims are far more progressive and democratic than any other Muslim society of world.
Feb 13, 2013 05:39am
These numbers have been plucked out of thin air. The one on reservations is totally incorrect. As per law, reservations cannot exceed 50%. And Brahmins do not get 48% - How does 3% of population fill 48% of seats? Maths, my dear Sir. Also, we do not need any patronizing on how to handle our minorities, not from Pakistan definitely. People in glass houses should not throw stones at their neighbours. Muslims in India remain patriotic because their form of Islam is a gentle sufi one and they have retained it. That gentle form has been lost across the border.
Feb 13, 2013 06:01am
Absolutely wrong data. Bahujan is not the other backward classes but the scheduled castes. The current chief minister of UP, a Yadav, comes from the backward classes. The so called brahmins that the writer refers is a complete misnomer and indicates his ignorance regarding this topic. The main reason for the backwardness of Muslims is their own leaders. Its sad that such a letter is published in a respected publication like Dawn.
Feb 13, 2013 06:07am
In India, The constitution does not allow reservation on religious grounds. Based on the income, most of the muslims will fall under backward or most backward classes and they are making use of the reservation that very well. if you dont know anything about secular india try to put some effort in understanding that rather than spreading false information. People of all religions practise their faith without any problem unlike your pakistan. And do you ever ponder how do you treat your minorities there in your land of 'pure?!!'.
Feb 13, 2013 06:14am
Afzal guru was hanged due to circumstantial evidence and also he had confessed to his crimes to a television channel.And your while the remaining 46 to 48 per cent go to Brahmans is misinformation its the percentage for general merit means the seats will be distributed based on merit not on social backwardness.I request you to stop your bigotry and spiting of venom against India and Indians.
Feb 13, 2013 06:16am
Dr. Ali, honestly speaking, Indian Muslims are the headache and problem of the Indian nation and her people. You would do well to talk about the problems Pakistani Muslims face in their own country. It would be better if you speak about the problems of the Hazaras, Shias and Ahmadis in your own country before pointing a finger to anyone else. I have not even started talking about the non muslim minorities as yet.
Feb 13, 2013 06:34am
Feb 13, 2013 06:39am
False victim-hood displayed by the writer.
Feb 13, 2013 07:17am
What About Th Plight of Hindus in Pakistan?
Feb 13, 2013 07:17pm
Dr.Tariq Ali obviously believes that facts should not be allowed in the way of a good story. ON RESERVATIONS: There is a quota educational institutions and for the underprivileged castes to make up for centuries of oppression that per the constitution and upheld by the Supreme court cannot exceed 50%. The remaining openings are available for open competition. Brahmins do not have any reservations(I am not a brahmin). ON DEATHS: Muslims have suffered in some instances, but far more riots have been instigated by muslims and significantly more hindus have died in them. This is not to mean that mob violence is justified but merely to show that it is not official machinery that is killing muslims. Assam violence was largely against Bangladeshi citizens illegally taking over land and it was the govt. that stopped the rioting. In Mumbai, after the Babri Masjid destruction, muslim gangs(many of whose leaders are openly living in Pakistan) set off bombs that killed innocent people who had nothing to do with Babri or religion. This set off reprisals from Hindu fanatics. In Gujarat, two whole train bogeys were locked from the outside and the religious pilgrims inside were burnt to death. This set off spontaneous riots that the state machinery could not control quickly enough(The courts have had a mixed opinion on whether it was unpreparedness or deliberate negligence). In India minorities in general and muslims in particular have managed to use their votes to get undue advantages. The ongoing debate for reservations for muslims is a case in point. The Indian constitution prohibits any religion based reservation but the powers that be are trying to circumvent that. Reservations are to help an oppressed community achieve parity with everyone and then the reservations are supposed to stop. If as muslims are proud to say, they were the rulers for 800 years and they are still backward, is the general society supposed to carry them forever? ( Please remember, there are few to none new muslims - almost all muslims have been so for many generations). In india, there are no restrictions on what muslims or anyone else can do. Muslims have been presidents, ministers, senior administrators and some muslims are among the richest people in India. There may be no reservations for muslims, but dear doctor, there are no restrictions on them joining any institution or job. In this matter, they are like me and I am happy with that. Next time, please check your facts and do not go with what your rabid TV talk show hosts say.
Feb 13, 2013 08:14am
The author is requested to get his facts right. This story has incorrect information.
Feb 13, 2013 08:16am
@DAWN NEWS : How can you post this kind of False letter's ?? Keep some STANDARD !! Falsified statements: 1.46-48% reservation for Brahmins& upper caste's ?? a big NO..Candidates from Scheduled caste's & tribes even compete in that 46-48 % of Reservation on the basis of, their is no mandatory reservation for Brahmins or upper caste's,they will get selected purely based on MERIT in that 46-48%, after competing with all reserved candidates!! 2.Muslims get 5-6 % reservation in most of the Indian states & they are trying to raise that cap. HENCE RESERVATION IN INDIA = ST & SC(backward people-including all religion's) > MUSLIMS > Brahmins or Upper caste's(including all religions-- NIL reservation)
Feb 13, 2013 09:13am
Mr Ali look at the state of minorities in your own country before commenting on the plight of Muslims in India.Muslims are better placed in India than Pakistan. Can you ever produce a Hindu/Christian film superstar, a Hindu/Christian President of Pakistan or a Hindu/Christian cricketer in your national team?
Feb 13, 2013 09:27am
Sir, the Indian muslims need not to have your sympathy. They are quite happy in India and never felt any discrimination against. Please think about your own country. By the way, Guru was an Indian and judged as per Indian law.
Feb 13, 2013 06:34pm
The writer can be termed as 'Hallmark of Ignorance.' The article is misleading and a failed effort to convince the people of Pakistan than partitioned was a wise choice for Muslims. I advice him to read the entire judgement available on the internet. Secondly, the statistics you gave is far away from reality. I have gone through comments and few have enlightened you and corrected you. I would like to add that 70% of the Muslim community enjoys reservation under OBC category.Dawn is a very reputed newspaper this is unexpected
Feb 14, 2013 05:06pm
There may not have been enough direct evidence but there was enough circumstantial evidence to convict Guru. I am sure Indian courts would not have behaved whimsically in such a high profile case. Otherwise why did they acquit SAR Gilani for want of evidence in the same case. (IN Gilani's case, the judge had actually commented that "even though circumstances throw strong suspicion on Gilani, yet in the absence of adequate evidence we have to acquit him".
Feb 14, 2013 05:31pm
In India, Muslims and other minorities routinely occupy high positions. Even today we have a Sikh army chief., a Christian Air Force chief, a Christian Defence minister, a Muslim Foreign Minister, a Sikh Prime Minister, and a Christian Super PM (Sonia Gandhi). Indians (Hindus) are a self assured people. Is this the sign of a fanatically religious society? We can comfortably place are destiny and security in the hands of minorities because we know we have treated them well and hence we can trust them. I wonder when Pakistan will reach such a stage. Right now you have to worry about Hindus and Sikhs migrating from Pakistan to India.
Feb 13, 2013 11:04pm
Dr. Tariq Ali, Since you a "Doctor", I don't need to point out the obvious factual blunders in your letter. I am assuming you gathered it through some process that you figured was credible. Plus several other readers have pointed them out already. Which leaves two options - a) you are a liar without a conscience or b) you are complete moron. Which one are you? Or are you a blend of both?
Akil Akhtar
Feb 13, 2013 11:28pm
No need to discuss what your own courts said, because you got your hanging and collective satisfaction.
Akil Akhtar
Feb 13, 2013 11:32pm
The collective ignorance of the indian hindus towards plight of minorities in india is also amazing
Akil Akhtar
Feb 13, 2013 11:36pm
yes, We had Hindu Chief Justice, Christian and Hindu test players(Yousuf Youhanna, Anil Dilpat, Danesh kaneria) , Its only that you don't want to see as it does not fit well with your propoganda.
Akil Akhtar
Feb 13, 2013 11:37pm
DAWN should be careful as Indian readers only like it when it is critical of Pakistan otherwise it is fale otr unbalanced.....
Akil Akhtar
Feb 13, 2013 11:40pm
India is secular in constitution but fanatically religious society. People live in a society and not the constitui=tion which is used by teh Hindu majority as a smoke screen
One Indian
Feb 14, 2013 12:13am
Hey Tariq, What kind of doctor you are? You think Indian muslims are patriotic because they don't have alternative ? We Indians will love to see your government makes Pakistan a better place to live and accepts some willing muslims from India. It is a win win situation for citizens at both side.
Feb 14, 2013 05:09pm
Tariq saheb, if India was so bad for Muslims, Sania Mirza would have applied for Pakistani citizenship by now. The fact that she has'nt, speaks volumes about relative attractiveness of India and Pakistan for Muslims.
Feb 14, 2013 02:55am
I am not for or aganist any religion for all religions as that are practiced are dogmas only. I however wish to point out to my Pakistani friends that most of the well todo ,professional ,and progressive Muslim groups in india are also the less obsessed about religion .
Feb 14, 2013 03:17am
DR TARIQ ALI ....Did you buy your fake doctorate from a Pakistan university...Oh!!! you must be following the footsteps of your politicians. Where did you get the data?
Feb 14, 2013 07:41pm
We have already given land to create Pakistan what else they need..They should have gone to Pakistan who asked them to stay back?if we have given away our land then why we should take care for them?
Feb 14, 2013 05:01am
@Author - What about the plight of Pakistani Muslims in Pakistan?
Feb 14, 2013 05:52am
Tariq Ali Saab, Yeh bahut accha mazzak hai "while the remaining 46 to 48 per cent go to Brahmans". Even Brahmins will be shocked to hear this. I agree you do not like India but atleast your logic and reasoning should not desert you. Strange your hatred for India is blind...
Feb 14, 2013 05:12pm
The collective conscience of the free world is satisfied that one it has one less problem to handle. Of course, drones are reducing the world's problems a little bit each day.
Feb 14, 2013 05:17pm
The collective ignorance of the West Pakistani Muslims towards the plight of East Pakistani Muslims in 1971 was more amazing. And the collective ignorance of the Pakistani Muslims towards the plight of Baluch Muslims in 2013 is even more amazing.