UPSC Results: Why Are There So Few Muslims?

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23-year-old Athar, who hails from Anantnag in South Kashmir, got through the test in his second attempt. In his first attempt in 2014, he had got Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS) and is presently undergoing training in Indian Railways Institute of Transport Management, Lucknow.
23-year-old Athar, who hails from Anantnag in South Kashmir, got through the test in his second attempt. In his first attempt in 2014, he had got Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS) and is presently undergoing training in Indian Railways Institute of Transport Management, Lucknow.

This year’s UPSC results once again show a very dismal representation of Muslims — which remains stagnant at less than 3% as in the past. Unless the government and the community join hands to take corrective measures to improve the state of primary and higher education in the community, there is no way the Muslim representation in the country’s elite administrative services can be improved reflecting their share in population  

TAHMINA LASKAR | Caravan Daily

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he recent Union Public Services Commission (UPSC) examination results bring in a lot of cheer for many and rightly so because cracking the test for the elite and most prestigious civil service jobs is not a cakewalk. This has been a particularly happy year for Muslims as the second rank holder is a Muslim youth from Kashmir.

The fact cannot be denied that Muslim identity affects everyday living in a variety of ways that ranges from being unable to rent/buy a house to accessing good schools for their children. In the midst of all this doom and gloom, these results come as a ray of hope and a breath of fresh air.

According to official records, Muslims constitute approximately 14% of India’s population. If we consider proportional representation, there should have been at least 134 Muslim candidates in the final list. However, this year only 37 candidates could make it, which is less than 3% of 1,078 successful candidates. The overall performance remains dismal.

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According to the Rajinder Sachar committee report, as many as 25 percent of Muslim children in the 6-14 year age group either never attended school or were forced to drop out. The number of Muslim graduates is under 4 million, which is about 3.6% of the country’s population. The number of those technically qualified is a meagre 0.4.

According to official records, Muslims constitute approximately 14% of India’s population. If we consider proportional representation, there should have been at least 134 Muslim candidates in the final list. However, this year only 37 candidates could make it, which is less than 3% of 1,078 successful candidates. The overall performance remains dismal.

This totally explains why only 37 Muslims were able to make it to this year’s final UPSC list. The number of successful UPSC Muslim candidates has remained stagnant over the past few years. There are not enough Muslim graduates to even qualify for the competitive exams and among those who are there, the quality is in short supply.

For example in the case of the IITs, out of 27,161 students enrolled in different programs, there are only 894 Muslims. The share of Muslims in the post-graduate courses is just about 4% but it is even lower in undergraduate courses at 1.7%. The condition of Muslims is similar in most of the premier educational institutions except for universities like Aligarh Muslim University and Jamia Millia Islamia etc.

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So given this state of affairs, the emphasis of the Muslim community should be on how to increase meaningful representation in both primary and higher education the effect of which will automatically be visible in the civil services.

Ansar Ahmad Shaikh comes from a very poor family in Maharashtra.
Ansar Ahmad Shaikh comes from a very poor family in Maharashtra.

The first priority should be to retain children in schools and this only is possible when there is necessary government and community action to implement the educational schemes meant for minorities in true letter and spirit.

To increase the share of Muslims in education as well as government jobs, efforts including active outreach, recruitment and scholarships, by both government and private educational institutions are essential. The civil society efforts need to focus on improving the quality of education.

On this front, Zakat Foundation of India, a New Delhi-based NGO headed by Dr Syed Zafar Mahmood, a civil servant himself and former officer on special duty for Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, has been a shining example which has been funding and providing coaching for the needy Muslim candidates for the past eight years. This year, as many as half of the successful Muslim candidates, were trained by Zakat Foundation of India.

Civil Service is a tough choice for those who need to be employed soon due to financial constraints without putting their efforts and energy into something which is as challenging.

However, nothing diminishes the achievements of the 37 candidates selected. Their hard work has finally paid off.

As IPS officer, Najmul Hoda says without equivocation that “Muslims qualifying for the government services do not the change the system because it is already a secular polity but it definitely reaffirms the faith of Muslim youth in the system and that they are willing to be a part of it and contribute towards it despite all odds”. So while all hope is not lost, the way things stand now, there is little to cheer and a lot to repair.

 

 

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