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Social, Economic and Educational Status of the Muslim Community of India


  • Rajindar Sachar


  • Saiyid Hamid
  • T.K. Oommen
  • M.A. Basith
  • Rakesh Basant
  • Akhtar Majeed
  • Abusaleh Shariff


The Indian Constitution is committed to the equality of citizens and the responsibility of the State to preserve, protect and assure the rights of minorities in matters of language, religion and culture. That is why our national leaders while framing the Constitution, emphasized the doctrine of unity in diversity. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National, Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities says that the promotion and protection of the rights of persons belonging to such minorities contribute to the political and social stability of the countries in which they live. Meeting their aspirations and ensuring their rights acknowledges the dignity and equality of all individuals and furthers participatory development. This in turn contributes to the lessening of tensions among groups and individuals. These factors are major determinants for stability and peace. All developed countries and most developing ones give appropriate emphasis to looking after the interests of minorities. Thus, in any country, the faith and confidence of the minorities in the functioning of the State in an impartial manner is an acid test of its being a just State. As the processes of economic development unfold, pressures are likely to build up and intensify when there is unequal development and some groups or minorities lag behind in the development process. Ideally, development processes should remove or reduce economic and social obstacles to cooperation and mutual respect among all groups in the country. If development processes are misdirected, they may have the opposite effect. It is this aspect which is important and needs to be addressed so as to give confidence to minorities. Since Independence, India has achieved significant growth and development. It as also been successful in reducing poverty and improving crucial human development indicators such as levels of literacy, education and health. There are indications, however, that not all religious communities and social groups (henceforth socio-religious communities SRCs) have shared equally the benefits of the growth process. Among these, the Muslims, the largest minority community in the country, constituting 13.4 per cent of the population, are seriously lagging behind in terms of most of the human development indicators. While the perception of deprivation is widespread among Muslims, there has been no systematic effort since Independence to analyze the condition of religious minorities in the country. Despite the need to analyze the socio-economic and educational conditions of different SRCs, until recently appropriate data for such an analysis was not generated by Government agencies. There have been welcome change in the scope of data collection with respect to SRCs in the 1990s, which, in turn, has made this report possible. The current effort is the first of its kind to undertake a data-based research on the Muslims in India.

Suggested Citation

  • Rajindar Sachar & Saiyid Hamid & T.K. Oommen & M.A. Basith & Rakesh Basant & Akhtar Majeed & Abusaleh Shariff, 2006. "Social, Economic and Educational Status of the Muslim Community of India," Development Economics Working Papers 22136, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:eab:develo:22136

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    Cited by:

    1. M. Niaz Asadullah & Uma Kambhampati & Florencia Lopez Boo, 2014. "Social divisions in school participation and attainment in India: 1983–2004," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(4), pages 869-893.
    2. Upasak Das, 2015. "Rationing and Accuracy of Targeting in India: The Case of the Rural Employment Guarantee Act," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(3), pages 361-378, September.
    3. Bhalotra, Sonia & Valente, Christine & van Soest, Arthur, 2010. "The puzzle of Muslim advantage in child survival in India," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 191-204, March.
    4. Brinda Viswanathan, 2014. "Variations in Women’s Heights across Social and Religious Groups Among Indian States," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 119(2), pages 1149-1169, November.
    5. Sonia Bhalotra & Christine Valente & Arthur van Soest, 2008. "Religion and Childhood Death in India," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 08/185, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    6. Chakravarty, Surajeet & Fonseca, Miguel A. & Ghosh, Sudeep & Marjit, Sugata, 2016. "Religious fragmentation, social identity and cooperation: Evidence from an artefactual field experiment in India," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 265-279.
    7. Singh, Ashish, 2010. "Inequality of opportunity in India," MPRA Paper 32971, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Lopes, Adrian A., 2014. "Civil unrest and the poaching of rhinos in the Kaziranga National Park, India," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 20-28.
    9. Halder, Jhuma, 2016. "Educational outcome: Identifying social factors in South 24 parganas district of West Bengal," Working Papers 360, Institute for Social and Economic Change, Bangalore.
    10. Jeffery, Patricia & Jeffery, Roger, 2010. "Only when the boat has started sinking: A maternal death in rural north India," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 71(10), pages 1711-1718, November.
    11. Javier Escobal & Eva Flores, 2009. "Maternal Migration and Child Well-being in Peru(Migración materna y bienestar infantil en el Perú)," Documentos de Trabajo (Niños del Milenio-GRADE) ninosm56, Niños del Milenio (Young Lives).
    12. Sabina Alkire & Suman Seth, 2013. "Selecting a Targeting Method to Identify BPL Households in India," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 112(2), pages 417-446, June.
    13. repec:eee:jcecon:v:46:y:2018:i:2:p:436-456 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Elizabeth Brainerd & Nidhiya Menon, 2015. "Religion and Health in Early Childhood: Evidence from South Asia," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 41(3), pages 439-463, September.

    More about this item


    muslims in India; human development indicator;

    JEL classification:

    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion
    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification


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