The term minority is something that all Indians keep hearing almost every day in their lives. During the time of the elections, we hear the same term more often. Every analyst keeps talking about it. There are many politicians who keep competing in terms of making promises to the minorities. Many political parties do succeed by taking this direction. Now when I hear any discussions about the minorities or minorities vote bank, I finally do not get convinced of the term.
The key questions that always strike my mind are,
Why people from certain religions are considered minorities in India? If such communities are really minorities, what is the benefit that the political parties gain out of such appeasement? Let us now analyse all sections of people in India spanning across religions, states, languages etc and derive who the real majority sections are in the country.
The first samples will be from the Hindu community in which let us consider the largest linguistic group in the country. People whose mother tongue is Hindi form the largest group. But these people constitute only 38% of the Indian population. Hence there is no linguistic majority in India. Now considering the single largest linguistic group in India, we find that this group is not a united group. Casteism and regionalism is neck deep among these people. Certain sections of people believe that only the people in Madhya Pradesh speak pure Hindi and look down upon the rest of the Hindi speaking people. Majority of the Hindi speaking people make mockery of the Hindi spoken by the Biharis and look down upon them. People based out of Lucknow claim that their version of Hindi which is actually Hindustani (Hindi+Urdu) is the real Hindi and the rest are not correct forms. When we keep analysing the Hindi speaking people and the divisions in terms of pure Hindi, correct Hindi, correct accent etc, we find that the 38% can be split into multiple single digit numerals. It is not the end of it.
Now let us get deeper into the numbers. Now let us consider one sample of Hindi speaking people. Let us have the sample as the people from the state of Bihar. All those who are familiar with the people in Bihar need not require further explanation on how divided this state is in the name of caste. If any management institute in the world needs some good sample as case study for analysing the caste system, Bihar is a lovely example. A Bihari will not feel comfortable in the company of a fellow Bihari unless he knows the caste of the other person. People in the state kill each other in the name of the caste. People from the state privately agree that there are certain places in the state in which murders happen so frequently in the name of caste that the so called insurgent states cannot compete. But many such murders even do not find entries in the police records. How many people in India realised that the political parties split in the Bihar state only on caste lines?
Now if we consider Bihari Hindi speaking people as 1/3 rd of the 38% Hindi speaking population and say that it is nearly 12% of the total Indian population, what will be the percentage of each caste in this 12%. If each Bihari caste constitutes 2% or 3% of the total Bihari population, what will the percentage of each Bihari caste in the population of India? Yes, all of us agree that it is very small. Many castes do not even constitute even 1% of the Indian population. If we analyse in this manner for every linguistic group and every state in India, we are sure to find similar results. People from every language and every state take more pride in their state and somehow see some reasons on why they are superior to the rest. School books in every local language in the local medium of instruction create such pride in the younger age itself. Each caste group looks forward to a separate representative from their caste in the elections. If not the caste groups look forward to those political parties who promise and take care of their communities.
For many Hindus in India, region comes first. In their region caste comes first. People of the same caste in two different states do not constitute a single group. First of all very rarely do we find same castes in different states. But let us consider an example of castes that exist across all the states and languages. Let us consider the caste Brahmin for example. Will a Brahmin in a South Indian state say Tamil Nadu feel being in the same group as the Brahmin in UP? Anyone can immediately say no to this. A Hindi speaking UP based Brahmin will feel more nearer to a different caste Hindi speaking UP based person than a Tamil speaking Brahmin. So in spite of the same name for a caste, the caste does not form a single group across the country. Hence each caste group in a particular state and in a particular language constitutes a small minority in the total population of India. Hindus constitute 81% of the Indian population and in this population, there is nothing called majority. There are hundreds of minority groups in this 81%. Hence we can say that there is no clear cut political unity due to the existence of so many region based, state based, language based, caste based minorities. If political parties have to win an election, they need to play around with so many permutations and combinations of castes.
Based on the above analysis, can we call the Hindus the majority community in the country?
Before replying to the question, look at the further analysis on the other communities in India. The Buddhists, Jains and other religions born in India any way constitute a minority in the country with the exception of the Sikhs who are a majority in at least one Indian state though a minority in India. Let us now consider the Christians. Are they united? It is a very difficult question to answer, but the majority of the Christians being those converted from among the Hindus, it is said that they are not leaving the caste system even after conversion. It is said that a dalit who is converted to Christianity is looked down upon by an upper caste convert. Hence each such division among the Christians also constitutes a miniscule percentage in the overall Indian population.
Let us now consider the Muslims. They constitute 13% of the Indian population and everyone in the country will agree that these people constitute the most united of all the groups of people in India. They vote strategically based on the instruction given by the community leaders that also include Jama Masjid Imam. Is there any other group in India which can claim to have even 10% of Indian population under a single umbrella? Then obviously the Muslims are the single largest politically united group in the country. They are of course not a minority.
Then why are we shouting that the political parties are all concentrating on minority appeasement? No, they are cleverly targeting the single largest group in India. Winning the support of a bigger group, yields better results with less effort. If we consider the states like UP where the percentage of Muslims is more than 25% of the state's population, the calculations of the people like Mulayam Singh Yadav are naturally correct. I believe he is not doing any mistake. He is not dividing the people. It is people who are already divided. Politicians are building their own careers based on this division. The clever politicians always aim for the jackpot and the jackpot in India is the single largest community which is the Muslim community. Once a party secures the single largest group under its belt, few promises here and there and few emotional appeals in the name of caste and language will win them the rest of the required votes to win the elections. Hence it is no surprise that many political parties prefer the so called minority appeasement.
People who complain such attitude should first set their own house in order and stop having the following thoughts about the fellow Indians.
1. Oh, the way the South Indians eat, I cannot imagine …..
2. God the North Indians are chauvinistic about language and they are …….
3. The Biharis are like....
4. Don't trust Gujjus. They are.....
5. The ...... caste is very dangerous
6. We deserve to be in SC or ST. Let us vote only those who promise such reservation.
7. The Tamilians are chauvinistic about Tamil.
8. The Mallus are.....
9. You know the Bengalis are a different kind of people altogether and they ………
10. Take care of the Punjabis. They are dangerous due to their ……..
11. The Bhumihars can never be trusted because ………..
12. People belonging to my caste are the most intelligent
13. People belonging to my state are honest among all
14. People of the state ....... are characterless.
15. People belonging to ...... castes are thieves.
Forget people who really say the above things. Even people who have such things in their minds and do not speak out openly due to the discipline created internally are also not eligible to blame the politicians for minority appeasement. Such people are just hypocrites whose behavior shows in the vote put in the ballot box. True equality comes from the mind and the real internal belief. First one should make an attempt to believe that good and bad exists in every individual and then analyse the politicians. Till then the vote bank politics will continue in India.