Social Scientist. v 5, no. 50 (Sept 1976) p. 67.

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Problems of the Muslim Minority in India

IT IS heartening that Social Scientist has taken up for discussion an area of major concern for the democratic movement., namely, the role of the working class and its party in relation to the Muslims who form the largest religious minority in the country.l

The authors of the discussion have correctly pointed out three things. Firsts the implementation of a well-thought-out and scientific approach to the Muslim minority's problems will prevent the disruption of the democratic movement on a non-class basis and direct mass anger at the real source of communal politics: the bourgeois-landlord combine backed by imperialism. The recent Lebanese civil war as well as Indian partition of 1947 provide clear examples of who cultivates communalism and benefits from it. Secondly, any correct approach must base itself on the strategy outlined in the programme of the Communist Party of India, Marxist, CPI (M) which ^has stated the basic principles which should guide the working class on the question of the Muslim minority:

religious minorities should be given protection, and any discrimination against them forbidden and the Urdu language and its script are to be protected." Finally, the authors correctly underline the need for a detailed and specific definition of the tasks of the democratic movement in relation to Muslims in order to free them from the grip of communal, anti-working-class organizations.

In order to evolve such a programme, the class background and relevance of what are known as the ^major grievances' of the Muslim community must be studied in relation to the realities. The authors correctly note that the position that Muslims are under-represented in big industry is a ^typically petty-bourgeois complaint" but they have not pointed out, as K M Ashrafhad done as far back as 1948, that ^a middle class among the Muslims came up half a century later than the Hindu middle class, but like a child born to aged parents, it began to grow up under the patronage of a dying feudal order."3 Ashraf's advice was not to pander to the demands of a late-born class but to provide an

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