Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Majority and minority

We often hear about majority community and minority community. I can understand when it is said in the US that black [African] Americans are minority and the white Americans are in the majority. In India too if someone had said blacks are in majority I would agree though we are really different shades of brown but blackish brown is majority when compared to whitish brown. But the practice of calling Hindus as majority community and Muslims as minority community, I fail to understand. Let me explain. In reality there is no one community called Hindus.

The term Hindu was coined to name the large conglomerate of different sects/castes/communities/ tribes that had existed to the east of the river Indus, by the Arab traders/Invaders around the tenth century. It is good to know a bit about these people who came to be known as Hindus. Historical [epigraphic, archeological] evidence exists of immigration of humans in successive waves over the last ten thousand years. The Harappan civilization was probably peopled by the ancestors of the present day Dravidians. Before them were the aborigines the remnant of them can be found in our hill regions [mundas of MP/Jharkhand]. The so called Aryans came with their cattle and caste system some time four thousand years ago and settled along the major rivers of north India. So we the people of India who are called as Hindus are the descendents of all these migrants and even today we don’t have any uniformity of language, food, religion and culture. We are hundreds of castes, communities divided by many customs, etiquettes, Gods and Goddesses, many and different holy books and teachings and worse, feelings of being superior and inferior. We do not have one religion in the true sense.

The followers of Islam came around the 9th century and made this country their homeland and they prospered like many others who did before them. Many locals got converted to Islam by choice, force or other inducements. They now form 15 to 20 % of our population. They follow one religion and the teachings one prophet. No other group in this country has this percentage of the total population. So Muslims are the de facto majority community in this country.

So when we speak of majority, in true sense, it the Muslims and not the so called Hindus who really don’t exist!

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