Bazaar scene from Roorkee, north India. A Muslim dressed in crisp white, ironed cotton attire in a hot summer evening. However, as a whole, the Muslims in India are mostly at the bottom of the economic ladder, barring a significantly smaller percentage being part of "India Shinning" when compared to rest of India.
NEW DELHI, Nov. 24 — Even those who caution against “illusions of grandeur and power,” as the head of India’s governing coalition, Sonia Gandhi, did last week, cannot hide their sense of pride at the idea of India as a nation that extends the concessions of secular democracy to its many castes, creeds and faiths.
Yet that notion has come under some strain in recent days, with an official panel having concluded that Muslims, India’s largest religious minority, are “lagging behind” on most things that matter.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s office, which is reviewing the report, summarized the panel’s biting conclusion this way: “The community is relatively poor, more illiterate, has lower access to education, lower representation in public- and private-sector jobs and lower availability of bank credit for self-employment. In urban areas, the community mostly lives in slums characterized by poor municipal infrastructure.”