The Deteriorating Economic Condition of North India Muslims and its Impact on Youths:
An Exploratory Analysis
The sociocultural milieu of India has changed considerably during the lost fifty years. The economic development has not been uniform as expected. Some of the people have become rich while many have been pushed below the poverty line. Violence, despite determined declarations, continues abated. Communalism is on the upsurge. Poverty, disease, unemployment and pollution continue to increase. Corruption has not been curbed. Social values are fast deteriorating. More and more people are becoming the victims of mental illness. Crime, delinquency, drug-abuse and alcoholism are on the increase. The country is facing innumerable social problems.
India is a secular democratic country. Muslims, constituting about 12 percent of the total population is the single largest minority. A substantial proportion of the Muslims population is concentrated in the Great Plains of India, especially in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal.
The growth of Muslim population, it is believed, is much higher in these states as compared to the notional overage. The Muslim minority in general and those living in the Northern Plain of India in particular are confronted with the numerous social problems.
Some of their problems are rooted in the physical environment, but most of the problems have their origin in the poor social Organization, discrimination, lack of means of production and because of a conflict of cultural values within the society.
The Muslims believe there is discrimination against them. The employers, the rich and the officials generally look down upon the poor Muslim youths. They are considered lethargic, inefficient, and a burden on the society. They are harassed and discriminated against at every level.
They have to face the challenges of illiteracy and social prejudice. They lack collective power and whenever they make on effort to unite at the local or micro level against the politically, economically and socially stronger, they are crushed. They are accused and labeled as indiscipline, immature, having very little foresight. They are rarely considered reliable, dependent and trustworthy.
They hostile social milieu, lower their self-image, creates in them a feeling of inferiority and curb their efforts for gaining means to help themselves.
Illiteracy and lack of Islamic education are making them more vulnerable to Western values. Consequently, the Muslim youths are increasingly indulging in crime, drug-addiction, gambling and divorce. The causes of these evils need investigation and explanation.
The present paper is a modest attempt to examine the causes of deteriorating economic condition of Muslims in the Northern India with the set objective to ascertain its impact on their younger generation.
Some of the aspects of poverty, unemployment, youth unrest, child abuse, violence against and females, crimes, juvenile delinquency, alcoholism drug-abuse among Muslim youths have been probed.
The paper is based on empirical studies of two sample localities. These localities are the representatives of one urban slum from Delhi and one village of Uttar Pradesh inhabited by Muslim cultivators and laborers.
Information and data have been gathered in the form of structured questionnaire. Questions about the means of production, sources of income, mode of expenditure, causes of economic deterioration, begging, drug-abuse; alcoholism, female crime, dowry, juvenile delinquency and violence against women etc. have been included in the questionnaire.
The data thus obtained has its been computed and tabulated before geographical Interpretation has been made.
The remedial steps that may improve the economic condition of the Muslims in India in general and those who are living in the urban slums and rural areas in particular have been suggested.
It has been emphasized that the Islamic values can go a long way in improving their mode of living, making life more comfortable and enjoyable.
Dr. Majid Husain, Prof. Department of Geography, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi-110025, India.
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