KLF: ‘Just because Bollywood has 3 Khans doesn’t mean all Indian Muslims are doing well’

Published: February 16, 2013
Shahrukh Khan gave his first person account in the Outlook Turning Points magazine. PHOTO: IANS

Shahrukh Khan gave his first person account in the Outlook Turning Points magazine. PHOTO: IANS


There are Muslims across the border who choose to live in ghettos despite having heavy pockets. And it’s not because they are following the religion’s ascetic principles.

According to Laurent Gayer, a senior research fellow at the Centre National de la Rescherche Scientifique in New Delhi, Muslims in some of India’s cities choose to segregate themselves because they perceive themselves to be a part of a vulnerable minority. This is one of the very few bleak realities described in the pages of the book ‘Muslims in Indian States: Trajectories of Marginalisation’. The book, a collection of essays edited by Gayer and political scientist Christophe Jaffrelot, is packed with statistics which point to the social, political and economic plight of India’s largest minority.

A book launch was organised at the Karachi Literature Festival on Saturday during which Gayer and Dr Syed Jaffar Ahmed from Karachi University’s Pakistan Study Centre spoke about the socioeconomic difficulties faced by over 150 million Muslims living in the world’s largest democracy.

Columnist Irfan Husain, who moderated the discussion said, “The introduction of the book makes for a very depressing read,” adding that the difficulties faced by Muslims in India are a mirror image of what minorities face in Pakistan.

Ahmed’s introduction on the book’s context was brief but extremely informative. He said that given the difficulties faced by Muslims in the state, the contemporary view of India as a modern democracy was challenged, specifically in the 90s. “Secularism remains a major issue in India. If it takes a backseat, the future will be very bleak.”

The discussion then drifted towards the historically frigid relationship shared by Pakistan and India and whether this had any implications for Muslims living across the border. “Honestly, I just don’t know. After the Mumbai attack in 2008, there was no backlash against Muslims. Some Muslims clerics even refused to bury the attackers,” said Gayer. “I guess that there is no systematic relationship between interstate relations and marginalisation.”

During the discussion, someone blurted that things surely can’t be that bad for Muslims across the border, given all the Khans in Bollywood. Once the ripple of laughter subsided, Gayer smiled and said that the actors hogging the television aren’t really a true represenative of the opportunities that exist for the rest of the Muslims.

Once the discussion concluded, a book signing session was held.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 16th, 2013.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (31)

  • Nitish
    Feb 16, 2013 - 8:26AM

    My question is then why their number is growing so fast than other community.Dont tell coz of conversion.Conversion is a two way process and conversion is not happening too much .Whatever conversion took place is coz of marriage and not more than the thousand.Its time muslim should introspect themselves.Adopt two child policy ,modern education r the steps which can bring them out of the continuous misery.if they continue breeding like this then i dont see they have any future here.


  • Raj Kafir
    Feb 16, 2013 - 8:47AM

    Just because Bollywood has Dilip Kumar doesn’t mean all Indian Kumars are doing well.


  • True Indian
    Feb 16, 2013 - 8:51AM

    I wish someone would make an independent and empirical study of the misery of minorities (particularly Hindus, Christians, Sikhs and Buddhists) in Pakistan, and give an unadulterated and unfiltered version of facts. Pakistani social scientists, always compliant to the official diktat, can hardly be trusted to speak the truth — not because they don’t want but because they can’t.
    Yes, not every Muslim in India happens to be as famous or as successful as the three Bollywood Khans but, if studies are so important for Pakistanis, who love finding fault with India’s treatment of Muslims (as if Pakistanis themselves have treated Indian Muslims, aka Mohajirs, well), they should also read and weigh the countless other studies which confirm that Indian Muslims are far better and safer in India than they would be in Pakistan where Pakistani Muslims themselves, let alone minorities of other faiths, do not feel safe. So much for studies which are huge piles of paper saying little or nothing about the unvarnished truth.


  • amit
    Feb 16, 2013 - 8:55AM

    i’m agree with him in indian subcontinent (pakistan,india,bangladesh) muslims are most backward and illiterate community .muslims have more than 2X higher birth rate than hindus/sikhs and their litteracy rate(pakistan=54%,india=65%,bangladesh=49%) is lowest .and also some very religious mullah oppose co education and some oppose polio drops .mostly subcontinent muslims are living in past and think they are ruler of sub-continent but they forget we are living in 21st century not in 13th century .subcontinent muslims are responsible for their own backwardness not other people.


  • JSM
    Feb 16, 2013 - 9:00AM

    Muslims in India themselves are to responsible for their problems. Till 1971, most of muslims in India thought that Pakistan was their future (mustaqbil) and they were in India on a temporary basis. While the rest of Indians were struggling to improve their lot, they were waiting to migrate. Separation of Bangladesh from Pakistan brought an awakening among Indian muslims that all was not well on the other side. They have been left behind by a quarter of century. It will take time to catch up.


  • Feroz
    Feb 16, 2013 - 9:11AM

    Opportunities are there for everybody when the State does not legislate on religious and ethnic issues. The Khans of Bollywood created their own opportunities and seized them, due to merit not religion. For people to expect some favorable treatment based on their religion is sad.


  • DG
    Feb 16, 2013 - 9:23AM

    Untill and unless the muslims come out of the exclusivist mindset, they will remain marginalised sect in all advanced / semiadvanced countries.

    Wherever they are, they want to create small pockets of Pakistan or Arabia or etc, etc. They urge seperate identification, seperate rules, seperate way to treat them, etc. They do not want to go to the free government schools (with extreme secular syllabus), they do not want to go to the schools following the same uniform syllabus, just because those will pollute their purity !!!! But see in Pakistan – upper layers are all flocking to the top notch schools.

    That is why anywhere in the world the majority of them remain clsutered in ghettos. They do not get into the mainstream. Some percentage who have moved beyond this mentality have risen above and have established themselves. Others remain poor or get into non pure activities.

    Read the recent news regarding the educated muslims in Hyderabad India. Through You Tubes they are reinterpreting Islam through educated scholars from west. It is not surprising that their interpretations of Islam are quite opposite to the sermons from mosques, which are ruled by vested interest minded Mullahs.

    It has been a habit of muslims to blame their woes to others but they hardly ever look inside to see the cowebs generated through generations of neglect and eclusivity !!!!


  • Deepwater
    Feb 16, 2013 - 9:37AM

    The “vulnerability” of this specific minority has to do with their large family size, illiteracy and insufficient emphasis on providing meaningful education to their children amongst other factors. Vulnerability does not mean that that they “fear for their lives” as is the case elsewhere.


  • In the name of love (what more)
    Feb 16, 2013 - 9:57AM

    no country in the world can boast of zero discrimination against its minorities…be it the americans or any other…but if compared the treatment of minorities wud be better off in america than say in india and likewise, minorities in india are treated better than those in pakistan…pakistan’s islamic constitution itself is biased against its minorities, which is not the case in india…minorities in pakistan have come down from 10% at the time of independence to 1% currently, while in india, muslims alone have risen from 9% at the time of independence to 17% currently…


  • manishj
    Feb 16, 2013 - 10:46AM

    While traveling for my work in the upcountry i came across a group of primary students of a school. They were all either going to the school or coming back. All were wearing their school uniform of white shirt and white trousers with their school logo printed on thier shirt pocket, except one kid who was wearing a conservating muslim dress of pyjama and Kurta with a muslim cap on his head. he was sticking out like a sore thumb.. i could not fail but to notice the way he was looking so diiferent from the other students. One can imagine what his hndu friends in the school must be thinking about him. This says a lot about the way muslims want to conduct themselves and this demand to look and be different from the common indians starts from an early age. And this doesnt stop at the attire. Muslims want to be treated differently in every aspect even demanding for a different law for them.


  • David
    Feb 16, 2013 - 11:15AM

    WHo cares about three Khans. I know one man.. AB is Bollywood and bollywood is AB


  • sajida
    Feb 16, 2013 - 11:46AM

    @Nitish:every community wishes to be treated differently and want to be treated according to there laws .dont the Hindus?
    @DG muslims are living in every country of the world and they do not belong to Pakistan or Arabia only. please look at your own house first and than blame others,poverty inflicts every community and mindsets are also not limited to a few nations , Whatever India Muslims do has no relevance to their religion but is a result of the mindset of the majority of those people they are living with.i


  • Liberal
    Feb 16, 2013 - 11:49AM

    @True Indian:
    Your comments are ignorant and xenophobic.

    I’m not denying that non-Muslims have it tough in Pakistan, however the same is true across the border for Muslims in India.

    One thing I’ve notice here on ET, is that whenever there is report of mistreatment of minorities in Pakistan, most Pakistanis are very apolegetic(and should be) however when a report about something bad happening India surfaces, most of the Indian commenters try to dodge the bullet and then try changing subject by attacking Pakistan.

    This report was published by an independent group, they weren’t Pakistanis, so you must try to self-reflect.

    No country’s perfect, but hiding your problems or getting angry about it won’t help.


  • Max
    Feb 16, 2013 - 12:24PM

    So much for shining, secular India. Looking at all the crying Indians here, it’s quite obvious they can’t face the truth, but the report is very clear about fate of minorities in India.


  • ethicalman
    Feb 16, 2013 - 12:59PM

    What amazes me is the brazenness that even Pak Muslim intellectuals care talk about Indian minorities… as if they have set high holistic standards in Pakistan for treatment of non Muslims .. Do they know that Indian Muslims hold many important post in India and even Christians (Antony is presently the defense minister of India)

    And talking about bollywood Muslims..There are not just Khans but so so many technicians, choreographers, etc. that even Hindus are in minority in Bollywood. Whatever Laurent Gayer said in the book is just one side story..
    India is a big paradox, if this is true (Laurent Gayer book) then the opposite is also true and when Pakistanis will understand it they will know India.

    And finally look at the state of Hindus in Pakistan..Their daughter, sisters are abducted converted married and later sold into prostitution. (I got to know this from a Pakistani news channel) but look at brazenness of Pakistanis!!


  • Goodboy
    Feb 16, 2013 - 1:14PM

    @ Max:

    LOL, Pakistan lecturing India about secularism is like a serial killer telling a shoplifter that crime is bad.


  • indian
    Feb 16, 2013 - 2:04PM

    @Goodboy: LOL….good one :)


  • amit
    Feb 16, 2013 - 2:16PM

    please tell mewhat’s wrong with my previous comment .i’m only telling truth .muslims are responsible for their own backwardness not other people .but everytime they blame other for their backwardness


  • Rashid
    Feb 16, 2013 - 2:51PM


    crime is still bad even if a serial killer maligns it.


  • MK
    Feb 16, 2013 - 4:31PM

    Indian Muslims are far better off than minorities in Pakistan.

    As a matter of fact, on the whole, it’s probably not wrong to say that Indian Muslims are better off than the vast majority of Pakistani Muslims.


  • Knotty
    Feb 16, 2013 - 5:31PM

    It is a sad mad world and nothing surprises me!


  • Ali Tanoli
    Feb 16, 2013 - 6:18PM

    I dont know much about india because i never visited but i do know that we muslims cant even lived together in pakistan.


  • Mohinder sandhu
    Feb 16, 2013 - 6:29PM

    There are atleast 10-15 khans in film industry plus many many other muslims. Indian vice-president, election commissioner, intelligence chief ,health minister, foreign minister ex air- force chief cricket players, hockey players, ex president of india nuclear scientist business man like azim prem ji and numerous others are muslim also.The whole world appreciate the secularism of india except pakistan which was carved just for the muslims . discrimination is every where in the world, depending on the education level discrimination is less or more in a particular country.But india is moving in the right direction, things are getting better for all minorities, as the education level gets better, discrimination will go down.
    Indian muslims are not moving to pakistan,there are many pakistani hindus and sikhs who move to india even after 65 years of partition.


  • Vlad Singh
    Feb 16, 2013 - 7:34PM

    Muslims, Hindus or any other religion is fine as long as they are practised in private . when anyone brings religions into public, it takes colour of fanaticism . A new born child has no religion and is representative of God. Over the period of time this child gets corrupted by various ideas, this shows what humans are capable of . They can corrupt even the God . India , Pakistan your only salvation lies in bias free education, it is only thing capable of producing polite and honest citizens which both our countries lacks. As long as 100% people are not educated we will continue to fight over religions, states and other silly matters while politicians will exploit and make people fight .


  • Ali Tanoli
    Feb 16, 2013 - 8:13PM

    I allways think if india was that bad place then why muslims choose to rulled and lived ????


  • Lala Gee
    Feb 17, 2013 - 12:25AM


    “As a matter of fact, on the whole, it’s probably not wrong to say that Indian Muslims are better off than the vast majority of Pakistani Muslims.”

    Please read the summary of Sachar Commission Report “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SacharCommitteeReport” on wikipedia, briefly describing the on-ground condition of Muslims in India. As per the commissions findings, Muslims are the only community whose conditions deteriorated after 1947 – and now is even worse than the ‘untouchables’ – while the conditions of all the other communities improved significantly. Here are some of the findings of the commission (please note population of Muslims in India is around 15%):

    * The presence of Muslims has been found to be only 3% in the IAS (Indian Civil Service), 1.8% in the IFS (Financial Services) and 4% in the IPS (Indian Police Service).
    * Muslim community has a representation of only 4.5% in Indian Railways while 98.7% of them are positioned at lower levels. Representation of Muslims is very low in the Universities and in Banks. Their share in police constables is only 6%, in health 4.4%, in transport 6.5%.
    * In the field of literacy the Committee has found that the rate among Muslims is very much below than the national average.
    * The access to government schools for children of Muslim parents is limited.
    * The average amount of bank loan disbursed to the Muslims is 2/3 of the amount disbursed to other minorities. In some cases it is half. The Reserve Bank of India’s efforts to extend banking and credit facilities under the Prime Minister’s 15-point programme of 1983 has mainly benefited other minorities marginalizing Muslims.
    * Muslim concentration villages are not well served with pucca approach roads and local bus stops.
    * Substantially larger proportion of the Muslim households in urban areas are in the less than Rs.500 expenditure bracket.

    Full report is available here “http://www.minorityaffairs.gov.in/sachar”.


  • Lala Gee
    Feb 17, 2013 - 12:40AM


    “i came across a group of primary students of a school. They were all either going to the school or coming back. All were wearing their school uniform of white shirt and white trousers with their school logo printed on thier shirt pocket, except one kid who was wearing a conservating muslim dress of pyjama and Kurta with a muslim cap on his head.”

    Did that occur to you that this may be due to his parent’s poor of financial conditions that might not have allowed them to buy their son a uniform. Sachar Commission findings clearly state “Substantially larger proportion of the Muslim households in urban areas are in the less than Rs.500 expenditure bracket”.


  • Adnan
    Feb 17, 2013 - 3:57PM

    @Raj Kafir:

    Ironically Yousuf Khan had to become Dillip Kumar because YOUSUF was not accepted at that time. Shame


  • Manishj
    Feb 17, 2013 - 7:54PM

    @Lala Gee: Dear Sir, This argument doesn’t its ground because the parents of the said child could afford the Muslim attire which was similar to the school uniform cost wise. Beside, if they can afford to send him to a school, it can be assumed that they can afford the uniform as well. Else they could have sent him to local madarssa. But they want the benefits of modern education for their child but want to keep their different identity intact.



  • Abbas
    Mar 2, 2013 - 2:18PM

    @Adnan: It is quite shameful that you said Yousuf was not accepted in india when you do not even let shias and ahmadis live forget about accepting!! Please use some fact checking before you comment. And what is the fate of Hindus and what positions do they hold in Pakistan?? Do you we muslims should get honor but not others? What kind of pathetic sense of entitlement !!!


  • someone
    Mar 23, 2013 - 3:00AM

    Pakistanis are apologetic because they know the status of minorities is fixed in Pakistan by constitutional amendments. That is not the case of Indian Constitution which gives equal rights to every citizen without discriminating about religion. Majority of the Muslims, specially in northern and Western parts of India, want to cling to their ethnic identity more than becoming a progressive lot.Also, its not like all Muslims are doing badly in India just like not all the Hindus are doing good in India.


More in Art and Books