A few days back the Civil Services Exam results were announced. While many people were happy to see a large number of Muslims clearing the exams, a section of the Muslim youth ran a vitriolic campaign to shame the successful candidates, calling them “Sarkaari Musalman,” and suggesting they will be doing servitude to the regime.
It hurt badly.
Do you know how many Muslims clears these exams?
The figure as been more or less the same in recent years, hovering around 3% while population-wise, Muslims are about 14%. And, what do these civil services exams give to these successful candidates who become IAS, IRS, and IPS officers? Representation in the decision making and implementation process of the government programs.
These are the officers who advise and influence the political class at Central, State, Divisional, and District levels, in policy-framing and their implementation, area development, law and order. We know in the first-past-the-pole-system of Indian democracy, Muslim representation in parliamentary politics will be minimal, if not made completely redundant, by majoritarian politics. The Civil Services may be our only hope, and we want to shame them for achieving this success?
Since we like to find solutions to everything in Quran lets say what the Almighty tells us:
“Verily! Allah will never change the condition of the people until they change it themselves (with state of Goodness).” [Quran 13:11]
And, how can Muslims change their condition?
“Recite. In the name of thy Lord who created man from a clot. And thy Lord is the Most Generous Who taught by the pen, taught man that which he knew not.” [Quran, 96:1-5]
We cannot empower ourselves without education and without being part of the Government, even if that is an oppressive regime. Instead, we try to not pull down others who are doing what is needed. Agreed that everyone cannot clear civil services exams. Everyone cannot be a political leader. Everyone cannot be a doctor. But, unless everyone starts working towards getting into these fields, how will you fix the pathetic situation in which Indian Muslims are currently finding themselves in, where their socio-economic parameters are getting worse?
That is why Sir Syed Ahmad Khan said, “Post-gadar (revolt), I was not disappointed by the looting of my house and loss of belongings. I was disturbed due to the ruination of my Qaum.”
Every day we see the mockery of this hard work by people, who just sit around and tap keyboards. Why are we out to lynch each other, when we are hard-pressed finding friends? Why are we eating our own Qaum (nation) from inside out? Is this mockery going to help you the next time you need some work from a civil servant?
At that time, you will go looking around for someone who you can relate to and who will understand your struggle because he has gone through the same. We reap what we sow. Let’s sow the seeds of education and empowerment now, the seeds that should have been sown by our fathers and forefathers. Let go of this pettiness. It’s not just ‘your way’ which will lead to the emancipation of the community. Each person has his way. Let them work out their salvation themselves. Remember, the entire Ummah is one Body.
Note: The post was primarily written by Sharique Ahmed, a Delhi-based Civil Servant with contributions from Dr. Aqsa Shaikh.