Why VHP yatra flopped
The much-touted VHP show of Chaurasi Kosi Parikarma in UP has fizzled out into a no-show. The apparent game-plan of the Sangh Parivar was to play the...
There are questions of jobs, education, inflation and economic well-being of the people at large amidst the present political and economic mess
The VHP-BJP exercise was perhaps doomed to failure with its arbitrary timing of the yatra for the month of Bhadra (Aug-Sep) instead of the traditional month of Chaitra around April, smacking as it did of political motivation. The devotees just refused to take the bait, including particularly the devoted of the temple town more credibly, if there was any ‘match-fixing’ as the obsessed opinion pollsters and media politicos loved to call it, it could be so between the BJP and the other Parivar allies. However, the good news is that the imbroglio has cleared the way for relevant poll issues that had taken the back-seat amid the dust and din of the controversy to come to the fore. These are the questions of jobs, education, inflation and economic well-being of the people at large amidst the present political and economic mess. Election time is usual to promise sops for the people, particularly for the minority groups. The promise of creating a separate job quota for Muslims thus received a fillip.
An interesting side of it is that this time, apart from the promises made by the Congress, the Samajwadi Party and other such regional groupings, the BJP too has joined in the chorus giving up its old inhibition and begin talking of the imperative of ensuring justice to ‘pasmanda (backward) Muslims’. We are told that as many as 25 per cent Muslims cast their vote in favor of the BJP in the recently-held Assembly elections in Gujarat.
The Samajwadi Party announced a quota of 20 per cent for Muslims in UP’s welfare projects and schemes; in fact, for all minorities, that includes Sikhs and Christians too, even if the main focus of attention will obviously be on Muslims. The Congress, on the other hand, has put the focus on the action-taken report in the light of the Sachar Committee findings.
Interestingly, certain mixed signals have emerged as a result; they show scant progress in the organized sector, but, in contrast, the percentage of self-employed Muslims both in the urban and rural spheres shows a marked upward trend (45.5 and 46.3) excelling those of Sikhs, (36.1, per cent for urban), Christians (42.8, 44.2 per cent), and Hindus (41.2,42.7). Undeniably, the high proportion of Muslims in the crucial areas like the police force and other services remains much lower down the ladder. The sustained growth in the self-employed category indeed is an index of frustration and disillusionment among the Muslim youth over securing jobs under government control.
The overall need is affirmative action all around. It is no longer the public sector that occupies the commanding heights of the economy, the private sector having replaced it from that position in the present-day laissez faire scheme of things. Earlier efforts to persuade the entrepreneurial networks to find jobs for minorities met with little success, but now is the time for them to play their part.
The Centre’s welfare initiatives like providing food security, RTI and RTE have brought it jeers from the proponents of free enterprise for reviving “socialism”, but don’t they really feel that the private sector also has some social responsibilities to perform? Government-appointed commissions and committees do indeed play a vital role in understanding and dealing with the socio-economic problems facing the country but only all-pervasive efforts would be efficacious and provide solutions in any meaningful sense.