Wali Gujarati: Father of Urdu poetry

Wali Gujarati [1667-1707] is considered father of Urdu poetry. While we all know the respect Ghalib paid to Meer few of us know what Meer Taqi Meer said about Wali:

Khugar nahin kuch yun hi hum Rekhta-goi kay
Mashooq jo apna tha, bashinda-e-Dakhan tha
[It isn’t casually that I began dabbling in Urdu
I picked it from my lover, a native of the Deccan]

Sample some of his ashaar:

mujh par na karo zulm tum, aik laila-e-khoobaN
majnooN hooN, tere gham kooN biyabaaN se kahoonga

dil-e-ishaaq kyuN na huay raushan
jab khyaal-e-sanam chiragh hua

aik qibla-roo hamesha mehrab meiN bhawaaN ki
karti haiN teri palkaaN mil kar namaaz goya

asr-e-baaadah-e-jawani hai
kar gaya hooN sawal kuchh ka kuchh

ai wali uss be-wafa ki meharbani par na bhool
dil ka dushman hai, magar karta hai baateiN pyaar ki


Here is a documentary about Wali’s life:

Hamida Chopra talking about Wali:

and some ghazals of Wali:

jisse ishq ka teer kari lage by Iqbal Bano:

Tujh lab ki sifat by Abida Parveen:

Gulab aahista aahista by Mallika Pukhraj:

Wali’s dargah was destroyed during 2002 anti-Muslim violence of Gujarat and a road built over it overnight. There is a facebook page demanding rebuilding of the dargah.


Chhipa is a biradari or a community of Muslims of Gujarat. I don’t have an estimate of how many people identify themselves as Chhipa but what impress me most is that a section of them are very concerned about community issues and have set up organizations to help people of their biradari.

Chhipa Samast Jamaat Committee was established in 1938 and continue to function, which shows that tradition of helping community is very strong and continues to this day. Just look at the activities that Chhippa Jamaat is involved in – from night coaching for school students to group marriages to running a health clinic.

Chhipas get their name for their work of chhapa or dyeing that they used to do in Gujarat. Community has since moved on to other businesses and jobs but the they continue to identify themselves as Chhipa.

The tradition of social work and connection to the community is thankfully being passed on to the new generation as well. Look at this movie, Starting With Three In Chhipawad, made by and for Chhipas to raise awareness about some of the social problems that need constant reminding and some new issues like encouraging education for girls.

The movie is an amateur attempt but the story line and some of the acting is pretty good and this attempt of trying to tell their own story and engaging the community should be encouraged.

Marginalizing Muslims In Gujarat

History of Muslims in Gujarat is older than the idea of Gujarat itself, then how is it that Muslims now find themselves at the edge (both figuratively and literally) of the present day Gujarati society?

In the aftermath of partition when most of north India was burning, Gujarat remained peaceful. The first major post-independence Hindu-Muslim violence took place in Ahmedabad in 1969. But if we go back in history, from 1714 to 1969 there were only two incidents of communal violence – 1941 and 1946. The violence of 1969, in which more than 1100 people were killed, was the beginning of separation of Hindus and Muslims but it was 1985 riots that sealed Muslims’ fate in the state for years to come.

Erasing Muslims: Fatema Masjid, the only mosque on Ahmadabad-Gandhinagar highway was bulldozed in Dec. 2010

Since the formation of the state in 1960, Gujarat remained a politically unstable state. Between 1960 and 1990, Gujarat had eight assemblies, nine chief ministers, and 20 ministries. Only one, Madhavsinh Solanki was able to complete his term as chief mister. This was also a time of many political mobilizations and rioting.

In 1950s Mahgujarat movement led to the formation of the state of Gujarat. 1970s saw the anti-corruption Navnirman movement led by socialists and joined by Sangh Parivar, giving Sanghis their first lessons in mass mobilization. This came in handy during 1980s anti-reservation movement when it was hijacked by Sangh activists and turned into anti-Muslim violence. Ram janmbhoomi movement of 1990s and the genocide of 2002 was the pay off for the Sangh Parivar’s work of spreading hate over three decades.

Dr. Ornit Shani of University of Haifa has studied the communal violence of 1985 in details. She marks 1985 as an important point in the marginalization of Muslims in Gujarat. She writes in her book, Communalism, Caste and Hindu Nationalism:
“In the 1985 riots, conflicts around the reservation of places in educational and government institutions for backward-caste Hindus transmogrified into communal violence even though there was no prior religious tension between Hindus and Muslims, and local Muslims had no part in the reservation dispute between forward- and backward-caste Hindus. These riots marked the beginnings of the shift from several decades of Congress dominance to the triumph of the Hindu nationalist BJP in Gujarat as well as in Indian national politics.”

The violence of 1985 came just days after Congress rode back to power with a thumping majority under the leadership of Madhavsinh Solanki. Successful social engineering of KHAM (Kshatriya, Harijan, Ahir, and Muslim) alliance returned Congress MLAs in 149 seats with a vote share of 55.5% which still remains a record. A week after the formation of the new government, on March 18th, 1985, a Gujarat bandh was called by organizations opposed to the reservation policy. Muslims had remained aloof from the anti-reservation movement as it neither harmed nor benefitted them.

On the night of March 18th, while savarna Hindus were busy in sounding a death-knell to reservation as part of the day’s bandh, a stone hit a Muslim boy in Naginapol area of Ahmadabad. Soon, this turned into a major violence between Hindus and Muslims. Army was called in the next day and the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi paid a visit on March 23rd. Violence continued for next four months.

Amarsinh Choudhry replaced Solanki as chief minister on July 6th and soon after he agreed to the demands of the anti-reservationists. Reservation increase was rolled back and all those detained for violence released. From February to July of 1985, 220 people lost their lives. Only in Ahmadabad 662 anti-reservation and 743 communal incidents were recorded. Muslims were the main victims of the riots with 2,500 houses damaged, 1500 shops burnt, about 100 killed and hundreds severely injured.

Die was cast for Muslims, Hindus who have continued to live close to Muslims in old areas of Ahmadabad began to move out, forming a segregated city that continue to widen the gulf between Hindus and Muslims. “Physical separation between middle and upper middle classes grew to the point where young Ahmedabadis would be unlikely to encounter a Muslim. Few Indian cities have managed such a systematic separation based on caste, class and community,” writes Prof. Arvind Rajagopal.

Another image of Gujarat: grave of Wali Gujarati was razed in 2002 and road built over-night, it is yet to be restored. [Photo by Nasiruddin Haider Khan]

That physical separation was necessary for things to come in 1990s and especially the genocide of 2002. While the world watched with horror the violence unleashed in Gujarat in 2002, the man who presided the genocide was none other than Narendra Modi.

It was no accident that Narendara Modi was at the helm of affairs. Modi a life-long member of RSS was a key organizer of Gujarat BJP in 1980s and early 1990s. He was the man behind Nyay Yatra in 1987, Lok Shaki Yatra (1989), Gujarat leg of Advani’s Somnath to Ayodhya Yatra (1989), and Ekta Yatra (1991). Gujarat was among the state that sent highest number of karsevaks for demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992. All these yatras and mobilization helped make Muslims as the “other” or the “enemy” in Gujarat.

Muslims, according to Sangh Parivar, have no right to exist, are not part of Gujarat, have no history worth remembering or contribution in making of Gujarat. Perhaps, this is best symbolized by the grave of Vali Gujarati which was destroyed during the violence of 2002, overnight a road built over it and a decade later the road still exists over a poet’s grave who sang high praises of Gujarat’s plural society.

Vahan sakin hain itne ahle mazhab
ke ginne mein na aawe unke mazhab
Agarche voh hai sab ibn-e adam
vale binish mein ranga rang aalam

[there live people of different religion, it is impossible to count them all
Although all are sons of Adam, they appear in all colors of the world]

The new Gujarat doesn’t believe in pluralism and it is better if a poet who sang about Gujarat and celebrated its pluralism and diversity remain buried in the ground and forgotten.

Arvind Rajagopal, Special political zone: urban planning, spatial segregation and the infrastructure of violence in Ahmedabad. South Asian History and Culture, 1947-2501, Volume 1, Issue 4, 01 October 2010, Pages 529 – 556.

Mosques Of Gujarat

Part 3 of TwoCircles.net series on Gujarat

If one has to choose one image to represent Muslims in Gujarat, it has to be the famous jali of Sidi Saeed Mosque in Ahmedabad. Look closely and you will see a banyan tree occupying the entire screen and enveloping a palm tree. In other words, Muslim presence in Gujarat is a story of an overwhelming acceptance of local culture and tradition while maintaining the Islamic core.

Muslim history in Gujarat spans more than millennia. Some of the oldest mosques of India are found in this region.

Watch Video:Mosques of Gujarat

Sanjan, a small town 150 km south of Surat is probably the site of the oldest existing masjid of Gujarat. Jami Masjid was built by the founder of short-lived Muslim dynasty [813-841 CE] of Sanjan. Fadl, the founder of the Mahan dynasty build a jama masjid where khutba was read in the name of Abbasid Caliph Mamun.


There is some confusion about the oldest mosque of Gujarat. While majority of scholars point to structures in Bhadresvar as the oldest Islamic structure, Maulana Hakim Syed Abdul Hayi author of Yaad-e-Ayyam: Mukhtasir Tareekh-e-Gujarat writes that Madrasa Maulana Ishaq in Bharuch was established in 1038 CE, and Jama Masjid of Bharuch built in 1065 CE.

Two mosques and a tomb in Bhadresvar in Kachh give us a peek into one of the earliest Muslim community of this region. A small community of Muslims built two mosques and a tomb that are one of the first examples of a uniquely Gujarati Islamic architecture. These buildings were probably made by same artisans and architects who were making temples in the region. Chhoti Masjid, Solahkhambi Masjid, and Tomb of Ibrahim were constructed in mid-1100s. These buildings borrow heavily from temple architecture theories but modified according to Islamic injunctions and practices.


Western wall of Sidi Saeed Masjid, last of the famous mosques built in Maru-Gurjara sytle.

Scholar Alka Patel in her book Building communities in Gujarat: Architecture and Society during the Twelfth through Fourteenth Centuries argues that architecture that thus developed by temple builders constructing mosques can be placed into Maru-Gujrara style of architecture.

Maru-Gurjara style was prevalent in Rajasthan and Gujarat region. By fifteenth century an architectural treatise Vrksarnava on Maru-Gurjara style included a chapter on construction of mosques or rahmana-prasada. Five hundred years of building mosques gives us some of the most beautiful examples of mosque in stone. Fortunately, most of these mosques have survived and one can easily see this flawless poetry in stones by visiting Junagadh, Cambay, Bharuch, Surat, Champaner, and Ahmadabad.



The Making Of Gujarat

Part 2 of TwoCircles.net series on Gujarat

Sultans of Gujarat ruled the region for over a period of 160 years but the marks that they left on the ground helped shape Gujarat for centuries to come. Gujarat was at its widest spread under the Sultans who governed a vast area which forms now part of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan. Gujarat as a state of Independent India was founded only on March 1, 1960 but its identity as a separate region with distinct language and culture was established under Gujarati sultans. Continue reading The Making Of Gujarat

Muslim History Of Gujarat


Talk about Muslims of Gujarat and pictures of genocide of 2002 come to mind. How is that Muslims, who have lived and shaped Gujarati identity for over a millennium, are now living on the fringe of Gujarati society? TwoCircles.net series on Gujarat will trace Muslim presence and contributions to Gujarat and reveal their present condition. Continue reading Muslim History Of Gujarat

Godhra Verdict: Whither Justice?

Need for a CBI Investigation

On 22rd February 2011, the session’s court gave its verdict on Godhra train burning of Sabarmati Express. It accepted the Gujarat state’s theory that the local Muslims had hatched a conspiracy to burn S-6 Coach of Sabaramati Express. At the same time of the 94 people being tried for this crime 63 were exonerated of the crime and 31 were held to be the guilty of planning to burn the Kar Sevaks. Continue reading Godhra Verdict: Whither Justice?

Narendra Modi’s Gujarat Is Not Developing, Maulana Vastanwi

By Soroor Ahmed,

With due acknowledgement of Ghulam Mohammad Vastanwi’s contribution in the field of education in Gujarat and Maharashtra, one needs to remind him, that no country in the 20th century developed as fast in the six years period, between 1933 and 1939, as Adolf Hitler’s Germany. And in the next six years––between 1939 and 1945––all what he did was destroyed because of the senseless war in the world, for which he too was largely responsible. About five crore people perished and his country, and many others, were thrown back to the Stone Age.

So, before opening one’s mouth on development, one needs to understand, what development actually means––who are the beneficiaries and who the victims. One should also be cautious of the pitfalls of development and be aware of the policies which may, in the long-run prove counter-productive.

Not only that: in the 21st century world, one just does not need to understand the definition of development from an MBA––Vastanwi has that degree––when renowned scholars and Nobel Prize winners are coming out with entirely different meaning of the term. By their yardstick, Wastanvi’s Gujarat may be ranked among the least developed states. Why go so far. According to India State Hunger Index 2008, Gujarat is shockingly ranked worse than Orissa. Gujarat is ranked 13th in the 17 big states which were calculated. Vastanwi’s Gujarat, is only above Jharkhand, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, which are globally equal to the hunger situation in Ethiopia.

Hold your breath and listen: in this post-industrialized, computerized and mechanized world, a region, state or a country with less number of industries is categorized as developed. The service sector expands very fast there; the people rely on organic farming and want to live in pollution free environment in the rural suburb. Instead they are trying to shift all the iron ore, aluminum, asbestos, chemical, ship-breaking plants etc as well as other poison emitting factories to elsewhere in the world, especially in Asia and Africa, where labor is cheap and rulers have no regard for environment. Our leaders grab such industries with both hands to boast before the people that look we have brought so much Foreign Direct Investments (FDI).

Vastanwi’s Gujarat and Maharashtra are among the few states which are the ‘beneficiaries’ of these so-called investments. When new concept about development is coming up, we are still categorizing those states as developed ones, which have maximum number of poison-gushing chimneys. We are not at all ashamed to say that almost all of those 16,000-odd farmers, who are officially committing suicide in our country every year (since 1997 when the compilation of data started), come from these very industrialized states––Maharashtra topping the list. In contrast Jammu and Kashmir has almost negligible farmers’ suicide rate.

These states have industries because here semi-arid land is available and can be easily acquired from the farmers. In contrast farmers of West Bengal, Bihar and east Uttar Pradesh, where the land is extremely fertile would lay down their lives for every inch, whatever be the compensation. Because of this reason and not because of Narendra Modi, Nano got land easily in Gujarat while West Bengal failed in spite of so much bloodshed.

In contrast, the governments of these industrialized states have done little for the survival of their agriculture sector; therefore, the farmers are either committing suicide or famishing.

To know, how the concept of per capita income, growth rate etc are becoming less relevant in measuring the overall development of any place, one does not need to read big philosophical books of great scholars written on development. Just go through the CBSE Class-X book of Economics. Why Kerala is rated high on developmental index than Punjab, though the latter is agriculturally, even industrially and per capita income wise, ahead of former? This is simply because the definition of development by the United Nations Development Programme is more acceptable now than the old one of the World Bank.

Vastanwi must understand that his talent lies in running institutions and for this very purpose he was appointed as the Rector of Darul Uloom, Deoband.

But being a public figure he will have to understand that politics is a different ball game, for which he, and honestly speaking, many of our Muslim clerics are perhaps not suited. He must understand some basic facts about his own state and should not go about equating it with others abruptly. Being a state with largest coast, Gujarat as well as Maharashtra attracted largest number of big European companies in late 19th and early 20th centuries. Larsen and Toubro, Unilever, WIMCO, Britannia, Siemens and many others landed up on their ports and so was the first railway line, laid between Thane and Bombay.

The entrepreneur culture in Gujarat developed in 19th century itself and man like Abdullah took Gandhiji to South Africa. So far entrepreneur culture is concerned; Gujarat can never be compared with other hinterland states of India.

So, even according to his own definition, whatever development had taken place in Gujarat, is not any thing new. In fact, under Narendra Modi the growth rate––if this is again used as the lone yardstick of development––is less than in early 1990s, when there was no Modi around.

Two decades back, the growth rate of Gujarat was something between 12 and 13 per cent. The national average was six to seven per cent then. Today, Gujarat has the growth rate of 11 per cent when India’s rate of growth is 10 per cent. This is not the figment of anyone’s imagination but the official fact.

Vastanwi will have to understand that the saffron brigade is master in changing goal-post. Since Modi is responsible for what has happened in Gujarat in 2002, he is now being painted as the man of development. The media machinery of the BJP works overtime to project their chief ministers as the developmental-minded ones, even if men like B S yeddyurappa is out to ruin Karnataka, which owes its development to the non-BJP rulers.

Instead of falling into the trap of the corporate media and the Hindutva brigade, who are now projecting him as a hero and an open-minded Maulana, Vastanwi must concentrate in the field he has been involved.

Lastly, he must understand that many criminals-turn-MPs (or MLAs) are ‘much better’ people’s representatives than honest and upright ones. They carry out more development works in their constituencies and are more responsive to the voters’ problems. Then by that logic, their achievements should be highlighted and they should be exonerated of all the crimes and dubbed as development-minded politicians.

Gujarat: Making Of A Fascist State

Abdul Shakeel Basha, known popularly as Shakeel to his friends, has been arrested on 17th June 2010, on various charges. The major charge is that he along with his other friends was planning to start a Maoist revolution in Gujarat. Shakeel is 13th amongst the activists who have been arrested on similar charges. Activists who have been arrested on the charge of being Naxalites are Avinash Kulkarni, Bharat Pawar, Makabhai Chowdhary, Jayaram Goswami and others who have been working in different parts of Gujarat, particularly amongst the tribal and workers for their economic rights. There has been no news of any violence in the areas where they have been working. One knows Shakeel has a long record of working for communal harmony, justice for Gujarat violence victims, and housing for street children amongst other issues. ‘Peace issues’ has been his concern during last few years.

Apart from Shakeel the work of most of these activist’s, arrested by Gujarat police, has been within the confines of Indian Constitution, struggles based on the ‘rights as citizens’, as weaker sections of society. The major violence witnessed by Gujarat has been the one of sectarian type, the one directed first against Muslim minorities and then Christian minorities. On the contrary the work of some of these activists has been to promote communal harmony, which has been a hindrance to spread of divisiveness being promoted by the likes of Swami Aseemanand of VHP, an RSS affiliate, who is currently absconding for his linkages with the perpetrators of Ajmer terror attack.

With the nation wide beginning of operation ‘green hunt’, the targeting of Naxalites/Maoists, the Gujarat police, not to be left behind, has targeted the activists working within the confines of constitutional limits. Gujarat has never been known to be the work area of Naxalites/Maoists anyway. This has been an area where the followers of RSS have been calling shots from last two decades in particular and trying to convert it into ‘ideal Hindu state’. Gujarat has also been boasted as the ideal Hindu state, particularly since the violence against minorities became intense. The anti Muslim offensive culminated in Gujarat carnage of 2002. After 2002 there was a sustained attack on Christians. This is the violence which is the marker of Gujarat.

One never heard of any Naxalite violence and there are no criminal cases against most of the activists who have been arrested. As such through the intense media propaganda, social activists have been defamed to the extent that Medha Patkar was attacked physically for her campaigns to protect the rights of tribal. Strong propaganda against ‘activists’ in general is part of the norms prevalent in Gujarat.

The sequence of the political events in Gujarat is very revealing. First the sectarianism comes up; various factors promote this communal divide. This leads to the massive anti Muslim pogrom on the pretext of Godhra train burning. Then on the plea that Christian missionaries are converting the gullible Adivasis, anti Christian violence is unleashed. This runs parallel with the aggressive conversion of Adivasis into Hinduism under the garb of ‘Ghar vapasi’. Through Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, through swamis and associates identity issues are projected in the Adivasi areas. The result of all this is the overall suspension of the concept of Human rights and demonization of social activists. As such whatever little is there in the name of social activism has been dwarfed under the shadow of communalization of social space and communal violence.

Due to these anti minority attacks, minorities have been relegated to second class citizens. The culmination of this is the formation of Muslim ghettoes in urban areas and intimidation of Christians in Adivasi areas. Along with this the concept of ‘Swarnim Gujarat’ (Golden Gujarat), a heaven for investors is advertised through media. In tandem with this the rights of workers and tribal are being suppressed to ensure that the industrialists can have their sway to make big money. As Ratan Tata put it, industrialists have to be in Gujarat. And so Anil Ambani and others of their ilk project Narendra Modi as the ideal Chief Minister, the future Prime Minister of India. The inference is emerging that anti minority pogrom has effectively been undertaken to create a ‘smooth’ atmosphere for the industrialists. After subjugating minorities and the democratic values the illusion of ‘development’ has been manufactured.

Narnedra Modi has been compared to Hitler times and over again. Through his anti Jew, anti Communist tirades Hitler created the ‘ideal’ atmosphere for the big industrialists. It seems Modi has taken Gujarat on the same path. First he has ensured the suspension of human rights through anti-minority pogroms, then demonized the social activists and now whatever little activity prevailed for democratic rights of the marginalized, is being done away with. The human rights workers, working in the Constitutional framework are being dubbed as Naxalites and are being put behind the bars. The idea is to smoothen the path for big industrialists. The arrest of workers for human rights issues is like laying the red carpet for the reckless growth of industries, trampling on the interests of the deprived sections of society. What is hidden below the red carpet is the very concept of a welfare state, a secular state, a state with the concept of human rights of all. One is also reminded of the RSS ideologue M.S. Golwalkar writing in his book ‘Bunch of Thoughts’ that Muslims, Christians and Communists are the internal threat to Hindu nation. It seems following his advice first the Muslims, then the Christians and now the social activists (communist substitutes) are being targeted as Naxalites.

The happenings in Gujarat show us the deeper designs of the political class of the country, who are executing industrialization without a human face, industrialization on the bodies of the marginalized sections. Hitler did precisely the same. In the short term it seems very rewarding but surely one knows from History that once the violation of the concepts of democracy goes too far, the results are not very pleasing. Hitler refused to learn it in his life, that’s why he had to put a bullet in his head. Germany kept toeing his line, that’s why it faced the ruin after the temporary graphs showing economic prosperity!

One reaffirms that those believing in the ‘violence as a means for social change’ have no place in the democratic system. In turn, one must learn that democracy is doomed in a state which does not let the peaceful social movements to exist!

Muslims Of Gujarat: The Real Picture

Gujarat government has made many claims about vibrant Gujarat. Recently, it has also made claims that Muslims in Gujarat are in much better condition that many other states of India. When Narendra Modi’s newspaper ad in Bihar was found to be using image of the UP Muslims, BJP spokesperson claimed that facts about minorities of Gujarat remain the same. He said his party is ready to debate the data. It is time to test the facts and see how Gujarat fares in the light of public data.

1. Muslim population of Gujarat:

According to Census 2001 figures, Gujarat has 4.59 million Muslims out of total state population of 50.67 or 9.1% of the population. Total Muslim population in India, according to the same census data is 139.2 million, therefore a total of 3.32% of Indian Muslim population live in this state. Closest state to Gujarat in terms of Muslim population and their share in total state population is Rajasthan with 4.79 million Muslims (8.5% of total).

Of the top fifty districts of India by Muslim population only one district of Gujarat finds a place. Ahmedabad with a Muslim population of 6,62,799 (2001 census) is at 45th place on this list of fifty. Surat is another city of the state with a significant Muslim population of 4,47,951.

Data computed by Sachar Committee shows that 58.5% of Muslim population is between the age of 15 to 59, 35.3% are of age group 0 to 14 years, and only 6.1% above the age of 60. Gujarat is ranked third in India in terms of proportion of population 15-59 years of age. Only Tamil Nadu and Kerala have more percent of their Muslim population in the range of 15 to 59 years of age.

Full page newspaper advertisement that claimed that "Muslims in Gujarat enjoy better education, employment opportunities, financial stability, health facilities, infrastructure.

2. What Gujarati Muslims see as their biggest concerns?

Representations made to Sachar committee reveal what issues the Muslims think are important to them. One third of issues raised by these representations (in Gujarat and all India) were related to education. Employment issues were ranked as number two for Gujarati Muslims (17% of total issues) while it was at number three for all India. For no other state, security was such an important issue as Muslims of Gujarat, they ranked it as their third most important issue (16%) while the all India level this issues was placed fifth out of the nine categories. The Report states that “for Security the issues raised included (a) Problems related to communal riots and associated ghettoisation; (b) Inappropriate attitude of government towards Muslims; (c) Sense of Discrimination; and (d) Impact of militancy and problems in border areas.” Obviously, only the first three will apply for Gujarat.

3. Gujarat’s ranking: (Where do Gujarati Muslims stand according to Sachar Committee report?)

3.1 Gender ratio (females per 1000 males): 13th (for all age group), 21st (for age group 0-6).
937 gender ratio for Muslims is much better than 920 for the whole population of Gujarat and slightly better for all India Muslim average of 936 but rank much lower than almost half the state. [Appendix Table 3.8: Census 2001]

3.2 Contraceptive Prevalence Rate: 1st.
58% of couples of reproductive age practicing some form of contraception, this is almost equal to state rate of 59%. This is the only category where Gujarati Muslims top the list. [Appendix Table 3.13: NFHS-2, 1998-99]

3.3 Literacy level: 5th(overall).
Gujarati Muslims literacy level (73.5%) is slightly better than the state average of 72.8% and much better than national average of 59.1% for all Muslims. [Appendix Table 4.1, 4.1a, 4.1b: Census 2001]

3.4 Mean years of schooling: 6th (overall), 5th (male), 7th (female).
At 4.29 mean years of schooling, it is about a year higher than national average for Muslims but lower than Gujarat average of 4.57 years. [Appendix Table 4.2: 2001 Census]

3.5 Proportion of children aged 6-14 years enrolled: 14th.
Gujarat is doing very poorly in this department, in fact it is worst than West Bengal for proportion of children aged 6-14 years and enrolled in schools. Only 78.9% of Gujarati Muslim children are enrolled, figures for all Gujarati children is 84.8%. If this trend continues coming years will show Gujarati Muslims further lag behind in education.[Appendix Table 4.3: NSSO 61st Round Schedule 10, 2004-2005]

3.6 Number of Madrasa students: 16th (boys), 16th (girls).
This data is based on NCERT’s 2002 All India School Survey and surprisingly only 4001 students are to be found in Gujarat madarasas. A comparable state Rajasthan has more than 9 times number of Muslims in madrasas. [Appendix Table 4.4]

3.7 Completed education: 4th (completed primary education), 6th (middle school), 7th (matric)
As Muslim students move through the education system, their share among the educated drop drastically from being fourth among all Indian states after the Primary level (74.9% have completed at least primary education) to sixth for Middle level (45.3%) to poor seventh (26.1%). These numbers are more than national average for Muslims (60.9%, 40.5%, and 23.9% respectively) but the difference gets narrower higher up the education level. [Appendix Tables 4. 6, 4.7, & 4.8]

3.8 Workers Population Ratio: 4th (all)
At 61.1% Gujarati Muslims rate is better than national average of 54.9 for all Muslims. Considering that Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, and Haryana (which have smaller population of Muslims) are the only states with better ratio than Gujarat, this data is significant. [Appendix Table 5.5] Of all Gujarati Muslim workers, 53.7% are self-employed, 22.7 is trade, and 13.3% in manufacturing.

3.9 Banking: 11th (outstanding amount), 5th (number of accounts & total savings amount), 8th (individual deposit)
Given that a higher percentage of Gujarat Muslims are workers and also that majority of them are self-employed, one would expect that their savings to be higher but they seemed to have less savings than Muslims from Maharashtra, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Could this be because they don’t have access to banks in their areas? Their population share is 9.1%, however, in bank accounts their share is only 7.6%. Individually Muslims in Gujarat save more than other Gujaratis but their saving is less than Muslims of states such as Delhi, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu. [Appendix Tables 6.3, 6.7, & 6.8)

3.10 Poverty incidence: 7th (urban)
Poverty incidence is 34 for Muslims of Gujarat residing in urban areas, which is better than many states but almost double the state average of 18. [Appendix Table 8.5]

3.11 NMDFC beneficiaries: 7th (amount disbursed, number of beneficiaries)
National Minorities Finance Development Corporation (NMFDC), under the Term Loan Scheme give loans for commericially-viable project costing upto Rs. 5 lakhs. Gujarat performance under this scheme, in terms of number of beneficiaries served or amount disbursed matches their share in total Muslim population of India.

Another image of Gujarat: grave of Wali Gujarati was razed in 2002 and road built over-night, it is yet to be restored.

4. Gujarat over the years:

4.1 Proportion (per 1000 households) of households reporting land cultivated upto 1.00 hectares by major religion for major states
Survey : land cultivated (0.00 hectares) – (0.01-1.00 hectares)
NSS55: 743- 113
NSS61: 645- 117

4.2 Proportion (per 1000 persons) of persons in the labour force according to the usual principal and subsidiary statuses taken together for each major religion and major states.
Survey : rural Muslims – urban Muslims
NSS55: 374 – 329
NSS61: 482 – 307

4.3 Proportion (per 1000 persons) of persons employed according to the usual principal and subsidiary statuses taken together for each major religion and major states
Survey : rural Muslims – urban Muslims
NSS55: 356 – 324
NSS61: 476 – 325

4.4 Unemployment rates according to the usual status (principal and subsidiary statuses taken together) for each major religion and major states
Survey : : rural Muslims – urban Muslims
NSS55: 51 – 18
NSS61: 10 – 52

It is shocking that in five years between NSS55(1999-2000) and NSS61 (2004-2005) unemployment rate of urban Muslims has increased from 18 to 52. A reverse has happened with the unemployment rate of rural Muslims where it has come down to 10 from a high of 51. What explains this anomaly? Can this be because number of small farmers shows a significant decrease in the same period? Is it possible that Muslims barely eking out a living in rural Gujarat have moved to urban areas and now living as unemployed? To understand why these Muslims may have left villages we have to go back to the representations that was made to Sachar Committee and see that security is one of the highest concerns of Muslims of Gujarat.

5. Conclusion

Gujarat government has not released data to see if Muslims in the state has prospered in the “Vibrant Gujarat.” Even state government’s own ad had to resort to Sachar Committee data to make its claim. Notwithstanding that most of Sachar data is from 2001 and earlier, before Mr. Narendra Modi took office as the chief minister.

Even with Sachar data, Gujarat ranking among states is far from being impressive. Execpt for Contraceptive Prevalence Rate, Gujarat is not number one or even top three in any of the socio-economic indicator. It is true that Gujarat is not at the bottom of the ranking but its performance in these indicators for its Muslim population is below par or at best at par with what should have been considering its population size.

[Second photo by Nasiruddin Haider Khan]