‘Muslims too many to be called minority, it’s Parsis who need special attention’

Heptulla said she would have to consult Narendra Modi on whether he wants to “inherit” the Prime Minister’s 15-point programme for minorities.

Written by Abantika Ghosh | New Delhi | Published:May 28, 2014 2:36 am

Minority Affairs Minister Najma Heptulla has said Muslims are too large in number to call themselves a minority and that it is the Parsis who need special attention, for they are a “minuscule minority”.

Talking to The Indian Express on the day she took charge of the ministry Tuesday, Heptulla also said she would have to consult Narendra Modi on whether he wants to “inherit” the Prime Minister’s 15-point programme for minorities.

Referring to the issue of Muslim reservation in jobs, she said “there is no provision in the Constitution for religion-based reservation”. The matter is in the Supreme Court.

“If you have six children it is always important to see what you can do for the weakest of them. So far as my ministry is concerned, of the six minority communities the weakest is clearly the Parsis. They are a minuscule minority that is so  ‘ Muslims too many to be called minority, it’s Parsis who need special attention’ precariously placed that one needs to take care of their survival. Muslims really are too large in number to be called a minority community,” the minister told The Indian Express.

She said the very concept of minority and majority is relative and when talking about minorities it is imperative to understand that it is a term that encompasses many parameters, including language, apart from religion. Neither is there a ‘one-size-fits-all’ formula for the welfare of minorities.

The Ministry of Minority Affairs was set up in 2006 in the wake of the appointment of the Sachar Committee by the  then prime minister Manmohan Singh to look into social, educational and economic conditions of Muslims in India. Though it caters to all six minority communities — the latest addition being Jains — Muslims have, since its inception, been a special focus area for the ministry.

Heptulla is yet to get a full lowdown on the ministry’s programmes and schemes, but one scheme that she is not inclined towards is the Prime Minister’s 15-point programme for minority concentration areas. “It was started by Indira Gandhi in 1980 and in these 34 years all that has happened is that successive prime ministers have merely ‘inherited’ it without any real thrust on implementation. I will have to discuss with Narendra Modiji whether he really wants to inherit it. It is striking that it has remained at 15 points all this while without one addition or deletion which should have happened if there was application of mind,” she said.

Asked about the non-implementation by the Gujarat government of a scholarship scheme for minority girls, she said: “It is all misinformation. The scheme has been implemented.” This matter too is currently in the apex court after the Gujarat government refused to pay its 25 per cent share in the scheme.

Heptulla made no bones about her aversion to the idea of reservation, maintaining that it cannot be a solution for anything. “I am not in favour of reservation. I have come this far without reservation. What is important is positive action to provide level playing field. Once we do that politically, socially and educationally they will be able to compete with the rest.”

Dispelling apprehension among Muslims about a government under the stewardship of Narendra Modi, she said such fears had been manufactured politically over the years and has survived because there is little information about the status of Muslims in Gujarat.
According to data from 2001 census, Muslims constitute about 13 per cent of India’s population.

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    Ezra Moses
    May 30, 2016 at 5:22 pm
    The Minister is absolutely right..lt;br/gt;.what about the Jews who are a microscopic...Miniscule....Religious Miniority...very less than the Parsis...when will they be awarded Miniority Status.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Ezra Moses
    Reply
    1. R
      Rishi Singh
      Jun 1, 2016 at 11:54 pm
      Any reservations totalling more than 15% results in discrimination against merit and the excluded categories. The Hon. Supreme Court tried to contain damage by restricting it to 50%
      Reply
      1. K
        KrishnaBhagawan
        May 29, 2014 at 6:33 am
        I heard, Shah Ruk Khan, Nawab of Pataudi, Premji Azamzi ... are all clamoring for help !!!Only the poor a weak they have no religion.
        Reply
        1. P
          Prapur
          May 28, 2014 at 5:33 pm
          The word minority apply on size or count of persons and here it is not for upliftment of particular minority. Secondly any government scheme shall be based on economically disadvantaged & not based on cast, color, creed or religion. There are many too poor in so called upper cast and do not get opportunity to go to school or have basic needs met.
          Reply
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            Ahmad Ali
            May 30, 2014 at 7:12 am
            Born in muslim family, I had no reservation, got a good job and happy life on my own.If the muslims are not minorities, and they don't deserve reservations. The government is yours Mrs. Najma, please make constructive measures/laws to do so. No loose talks in public to provoke people or hurt their feelings.
            Reply
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              Arijit Chakraborty
              May 30, 2014 at 12:32 am
              From where you got this fig of = 9%? Please post a reference.
              Reply
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                aryan
                May 28, 2014 at 10:03 am
                this is not definition of secularism and equality.this is a secular country
                Reply
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                  Avanthkar prashanth.N
                  Jun 4, 2014 at 7:34 am
                  minority as to be given to Sikhs, Buddhists, Zoroastrians (Parsis) and Jains Christians,because they are the main in minority of india but hi famliy are the Parsis but they not added the list for minority for Parsis pls do this think ASAP and make the rule for all over india they should have onle two to one kid(children) for they family your atal bihari vajpayee dream.
                  Reply
                  1. B
                    B
                    May 29, 2014 at 10:17 am
                    She is on right path. May India be free of this mentality of minority vs majority. All are equal citizens.
                    Reply
                    1. H
                      H1N1
                      May 28, 2014 at 1:06 am
                      She is right.
                      Reply
                      1. V
                        Vadra Ki
                        May 30, 2014 at 5:16 am
                        if we really wants Muslims to progress we should first make them off this minority trap and treat them as a majority with a potion of near 20 million. You cant find solution for that scale with a minority mindset and solutions meant for a minority community. The real issues of Muslims in India are lack of education, opportunity and poverty.To make substantial and measurable change in their life's of this scale of potion we need to think big and find solutions which can work for this large potion. a solution which might work for a small potion of Parsi's will not work for a large number of Muslims.
                        Reply
                        1. K
                          Khushminder Sahasi
                          May 28, 2014 at 8:55 pm
                          Yes, those parsis below the poverty line must be given sub quota out of elitist Modi's OBC cl.
                          Reply
                          1. C
                            crk
                            May 29, 2014 at 3:49 pm
                            aadmi apna future khud banata hai....no parsi in cabinet.... for your kind information...
                            Reply
                            1. V
                              VG
                              May 29, 2014 at 6:41 am
                              Yeah.. and what others.. so many Muslims in earlier government regime had done for people like you.... Sick mentality who does not rise above the Religion and Caste thing....
                              Reply
                              1. S
                                Shameem malik
                                May 29, 2014 at 4:15 am
                                Modi selected only one muslim face for his cabinet.......this shows his intelligence and anti muslim sentiments.
                                Reply
                                1. I
                                  imran
                                  May 28, 2014 at 5:33 am
                                  Ms Heptulla certainly lacks the pain and understanding of the muslim community, she needs a workshop on that before joining the office..
                                  Reply
                                  1. S
                                    SensibleIndian
                                    May 28, 2014 at 3:20 am
                                    Finally, someone making sense.
                                    Reply
                                    1. F
                                      FG
                                      May 29, 2014 at 3:48 pm
                                      With all due respect to your understanding of this issue ... Najma Heptullah is 'bang off' the target actually ...there has been no m movement among the Muslims of India through which they might have asked for reservation. In other words ... Mrs Heptullah is refuting to give something to Muslims, which they have never asked for in the first place!As for the point weather Muslims do or do not actually fall under the definition of minority, well, why is there a ministry of minority affairs then ? Why did Mr Modi not s it ?Because Even BJP/Sangh needs to do some vote bank politics ... ;)
                                      Reply
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                                        fayez
                                        May 29, 2014 at 11:55 am
                                        Now we know why she in the cabinet...she is putting an appearance of being anti muslim and she wants to consolidate her position by appearing to be such. Clever-by half...if you know what I mean.
                                        Reply
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                                          Harish
                                          May 28, 2014 at 1:50 am
                                          Some one got brains and is now in a position to use it too.
                                          Reply
                                          1. H
                                            Harish
                                            Aug 22, 2014 at 4:57 am
                                            Yep that too.
                                            Reply
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