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The Uncertain Future

The success of a country depends on many factors. Out of multiple factors, human resource plays an important role in defining the future of a country in this highly competitive world. A younger human resource pool is always an added advantage. According to Census 2011, over 58.3 per cent of the country’s population is aged 29 years or below, with those in the category of 30 and above making up about 41.4 per cent. The last decade has witnessed admirable advancement in the field of education with literacy percentage pegged around 73% as per Census 2011. However, while the entire world is busy proving their mettle, majority of Muslim youth in India remain non serious about their future.

Percentage of Muslim youth qualifying prestigious exams like All India Civil Services, PCS of different states, CDS etc. is much lower than their non-Muslim counter parts based on the percentage of their population. Among the successful candidates in 2019 UPSC examination, Muslims were 5.3%, which reduced to 4.7% in 2020 and 3% in 2021. Further, with 17.22 crore Muslims constitute 14.2% of India’s population as per Census 2011. With more than half of the country’s population falling in the age group of 29 years or less and with literacy percentage of approx. 73%, one can imagine the number of Muslim youth eligible for examination like Civil Services. Places like Rajinder Nagar, Karol Bagh, Mukherjee Nagar, Gandhi Nagar, etc. in Delhi are the preferred destination for the students aspiring for competitive exams. While, non-Muslim candidates are preparing for a better future, very few Muslim students can be found toiling hard for making a career ahead. Now come to areas like Okhla or Old Delhi having sizeable number of Muslim population, you will be surprised to find hundreds of educated Muslim youth wasting their time in tea and paratha shops, discussing on petty politics or personal feuds. The night life in these areas is mesmerising but behind all the glitters lies the dark truth of an uncertain future of thousands of Muslim youth. Similar situation can be seen in hundreds of cities having sizeable Muslim population, throughout the country.

While the government of India has left no stone unturned in providing support to bright minority students in the form of pre and post matric scholarships, Maulana Aazad National scholarships, free coaching at prestigious institutions like Jamia Millia Islamia etc., Muslim youth are often found negligent, disinterested and unaware about their future, which is compounded by the lackadaisical attitude of their parents/guardians. Question is needed to be asked about lack of representation of Muslims in the field of judiciary, State Police Force and CPAFs, especially in the Officer’s category etc. despite the government providing level playing field. Crying foul over government’s inaction won’t deliver tangible result unless Muslim youth themselves become part of the system. This can only be achieved by getting quality education and by utilising that education to get through various competitive exams. Muslims give away millions every year in the form of Zakat and Sadaqah. Crores are spent by well to do Muslims during marriages of their children, which is in no way in consonance with Islam. If such amounts are used judiciously, then even the poor and downtrodden Muslims can shape their future.

Government has already provided ample opportunities to support constructive steps taken in the right direction. The Muslim intelligentsia need a vision for shaping the future of their progenies. Islam has a history of excellence in the field of education. During the dark ages of medieval Europe, incredible scientific advances were made in the Muslim world. Geniuses in Baghdad, Cairo, Damascus and Cordoba took on the scholarly works of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Persia, Greece, India and China, developing what we would call “modern” science. New disciplines emerged – algebra, trigonometry and chemistry as well as major advances in medicine, astronomy, engineering and agriculture. Surprisingly, majority of the Muslim youth are unaware of the Al-Zahrawi’s surgical instruments or Ibn Firnas’ flying contraption. The Muslim youth of India need to introspect whether they are doing justice to the rich legacy of Islam.

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(By Anusha, PhD Scholar, Jamia Millia Islamia)

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