Connect with us

Business News


Muslim thinker Faiyaz Ahmad Fyzie says Pasmanda Muslims have always identified themselves with Hindu customs & traditions as they have co-existed with them for centuries now



Representational image: Muslims offer Eid al-Adha prayers at the Jama Masjid

Social activist and Unani doctor, Faiyaz Ahmad Fyzie, has ruffled many feathers among India’s Muslim community. He has become a marked man with his mother getting threatening phone calls about the safety of her outspoken son.

Hailing from a family of freedom fighters, who were closely aligned to the Congress, Fyzie has been often found supporting Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He is also the man who is putting the hitherto hidden problem of casteism among Muslims on the frontline of debate and discussions in India.

On the occasion of India’s 75th independence anniversary, India Narrative speaks with Fyzie about raging topics like Hindu-Muslim relations, social harmony, the Modi government’s relations with the minority community and why the Muslims do not discuss caste discrimination within the community as fervently as the Hindus discuss their own relationship with caste. Fyzie says that almost all Muslim bodies are undemocratic and represent the views of the miniscule upper caste Muslims.

Excerpts from the interview:

IN: We complete 75 years of independence. Where has Indian society reached in these decades?

Fyzie: Socially India has progressed. We have completed a satisfactory journey till now. I will say we have done better than average.

I say this because the political dispensation and the administration have tried to deliver social justice in the country. Efforts at eliminating social inequity were more pronounced among the Hindus than among the Muslims because even the Brahmins agreed that the upper castes have wronged the low castes. But the leaders among the Muslim community do not allow the low caste Muslims to break out of the social barriers because they deny caste and discrimination among Muslims.

I will say that people professing the ideologies of the Left, liberal and Muslim right wing did not allow the Muslims at the lowest socio-economic ladder to come up in the social hierarchy because of personal selfish gains.

I, as an Indian, as a Muslim and as an individual from a low socio-economic class would say that the country is on the right track in terms of uplifting the society. This is because government schemes have benefited low caste Muslims while schemes targeted at minorities have only benefited the upper caste Muslims because they garnered the gains from such schemes.

IN: You speak about caste-based fissures among Muslims. Can you elaborate about casteism in the community?

Fyzie: We look at this from the context of caste among the Hindus—which is largely-occupation based discrimination.

Among the Muslims the highest caste of people are the Ashraafs—which comprise the ruling classes in India who came from abroad. Here we also have the Rajputs who had converted as they too were the ruling class in India.

Next come the Ajlaaf—most of the working class of people comprising weavers, ironsmiths and artisans.

The lowest in the Muslim castes are Arjaals—sweepers, scavengers and those who work with leather.

Among these three castes in the Muslims, we have clubbed the Ajlaafs and the Arjaals together as the ‘Pasmanda’ Muslims. I call them ‘desaj samaj’ or indigenous Muslims. These are the Hindus from the Other Backward Classes (OBC), the SCs and STs who converted to Islam.

The Ashraafs—the upper caste Muslims say that casteism in the community seeped in from the Hindus. This is a widely-accepted view among the Left, the Hindus and everyone else. But I do not agree with this argument—I ask them that after having lived with the Hindus for centuries you only absorbed the vice of caste from the Hindus. Why did Muslims not absorb the positives—liberal values, secularism and harmony, from Hinduism? It is because the Muslims had their own discriminatory practices based on classes, races and sects as it spread from the Arab world.

IN: Do the Muslims in the other countries of the sub-continent also practice casteism, for example, in Pakistan and Bangladesh?

Fyzie: Both Pakistan and Bangladesh are basically India. Therefore, the caste issues that we see in India are to be found there also. However, in India, the constitution and government schemes have improved our social condition. In Pakistan, the Pasmanda Muslims are in a bad shape because the rulers treat them like slaves.

Pakistan is a heaven for the ruling Ashraaf Muslims while it is a hell for the Pasmanda Muslims.

We have to go back to the Arab world and the pre-Islamic tribes to understand casteism and discrimination among the Muslims. Though Prophet Mohammed tried to control racism related issues, he could only succeed partly.

We have to understand that the Saudis, the Turks, the Iranians, and now the Afghans, have practiced discrimination on the basis of race and ethnicity. What I am trying to say is that discrimination exists in Islam from ancient times. It is not entirely a Hindu import.

IN: Why is it that casteism among Muslims is not discussed by the community as it has been discussed and debated within the Hindus?

Fyzie: The Muslims do not want to discuss casteism in Islam. The Ashraafs—the Muslim upper castes, want to protect their turf. They feel that social justice in India will take the power out of their hands. The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) does not hold elections because its luminaries fear that they will lose control. In fact, no Muslim organisation has democracy.

Even if the Muslims are a minority in India, the benefits go to a small section of upper caste Muslims. A low caste Muslim finds it easy to get admission to the Benaras Hindu University (BHU) but not in the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) because the Muslim leaders have cornered the benefits for themselves.

That is why the low caste Muslims—the Pasmandas, do not want minority status. We do not want benefits based on our religious identity. We can only uplift ourselves through government schemes that provide us socio-economic benefits.

IN: You say that Indian society has made progress. We also have many Muslim activists and NGOs, so how is it possible that Muslims from the lowest classes and castes have not progressed?

Fyzie: No social reforms exist among the Muslims. There is no concept of social justice in the community because it is led by the upper caste Muslims. There is no discussion or acceptance of criticism in the community.

The NGOs are all run by the Ashraafs. They run such organisations under the garb of ideologies—Left, minority and some are run by Maulanas. Yeh sab log aapna varchasv banaye rakhna chahtein hain (They all want to maintain their hegemony).

When I contrast the situation with the Hindus, I find they realise the need for social reforms. That is why they accept the evil of casteism and debate its elimination. Indians have always been diverse for 5,000 years. They do not bother about the differences and have accepted diversity.

We feel that we are still being led by Mughal rulers. Would you believe that the low caste Muslims were not allowed to go to madrasas by the Mughal rulers. Similar examples of discrimination and racism against the low caste Muslims abound in times of Islamic rule.

IN: Is India becoming communal?

Fyzie: If the Hindus are becoming communal, they talk about it and then take steps to eliminate it. But then we also see that communalism among the Muslims is not discussed. The fact is that communalism among the Muslims is very strong.

For example, the Muslim League was formed much earlier than the Hindu Mahasabha.

My take is that if you want to finish off communalism from India, then you have to eliminate Muslim communalism first. The communal thinking among the Hindus will reduce on its own.

IN: Do you think India is becoming Islamophobic?

Fyzie: Regarding Islamophobia in India, the Ashraafs use Islamophobia as a tool. The moment you talk about social reforms and social justice among the Muslims, the upper caste Muslims begin alleging Islamophobia. If you ruffle the Muslim society by talking about reforms, the Muslim right wing immediately labels you Islamophobic.

These concepts are harming the Indian social fabric. The secular, Left and liberal establishments accept whatever is said by the upper caste Muslims.

There are Hindus who are communal but they are very less in number.

IN: The BJP government has been criticised over a number of policy decisions it has taken related to the Muslim community. What is your take on these?

Fyzie: I think the Modi government has taken steps to bring about reforms in the community.

Banning triple talaq has benefited the Pasmanda Muslims, particularly women. Divorce among the lower levels in the community brings shame not just to the woman but her family also. Divorce and remarriage are acceptable among the upper classes, but not among the people at the bottom of the hierarchy.

The elimination of Article 370 will benefit the Pasmanda Muslims. Certain castes or sections of Muslims like the Bakkerwals, the Gaddis and the Van Gujjars will be benefited. Till now all the political power in Kashmir was with the Ashraafs. The low caste Muslims did not enjoy the benefits of government schemes in Kashmir.

IN: Can there be truth and reconciliation among the Muslims and Hindus? How can we see religious harmony among the communities?

Fyzie: Jab aap Pasmanda samaj ko aage karanege tab aasani se Hinduon aur Mussalmano mein samjhota hoga (If you uplift the Pasmanda Muslims, harmony will happen automatically between the Hindus and Muslims).

We have to remember that the low caste Muslims have always identified themselves with Hindu customs and traditions because they have co-existed with the Hindus for ages. The Pasmanda Muslims will wear sarees, use sindur, and gift shringar during weddings—all of which are Hindu customs. But the high caste Muslims call these Hinduana (Hindu beliefs), therefore, gair-Islamic (non-Islamic).

This cultural discrimination has remained within the Islamic society because of Ashraafs.

Truth and reconciliation will happen if the Ashraafs are controlled. They still act as if they are the rulers, therefore, they look at us with the same mentality. When they go abroad, they give hate speeches against India and portray the Hindus in a negative light.

I think India has progressed well till now. In my opinion, the country has a bright future in terms of social progress and harmony between faiths. Meri rai mein 1947 se aab tak ka safar aacha hai (In my opinion, the journey from 1947 till now has been good).

I am optimistic about a bright future of India. Inshaallah!

The Daily Guardian is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@thedailyguardian) and stay updated with the latest headlines.

For the latest news Download The Daily Guardian App.

Business News

Rupee fell 11% in 2022, its worst since 2013




Monetary policy tightening by various central banks to contain inflation, the war in Ukraine leading to price rise for crude oil and subsequent realignment in the global energy supply chain, and strengthening of the US dollar index kept the Indian currency under pressure in 2022. The Indian Rupee has been in the news cycle for a considerable part of 2022 for its steady depreciation. In 2022, the Rupee depreciated over 11 per cent on a cumulative basis, its poorest performance since 2013 and the worst drubbing among Asian currencies — as the US Federal Reserve’s aggressive monetary policy propelled the greenback. data showed. It breached the 83-mark against the US dollar in mid-October, to hit an all-time low. It has, however, performed better than most Asian peer currencies, including the Chinese Renminbi, Indonesian Rupiah, Philippine Peso, South Korean Won, and Taiwanese Dollar during the current financial year. The US Federal Reserve policy rate is now at a target of 4.25- 4.50 per cent, the highest level in 15 years, which was near zero in the early part of 2022. An increase in policy rates in the US and other advanced economies typically leads to a depreciation of the emerging markets currency such as the Rupee. “Indian Rupee has had a mixed year in 2022, as far as relative performance is concerned. During the first three months it was an underperformer due to higher oil prices. However, it came back strongly during the mid of this year, due to fall in the energy prices and aggressive intervention from the RBI. But since October, we have seen Rupee underperform its peers once again, but this time due to larger than usual demand from oil importers,” said Shrikant Chouhan, Head Equity Research at Kotak Securities. Chouhan added 2023 can be a year of two halves. In explanation, he said “the seeds of a global economic slowdown could germinate” in the first half due to tightening monetary policies and fiscal policies and the alarming situation from Covid in China. “During the second half, we expect (US) Fed and other central bankers take notice of dramatic fall in inflation and growth and lower interest rates. Interest rate cut from Fed can boost inflows into emerging markets during the second half of 2023,” Chouhan of Kotak Securities said, adding that he sees Rupee versus the US dollar in a broad range of 80.00- 85.00/8.50 in 2023. However, everything is not gloom and doom for the Rupee fundamentals as the US Dollar index has fallen from the peak of 114 to around 105 currently. According to VK Vijayakumar, Chief Investment Strategist at Geojit Financial Services, said: “The Dollar will stabilize and start weakening when the (US) Fed pauses by Q2 of 2023. RBI has done a good job in intervening in the forex market to stabilize the rupee and manage the forex reserves.” Typically, the RBI from time to time intervenes in the markets through liquidity management, including through the selling of dollars, with a view to preventing a steep depreciation in the rupee. At the start of 2022, the overall forex reserves were at USD 633.61 billion, which is currently at USD 563.499 billion. Much of the decline can be attributed to RBI’s intervention and a rise in the cost of imported goods. “The RBI intervention in forex spot market will curb any upside momentum in USD/INR rates. This will help to stabilize exchange rates around 83 – 87 in 2023,” said Sumeet Bagaria, Executive Director at Choice Broking, adding that it would be interesting to see how the RBI tackles the situation. Going ahead, much of the Rupee’s movement will also depend on the monetary policy action by the US Federal Reserve. “If we look ahead to 2023, the first half will still be unpredictable because the USA’s terminal rate is still unknown, and the RussiaUkraine war has not yet ended. As a result, the first half of 2023 may see some additional weakness, but the second half may be better for the rupee because US interest rates may reach their peak,” said Santosh Meena, Head of Research at Swastika Investmart. For 2023, Meena sees Rupee in a tight range of 80.0-83.5.

Another breather may come from the decline in international crude oil prices, which currently is trading at about USD 78-80 per barrel. It touched as high as around USD 130 per barrel earlier this year. “We expect rupee to trade on a negative note moving between 84 to even hit as low as 85 mark against the US dollar as deteriorating global risk sentiments may put downside pressure on rupee. The rupee is currently around 82.8 against the US currency. Weak global markets may lead safe haven flows towards US dollar. However, sharp fall in crude oil prices may prevent sharp downside in rupee,” said Mohit Nigam, Fund Manager and Head – PMS, Hem Securities. A depreciation in Rupee too has its own share of advantages as it typically raises exporters’ earnings. What is India doing to reduce the over-dependence of the US Dollar and subsequent internationalization of the Rupee? The RBI had announced various measures recently to diversify and expand the sources of forex funding to mitigate exchange rate volatility and dampen global spillovers. Of them, the major one is that the RBI has put in place an additional arrangement for invoicing, payment, and settlement of exports/imports in Indian currency in mid-July, 2022. If the mechanism fructifies then it may go a long way in internationalizing the Indian currency rupee in the long run. Talks between India and UAE are already on for a RupeeDirham-denominated bilateral trade.

Continue Reading

Business News

RBI: Global spillovers, financial market, general risks increased




The Reserve Bank of India’s latest Systemic Risk Survey (SRS) showed that global spillovers, financial market and general risks have increased, while macroeconomic risks have moderated. The survey also showed respondents’ confidence in the Indian financial system further improved with 93.6 per cent of them remaining fairly or highly confident of the stability of the Indian financial system. No change is perceived in institutional risks. Monetary tightening in advanced economies, tightening of financial conditions, geopolitical risks, global growth uncertainty and growing risks from private cryptocurrencies and climate change are cited as the major contributors to the rise in the global, financial market and general risks.

The majority of the respondents saw further improvement in credit prospects for the Indian economy and remained confident about the stability of the Indian banking sector, according to RBI survey which was released on Thursday. Nearly ninety per cent of the respondents assessed that the prospects of the Indian banking sector are likely to improve or remain unchanged over a one-year horizon. The 23rd round of the RBI’s Systemic Risk Survey was conducted in November 2022 to solicit the perceptions of experts, including market participants and academicians, on major risks faced by the Indian financial system. The survey also captured respondents’ perception on risk to financial stability from external sector developments; segments of the Indian financial system — likely to be impacted by aggressive monetary policy tightening by advanced economies and their views on the likelihood of a global recession in 2023. More than half of the respondents assessed that the prospects of the Indian banking sector over a one-year horizon have improved. According to the survey, confidence in the stability of the global financial system marginally declined during the last six months. In contrast, confidence in the Indian financial system further improved with 93.6 per cent of the respondents remaining fairly or highly confident of the stability of the Indian financial system. Whereas, as much as 52.1 per cent of the respondents expected that the Indian economy will be impacted somewhat/to a limited extent from global spillovers. Despite global headwinds posing risks to domestic macro-financial conditions, the impact of external sector developments remained moderate as 53.2 per cent of the respondents perceived it of medium impact, RBI said in the survey. More than three-fourths of the respondents perceived that the aggressive monetary policy tightening by advanced economies would adversely impact the exchange rate, capital flows, foreign exchange reserves and bond yields.

Continue Reading

Business News

At Rs 1.50L cr, December GST kitty 3rd-highest ever




The gross revenue from goods and services tax (GST) rose 15 per cent year-on-year to Rs 1,49,507 crore in December 2022, according to government data released on Sunday. This was the third-highest monthly collection since the tax was introduced in July 2017. Experts feel with this trend, the government will be able to collect through GST more than budget estimate. The government collected Rs 1,29,780 crore as gross GST revenue in December 2021. Of the total GST collected in December, CGST was Rs 26,711 crore, SGST was Rs 33,357 crore, IGST was Rs 78,434 crore (including Rs 40,263 crore collected on import of goods) and cess was Rs 11,005 crore (including Rs 850 crore collected on import of goods), data revealed. Notably, monthly GST revenues have been more than Rs 1.4 lakh crore for 10 straight months in a row now.In November, gross GST revenue collection was Rs 145,867 crore, an increase of 11 per cent over last year’s corresponding month.

Continue Reading

Business News




The Centre launched a new integrated food security scheme on Sunday, which would give 5 kg of free food grain per month to 81.3 crore people nationwide. The scheme will provide free foodgrains beneficiaries under NFSA for the year 2023 and aims to ensure effective and uniform implementation of the National Food Security Act (NFSA). The Cabinet decided to launch a new central sector scheme to fulfil the vision of One Nation-One PriceOne Ration under Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This is a commitment of the government to the most vulnerable 67 per cent of the population which is 81.35 crore people covered under NFSA, according to the ministry’s statement. Under the scheme, the government will provide free foodgrains to all NFSA beneficiaries namely Antyodaya Ann Yojana (AAY) households and Priority Household (PHH) persons for one year through the wide network of 5.33 lakh fair price shops across the country, according to the statement of the ministry of consumer affairs, food and public distribution. The decision will strengthen the provisions of NFSA, 2013, in terms of accessibility, affordability and availability of foodgrains for the poor. T h e n e w i nt e g r at e d scheme will subsume two current food subsidy schemes of the department of food and public distribution (DFPD) namely food subsidy to Food Corporation of India (FCI) for NFSA, and sops for decentralised procurement states, which deal with procurement, allocation and delivery of free foodgrains under NFSA.

Free foodgrains will concurrently ensure uniform implementation of portability under One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC) across the country and will further strengthen this choice-based platform. This means the ration card could be used anywhere in the country. The Centre will bear the food subsidy of more than Rs 2 lakh crore for 2023. The new scheme is aimed at bringing uniformity and clarity on food security under NFSA at beneficiary level, the ministry statement said. For implementing this scheme, the ministry had said that the secretary of DFPD had taken a meeting with all state food secretaries on December 29, 2022. The issues related to distribution of free foodgrains were discussed including technical resolutions. All states and Union Territories assured to implement the free foodgrain scheme from January 1, 2023, according to the statement. The government had issued an order to all general managers of FCI to visit three ration shops every day in different areas of their jurisdiction mandatorily from January 1 till 7 and submit a report to the DFPD nodal officer on a daily basis, in the given format for review and taking corrective action. In view of free foodgrains, an advisory is issued to the states/UTs on the mechanism to provide dealer’s margin for distributing foodgrains to the beneficiaries, the ministry said.

Continue Reading

Business News

Post 370, investment climate brightens in J&K



Post 370, investment climate brightens in J&K

After witnessing decades of violence, the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed tremendous changes in economic activities after the abrogation of Article 370.

After Article 370 was repealed, Jammu and Kashmir became subject to 890 central laws, while 250 unfair state legislation were eliminated. Additional 130 state legislation have undergone changes. The elimination of certain hurdles has led to a conducive business atmosphere. Due to the country’s strong leadership and increased stability in the region, foreign businesses are considering investment opportunities here.

The Lulu Group, Apollo, EMAAR, and Jindal are among the few commercial organizations that have investments in Jammu and Kashmir. The UT has inked five more Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) with Al Maya Group, MATU Investments LLC, GL Employment Brokerage LLC, Century Financial, and Noon E-commerce, respectively. Magna Waves Pvt. Ltd. and Emaar Group, and Lulu International have also signed a single Letter of Intent.

In 2021, the Union Territory attracted investments of USD 2.5 billion, showcasing the region’s vast opportunities and business potential.

Even Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with delegates from the United Arab Emirates seeking business opportunities in Jammu and Kashmir, noting that private investment bids in the Union Territory have topped Rs 38,000 crore.

The government is fully aware that investments play a crucial role in economic development because they lead to the accumulation of public wealth as well as advancements in science and technology. As a result, a framework for increasing the region’s manufacturing viability and economic growth is established.

The Jammu and Kashmir government established a five-person committee on June 23 to communicate with the Minister of External Affairs regarding the G20 meetings. India is starting to get ready for the big event.

In order to promote fresh investment and bring industrial development to the block level, the J&K administration introduced a new industrial development scheme with an outlay of Rs 28,400 crore in January of last year. The new regulation, valid until 2037, also made it possible for more prominent investors to invest in J-K.

Before the repealing of Article 370, there were not many investments in Jammu and Kashmir.

The Indian government is aware that investments play a key role in the economic development of any region. Hence, it is no letting stone unturned to establish a framework for increasing the region’s manufacturing viability and economic growth.

Infrastructure development in the Union Territory got a big push after the abrogation of Article 370.

After the abrogation of Article 370, the execution of new roads, tunnels and other basic Infrastructure has gained momentum to ensure the overall development of J&K.

Noting that roads are now being built at twice the speed as before, the Lt Governor of the Union Territory Manoj Sinha had said there has been a radical change in its progress under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana.

Continue Reading

Business News

Raise retirement age of SC, HC judges: BCI




Raise retirement age of SC, HC judges: BCI

The Bar Council of India (BCI) in a joint meeting that was held last week has unanimously reached a conclusion that there should be an immediate amendment to the Constitution and the retirement age of Judges of Supreme Court and High Courts.

“There should be an immediate amendment in the Constitution and the retirement age of Judges of High Court should be enhanced from 62 to 65 years and the age of superannuation of the Judges of Supreme Court should be enhanced to 67 years,” stated BCI in a press statement. The copy of the resolution was decided to be communicated to the Prime Minister of India and Union Minister for Law and Justice for immediate action on the resolution, stated press statement by BCI.

Moreover, the joint meeting has also resolved to propose to the Parliament to consider to amend the various Statutes so that even the experienced advocates could be appointed as the Chairpersons of various commissions and other Forums.

Continue Reading