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Skills can get muslims better return than just a dole of quotas

Author: Nistula Hebbar
Publication: The Economic Times
Date: June 27, 2014
URL: http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2014-06-27/news/50912026_1_dalit-christians-muslims-quota-mindset

Introduction: My most important task is to free Muslim from the fear psychosis and give them ability to compete

Minister for minority affairs Najma Heptullah has her own definition of her new job, quite different from the way the ministry has been run in the previous government. In an interview to ET, she speaks on her priorities, her perspective as a Darwinian, and how that relates to minorities. Excerpts:

Q.: What is your view on reservation for Muslims in Maharashtra?
A.: The government of Maharashtra is being disingenuous by announcing this quota. This has not been held to be legally tenable earlier and is only tokenism, just a vote catching ploy.

 Muslims should liberate themselves from this quota mindset, from a place where they feel denigrated and afraid, to a space of self confidence. The BJP manifesto talks of Muslims as equal partners and not a vote bank to be held in place by misplaced fears.

 PM Narendra Modi has always spoken of the lot of weavers in Varanasi and elsewhere, majority of whom are Muslims. He is concerned about how their skills can get them better returns than just a dole of quotas. To give self confidence rather than engender self pity.

Q.: Will you be carrying forward some of the recommendations of Sachar committee?
A.: My main thrust will be education and skill development. To give backwards among minorities the ability to compete. We have many programmes of scholarships at school and higher levels.

 After school, there is a choice of 800 courses to develop a skill, of these programmes, 30 % is set aside for girls. We want to create a situation where people would not need quotas, or doles. There is the issue of waqf properties (other endowments are not with us).

 Even if we manage those properties in a proper manner it alone can generate so much revenue as to bankroll many initiatives.

Q.: There is a demand from Dalit Christians that they want a quota.
A.: I have not really have not applied my mind to this situation. In this case too the Constitutional position appears adverse. Let's see.

Q.: What is your main focus area?
A.: My most important task is to create confidence and positivity. Muslims have been imprisoned by a fear psychosis.

They have been frightened by some unknown character. Even before the emergence of Narendra Modi, Muslims were being frightened, and during this election I heard someone giving a silly statement that if Modi is elected thousands of Muslims will be killed. Thirty days have passed peacefully, everyone is working with him in a positive mould.
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