Skip to main content

French govt-funded report praises Gujarat's affluent Juhapura Muslims for "favouring" economic integration, Modi

Juhapura, Ahmedabad, as seen by French scholar 
Counterview Desk
A French government-sponsored report has said that one of India’s biggest Muslim ghettos, Juhapura in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, is witnessing a unique development: The absence of public infrastructure here has forced affluent Muslims to come up with private initiatives to develop the ghetto, thus privatizing “public action”.
Funded by the French Defense Ministry and the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), and written by Charlotte Thomas following her study of the ghetto between 2009 and 2014 as part of doctorate in political science, the report gives full marks to affluent Muslims “of superior jamaats” who arrived in Juhapura after the 2002 Gujarat riots.
The scholar estimates, the ghetto had just 50,000 people, but now houses around five lakh Muslims, all of it following the 2002 Gujarat riots, adding, Even the Muslim upper-classes decided to shift to this ghetto, as for the first time, they “were also victims of violence, while they had been spared until then.”
“Notably through the zakat, they have financed two hospitals, dispensaries, schools, libraries, support/training courses for public service examinations, etc. Education has been at the core of preoccupations for the inhabitants of Juhapura, from all jamaats”, the researcher says.
Published by the French Institute of Political Sciences of the Centre for International Studies and Research, the report believes these affluent Muslims focus more on “economic integration” as an alternative to the community’s development, instead of the “political activist way”.
Insisting that their main channel for resistance is “business”, the scholar says, to these affluent sections, the “economic sphere is perceived as the integrating matrix to the majoritarian society for the Muslims of Juhapura, and appears to them as the best defence against violence.”
The scholar insists, “Economically integrated, participating to national enrichment, the Muslims see themselves as ‘useful’ to Indian society, and notably to their Hindu partners; as they have ties through an economic interdependency relationship.”
By basing their “salvation” thus, she thinks, these Muslims “have aligned themselves with one of the elements of the national narrative offered by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, for whom economic growth outshines every other societal stake.”
The result was, Thomas says, the “affluent entrepreneurs of Juhapura” were by “courted” by Modi as Gujarat chief minister, followed by his successor, Anandiben Patel, with some of them forming “the link between the minority and the authorities, facilitating the presence of Gulf businesses at the Vibrant Gujarat Summit.”.
“The bridge with the Gulf must not be understood as a mimetic fascination leading, for example, to the Wahhabisation of local religious practices”, the scholar insists. Nurtured by Saudi Arabia, Wahhabism is considered a religious movement of Sunni Muslims, and is criticized for being "ultra-conservative".
At the same time, the report, titled “Domination and resistance of the Muslim minority of Ahmedabad (India): paradoxes of the ghettoization process in Juhapura”, says that these affluent sections believe, in case of renewed violence, “economic affluence would enable them to face” any attacks they may face, as it happened in 2002, “better.”
According to Thomas, “Education is seen as the means to access a stable or higher paying job, and from there, the stepping stone towards a good economic integration. The girls and women are at the centre of a specific schooling effort, which is, as recognised by the interviewees (men or women), unheard of.”
She further notes, “Beyond entrepreneurship and/or commerce, the more or less traditional occupations of Gujarati Muslims, more and more mention the importance of obtaining public jobs, more stable and higher paying, to which the Muslims have traditionally had less access.”
“In parallel with locality planning, the inhabitants have also managed to get branches of Indian banks to open locally, the multiplication of businesses, or even to equip their own society (residency) by asphalting the paths, bringing water, electricity, etc.”, she adds.

Comments

TRENDING

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

RSS supremo Deoras 'supported' Emergency, but Indira, Sanjay Gandhi 'didn't respond'

By Shamsul Islam*
National Emergency was imposed on the country by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on June 25-26, 1975, and it lasted for 19 months. This period is considered as ''dark times' for Indian democratic polity. Indira Gandhi claimed that due to Jaiprakash Narayan's call to the armed forces to disobey the 'illegal' orders of Congress rulers had created a situation of anarchy and there was danger to the existence of Indian Republic so there was no alternative but to impose Emergency under article 352 of the Constitution.

Letter to friends, mentors: Coming together of class, communal, corona viruses 'scary'

By Prof (Dr) Mansee Bal Bhargava*
COVID greetings from Ahmedabad to dear mentors and friends from around the world…
I hope you are keeping well and taking care of yourself besides caring for the people around you. I’m writing to learn how is the science and the society coping with the prevention and cure of the pandemic. I’m also writing to share the state of the corona virus that is further complicated with the long-standing class and communal viruses.

Hurried nod to Western Ghat projects: 16 lakh Goans' water security 'jeopardised'

Counterview Desk
Taking strong exception to "virtual clearances" to eco-sensitive projects in the Western Ghats, the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) in a statement has said urged for a review of the four-lane highway, 400 KV transmission line and double tracking of the railway line through the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park in Goa.

Disturbing signal? Reliance 'shifting focus' away from Indian petrochemical sector

By NS Venkataraman*
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), a large Indian company, has expanded and grown in a spectacular manner during the last few decades, like of which no industrial group in India has performed before. RIL is now involved in multi various activities relating to petroleum refineries, petrochemicals, oil and gas exploration, coal bed methane, life sciences, retail business, communication network, (Jio platform) media/entertainment etc.

Oxfam on WB project: ICT 'ineffective', privatised learning to worsen gender divide

By Rajiv Shah 
A top multinational NGO, with presence in several developed and developing countries, has taken strong exception to the World Bank part-funding Strengthening Teaching-Learning and Results for States (STARS) project in six Indian states – Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Odisha – for its emphasis on information and communication technology (ICT)-enabled approaches for teacher development, student assessment and digital platform for early childhood education.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

By Our Representative
Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book, "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Cruel legacy of Green Revolution? Covid-19 underscores 'risky, fragile' food system

By Moin Qazi*  The Covid-19 crisis has highlighted the risks of an unhealthy diet and the extreme fragility of food systems. The economic reconstruction that will follow the pandemic is the perfect opportunity to provide better nutrition and health to all. The pandemic should spur us to redefine how we feed ourselves, and agricultural research can play a vital role in making our food systems more sustainable and resilient.

Case for nationalising India's healthcare system amidst 'strong' private control

Counterview Desk
A draft discussion note, prepared by Dr Maya Valecha, a Gujarat-based gynecologist and activist, sent to the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) as also a large number of activists, academics and professionals as an email alert, is all set to create a flutter among policy experts for its strong insistence on nationalizing India’s healthcare system.