Bangalore, Jan 24: Muslim women in India suffer ''double jeopardy'' on account of their gender and as members of a minority community, said Syeda Saiyidain Hameed, scholar and member of the Planning Commission of India.
Speaking after accepting Al Ameen All-India Community Leadership Award, Dr. Hameed drew as much from Quranic verses and Urdu poetry as she did from the Sachcar Committee Report and the approach paper of the 11 th Planning Commission to make a case for equitable growth that cuts across barriers of gender and religion.
Dr. Hameed narrated harrowing tales of Muslim women caught in the spiral of poverty and patriarchy she had met in the course of her earlier assignment as a member of the National Commission of Women. She said: ''The condition of Muslim women really pains me because as a Muslim I know that Islam never ordained the injustices which are being committed against women in the name of religion and as an Indian as a part of the government, I know that the discrimination suffered by Muslims are against the letter and spirit of our Constitution.''
Misinterpretations of Quran by interest groups had propagated male dominance and ushered in caste practices which had no religious sanction, she said.
Drawing statistics from the Sachar Committee report, she said Muslim were far behind Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Backward Classes in several areas of development, especially concerning women. The ''deeply embedded discrimination'' that brought the community to such a pass, she said, affected women acutely. Their condition had not only stagnated, but declined steadily on several counts.
While the percentage of Muslim girls' enrolment was 12 points more than Dalit girls a decade earlier, it was four points less than Dalit girls now, she pointed out. Muslim women belonging to traditional artisan communities had suffered as their professions got wiped out in the process of globalisation, Dr. Hameed observed.
''Commissions come and go, but these things remain the same,'' she said.