Muslims in India: An Overview of Views and Progress in Recent Years

Muslims in India: An Overview of Views and Progress in Recent Years

First Impression:

The first impression about the status of Muslims of India is that they are a marginalised minority which is lagging behind in all spheres of life. They are less educated, mostly poor, rarely employed, steeped in backwardness, clinging to hackneyed religious education and values, and are least represented in high political positions. It’s not untrue. However, it is not totally true either. Muslims, like all other Indians, are moving ahead in almost in every field they are believed to have been left out.

Let’s have a quick review of Indian Muslims’ views about democracy and their progress in some areas in recent years with whatever data is available.

Belief in Democracy:

Global analytics and advice firm Gallup found in a recent survey that Muslims of India are as confident about functioning of democracy in the country as any other religious group.

Gallup data show that Muslims are about as confident in the country’s national institutions — save for the judicial system — as any other religious group. Muslims are as likely as Hindus and others to be confident in the nation’s military. Muslims and Hindus share similar confidence in the country’s financial institutions and in the honesty of the country’s elections. While Hindus are more likely than Muslims to be confident in the nation’s government, all Indians are equally as likely to say they approve of the job performance of the country’s leadership (42% of Muslims, 47% of Hindus, and 39% of all others). Muslims (79%) and Hindus (80%) are equally as likely to perceive corruption in government as being widespread.

Educational Progress

According to the 2011 census, the literacy rate of Muslims is 68.5% against the national average of 71.6. It seems low, but it shows improvement. Moreover, the education of girls among Muslims has been on the rise. Every year, Muslims shoot to media limelight because of their educational and related achievements. This is despite humongous challenges faced by them.

Following is a 2018 data on literacy among various religious groups. It shows obvious encouraging trends among Muslims.

Population Hindus Muslims Christian Sikhs Buddhist Janis Others Total
Male 60.78 62.41 76.78 71.32 77.87 87.86 59.58 69.76
Female 55.98 51.90 71.97 63.29 65.60 84.93 41.38 55.98
Total 63.31 57.28 74.35 67.51 71.84 86.43 50.35 63.07

Business and Entrepreneurship

Number of popular Muslim businessmen in India may be limited, but there are many noted businessmen and established & emerging entrepreneurs. India’s growth story has contributions from the likes of Azim Premji (Chairman, Wipro), M. A. Yusuff Ali, Chairman of LuLu Group and Yusuf Khwaja Hamied (Chairman, Cipla). Entrepreneurship is the most effective antidote against joblessness within the community and even young Muslims have realized this.

One name deserves special mention here. When Covid was on its marauding spree in 2021, Khansa Fahad, a B. Tech 3rd year student at Jamia Millia Islamia, lost her grandfather, uncle and father to the disease. Yet, she didn’t drown herself in despair. She co-established GuruCool, an educational networking platform that offers a suite of tools to connect learners and educators worldwide. It aims to empower schools and colleges to go online and build their digital infrastructure to enable learners to find, connect and learn from them. Starting from Delhi, the start-up has spread to many cities.

Its success drew attention of many foreign investors. American firms Zulie Venture Inc and startup incubator FreeFlow Venture Builders have infused their capital into it.

(Khansa Fahad)


Success in UPSC

Most highlighted parameter of Muslim getting jobs in India is their selection in UPSC-conducted exams for various A-rank government jobs. An analysis of data shows that Muslims have secured 3-6% UPSC jobs in India. It is far lower than their share in Indian population, but they have been consistently performing with this average and success stories of Muslims from humble background making it to top ranks are plenty.

Following is a tally of Muslim success in UPSC 2016 onwards.



As we said in the beginning, Muslims are marching ahead in all walks of national life like all other Indians, and it is despite facing many stumbling blocks.

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