Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked the BJP national executive in Hyderabad to reach out to “deprived and downtrodden sections” in communities other than Hindus, which includes groups such as Pasmanda Muslims in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
- A Persian word, ‘Pasmanda’, means the ‘ones left behind’, and is used to describe depressed classes among the Muslims, while underlining their deliberate or conscious exclusion.
- Pasmanda has become an umbrella identity used by backward, Dalit, and tribal Muslims to push back against caste-based discrimination against them within the community.
- The term ‘Pasmanda Muslims’ was first used in 1998 by Ali Anwar Ansari when he founded the Pasmanda Muslim Mahaz. The Sachar Committee in its report put the number of OBC and SC/ST Muslims at 40% (all India 2004-05).
Are Muslims divided along caste lines?
- Muslim society in India consists of several status groups or biradaris that are broadly sorted in three categories: the Ashrafs (the ‘noble’ elite or the ‘honourable ones’), the Ajlafs (backward Muslims), and the Arzals (Dalit Muslims).
- While Islam does not mandate the creation of such groups, these caste categories are a lived reality for Muslims across the country.