As miraculous as India’s economic growth has been over the past two decades, systemic discrimination has ensured that religious groups and low-caste Indians remain excluded from India’s new-found wealth. Things have gotten so bad that Muslims have adopted the names and appearances of Hindus to increase their chances of employment. Al-Jazeera reports:
Muslims posing as Hindus are mostly found in menial jobs in the unorganised sector where worker’s identity documents are not usually sought.
Some placement agencies across the country are helping Muslims find jobs in Hindu workplaces by introducing them as Hindus.
…During interrogation, the manager of a New Delhi-based private placement agency told police he had introduced the woman as a Hindu – and he had done likewise with several other Muslim candidates to get them jobs in the national capital.
Hindu-Muslim tensions have been a staple of the Indian political landscape since the Middle Ages, but despite being partitioned twice, 150 million Muslims still live in India, making it the 4th largest Muslim country in the world.
Despite riots flaring up every now and then, most recently in Muzaffarnagar, the report reveals how enmities go far deeper than flashes of violence. After the rise of the BJP, a Hindu nationalist party, in particular, Muslims have found more difficult to find jobs, housing, or promotions. They have also been underrepresented in states where the BJP has ruled, particularly in Gujarat, which BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi has run as Chief Minister since 2001.
If Modi comes into power in next year’s parliamentary elections, which looks increasingly likely, he will be an odd candidate to try and bring religious harmony to India, himself having presided over riots that killed more than 1000 Muslims in his home state in 2002.
But as long as discrimination exists, expect more Muhammads calling themselves Vishnu in the workplace.