Three Definitions of Minorities

Based on the actions taken by the State of India, three different definitions of the word “minorities” can be identified. Depending upon the purpose intended to be served, one of the three definitions is used. Here is a short introduction to the 3 types.

Type 1: “Minority need to be Majority”

This definition kicks in when a particular privilege is to be granted.

The spatial unit used under this definition is a area, block or district.

Illustration:

Under the PM 15 point program, various resources such as houses, toilets, roads, banks and other vital infrastructure which every citizen of the country requires is to be given, the definition of minority is an area, block or district where they are actually in majority. These units are variously called as MCDs, MCBs and so on.

Type 2: “Minority cannot be Majority”

This definition activates when a benefit is to be exclusively retained.

The spatial unit used under this definition is a state.

Illustration:

Article 30 of the Indian Constitution became necessary to ensure minorities do not suffer, due to their numerical inferiority, in being able to run educational institutions so they can sustain and grow their religion, culture, language etc.

In areas where the minority are in majority (as per definition 1 above), minorities have by definition numerical strength. They can naturally take measures to sustain and grow their culture and language. Further, as per the RTE law, all kids entailing the benefits should compulsorily join schools within a small radius of their locality. Thus, if RTE were made applicable in MCD/MCB areas, there simply is no threat to minority schools.

To overcome this logical khichdi, definition 2 is used. For the purposes of opening educational institutions, minority status is decided on a state basis and not on a district or block basis.

Type 3: “Only Minority can be Minority”

This definition is used when “non-minorities” need to be deprived of a benefit.

The spatial unit used for this definition is the Country.

Illustration:

In many states of India such as Jammu Kashmir, Kerala and Arunachal Pradesh, Hindus are numerically inferior. Therefore, they qualify as minorities under definition 2 given above and can obtain benefits such as protection under Article 30 and exemption from RTE.

To overcome this logical avial, definition 3 is used. Under this category, minorities are decided on a national basis. Various arguments such as overall literacy rates, employment percentages are used to justify this. And counter arguments showing literacy rates of minorities in 2011 being more than that of Hindus in 2001 are discarded without consideration.

Conclusion:

Following are the 2 golden rules that can be derived from the above analysis.

  1. Only minorities can be minorities.
  2. If majority are actually in minority, refer to rule 1.
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