‘Brain drain’ warning over Indian Muslim migration

Income from the Gulf has led to the emergence of an Indian Muslim middle and upper middle class. (AFP)
Updated 04 June 2018

‘Brain drain’ warning over Indian Muslim migration

  • Gulf money ensuring financial stability for Indian Muslims
  • Leading Indian politician warns of ‘brain drain’ through decades of economic migration

DUBAI: For decades political and financial pressures have forced generations of educated Indian Muslims to leave their homes and travel as economic migrants in search of a better future overseas.
But while continuous migration has helped to bring financial stability, the trend has also exacted a heavy toll on the community at home, according to an Indian politician and member of All India Muslim Personal Law Board.
Speaking exclusively to Arab News during a visit to the UAE, Mohammed Adeeb said that economic migration had led to a “brain drain,” and the loss of “leaders and torchbearers” in India’s Muslim community.
“Be it partition, when the most of the educated and qualified Muslims crossed the border, and then economic migration to Gulf and now to the US and Canada, Muslims back home have been left without leaders and torchbearers. As a result they have become more vulnerable to political, economic and social challenges,” he said.
However, Adeeb said while migration outside India may be creating a “vacuum,” it was also providing thousands of Muslim households with financial stability because of money earned in the Gulf region.
“If on the one hand, it was a brain drain, then on the other it was a money gain as well. The financial situation of thousands of Muslim households in the country has improved because of money earned in the Gulf. Because of Gulf income, a middle and upper middle class have emerged in the Indian Muslim community. However, we need to ask whether it was a good bargain,” he said.
Adeeb is a former member of Rajya Sabha (the upper house of Indian Parliament), a member of All India Muslim Personal Law Board and alumni of Aligarh Muslim University.
He urged Indian Muslim graduates living around the world, including the Gulf, to “come forward and share responsibilities.
“There is a lack of leadership in the community. University alumni have to take the lead and become the voice of the Indian Muslim community,” he said.
According to Adeeb, Muslims in the country have their own challenges and are scared.
“Those who live outside India have to talk about the challenges of Indian Muslims in their adopted countries, such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia. They are educated and privileged people, and must raise their voice in a way that the corridors of power listen to them.”
Last month, violent clashes took place between university students in Aligarh and local BJP workers over a portrait of Pakistan’s founder Mohammed Ali Jinnah in the university campus.
India has the world’s third-largest Muslim population and largest Muslim-minority population. The country is home to about 172 million Muslims, according to a 2011 census. A 2017 census showed Pakistan’s population at 207.8 million.


Indian authorities bar opposition from visiting Kashmir

Updated 25 min 24 sec ago

Indian authorities bar opposition from visiting Kashmir

  • Authorities sent the opposition leaders back to New Delhi after they waited for several hours at the airport in Srinagar
  • On the Pakistani side of Kashmir, police stopped hundreds of journalists from symbolically trying to cross the highly militarized border

NEW DELHI: India’s government on Saturday barred several opposition leaders from visiting Indian-administered Kashmir to assess the situation created by a massive security crackdown in the region that started early this month.
Authorities sent the opposition leaders back to New Delhi after they waited for several hours at the airport in Srinagar, the main city in the region, said Vineet Punia, an official with the opposition Congress party. He said the opposition leaders had returned to New Delhi.
On the Pakistani side of Kashmir, police stopped hundreds of journalists from symbolically trying to cross the highly militarized border into Indian-controlled Kashmir.
The Indian opposition leaders, representing nine political parties, flew to Srinagar from New Delhi nearly three weeks after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government revoked Muslim-majority Kashmir’s decades-old special status guaranteed under India’s constitution. The government followed the move with an intense crackdown including a media blackout and backed by thousands of troops.
The opposition leaders included Rahul Gandhi of the Congress party, Sitaram Yechury of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Sharad Yadav of Janata Dal (United) and Majeed Memon of the National Conference.
Authorities on Friday had advised them against visiting the region, citing a sensitive law and order situation. But there was no official comment on Saturday on disallowing the opposition leaders from visiting Srinagar and other parts of the region.
“We are not going to disturb peace there,” Majeed Memon of the Nationalist Congress Party told reporters in New Delhi before boarding the flight to Srinagar.
Ghulam Nabi Azad, a Congress party leader, said part of the reason for the visit was to look into the government’s claims that normalcy is returning to the region. “We are going to assess the situation there and find out the ground reality,” he said.
The changes in Indian-controlled Kashmir’s status allow anyone to buy land in the territory, which some Kashmiris fear could mean an influx of Hindus who would change the region’s culture and demographics.
Indian authorities are gradually easing restrictions, allowing some businesses to reopen in Srinagar and other places. Landline phone service has been restored in some areas. Officials also say they have opened grade schools, but both student and teacher attendance has been sparse.
Also Saturday, Pakistani police prevented hundreds of journalists from crossing into Indian-controlled Kashmir.
The journalists’ leader, Zafeer Baba, said the protest was an attempt to report on the situation in Kashmir. Journalists from Islamabad and other cities also traveled to Muzaffarabad to take part in the protest.
Local Kashmiris joined the journalists’ protest, chanting slogans against what they said was “Indian oppression” and in solidarity with Kashmiris.
Pakistani police officer Arshad Naqvi said the journalists’ vehicles were stopped around 7 kilometers (4 miles) from the Line of Control, which divides the Himalayan region.
Meanwhile, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said he spoke by phone with UN Secretary General António Guterres and discussed alleged human rights violations by India and the security situation in Indian-controlled Kashmir.
Kashmir is divided between Pakistan and India but claimed by both in its entirety. The nuclear-armed archrivals have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir since gaining independence from British rule in 1947.