‘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.

Campaigning for Sri Lanka presidential election ends

Updated 14 November 2019

Campaigning for Sri Lanka presidential election ends

COLOMBO: Campaigning for Sri Lanka’s Nov. 16 presidential elections came to an end on Wednesday.

Competition is tight between the United National Front’s (UNF) candidate, Sajith Premadasa, and former Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna.

Rajapaksa’s final rally took place in the town of Homagama on Wednesday evening, while Premadasa concluded his campaign in Colombo.

Thus far, 35 candidates have submitted their nominations, while two — Milroy Fernando and Dr. I.M. Illyas — have openly urged supporters to vote for Premadasa.

In comments to the media on Wednesday, Mahinda Deshapriya, chairman of the Election Commission of Sri Lanka, said all candidates have been requested to attend a special meeting on Thursday to be briefed about the electoral process, including the counting of votes and the announcement of results.

The commission urged the candidates not to partake in any promotional activities on social media.

It has received 3,729 complaints pertaining to vandalism and violation of laws, leading up to the elections, with 27 cases of violence reported. Additionally, 3,596 election law violations were reported.

To address these concerns, the commission is setting up complaints offices at the Elections Secretariat in Rajagiriya and all other district offices.

Ali Sabry, chief legal adviser to Gotabaya, told Arab News that a proven track record will propel Gotabaya to victory.

Sabry added that Gotabaya is taking credit for eliminating terrorism in Sri Lanka. Industry and Commerce Minister Rishath Bathiudeen, who was involved in Premadasa’s political campaign, told Arab News that he is hopeful about his candidate’s chances.

Bathiudeen, who is the leader of the All Ceylon Makkal Congress, said Premadasa would garner 95 percent of the Muslim vote and a majority of Tamil votes.

Azath Salley, leader of the National Unity Alliance, said: “The majority of the Tamil and Muslim communities are with … Premadasa.”

Meanwhile, the chair of the Muslim Council of Sri Lanka, N. M. Amin, said this is the first time that incidents of election violence are few and far between.

Meanwhile, a group deployed by the Commonwealth to observe the presidential elections has called on stakeholders to demonstrate a commitment to a “peaceful, transparent, credible and inclusive” poll.

The Commonwealth Observer Group (COG) was invited by the Election Commission of Sri Lanka to observe the poll.

The COG will receive briefings from relevant stakeholders including election management officials, representatives of political parties, civil society groups, the police, members of the international community, citizens and international observers.

In a statement, COG Chair Prosper Bani said: “As independent observers, we will remain objective and impartial in discharging our duties. The Group’s assessment will be its own and not that of any Commonwealth member country. We hope that our group’s presence will support the strengthening of democracy in Sri Lanka.”