Monday, January 3, 2011

States With High Muslim Growth



In addition to the data given in Chapter 6 along with the Map 6.1 as well as Table C-T4 in Appendix C, this Note gives additional data on regions of high Muslim growth. It will be useful to refer to this Table and Map while reading this Note. Part I of the Note deals with influx from Bangladesh and Part II with other Indian States and regions.

A country normally keeps its borders well protected against aggression, both physical as well as demographic. And India partitioned on a religous basis and having a large concentration of minotities on its borders should be even more vigilant. Prompt and effective action has long been overdue, and unless urgent steps are taken, the demographic balance in these regions which has already been severely affected, will lead to further partitions of the country in the near future. North East India has become highly unstable due to the influx of Muslims from Bangladesh and missionary activities of the Christians in the tribal areas. Appendix C, Table C-14 shows that there is a large selective increase in the Muslim population in the districts bordering Bangladesh as well as Nepal (see map) making our notthern and eastern borders vulnerable.


Bangladesh has been constituted by partitioning Bengal essentially on the basis of Muslim majority districts. No effort was made to have well defined defined borders which could be adequately protected. The minorities were also left uundisturbed although an exchange of population would have been a proper long term solution. Thus in 1941, in today’s Bangladesh the Hindus constituted 30% of the total population and in West Bengal (of Pre-1956 State Reorganisation) Muslims constituted 29%. But in 1991 due to massive migration into India of both Hindus and Muslims from Bangladesh, the Hindus constitute only 11% in Bangladesh, whereas the Muslims are close to 24% in today’s West Bengal. The position of Assam and other adjoining states is similar.

Another point to be borne in mind is that there a simultaneous migration of both Hindus and Muslims frim Bangladesh. We find that predominantly Hindus migrated in the period from 1947 to 1971. Subsequently the migration has been mostly of Muslims who have come here to better their economic conditions. We may not be far off the mark if we put a total migration close to thirty million Hindus and Muslims since Independence. These migrations have put an immense strain on the neighboring states. The state governments due to vote bank politics have been apathetic to the Muslim migration. Sri Baljit Rai1 has dealt with this subject exhaustively exhaustively and we have given below a number of his observations and statistics.
Even the International agencies have commented on this migration. Thus the World Population Prospects, 1994 Revision of the UN states: ‘The 1991 population census of Bangladesh. even after adjustments for under remuneration, was over five million fewer persons than expected. The reasons appeared to be both lower levels of immigration to India and elsewhere....The upward revision of the population of India is the result of Upwardly revised estimates of migration from Bangladesh’ (P. 137). As a result they have increased the Indian population estimate by 4.8 million. Another publication, ‘Future Population of the World. What can We Assume Today’s state: ‘According to statistics of foreign born, India was the second largest migragion receiving country in the world in 1980. Most of the migrants thus indentified had moved to India from Bangladesh or Pakistan, probably as a result of partition.’ (P. 347)

While the Bangladeshi leaders have been vociferously denying any migration of their citizens into India, their intellectuals have already started talking of lebensraum for their burgeoning population, For example a Bangladesh intellectual Mr. Sadeq Khan in his article ‘The Question of Lebensraum’ published in ‘Holiday’, Dacca on 18-10-1991, has pur forward that by the first decade of twenty first century the population would have expanded so much that the problem of lebensraum or living space would be very grim and that no amount of population or family planning can change the situation. A natural overflow of population pressure is therefore very much on cards and will not be restrained by barbed wire or border patrol measures. The natural trend of population overflow is towards the sparsely populated land of the south-east in the Arakan side and of the north-east in the Seven Sister side of the Indian sincontinent’. It has of course been conveniently forgotten by the author that this migration has already been taking place for several decades with no effort on the part of Indian authorities to prevent it. This ‘The Morning Sun’ of Dhaka in its issue of 4-8-1991 reports under the caption ‘One Crore People Missing’, that there is a differece of about one crore in the prelominary total population estimate of the 1991 census of 10.80 crores and the official figure of 11.75 crore.

It will readily be seen that the population increase in these areas has been significantly higher than the general Indian increase. Also although Hindus in Bangladesh have migrated in large numbers due to respression, the migration of Muslims is far greater. Mr. Swapan Dasgupta in his article ‘Frontiers of our nationhood’ published in The Telegraph dated 14-3-1992 states that, ‘all evidence suggests that Muslim migrants from Bangladesh outnumber their Hindu counterparts by as much as 3 : 1’. We shall now study below the problem of migration and the consequent demographic imbalances in the states of Bengal, Bihar and Assam.


This state having only 3% of its population and consequently has the highest population density of 766 persons per sq. km. In the country i.e. even higher than that of Bangladesh. Its level of poverty may be imagined from the fact that in 1976 as against the national average of 40% poulation below the poverty line, 70% in the sate were below the line. Hence it is a great pity that it has to bear the onslaught of immigration from Bangladesh. The international border is extremely unnatural and runs through flat territory and river beds and is no impediment to anyone to travel in either direction. When the rivers dry in summer, crossing the border in these strectches becomes very easy.

The illegal immigrants have succeeded in creating a five to ten kilometre Muslim belt along the border so that infiltration is simplified for them. The Census of India 1961 General Report of West Bengal and Sikkim states: ‘It will be seen that of the total number of 6,985,287 Muslims of West Bengal, 2,012928 or 28.92 per cent live in 50 border police stations which account for only 15.55 per cent of the general population. In all these police stations together, the Muslims constitute 37.06 per cent of the total population. This average is exceeded in three didtinct zones of particularly heavy Muslim concentration, each consisting of a chain of contiguous border police stations. These zones are (1) Chopra-Islampur-Goalpokhar, (2) Kaliachak-Shamshirganj-Suti-Raghunathgunj-Lalgola Bhagawangola-Raninagar-Jalangi-Karimpur and (3) Sarupnaga-Baduria-Basirhat.’ (P.222) The accompanying Statement shows that in some of the areas the percentage is as high as 80. Unfortunately subsequent census reports to our knowledge have not analysed the prevailing situation.

As result of this strategy the Muslim decadal increase has been very high as compared to general increase in the 1981-91 decade. This has been corroborated by the detection of Bangladeshi infiltrators by the following agencies :

Agency Period Hindu Muslim Others
W.Bengal Police 1972-91 63762 124408 666
Border Security Force 1977-91 64125 151175 2865

It may be noted that for every Hindu inflitrator detected, over two Muslims were apprehended. The seriousness of the problem can be gauged from the Report in The Statesman of 25-9-1992 captioned ‘Bangla influx could upset India’s demography’ in which they quote, “Mr. Santimoy Roy, a leading leftist intellectual and a consultant at the Centre for South Asian Studies, who is also an expert on Bangladesh that at least 10 million Bangladeshi nationals had sneaked into Indian territory during the last decade posing serious problems for the country.”
“Interestingly, Mr. Roy said that Bangladesh’s population, according to the 1991 census-was less than what it should have been, as had been estimated by the Bangladeshi Government and the United nations earlier. While the 1991 Bangladeshi census shows the total population figure as 104.7 million, according to earlier estimate by the Bangladeshi Government, it should have been between 112 and 114 million. He said that going by UN predictions, the current population figure in Bangladesh should have been between 117 and 118 million.”

“......According to Mr. Roy, this shortfall is mainly due to the influx of Bangladeshis into India. The growth rate of population in the Hindu populated districts were much lower than the national average rate of 2.01 percent.”
A study by South Asia Research Society, Calcutta has shown that based on the sample surveys conducted by the Registrar General of India, the natural population increase in West Bengal during 1891-91 stands at 21.9%. The actual population growth rate stood at 24.73% during this decade i.e. 2.8% higher, which can largely be accounted for by the influx of people from Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and other regions of India. This corresponds to about 1.5 millions or about 11% of the total population increase. The actual number of outsiders is likely to be much higher, because a very large number of them have presumably escaped detection by Census personnel.

It has been estimated that about 2.95 million Bengali speaking Hindis have enntered into India (mainly West Bengal) during 1974-91 as a result of ‘missing Hindu population.’ This is over and above over three million Hindu refugees permanently leaving East Pakistan for India in the course of the 1971 liberation struggle, most of whom did not permanently return to Bangladesh and many millions during the partition trauma. Since the extent of Muslim infiltration during 1971-91 awaits appraisal, it is fair to conclude that at least 13-14 million migrants and infiltrators have crossed over from Bangladesh to India during this period indcluding about one million Bihari Muslims stranded in Pakistan. That the number of Muslim migrants is fat higher is corroborated by the fact that in all districts of West Bengal the decadal increase of Muslims is far higher than Hindus during 1981-91 and is more than doubld in Cooch Behar, Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling, Midnapore, Bankura and 24 Parganas. Mr. T. V. Rajeshwar estimates the number at 15 million of which about seven million reside in West Bengal, five in Assam, two in Bihar and one in other parts of the country.


After the conquest of Bengal, the Muslims turned their attention to Assam. But the brave ahom rulers defeated the invaders in several battles, and except for areas like Goalpara no other part of Assam could be permanently occupied by the Muslims until the British took over in 1826. They started tea plantations in a big way for which they imported ‘coolies’ from other parts of India, who howeverr merged with the local population in due course. In 1853, Assam was made a part of Bengal Presidency. Since the province proved too unwieldy to rule, Assam was again detached and made as separate unit in 1874 with the Bengali districts of Sylhet and Cachar attached to it. Neither the Bengalis nor Assamese were happy with this arrangement. But the district which wreaked havoc on Assam was Mymensingh, which is now a part of Bangladesh.

If we look at the census figures of 1871, the Assam of that time consisting of districts of Darrang, Kamrup, Lakhimpur, Nowgong and Sibsagar had barely 6% Mislims. After attaching the districts of Cachar, Sylhet and Goalpara, the situation changed as follows

Table C-N1 - Muslim Population of Assam Districts in 1874

District Population Muslims % Muslims
Darrang 235,300 13,859 5.9
Kamrup 561,681 45,823 8.2
Lakhimpur 121,267 3,826 3.1
Nowgong 256,390 10,066 3.9
Sibsagar 296,589 12,619 4.3
Goalpara 444,761 89,916 20.1
Total 1,915,988 176,109 9.2

Cachar 205,027 74,361 36.3
Sylhet 1,719,539 854,131 49.7
Total 3,840,554 1,104,601 28.8

Now the Bengali Muslim factor began to operate viciously. It was dormant until the partition of Bengal by Curzon in 1905 when the province of Eastern Bengal and Assam was formed. Fifteen districts of Bengal mostly constituting today’s Bangladesh were tagged on to Assam which now lost its identity. What the Moguls and other Muslim emperors could not achieve became now possible and the penetration of Islam began in a big way. The assault was basically led bythe adjoing Mymensingh district. Even in 1901 this district was heavily populated (618 persons per sq. mile) of which Muslims formed 71.4 percent. The ‘Mymensinghia’ was typically a hard working farmer, violent in nature and hence tended towards crime and lawlessenss. They turned out to be an unmitigated curse for Assam. Although the partition was annulled in 1912, this trend continues without any break even to this day.
When we refer to the census data, we find that the 1901 census indicated very little immigration apart from the immigration of tea garden labourers. The 1911 census showed a significant change and the Muslim population increased by 24.83% with most of the increase being confined to Goalpara. During the next decade the Mymensinghias pushed forward to Kamrup and Nowgong and the increase was now 37.61% for the 1921-31 decade. Districtwise data is available from 1931 indicates the continuation of the influx on a large scale. M. Kar in his book, ‘Muslims in Assam’ says that “the total number of Muslims in the Brahmaputra valley in 1941 was 16.96,978 against the total Hindu population of 32,22,377

The trauma of partition resulted in Hindus from Bangladesh to come to India in large numbers. Hence the percentage of Muslims in Assam came down slightly in 1951 although they also used the opportunity to cross the porous borders. This is indicated by an increase of 56.5% over their 1931 population.

This large exodus of Bangladeshi Muslims has resulted in a far higher growth of Assam’s population both total and Muslim, as compared to India’s in the pre-Independence period as seen in the Table below :

Table C-N2 - Decadal Increase of Assam’s Population

Year Population (Thousand) % Decadal Increase
State Muslim State Muslim India
1901 3,290 495
1911 3,849 624 17.0 26.2 5.7
1921 4,637 869 20.5 39.3 0.3
1931 5,560 1,267 19.9 45.7 11.1
1941 6,695 1,683 20.4 32.9 14.2
1951 8.029 1,982 19.9 17.8 13.4
1901-51 144.0 33.04 51.6
The disturbed conditions in Bangladesh prompted Hindus to immigrate to India in the 1951-61 decade. This is reflected in the increase of 35.0% in total population (as compared to 21.5% for the country) and 33.5% of that of HINDUS. Surprisingly the Muslim population grew faster by 38.4% in this period reflecting the exodus of Muslims from Bangladesh. The corresponding figures for the turbulent 1961-71 decade are 35.0% total, 36.1% HINDUS and 31.0% Muslim.

The General Report on Assam of the 1961 Census of India sums up the change in the major districts of Assam during 1901 and 1961 as shown in Table C-N3.

It will be seen that the Muslim migration continued unabated even after partition and is partially masked by the simultaneous migration of Hindus from Bangladesh. In 1981 the census was to taken due to disturbed conditions in the state. Mr. Rai has termed the 1991 census as a fraud in view of the fact that the increase in the population of Assam between 1971 and 1991 is much lower than the other North Eastern states (so called seven sister) The noted demographer Mr. Ashish Bose also comments, “The earlier projection (as of 1989) put the figure as 24.8 million. the actual census count in 1991 revealed a figure of 22.3 million. Compared to the 1981 projected figure of 19.9 million for Assam, the rate of growth of Assam’s population would have been only 12.1 percent. This would have implied a high degree of under-enumeration which would not be surprising in view of the disturbed conditions there even in 1991. The Census Commission, however, chose to rewrite demographic history by adjusting the 1981 population of Assam by interpolating the population of Assam in 1981 by taking the figures for 1971, 1991. ... We believe that the projected population of Assam for 1991 was a more realistic figure than the actual count. It is also not necessary to adjust the 1981 figure of Assam.”

Table C-N3 - Percent Muslims in Assam District
1961 1951 1941 1931 1921 1911 1901
Assam 23.39 22.60 22.92 20.75 17.07 14.63 13.57
Goalpara 43.32 42.94 46.23 43.89 41.48 35.19 27.76
Kamrup 29.36 29.29 29.07 24.61 14.61 9.66 9.10
Darrang 19.35 17.03 16.29 11.46 7.61 5.39 5.16
Lakhimpur 5.64 4.66 4.76 3.44 2.56 2.86 3.22
Nowgong 41.24 40.54 38.53 31.60 17.73 5.20 4.83
Sibsagar 5.83 5.82 4.98 4.71 4.25 4.30 4.16
Cachar 39.14 38.49 42.18 40.06 37.61 37.60 38,06
Note : Assam here includes Mizoram and Meghalaya


In Bihar the two main areas subject to heavy Muslim immigration from Bangladesh are the old Purnea district and of late the Santhal Parganga. Purnea was earlier a part of Bengal Presidency, and hence Bangladeshi Muslims known as Bhatia Muslims (similar or Mymensinghias in behaviour) could easily settle down there as they did in Assam. Even in 1901 they constituted 41% of the population. Even after 1947, the migration has continued unabated as will be seen from the census figures. Literacy is quite low and was approximately around 20% as per the 1991 census.

The Santhal Pargana district which has now been split in Sahibgunj, Dumka, Godda and Deogarh districts has of late shown significant increase in Muslim population which has increased from 13.8% in 1961 to 18.3% in 1991. It appears that the migrants to West Bengal are spilling into these adjacent Bihar areas. This has to be confirmed by a proper study.

The Census Department has done a study on the movement of migrants from Bangladesh during 1951-61 in their Paper No 1 of 1963. They have studied the population growth in Bangladesh by considering their census statistics for 1951 and 1961 and find that large fluctuations in percentage changes as well as sex ratio during 1951-61 suggest considerable out-migration of Hind and Muslim population from Bangladesh. They have assumed a decadal growth of 30% for Mulsims and 25% for Hindus and computed the increase and then compared it with the actual increase. After doing this exercise for each district and division of Bangladesh, they have estimated that the out-migration of Muslims has been 1.004 million and that of Hindus 2.170 million. This figure has then been compared with the districtwise population changes in the states of Bihar (Purnea District), West Bengal, Assam and Tripura for this period based on estimated net increase of 27.5% for Muslims and 25% for Hindus. Their results are summarised below.

Table C-N4 - Estimated Immigration in 1951-61 Decade

State Excess Hindus Excess Muslims
Assam 0.527 0.221
West Bengal 1.584 0.459
Tripura 0.267 0.055
Bihar Nil 0.298
Total 2.378 1.033

It will be seen that there is a very close correspondence between the out-migration from Bangladesh and in-migration into India. We wonder why this exercise has not been repeated in subsequent censuses and strongly urge the Census Department and other Demographic Institutes that it is done forthwith for all censuses subsequent to 1961 census.

The growth of Muslim population for the state as a whole was considerably lower than the all India Muslim growth during 1901-41 although it was higher than the Hindu growth in Bihar. The change is also not spectacular in any district although the decrease in Purnea district in this period is difficult to explain. Here there could have been a migration to Assam. An idea of the growth of population among the Muslims in absolute numbers in Bihar can be had from the Table below :

Table C-N5 -Increase of Muslim Population in Bihar

Census No. of % +/- Percent Decadal
Year Muslims Muslims Variation Variation
Muslim General
1901 3,421,908 12.05
1911 3,550,879 12.03 +128,971 +3.77 +3.67
1921 3,574,099 12.25 +23,220 +0.65 -0.66
1931 4,142,743 12.72 +568,644 +15.91 +11.45
1941 4,719,200 12.91 +576,457 +13.91 + 12.20
1951 4,373,360 11.58 -345,840 -7.33 +10.27
1961 5,785,631 12.45 +1,412,271 +32.29 + 19.77
1971 7,594,000 13.48 +1,808,000 +31.25 +21.30
1981 9.875,000 14.12 +2,281,000 +30.04 +24.07
1991 12,788,00 14.81 2,913,000 +29.50 +23.54

We see that except in the 1941-51 decade, when there was a small exodus of Muslim population to Pakistan, the Muslims have shown a consistently higher growth rate than rest of the population. This decline was more than made up by 1961 due to reverse migration as indicated elsewhere. The increase has been particularly large in the 1971 districts of Saharsa, Purnea and Santhal Parganas, where the Census of India, General Report on Bihar estimates an increase of 468,000 excess population of Muslims during 1951-61 based on the standard growth of 27.5%.

Other States

Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana

We consider these states together since the high Muslim growth areas of Delhi and Haryana are contiguous with North Western areas of Uttar Pradesh. In Uttar Pradesh there has been an appreciable increase in certain regions as seen below.
India UP North West North East Rest of UP
% Muslims
1951 10.43 14.28 24.24 17.28 10.30
1961 10.69 14.63 24.77 18.46 10.45
1971 11.21 15.48 25.64 20.70 10.98
1981 11.76 15.93 26.40 21.63 11.19
1991 12.59 17.33 29.00 23.22 12.05
% Decadal Increase
1951-61 0.26 0.35 0.53 1.18 0.15
1961-71 0.52 0.85 0.87 2.24 0.53
1971-81 0.55 0.45 0.76 0.93 0.21
1981-91 0.83 1.40 2.60 1.59 0.86
Note : North-West and North-East UP have been defined Table 6.10
1. It will readily be seen that the growth of Muslim population in UP is much higher than the All India growth (except 1971-81 decade) although UP is not a border state
2. Within UP, North West and North East regions have grown much faster. The rest of the state has a growth similar or lower than the All India growth
3. In 1951-61 decade, growth in the state is only slightly higher than the Indian growth. But the North West and particularly North East has grown quite rapidly
4. The 1961-71 decade shows accelerated growth in the state. The North East has again grown quite rapidly.
5. In the 1971-81 decade, the state and all India growth are similar. But yet these two regions have grown far above the state average (refer discussions in Chapter 5).
6. The 1981-91 decade is high for all regions. The growth in North West is now explosive and closer to the growth in North Kerala. Even the ‘Rest’ category of the state has grown appreciably, its decadal growth being similar to the 1951-81 period put together. Table C-T4 and Map 6.1 indicate the districts in which this growth has taken place.
If we look at the map we find that these two regions along with the districts in Bihar enclose Nepal. There are reports that all along this border Muslim dominated regions have been recently formed in Nepal also. No wonder that terrorist organisations like ISI can easily operate and infiltrate in the country from here.
The North Western region is also contiguous with similar regions in Haryana and also Delhi and is close to the North Eastern region of Rajasthan. In fact we see an almost contiguous belt of high Muslim growth region from Pakistan to Bangladesh and beyond. It is for the experts to determine the reasons and significance of such selective growth. This becomes important since in districts like Agra, Sitapur, Lucknow, Fatehpur, Unnao, Sultanpur, Deoria (9.25% growth between 1961-81) and Ghazipur, the growth has been negative in the 1981-91 decade. Many of these districts are in Central and Estern UP. In this movement only due to job opportunities?
In the following districts of Uttar Pradesh not covered by the above regions and included in the ‘Rest’ category in Table C-4, the Muslim growth in the 1981-91 decade has been significantly high :
Mathura (1.73%), Kheri (1.58%), Hardoi (1.75%), Farukkabad (1.53%), Pratapgarh (2.31%), Varanasi (2.40%), Nainital (2.32%), Aligarh (1.46%) and Jaunpur (1.40%. These areas have been marked on the map and it will be seen that many of them are close to the high growth regions and will eventually make both of them contiguous. Dehradun has only a slightly lower growth at 1.30%.

Delhi presents an interesting case. Before Independence Muslims constituted about 30% of the population. In 1951 it had come down to 5.73% and was steadly until 1961. Afterwards it has increased by 3.62% between 1961 and 1991, the growth being as high as 1.70% in the 1981-91 decade. Being a metropolitan area and the national capital, the population in general of Delhi has grown very rapidly. But the Muslims gave grown much faster than the HINDUS in this period. It is generally conceded that Bangladeshi Muslim immigrants have settled down in Delhi in a big way.
Indian Punjab have over 30% Muslims in the pre-Independence period. They migrated to Pakistan during partition except from the district to Gurgaon which had16.91% Muslims in 1951. This district is contiguous with Delhi and now a part of Haryana. Faridabad district was carved out of it in the 1971-81 decade. Along with Delhi its Muslim population has also grown by 3.83% from 1951 to 1991. In the present district of Gurgaon it is 34.41% in 1991, with its rural areas being as hiigh as 42%.


It will be seen that the Muslim growth in general in Rajasthan is lower than that of India. But the North East and Kota region has growh faster (Table C-T4). The rest of the state has grown at a very much lower rate.

Although we do not have full statistics for 1951, the following observation in the Census of india 1961 Report on Rajasthan gives a clue to the immigration of Pakistani Muslims into the border districts. The Report says, ‘in the population of the Muslims the highest increase (71.83%) was found in Ganganagar district. The increase was high in tehsils bordering Pakistan viz. Ganganagar (117.01%), Karanpur and Padampur (94.93%) and Raisinghnagar and Anupgrah (256.34%). Tehsils Hanumangarh and Suratgarh and Nohar and Bhadra also show increases to the tune of 51.10 and 54.18 percent respectively. In the border district of Bikaner, Muslims have increased by 26.05% while in Jaisalmer district they increased by 67.00%. In Barmer, which is also a border district the decadal increase has been to the order of 68.42%. It may be noted that while in its Barmer, Sheo and Chotan tehsils, which have common border with Pakistan, the rate of Increase of Muslim population was as much as 75.39%. In the tehsils Pachpadra and Siwana, which are not on the border the growth rate was mereky 15.47%.

We find that during the decade of 1981-91 apart from the North Eastern districts of Rajasthan mentioned in Table 5.10, the districts of Jaisalmer and Bharatpur recorded and increase of Muslim population of 0.93 and o.89% respectively. Tonk also grew by 0.75% justr equalling overall Rajasthan growth. The increase in jaisalmer is alarming since it is a border district and diffucult to police as it is mostly a thinly populated desert.

Gujerat, Maharashtra and Andhra

After considering the northern states, we shall now come to the peninsular India, We shall consider the above states together since they largely constitute the northern and central Deccan plateau and the high growrh Muslim areas in them are fairly contiguous. The only exception is the border district of Kutch in Gujerat where the Muslim population has grown by 0.86% in the 1981-91 decade. When viewed along with the increase in the border district ofJaisalmer in Rajasthan, the sinister designs of Pakistan are clear. Unless we are vigilant the western borders of the country will aso be subject to large scale infiltration like the eastern borders at present.

When we look at the map, we see that there is a non-contiguous belt extending from Bombay to Hyderabad. The growth in these regions is perhaps not as alarming as in the northern or southern regions but still it is large, particularly when compared with adjacent states of Madhya Pradesh and Orissa. It starts from the western coast (Mumbai/Thane), then covern Nashik, some districts of Marathwada and Vidarbha in central Maharashtra and then extends to north western Andhra Pradesh’s district of Nizamabad. The 1971 district of Hyderabad now comprising of Hyderabad and Ranga Reddy districts has grown by 1.22% during 1981-91 decade, the growths being 3.45% and o.45% respectively. The northern Adilabad district has also grown by 0.71% during 1981-91. The two metropolitan cities of Mumbai and Hyderabad are included in this area. The relative growth of Muslims in the remaining areas of the states of Maharashtra and Andhra is quite low between 1961 and 1991 and practically nil in 1981-91 decade.

Goa, Karnataka And Kerala

Goa is a small state between Maharashtra and and Karnataka on the Western coast. The Muslim population is also rather small although it is grwoing rapidly. What is important, howerver, is that the high growth coastal region starts from Goa as seen in the map and may spread northwards to Maharashtra in future since the population in the old Ratnagiri district in Maharashtra is already rather high (7.26% in 1991).
Adjoining Goa in the south are the coastal districts of Uttar and Dakshin Kannada of Karnataka, where the growth of the Muslim population since 1961 has been quite high only to be overtaken by the still higher growth of the adjoining northern coastal Kerala districts. These two districts together have shown am amazing growth of 4.51% during 1961 to 1991 and 1.53% during the 1981-91 decade only to be eclipsed by their southern Kerala neighbors. Whether it is entirely due to high fertility or migration has to be looked into. The adjacent districts of Shimoga, Chitradurga and Kodagu (Coorg) have aslo shown high growth rates in the same period. The contiguous district of Dharwad has shown a rather high growth rate of 1.12% during 1981-91. The other major region is the Bangalore urban districts. Coming to the state as whole, there was a slight reduction in Muslim percentage during the 1951-61 decade. The growth has been slightly lower than the national growth subsequently.

We have already discussed the position of Kerala in detail in Chapter 6. It will be seen that there are two phases in the growth of Muslim and Christian communities. Ther latter has grown in the pre-Independence period, mainly in the southern Travancore and Cochin states due to intensive missionary activities. It is obvious that the state rulers did not pay sufficient attention to the demographic changes in their state. The relative growth of the Muslims, mainly concentrated in the Malabar district of British India, was negligible in this period and until the 1961 census.

In Kerala itself, the Muslim growth is quite high in the northern districts of Kozhikode (Wayanaad) and Malappuram. The neighboring districts of Kannur (Kasargod) and Palakkad in Kerala and Dakshin Kannada in Karnataka have also shown a growth of 2.50%, 2.24% and 1.64% respetively in the 1981-91 decade showing that this area is gradually expanding. In fact the state growth is the highest in the whole country as seen in Table 5.11. If we include the numerous Muslim NRI, mostlu in the Gulf, the growth will still be higher. Table C-T4 shows that even their growth in the rest of the state, unlike most other states, is higher than the all India growth.
The obligatory religious duties are five in number, (1) reciting Kalima, or confession of faith, (2) reciting Namaz or daily prayers, (3) observing Roza or fast, (4) Zakat, or ‘poor dues’ i.e. giving of alms and (5) Hajj or pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a lifetime. There are also a few more ‘obligatory’ duties like supporting one’s relatives.

It may be noted that Namaz is recited five times in a day as follows

Fajr, at dawn before sunrise
Zuhur, soon after midday
Asr, in mid-afternoon
Maghrib, soon after sunset
Isha, after night fall
The weekly prayer on Friday takes the place of midday prayer and is preceded by Khutba or address delivered by the Imam.
Roza or fasting is particularly observed during the month of Ramadan or Ramazan. Fasting is characterized by total abstinence from food and drink, as also from perfumes, tobacco, and conjugal relations between manand wife from sunrise to sunset. Food is to be consumed only at night.
It is the dutly of every adult Muslim to give Zakat on his property provided he has sufficient for his own subsistence. The rules are quite complicated but generally amount to 10% on crops and other income and about 1-2% on animals and jewelry. The collected amount is used for the benefit of the poor and for travelers and other purposes as stated in the Koran.


The important Muslim festivals are:

1. Baqr-Id is observed on the tenth day of the Muslim month of Dhul Hijja fo commemorate the sacrifice of Abraham’s son Ishmael. After a mass worship they return home and sacrifice an animal. This is followed by feast and merriment and the wearing of new clothes.
2. Idu’-Fitr is the festival of the breaking of the fast after Ramadan
3. Bara Wafat or Meelad Nabi is the birthday of the Prophet
4. Shab-I-Barat is observed on the fourteenth night of the month of Shaban amidst fireworks and merriment when Allah records the deeds to be performed by individuals in the ensuing year in his record.
5. Muharram is observed by Shias as a period of mourning during the first month of the Muslim year in commemoration of the martyrdom of Ali and his two sons, Hassan and Hussain. Yhe eleventh day of this month of Ashura is observed by Sunnis as well in the belief that on this day God created Adam and Eve, heaven and hell etc.
In spite of a very rigid structure Islam still has a number of sects which are dealt with in some detail in Chapter 4 .

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