Pasmanda Community


    In the recently concluded BJP national executive conclave in Hyderabad, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a special mention for the Pasmanda community and their social upliftment.

    Who are the Pasmanda Muslims?

    • Description- 
      • A Persian word, ‘Pasmanda’, means the ‘ones left behind’, and is used to describe depressed classes among the Muslims, while underlining their deliberate or conscious exclusion. 
      • The term ‘Pasmanda Muslims’ was first used in 1998 by Ali Anwar Ansari when he founded the Pasmanda Muslim Mahaz.
    • Umbrella Identity
      • Pasmanda has become an umbrella identity used by backward, Dalit, and tribal Muslims to push back against caste-based discrimination against them within the community.

    What is the demographic distribution of Pasmanda Muslims?

    • Absence of a caste census 
      • In the absence of a caste census, a clear estimate of the present-day numbers and demographic distribution of Pasmanda Muslims is not available. 
    • According to Pasmanda activists 
      • Pasmandas say that they make up 80-85% of the total Muslim population in India. 
      • This broadly tallies with the 1871 census that said only 19% of Muslims in India were upper caste, while 81% were made up of the lower castes.

    What do Pasmanda Muslims want?

    • Pasmanda Muslims say that despite their overwhelming numerical strength within the community, they are under-represented in :
      • jobs, 
      • legislatures and government-run minority institutions, as well as 
      • Community-run Muslim organisations.
    • The major Pasmanda demands include :
      • conducting a caste census, 
      • restructuring of the existing reservation categories, and 
      • state support for artisans, craftspersons, and agricultural labourers, who are among the most impoverished groups in the community.
    • In a resolution passed by several Pasmanda outfits in the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, it was demanded that Dalit Muslims be included in the SC list and the OBC quota be redesigned to create an Extremely Backward Castes (EBCs) category at the Centre and the state level to include the most backward Muslims along with Hindu EBCs.