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Published in the 1-15 Nov 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition


Muslim girls - ahead or behind?

By Nusrat & Ahmad Rashid Shervani

Please see the results of Muslim girls and Non-Muslim girls in the High School / Matriculation / Class X Board Examination of 2004 in the Table. The girls appeared for the examination from 43 institutions of Central & Eastern Uttar Pradesh, all except one of which (St Thomas Inter College of Shahganj in district Jaunpur) are established and managed by Muslims. From all 43 institutions, 3412 Muslim girls appeared, 2896 or 85% passed and 577 or 17% attained first-division. Are these results good ? Bad ? Indifferent ? You would not know what to say unless we told you that from 34 of these institutions 1021 Non-Muslim girls also appeared for the same examination and 903 or 88% passed and 300 or 29% attained first-divisions. Now you will easily say that Muslim girls are behind their Non-Muslim class-mates in pass percent, 88% Non-Muslims and 85% Muslims passed. This difference may seem trivial. However, in proportion of first-divisions, Muslim girls with less than 17% first-divisions are far, far behind Non-Muslim girls with more than 29% first-divisions.

Why do Muslim girls lag behind others in their own institutions ? Some Syedna ghamkhwaar-e-millat will at once cry out : "See, didn't I tell you Muslims are even more backward than the backwards and so Muslims must be granted super-backward status ? They must be given reservations in admissions…" And many a "secular" head will nod in assent. Will we disagree? How can we commit that gunaah-e-kabeera? Tauba istighfar. 

However, we would only examine the facts a little more. Please see the upper portion of the Table. From the first 26 institutions, each with more than 10% first-divisions, the combined result of Muslim girls is 1189 / 1234 or 96% pass with 467 or 38% first-divisions while the combined result of Non-Muslim girls is 800 / 848 or 94% pass with 295 or 35% first-divisions. So, "super-backward" Muslim girls have done slightly better than Non-Muslim girls. This is not all. Please also see the lower portion of the Table. From 17 institutions with less than 10% first-divisions, 1707 / 2176 or 78% Muslim girls passed and 110 or 5% got first-divisions while from the same institutions, 103 / 173 or barely 60% Non-Muslim girls passed and 5 or hardly 3% got first-divisions. Muslim girls did slightly better in 26 institutions and Non-Muslim girls have done markedly worse in the worse 17 institutions.

But this is funny. Muslim girls are ahead in the better 26 and are also ahead in the worse 17 but they are behind in all 43, taken together. Not only funny, it seemed fishy. We also said : "There must be a mistake !" We checked and re-checked the totals and percentages. The figures are before you. We have only tabulated these, above 10% FD in 26 better and below 10% FD in 17 worse. You can see for yourself that, separately, Muslim girls have done better in both categories but jointly they have done worse ! So, Muslims are NOT behind anywhere, yet they are behind everywhere. Magic of Arithmetic!

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