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The Hindu Editorial

14-October-2023

1. India must pressure Israel to act responsibly in the face of terror.

Topic: GS2 – International relations

Context:

  • After the massacre of Israeli citizens by Hamas fighters, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed India’s solidarity with Israel.

What does the article say about ongoing Israel – Palestine conflict:

  • India, despite the differences in the scale of conflicts and histories, empathized with Israel due to its own experiences with terror attacks.
  • Concerns about the safety of Indian citizens in Israel, including students and workers, led to the Ministry of External Affairs chartering flights to bring them home.
  • India maintained a nuanced position by condemning Hamas attacks but reminding Israel of the “universal obligation to observe international humanitarian law” and its “global responsibility to fight the menace of terrorism.”
  • India has balanced its diplomatic ties with Israel, established in 1992, and its support for the Palestinian cause.
  • The relationship with Israel has grown stronger over the years, involving bilateral relations, trade, technological assistance, military procurement, and counter-terrorism cooperation.
  • India has maintained its stance on the Israel-Palestine issue, condemning terrorism but not condoning indiscriminate reprisal bombings.
  • India voted against declaring all of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital in 2017 and continues to hold consistent positions.
  • While acknowledging the wrongfulness of Hamas attacks, India recognizes that a responsible state cannot behave like an insurgent group.
  • Israel’s demand for the evacuation of over a million Gaza residents makes India’s policy balancing even more challenging.

2. The Muslim MP is a disappearing entity

Topic: GS2 – Indian polity.

Context:

  • Muslim representation in the Indian Parliament has been historically low, with numbers significantly below the community’s share in the general population.
  • According to the 2011 Census, the Muslim population in India is slightly over 14%, yet their representation in Parliament has been much lower.

Reasons for lower representation from minority communities to Parliament:

  • Electoral System: Electoral boundaries and reservation of seats may limit opportunities for minority candidates.
  • Lack of Political Will: Major political parties may not prioritize or promote minority candidates in their ticket distribution.
  • Demographic Disparities: Disproportionate population numbers compared to parliamentary seats can limit representation.
  • Divided Votes: Fragmentation of minority votes among different parties can weaken their political influence.
  • Underlying Prejudice: Prejudice or discrimination may discourage minority individuals from entering politics or seeking parliamentary positions.
  • Regional Variations: Minority representation can vary significantly across different states and regions in India.
  • Limited Access to Resources: Some minority candidates may face financial or resource-related challenges in running election campaigns.
  • Socioeconomic Factors: Socioeconomic disparities can affect the ability of minority candidates to engage in politics.
  • Lack of Awareness and Education: Limited political awareness and education can hinder political participation from minority communities.

Way forward:

  • Electoral Reforms: Advocate for electoral reforms that promote fair representation and remove barriers to minority participation.
  • Political Empowerment: Encourage and support minority communities to actively engage in politics and leadership roles.
  • Inclusive Policies: Political parties should adopt inclusive policies that promote diversity in their candidate selection.
  • Voter Education: Promote voter education and awareness to help minority communities make informed choices in elections.
  • Grassroots Initiatives: Encourage grassroots movements and initiatives that empower minority individuals to enter politics.
  • Economic Support: Provide financial and resource support to minority candidates to help level the playing field.
  • Community Engagement: Strengthen community engagement and collaboration to foster political participation and representation.
  • Outreach Programs: Develop outreach programs to educate and mobilize minority voters and potential candidates.
  • Mentorship and Training: Establish mentorship and training programs to prepare minority individuals for political leadership.

Question: Discuss the factors contributing to the lower representation of minority communities in the Indian Parliament and propose strategies to enhance their political participation and representation in a diverse democracy.

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