From the country’s first election in 1951-’52, the representation of India’s Muslims in the Lok Sabha has always been below their share in the population in the Lok Sabha. However, it has plummeted to a new low this election season.

The Bharatiya Janata Party put up only one Muslim candidate in the entire country, even though the community forms 14.2% of India’s population. Even non-BJP parties have nominated Muslims in historically low numbers.

However, during the election campaign, Muslims were mentioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP leaders only to evoke fear and to make the community a target for hate mongering.

What does this erasure of Muslims from political representation mean for India and what the consequences of historically low Muslim representation in the Lok Sabha?

Writer and peace worker Harsh Mander puts these questions to Zoya Hasan, Professor Emerita of Jawaharlal Nehru University, Yamini Aiyer, formerly President of the Centre for Policy Research, and Mujibur Rehman, Professor in Jamia Millia Islamia University.


This is part of a discussion series initiated by Karwan e Mohabbat on the state of the Indian republic. The series is called Yeh Daag Daag Ujala, in tribute to the iconic poem by Faiz Ahmed Faiz.