Indian Muslims enjoy freedoms that are unthinkable: Shah Faesal

Story by  Aasha Khosa | Posted by  Aasha Khosa • 5 Months ago
Shah faesal, Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Culture (Image Courtesy: Twitter page of Shah Faesal)
Shah faesal, Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Culture (Image Courtesy: Twitter page of Shah Faesal)


New Delhi

“It's possible only in India that a Muslim youngster from Kashmir can go on to top the Indian Civil Service exam, rise to top echelons of the government, then fall apart with the government and still be rescued and taken back by the same government,” said Shah Faesal, bureaucrat from Kashmir who is posted as Deputy secretary in the Union Ministry of Culture in New Delhi.

In a series of posts on Twitter that he wrote two months ago, Faesal, the first Kashmiri topper of the Indian Civil Services examination in 2010, cited his story to tell how Muslims are treated in India. He didnt name any persons, yet his outburst seems to be in response to some Muslim leaders' oft-repeated refrain that “India is unsafe for Muslims.”

Though made earlier, his remarks could also be seen in the context of  the Bihar Minister Abdul Bari Siddiqui's comments that he asked his children to live abroad after completing their studies there because "India was not safe for Muslims" and also advising the same to others.'

He wrote on Twitter:

“in any other so called Islamic country. My own life-story is about a journey, shoulder to shoulder, with each fellow citizen of this nation of 1.3 Billion people, where I have felt owned, respected, encouraged and at times pampered at every step of the way. That's India.

In an apparent reference to Pakistan where non-Muslims are barred from many top posts in the government Faesal wrote:

“might be a surprise for our neighbours where the Constitution bars non-Muslims from top posts in the Government, but Indian democracy has never discriminated ethnic and religious minorities from the rest. As equal citizens, Indian Muslims enjoy freedoms that are unthinkable"

Citing examples from history of civil servants and leaders who belonged to Muslim community and rose to the top, Faesal wrote:

“From Maulana Azad to Dr. Manmohan Singh and Dr. Zakir Hussain to HE President Droupadi Murmu, India has always been THE land of equal opportunity and the road to the top is open to all. Won't be wrong if I say I have been to the mountain top and seen it for myself.

 The Kashmir-born Faesal resigned from service in August 2019 after J&K’s special status was withdrawn and dabbled into politics for some time. However, in August 2021, he withdrew his resignation - which had not been accepted – and rejoined the government.

Technically correct but this move was unprecedented and Faesal seems to acknowledge it in the series of posts.