BBC Tamil series explores Tamil Nadu’s Muslim minority

The series is an attempt at investigating how Muslims have fared in Tamil Nadu, in socio-economic spheres.Thirumalai Manivannan, BBC Tamil Editor
Date: 01.08.2012     Last updated: 18.03.2014 at 18.06
Category: World Service
Life of the Muslim minority of the Southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu is in the focus of the new BBC Tamil nine-part weekly series launching on Sunday 5 August on radio and online, via

Muslims account for nearly 6% of the total population of about 62 million (2001 census). Muslim leaders from Tamil Nadu say the community fares better than their counterparts in the rest of India in education and employment. But they believe Tamil Nadu Muslims still lag behind the majority community in these areas. There are also fears among the community of social discrimination in matters such as housing.

Setting the series’ context, BBC Tamil Editor, Thirumalai Manivannan, says: “The series is an attempt at investigating how Muslims have fared in Tamil Nadu, in socio-economic spheres, in the context of the nationwide debate following the Indian government study - the Sachar Committee Report - on the Muslims in India. It also looks at how the community, which has been relatively free from radical religious influences, has responded to the changing political situation in the wake of the Babri Masjid demolition and the September 11th attacks.”

Manivannan says the series also explores whether the particular social context of Tamil Nadu, with its social reform political history, has also contributed to the comparatively better Hindu-Muslim relations in the state.

Produced and presented by BBC Tamil correspondent, T.N. Gopalan, the series is an attempt to understand the complex dynamics of the factors that are at play in shaping up the Tamil Nadu Muslim society and politics.

To explore these factors, T.N. Gopalan has travelled the length and breadth of Tamil Nadu: “While almost everyone I spoke to readily acknowledge that they live very amicably with the majority Hindus, they also complain that they are being treated as second-class citizens by the official machinery at all levels.”

T.N. Gopalan says that there is also a dichotomy in the way the community is dealing with the challenges of the modern times: “For example, while there is a growth in secular education, a section of the community also seems reluctant to encourage women’s education beyond a point.”

The weekly series will be aired as part of the BBC Tamil radio programming from Sunday 5 August 2012. Along with the programme’s audio and text, the website will also feature picture galleries depicting the lives of the Muslims of Tamil Nadu.

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