The Missing Muslim Army Officers

The representation of Muslims in the army officer corps, at around 2%, is abysmal in contrast to their percentage in the population of India. Diversity is also compromised in the army, with over half of army officers hailing from a handful of north Indian states. This deficit of diversity along social and geographical lines has negative implications for the army’s apolitical and secular credentials.

The second highest grosser of 2017, the blockbuster Tiger Zinda Hai, has an actor playing a Muslim army officer working in the Research and Analysis wing(R&AW). He is selected by the team leader played by Salman Khan, for his expertise in sniping. In one of the scenes, another teammate questions the Muslim army officer’s patriotism, who is shown fishing out an Indian flag from his rucksack to prove his nationalist credentials. Presumably, the Muslim director of the film wanted to show that Muslims can be patriots too. The moot question is: Why the doubt?

The Muslim army officer is an endangered species. Official figures are unavailable as to the number of Muslims in officer ranks in the army. Innovative ways, therefore, are to be found to get an approximation. One such attempt has been made by going through the Indian Military Academy’s (IMA) biannual commemorative volumes for each passing out course (Ahmed 2012). The number of Muslims could be tallied from the name and one-line description of each Gentleman Cadet (GC) of the passing out course beneath the squadron-wise course photos. 

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Updated On : 29th Jan, 2018

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