Every society has some form of social stratification. In India this was originally done on the basis of one's knowledge, skills and merit, called 'Varna' Over the centuries it kept on degrading until it came to be based on birth rather than merit.
Thus powerful non meritorious groups cornered most of the rights and wealth and oppressed the weaker.
This lead to the easy conquest of India by foreign invaders initially Muslim and later European. The promise of Islam to the downtrodden was, that they would be released from their social bondage and be equal amongst all others. This hope was dashed for the people who converted from Hinduism to Islam still remain unfulfilled, and in fact have gotten worse.
Little known to most people is that Muslims of the Indian sub continent are still subject to exploitation, not by others, but by their fellow Muslims.
Since there is no acknowledgement of the caste system and distinct and fairly rigid social stratification in Muslim society, no solutions have been sought.
As a result Hindu Dalits receive greater opportunities for education and economic progress than the Muslim Dalits, who are held back by their faith and their society whose places little or no emphasis of education of Muslims.
While rest of India has progressed, it is indeed a sad state of affairs for the Muslim population who continue to be oppressed and discriminated by their fellow Muslims.
When things are unsatisfactory or bad, people usually can analyse their situation in two ways.
1. Why have we fallen behind, and do we need to do to catch up and overtake others?
Those who take this approach, assume responsibility and make progress. Unfortunately they represent are a very small minority.
2. The second and dangerous is to ask, 'Who did this to us?'
Muslim clerics and the political leadership of the Muslims have convinced the vast majority of Muslims that they must seek revenge against one and all who are not Muslim for their own plight. So America and Europe, communists or Hindus and Buddhists are at blame.
Blaming others helps to stir up passions and demands for revenge and provides a convenient escape route to leaders of the Muslim community who have failed and continue to fail our Muslim brothers and sisters.
If the vast majority of Muslims are angry and frustrated they are probably justified. This anger is manifesting itself in many negative ways which rather than benefitting, is further harming the Muslims themselves.
Below is given the Caste System and its historical development along with relevant links for the interested reader.
Majority of the Muslims in the Indian sub-continent are treated with total disdain and disrespected not only by Arab Muslims but also by high caste Indian Muslims.
Though this goes against the teachings of Islam, in reality, almost all Indian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani people who got converted to Islam are considered lowly.
The High Castes of Muslims in India are called 'Ashraf' (noble)
All the descendants of Muslim invaders are Ashraf
In terms of hierarchy they are as follows.
1. Syed (Those who trace their direct ancestry to the Prophet Muhammad)
2. Shaikh (Those who are of direct Arab ancestry)
3. Mughal (Those who trace their direct ancestry to Mongols, Turks, Uzbeki etc.)
4. Pashtun (Those who trace their direct ancestry to Iran and Afghanistan)
Then there are the high caste converts like Muslim Rajputs
Amongst Muslims, virtually all economic, social, cultural and political power is in the hands of the Ashraf who are a small minority amongst Muslims (approximately 15%)
Indians who got converted to Islam, and their descendants are considered lowly, by the Ashraf and called 'Ajlaf '(low born), they are bracketed as the lower castes of Muslims in India
Discriminated and untouchable groups of Islam in the Indian subcontinent and include the following;
Julaha (weaver), Ansari, Kunjra, Dhobi, Halalkhor Qasai (butcher), Nai (barber),
Arzal (Dalit) which included sweepers, shoe-makers, etc. were considered even the lowest of the low born of the Ajlaf are the Dalit Muslims.
Education and geographical mobility has changed the profession of many Muslims, but they are still classified by their earlier family professions. There is some mixing between the different categories, but the percentage is so small that its negligible. Thus the advent of Islam has not changed the social status of most Muslims particularly the lowest and poorest in Muslim society.