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Islamic Society (04 Jan 2017 NewAgeIslam.Com)

Madrasas and Failure of Muslim Leadership

By Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

04 January 2017

The recent recommendation of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) that children studying in madrasas and vedicpathshalas should be taught contemporary subjects such as mathematics, science and social science is a welcome step. After all India is a signatory to the rights of child convention and all policymakers should be sensitive about rights of children which includes the kind of education which they receive in schools and other educational institutions like madrasas and the vedicpathshalas. However, as with other measures about Muslim education which mentions madrasas, this policy recommendation is bound to be opposed by Muslim groups. Charges of secularism in danger and tampering in the ‘internal affairs’ of the community will be levelled against the HRD if this recommendation is accepted. And that’s a real pity.

Most surveys would tell us that madrasas outnumber vedicpathshalas by a huge margin. As such the real import of this recommendation is on the madrasas, specifically on those who are reluctant to teach their students even a modicum of subjects which might have contemporary relevance. It is by now common knowledge that there are vast number of madrasas who are not affiliated to any madrasa board and who consequently are completely unregulated. This autonomy is largely misused in the sense that they are above board in terms of what they teach and how they teach it. Mostly these madrasas, which are called azad madrasas, teach deeniyat which is basically an amalgam of centuries old texts. Even with this religious education, there are no contemporary discussion which happen. Rather the whole point of this kind of education is to facilitate rote learning which only means that a child learns without any self-reflection or criticality.

There was an attempt made by the earlier government to bring all such madrasas under one umbrella by creating an All India Madrasa Board. It was a good idea to start with, but with various interests competing as Muslim interests, there was hardly any headway and eventually the suggestion went to the cold storage. The interesting part of this proposal was the it were Muslims themselves who had drafted this proposal. But then for many successive governments, some Muslims are more important than others. The opposition to this proposal from the Ulema saw to it that the bold proposal by reform minded Muslims was shelved.

Indian Muslims lag behind all other communities in terms of major development indices. One of the primary reason which has been identified for this deplorable state of affairs is educational deprivation of the community From access to schools to retention to accessing higher education, there is a huge shortfall of Muslims. The major problem lies at the level of schooling itself. And yet for many decades, Muslim religious and political leadership has hardly come to understand this as a problem. The lopsided practice of their politics has meant that only issues of religion become important for them. As if Indian Muslims live by praying alone; they have no other material issues confronting them in this world. It is perhaps pitiable that till date, there has been no mass movement amongst Muslims demanding better education and good quality schools in their localities.

The problem also remains that successive governments have accepted that the Ulema’s regressive understanding of Islam and Muslims is the representative voice within the community. But even if it, then what should be the state’s agenda: to give in to populism or to do what is right despite negative publicity. The Right to Education Act provided one such opportunity in the sense of creating a common understanding of what every child irrespective of religion, should be taught at schools. Once again, the Muslim leadership challenged it and squandered the potential inherent within the Act to raise the educational levels of Muslims. Today we have a piquant and possibly illegal situation, where the provisions of RTE do not apply to lakhs of Muslim children studying in various madrasas. Looks like all of us have accepted that they are less of citizens in this country and that’s why perhaps their rights can be trampled.

This recommendation of the NCPCR is another opportunity before the Muslim community. It should be debated seriously and in a non-political fashion keeping in mind the interests of Muslim children studying in madrasas. But one is already getting the feeling that this is perhaps too much to expect from the Muslim leadership. All indications are that this proposal will also end up with familiar cries of Islam in danger.


Arshad Alam is a NewAgeIslam.com columnist

URL: URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-society/arshad-alam,-new-age-islam/madrasas-and-failure-of-muslim-leadership/d/109598

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  • Royal J I do not know what relgion you follow or born by accident in the relgion which you might like or not but I am certainly Hindu.

    I write on this website to open eyes of Hindus when some of Authors and commenter on this website use deceptive language and try to project goody goody of Islam, which completely against the notion of Islam. Which do not have any respect and honour for other relgions value.

    Many early Quranic verses are mentioned to show how Islam show tolerance(not respect) toward other faith.

    Also one of our scholar on this website himself said Sura Touba came at last part because no one was ready to belive Mohmmad paigamber and than same Author try to proven that all faith can come under Islam and Islam is universal, that how deceptive tactics are used on this website authores.

    I come here for my Hindu brothers not for enligtment of muslims. 

    As for example you can see repeatative comments by several Muslims like Hindus creat God( in form of idol)and worship and we worship creator.

    But same Muslims are shun on created God by Mohmand on voice base which he himself heared and this Muslim pray to created God or Allah of Mohmmad. 

    The only difference from hindu point of view is that Muslim indulge their sense organ ears and while Hindus indulge eyes, if that is not the case than this Muslim should not preserve word Allah, the voice is also form of Idol when it takes complete shape in particular reservation and hatred  and no other word is allow to utter.

    This Muslim have stopped uttering Khudaha Hafis which I use to hear normally when I was kid now it had become Allah Hafis.

    We Hindu make God idols but Muslim give name to Unknown God how funny is to give one  name to God which is only wright one and other comman word used in other part of the world is wrong.

    So we Hindu creat idol of God and you Muslim creat name of God. Ha ha.....

    liars and Hypocrates cannot see in their sides.

    By Aayina - 1/6/2017 5:28:59 AM

  • Please Aayina do not be a stupid. You are a kafir, I am a kafir. India is a Kafir country. So are the Western countries. All those who do not believe in the oneness of Allah and His last prophet are kafirs and condemned to hell. All Muslims will go to heaven. We will be burning in hell for eternity. Take care!  In the hell please do not come closer to me. For I am a dirty kafir; my flames will be much higher than yours. 

    By Royalj - 1/5/2017 10:14:17 PM

  • Sirjee Madarsas will tell - guide spritual along with human process - personality development in childhood. adult age family - social Managements to be guided. Off course this is for Hindus - christians and all other religions. Culture - religion made - followed by us. we confront on religion. Can we protectec in the basis of religion from natural - unknown disasters. We speciall indians all to work on Human principle. during Bangalore event attacking woman also condemnable . All must open no discremenation on gender also.
    By Kolipaka Sudeep Kumar - 1/5/2017 11:25:15 AM

  • I think  Danavs and Datyas when they live with Manav they prosper.

    Thanks Royal J for calling us Kafir and Kafir country and spitting your continue Venom of Kafir.

    So we Hindus have to now campare you not allowing to live in peace by continuous digarotory word, you guys are similar to Danavs and Datyas of our relgious books, who were constant against God fearing people.

    By Aayina - 1/5/2017 5:41:50 AM

  • Thanks Arshad. It is a good read. You don’t find this type of critical views in any Islamic country. I thank Allah that you are born not in Saudi Arabia but in India, though a Kafir country.  My perception is that whenever and wherever Muslims come into contact with a Kafir country or Kafir culture or Kafir institutions they prosper well. You will find ample evidence in the West. Now I understand why this is a failure in India; a growing super power. Another reason is that polygamy for Muslim men is legally allowed in India. This stifles the emancipation of Muslim woman. Unlike her Hindu/Christian counterpart, her life becomes like a crab moving in a pot, not able to take independent decision about her children’s education; in most cases herself would be less educated and married at an early age.

    Another drawback in Islam is that women and children are denied access to Mosque. Children learn a lot when they pray with their families together with other families in the temple/church. Children read scriptures, sing hymns, play instruments, learn to keep silent in front of hundreds of people. It is a sad thing that only men are allowed in the Mosque to worship Allah. There are instances people are afraid of Friday prayers. This can be avoided if families are allowed to pray together in the Mosque.

    By Royalj - 1/4/2017 10:52:11 PM

  • The problem is most of the muslim community is illiterate and the Ulema benifit from this. As it is easy to scare and browbeat an uneducated people. Hence the Ulema discourage the muslims from pursuing secular education so that they can retain there power over the community. The average muslm cannot challenge this as he may face social and religious boycott.
    And they do this across the muslim world by raising the slogan of This is unislamic... that is unislamic... It is upto the muslims to reform themselves instead of blaming others.

    By awaya - 1/4/2017 10:19:55 PM

  • All schools including Madrasas should impart rational and modern basic education. Religious education may start only after a certain age.
    By Ashok Sharma - 1/4/2017 2:38:09 PM

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