Modernization of Indian Madarsas
By TANVEER JAFRI
D ay by day, increasing terrorism & suicidal attacks in the world & involvement of mostly the Muslim community in it compels to think a question that where its roots stand? Why this massacre? Often, there is a class of the Muslim community that considers it right. They think that cause of these terrorists' activities almost is the neglect of rights of the Muslims. Whereas the people who are humanitarians, liberal & in favour of non-violence believe that to get the rights by way of violent methods is not only anti-humanitarian but it is anti-Islamic also. This group of people is of the view that the Islamic education given in these madarsas encourages the children to adopt the path of the fundamentalism. They are of the opinion that it sets a start of division between the Muslims & the non-Muslims & then hatred & so plays an important role of dividing the society.
Here it seems necessary to describe the common background of a madarsa. Madarsa is that centre of education where those parents or guardians get their wards admitted who are not in a position to admit their children in a good or mediocre school because of their economic condition. The Islamic madarsa is such a centre of education where there is arrangement for teaching along with boarding & lodging of the students. There is also arrangement for the dress of the students on the eve of the festivals. This is all done with a philanthropic view by the benevolent persons. Besides not spending much money, the guardians are also interested that their ward will have a promising future. After getting the Islamic education he will become Hafiz, Molavi, qari, Aalim or a religious guide & thus will have a respectable way of earning his bread & butter. This education received by him will become a good source of his bread & butter for all his life. Along with getting the religious education & its completion, the idea becomes strong in its heart that all his actions are according to the will of God & for God. He deserves heaven by adopting this path. On the completion of the Islamic education, this child thinks about the unworldly affairs & devoting himself to the religion & religious works. On the apex, this education teaches the innocent child that there is a distance between the Muslims & non-Muslims. He stands firm on his faith thinking that the Islam is the only true religion in the world & the true Muslims are only a class that follows the teachings of the God. Such a thinking makes them to call the non-Muslims as non-believers, Kafirs,mushrik , munaafiq , atheists & impious.
The Islamic Madarsas, as a way of spread & propaganda of the Islamic education may have been right & justified in the initial era of the Islam religion. But the present age which is known as the age of globalization, all the religious education given to the children can be called a limited education & is being questioned. Today, the population of the Muslims in a vast country like India is 15.4%. In India, at present there are 4790 officers in Indian Administrative Services (IAS). There are only 108 Muslim officers in it. It means they are 2.2% of the total administrative officers. Same is the condition in Indian Police Services (IPS) also out of 3209 IPS officers in India, the Muslims occupy only 109 posts. The above Muslim officers & thousands of scientists, doctors, engineers & professors are there that are counted among the persons of educated society. They are intellectuals. Undoubtedly, this class brings credit to the names of the Muslims. They also do their services for the country & humanity through their work. Name of Professor APJ Abdul Kalam stands heavy on all so said custodians of Islam & the advice given by them. And quite opposite to it, the number of Mullah's coming out of the madarsas as the Islami preachers is not in thousands but it is in lakhs. Now an important question arises that what is the contribution of these Mullahs in the religious harmony. They are present in lakhs in the country. What have they done so far? What is their role for the unity of the society & for social harmony? Even these quacks have not presented the true form of Islam in the society till now, the people about advising them that terrorism is anti-islamic.
Today the governments of India & Pakistan are seriously thinking about the fact that how these Islamic madarsas can be brought under the influence of modern education, so that accuse of being extremists towards them may be stopped. At present, there are 17000 madarsas in Pakistan. There is a provision of Societies Registration Ordinance 2005 (Second Amendment) under which these madarsas are run. There is also a provision to keep watch over them & nobody can start a madarsa without getting it registered. Similarly under another law, every registered madarsa is required to submit a comprehensive report regarding the activities & education given to the students, to the registrar. This report is to be submitted every year. Every madarsa is required to appoint an auditor who can put the record of the madarsa to the registrar whenever required. Besides this every madarsa has been strongly directed to not to teach or publish such a literature that encourage terrorism or Islamic groupism.
Similarly there is also a resolution by the central government of India to prepare a law for the modernization of the madarsas. Its motive is to improve the syllabus & education system of madarsas. Government of India too, wants to pass a bill to organize a Central Madarsa Board on the lines of Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), so that in India too, it is brought under a control. To improve the educational standard of the Muslims, the government had announced in 2006, to start 125 Urdu medium schools in the country. The plan, which is to start in 2007, is estimated to cost more than Rupees 20000 million. There is a proposal to implement CBSE syllabus in all these schools. In India, the national rate of education is 65% whereas for the Muslims it is only 29 percent. The government is in the efforts to bring the level of education of the Muslims equal to the national rate of education. So all this is being done to make the education of the madarsas modern, job oriented, useful, and religious too.
Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh along with the Indian Leaders, political parties & the Muslims who have progressive attitude, all these favour the proposal of the government that will modernize the madarsas whereas the orthodox Muslim leaders are calling it a government interference in the religious studies. At such occasions the common Muslims will have to decide it themselves whether they are in favour of the job oriented education or satisfied with the traditional educational system, the system that is being accused of encouraging the extremist thoughts & these extremist thoughts are associated with the anti-humanitarian mission.
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