Friday, September 23, 2011

Our Struggle – Ten Thousand and 1 Madrasa

It is no more any secret that more than 10, 000 unrecognized madrasas (Muslim theological school) have been acknowledged of late in the Indian state of Bengal (by the state government) yielding to the persisting demands of Muslims and unanimity between alleged secular parties, cutting across political lines, in this regard, is one of the best cacophonies heard yet. What’s the prime reason behind this exponential increase of madrasas? The only justification is that it will lead to immense development of Muslims en masse. Is it so? Well, we do not have the slightest objection if education of global standard is rendered in these Muslim theological schools and in that case, our demand is that every school across Bengal must be turned into a madrasa.

However, our experiences prove that madrasas are meant for a different purpose and it remains a great secret yet to the majority of people. Even if any political leader knows it, he/she can’t reveal it to sustain own secular image along with political clout. Let’s focus on the most recent Id, celebrated with gusto. There was another development too; celebration witnessed trenchant Muslim admonitions to the present Chief Minister, Bengal. And what was broadcasted in the same night at 10.30 pm in news channels was enough to send a shudder through backbone. While some Muslims in the gathering were found to demand making Urdu the second language of Bengal, some were lamenting of their lack of benefits in the first 100 days of the Trinamool Congress-led state government. Well, some speakers also rose to the occasion and stated categorically that Muslims, if necessary, will dethrone the present government like the earlier 34 years old government. Surely such intransigence is least expected from Muslims. What can satisfy them?

Now, we must concentrate on the basics of madrasa education. Without a shred of doubt, education provided in a madrasa is Islamic and its first and foremost obligation is to popularize and expand teachings of Hadis and al-Qur'an. And the best instances of such education are modern-day Pakistan and Afghanistan. Here is a twist but related. Sourav Ganguly’s (Bengali and Indian cricketer of international repute) quiz show is extremely famous these days. Take for example Sourav is asking a student where he/she would like to study and is also giving him/her three options – Madrasa, JNU and Kharagpur and asking another student where does he/she want to go for higher studies. Undoubtedly, none of the two will ever opt for any madrasa or any Islamic country.

Madarsa, still, is most favored object for Muslims. It does not imply development of Muslims but of Islam and career of political leaders. Result of all these is too obvious – destruction of humanity on the whole.

Section 25 (1), Constitution of India must be mentioned here. It states categorically - Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion.(1) Subject to public order, morality and health and to the other provisions of this Part, all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practise and propagate religion.

An assortment of educational institutions like Missionary Schools, schools of Ramkrishna Mission, Vidya Bharati remain affiliated to State Education Boards or Central Education Board and there has been no problem with regard to anything yet. Why is there need of separate board for madrasa then? Why are Muslims feeling need of an independent Madrasa Service Commission too? Isn’t this mentality sowing a notion of schism between Hindus and Muslims? Will it be possible ever to retrieve equality between religious communities through Mamata Banerjee?

Here is a strong instance of appeasing Muslims. Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, ex-Chief Minister of Bengal, stated in January, 2002, “Muslims are being bred in madrasas” and he was also the same person who refuted it owing to immense pressure of his own political party, CPM. But we haven’t forgotten anything. Well, whatever it is, Buddhadeb Babu did realize the ominous trend of religion-based education in madrasa (under a secular social system) but could not divulge the truth thanks to vote-bank politics.

Adverse fate of Mohammed Morsalin, teacher of Akra High Madrasa, 24 Paraganas (South) can’t also be ruled out. One of his essays “Satya Mithya” was published in Eid edition of literary magazine “Pragoti” in 2005. Once it was published, revered teacher along with his family became victim of Islamic vandalism. While he was assailed grievously, his residence was plundered. Administration turned into a mute spectator only and the liberal teacher had to succumb to Islamic fundamentalism.

In accordance with Bengal government records, in 1977, number of students in madrasas was 4,388 and in 2010, the figure moved upward to 4, 50,000 indicating 100% rise in number. And the state expenditure has risen from Rs. 5, 60, 000 (in 1977) to Rs. 610 crores (in 2010), if not more. A few liberal Muslims became able to determine the ailment in Muslim society of late and one of them is Gias-ud-din. He has stated clearly in various articles, “Madrasa education and madrasa culture are highly responsible to the degradation of Muslim society.” And culmination of the same degradation is the establishment of Aliah (University) Madrasa, Kolkata, already in the news since study of Arabic language along with Islamic learning, like any ordinary madrasa, has been made mandatory here. This is not all.

Muslim Students’ Organization has issued fatwa (ruling) that female teachers must also burka conforming to Islamic practices. The same has already become compulsory for girl students thanks to fatwa. One Muslim teacher, Shirin Midya, did not succumb to this fatwa; she was not allowed to take classes. She has been transferred to the Salt Lake campus of University for safety.

Political leaders in conjunction with intellectuals in India, for personal interests, are succumbing to Islam and are terming this as development of Muslims. We have had two finest instances of Islamic social system, Pakistan and Bangladesh and both portray how everything can get worse from bad. Perhaps Indian leaders are trying to convert whole of India into another Talibanised Pakistan through policies developing Muslims.

Who can cure an ailing individual? He who has a good knowledge of human anatomy; likewise Indian leaders must go through Hadis, al-Qur'an to gain knowledge of Muslim society and develop it. Globally renowned writers, Anwar Sheikh and Ali Sina consider Sharia Law of Islam as more lethal than Fascism. And it is enough to destroy leading ideals like Gandhism, Marxism or Secularism. Is West Bengal heading towards it?