The centre's move to form a Madrasa Board at national level was outrightly rejected by Maulana Mufti Ahmed Devalvi, the president of the Majlis-e-Tahaffuz-e-Madaris Gujarat. In a telephonic talk with Mufti Fareed Kavi, a spokesman of Majlis, it seems that the idea of the central government will backfire at least in Gujarat.
According to Majlis, this move will hamper the originality of madrasah education and consequently madaris, plural of madrasah, will lose their identity and spirit as the forts of Islam. He further said that only three percentage (the Sachar Committee report says 4%) Muslim students were in madaris. ‘If centre wants to start madaris with some worldly course, it has been catering to the wide option of big percentage of remaining Muslim kids. This lot can be taped by centre,’ said Fareed.
Prior to this, a similar proposal was put forward by the NDA government by involving the Delhi-based Maulana Ilyasi, which was also opposed.
Devalvi expressed surprise over renewed efforts by the UPA government in this direction saying that the Muslim community was not making any demand for it and that he has written to HRD minister Kapil Sibal as well.
“Once the control of madaris goes in the hands of the government, these seminaries will lose their very spirit,” he said, adding that the religious content of the syllabus of some madaris in Bihar and West Bengal was diluted after they were affiliated to the boards set up by the respective state governments, “reducing them to the position of any modern school”.
He said madaris are for purely religious needs. “Madaris are teaching modern subjects like mathematics, sciences and computers, and some madrasah students join the mainstream educational institutions after completing their studies in the seminaries. Let the government set up modern schools and colleges on its own in areas where madaris are located, rather than eyeing madaris and their properties,” he added
The proposed Madrasah Board is not acceptable to us. It is better if the government constitutes a committee comprising of Madrasah heads and ulama to look into the details of what actually it wants before enforcing any decision on us” said, Mufti Asjad of Kashif-ul-Uloom adding there is a wide gap between the two drafts of the Madrasah board, one proposed by the Centre and other by the State. “Similar questions were raised in a meeting that was called in 2008 but the Government has not come up with any explanation till now.” said Maulana Vali of Bharuch.
Observing that only 4% Muslim children are taking admissions in the Madaris and the remaining 96% go to the schools run by the government and Muslim NGOs, Mufti Abdul Qayum asked “Why does the government which does not show any sympathy towards the Muslim schools and their managements and makes these run from one office to another for every small thing, is so restless in extending aid to the Madaris?”
It also transpired during the meeting that the managements have already decided to include modern education in their Madaris, the primary aim of the government. However fearing the interference from the government in the syllabus the Madrasah heads decline to receive the government aid.
“If the Government’s intention is to include the modern education in the Madaris then we have already decided to do so. But the proposed Madrasah board is vague that makes the intentions of the government unclear”, said Maulana Huzaifah of Bhavnagar.
Amid the strong opposition to the government’s proposal of Madrasah Board, Hafiz Muhammad Umair proposed, “ If the Government is really interested in helping the Madaris, it should first implement its own decision taken in 2004 to provide food grains on subsidized rates.”
The above argument serves an enough indicator to the stand of Gujarat, madaris heads regarding the Central Madrasah Board that the centre instead of being concerned about modernization of madaris should ensure better education and employment opportunities for the 96% Muslim students who do not attend madaris at all.
By Abdul hafiz Lakhani
With more than 100 Darul Ulooms in Gujarat, the state produces a considerable number of ulama and huffaz (plural of hafiz). Majority of them get employment in these madaris while others head to foreign countries.
A fresher from the madaris gets a starting salary of around Rs 3,000 with lodging and boarding facilities whether they are married or not. Unlike teachers of government run schools the teachers of madaris get their salary by the 10th of every month for sure. To support their income many of them are also allowed to take tuitions and lead prayers.