Cash-strapped Islamic studies department hopes for regularisation


Over the past week, the Department of Islamic studies at the University of Madras may have been in the news for the wrong reasons but faculty here wish some more attention was paid to its everyday functioning. The only department to run on endowed funds and not be regularised by the university, it has only one permanent faculty member as opposed to the stipulated three, in addition to a few guest lecturers.

P.K. Abdul Rahiman, head of the department (in charge) and sole permanent faculty, who teaches both post-graduate students and research scholars, said the department would benefit if the university took it over. As of now, the centre functions with an annual grant of around Rs. 18 Lakh from the South Indian Educational Trust, which does not suffice to meet its requirements.

The department has around 20 students and a recently-introduced elective, women and gender in Islam, was highly popular among students from other departments, Prof. Rahiman said. Two years ago, the curriculum of the department was revamped to include topics of contemporary relevance and writings of scholars such as Leila Ahmed, Asma Barlas and Tariq Ramadan. Recently, scholars such as Bruce B. Lawrence, professor of religion, Duke university, and Dr Gawdat Bahgat, Professor of National Security Affairs, National Defense University, spoke on Islam and India and the Arab Spring respectively.

“During a lecture, a speaker supported the Iraq war and some of us debated him. Isn’t this how you strengthen the academic flavour of a university,” Prof Rahiman asked.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2020 8:12:01 AM |

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