The proposed survey of unrecognised madrasas in Uttar Pradesh “smacks of evil intention”, rectors of more than 200 madrasas declared at a meeting in New Delhi.
At the meeting organised by the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, a pledge was undertaken “to safeguard madrasas at any cost” and set up a helpline for any seminary facing problem after the Adityanath government announced that it would “examine unrecognised madrasas” in the State.
Syed Arshad Madani, president, Jamiat, said, “We won’t let divisive forces put an end to madrasas.” The Jamiat confluence felt the upcoming survey of Islamic seminaries was “a malicious attempt to disparage the madrasa education system”.
The Jamiat reminded the authorities of the madrasas’ role in freedom struggle and their contribution in imparting learning to first generation learners besides those from ecnonomically weaker background.
Earlier, the Uttar Pradesh Government announced a survey of unrecognised madrassas in the State to gather information about the number of teachers, curriculum, and basic facilities available there, among others. The 12-point questionnaire proposed to be used by the U.P. government was discussed at the meeting and the participants felt “there is lack of consensus” in the new proposal”. “It seems hasty and not well thought through,” said a participant.
This is not the first time the Adityanath Government’s move with respect to madrasas has upset representatives of Islamic seminaries. In 2017, his government had asked madrasas to record the Independence Day celebrations alongwith the singing of the national anthem and submit the recording to district magistrates. The move upset madrasas who read in it an attempt to question their patriotism. Later, the State Government’s move to introduce secular education did not go down well. Though the participants felt the madrasa system needed a dash of modernity, concerns were raised about “the government’s retrograde mindset”. Pointing out that there was a trust deficit with respect to government, the rectors blamed the authorities for “adopting a combative approach” which leads to fear among the people and “builds a barrier of mistrust between the communities”.
“It is malicious to refer to madrasas as not adhering to the government system. It is essential to respond with a reasonable approach,” Mahmood Asad Madani, the meeting’s organiser said. “The madrasa system is education is our inherited wealth. It will be safeguarded at all costs,” said Mahmood Madani, adding, “A steering committee has been formed for further action. We want to take things to logical conclusion.”
The steering committee includes Syed Arshad Madani, President of Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, Mufti Abul Qasim Nomani, rector, Darul Uloom Deoband; Maulana Muhammad Sufyan Qasmi, rector, Darul Uloom Waqf, Deoband besides Maulana Hakimuddin Qasmi, General Secretary of Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, Kamal Farooqui, member, All India Muslim Personal Law Board, and Mujtabi Farooq of the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, etc.
The meeting also took stock of the banes of the madrasa education system and agreed to “fix any legal flaws” in the internal system, set up a madrasa helpline and encourage madrasas to begin offering modern education besides theological lessons.
“Although we have always made an effort to ensure that our religious institutions operate in peace and cooperation, divisive forces seek to put an end to us. We won’t ever permit this,” summed up Arshad Madani, pointing out “the existence of madrasas is necessary for the country’s survival. Its 1200 year old history attests to the fact that this is where the country has always been built.”