What is Madrasa?
- Madrasa in Arabic means ‘any type of educational institution', where secular or religious education is imparted to the students. But, present day madrasas are places of education where poor Muslim kids go for education.
- As per Merrie-Webster's dictionary, madrasa means - a Muslim school, college, or university that is often part of a mosque.
What is taught in madrasas?
- As per Delhi-based Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, madrasas were originally meant to be a purely religio-cultural institution, aimed at preserving and propagating Islamic traditions. Initially, they was devoid of any political agenda or ideology.
- The students in madrasas are imparted literary and philosophical education. They are also taught Urdu, Persian and Arabic literature in madrasas apart from Quranic education.
- Efforts are on to include modern subjects such as Mathematics, Computers and Science in their curriculum.
- During the British era, with the establishment of Darul Uloom at Deoband in 1866, the madrasa movement revived once again. Deoband played the dual role of spreading Islamic knowledge along with mobilising the Indian Muslims to participate in the freedom struggle, aimed at expelling the British.
How many madrasas are there in India?
- According to IPCS, there are an estimated 35,000 madrasas - big as well as small - operating in India. Around 1.5 million students, including Muslims and Hindus, are enrolled in these madrasas.
- Some notable madrasa establishments in India include: Al Jamiatul Ashrafia, Mubarakpur, Manzar Islam Bareilly, Jamia Nizamdina New Delhi and Jamia Nayeemia Muradabad.
- History of madrasas in India dates back to establishment of the Delhi Sultanate in 13th century AD.
- Madrasas were then known as the source for supply of administrators and judges and the institution witnessed its zenith during the Delhi Sultanate and Mughal dynasty periods.
- In present days, Government is focusing towards improving the quality of education in madrasas by modernizing them.
- The Narendra Modi Government in its maiden budget speech announced schemes for skill upgrade of minorities and Rs 100 crore for their modernization of madrasas.
- However, with the surge of Islamic radicalism, several terror outfits opened their madrasas to recruit youths, by brain washing them, for fulfilling their nefarious intentions and carrying terror activities.
- Since then several groups are boycotting these institutions. But, all madrasas are not involved in such anti-social activities.
What students do after completing their studies?
- As per a report published in Rediff.com, madrasas in India carry same old Darse Nizami syllabus that was prepared in the 18th century by renowned theologist Mulla Nizamudin Sihalwi.
- Despite the fact that more than 200 years have passed since it was introduced, the same syllabus is being followed by almost every big and small madrasas across the country.
- Most of the students passing out of these institutions either take education in other universities to get specialization in other trades and get jobs or become a teacher in madrasas.
- As per IPCS, an analyst says, "due to lack of alternate system of education and bereft of growth opportunities, the unemployed and underemployed men of Islam produced by madrasas were by and large forced to become self-proclaimed holy warriors of their faith or jihadis."
- Lack of job opportunities plunges them into economic stagnation. Frustrated, many youth take up cudgels against the state and the society in the name of ‘jihad', the IPCS report said.
Why '#banmadrasa' campaign is on?
- The #banmadrasa campaign started trending on social micro-blogging website after reports of gang rape and forced religious conversion of a 20-year-old Hindu girl, in Uttar Pradesh's Meerut district.
- The girl - was working as a part-time teacher at a madrasa in Meerut's Sarawa village - accused village Pradhan Nawab Khan, cleric Sataullah and four others, of abducting her on July 23.
- She was allegedly taken to a madrasa located in Mustafa colony in Muzaffarnagar. She was confined there for three days and was gang raped. The girl was forced to sign documents related to the conversion to Islam. According to victim's father, the girl came back home on July 27.