Mamata Banerjee gives Bengal its first English medium madrassa

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Mamata Banerjee
While addressing a joint session of Parliament, the president Pranab Mukherjee had said, "It is unfortunate that even after several decades of independence, sections of minority communities continue to suffer from poverty, as benefits of government schemes do not reach them. My government is committed to making all minorities equal partners in India's progress."

"The government will especially strengthen measures to spread modern and technical education among minority communities and a National Madrassa Modernization Programme will be initiated," he said.

Well, with West Bengal's first English Madrassa coming up, it seems the modernisation of madrassas has already begun.

India cannot progress unless Muslims move ahead

Madrasa education (India) is limited to religious scripts and teachings of Islam. But, there are some madrasas (such as Darul Uloom Deoband) that have been at the forefront in introducing modern curriculum and education. Imparting religious education in the madrasas is good, but with this, modern education like science, computer, English etc should also be imparted to the students.

Paninala, a town in Nadia district of West Bengal has state's first English-medium madrasa now. The Paninala English Medium Government High Madrasah which is run by the government is spread over five acres of land and launched its first academic session last week.

"It looks like any other school. A campus divided into blocks, a playground, classrooms with desks and chairs, and students in uniforms - boys in shirts and shorts, girls in shirts and skirts. But this is no regular school. It's an English-medium, co-educational madrasa," says a report in Indian Express.

As per the report, the madrasa which is painted blue and white bears TMC's stamp.

Making them relevant to modern times:

Things which are taught in these institutions have undergone minor changes and has the same texts that were taught centuries ago.

As per a report in, "The syllabus being taught here is the same old Darse Nizami syllabus that was prepared in the eighteenth century by renowned theologist Mulla Nizamudin Sihalwi, a contemporary of Shah Walilluah Muhaddis Dehlawi.

The same syllabus is being followed by almost every big and small madrasa across the country despite the fact that more than 200 years have passed since it was introduced here."

Why opposing the modernistaion:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi allocated Rs 100 crore to the madarsa modernisation programme in the Budget. But it seems that the Muslim community is not really liking this concept of modernisation.

In India there are two kinds of madrassas, those run on government grants and those based on community charity. The madrassas which do not accept any funding from the Government are feared not to accept any changes in the name of modernization.

Darul Uloom Deoband rector Mufti Abdul Qasim Noamani was quoted as saying in TOI, "It is not clear what the government wants to do... It should come out with detailed policy and tell which madrassas will be brought under its ambit."

"Madrassas which don't accept any grant from the government will not accept any modernization programme initiated by the government," Noamani said.

But why these organisations dither reforms and why don't they understand that making these organisations relevant to modern times will provide Muslim youth a progressive socio-political outlook and will also help them get better job opportunities. And if they will get better jobs, it will help in our country's progress. India cannot progress unless Muslims move ahead and modernisation of madrassas is a step to in the same direction.

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