Muslim clerics back Modi’s Madrasa modernisation push, but Azam Khan has a problem

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Updated: June 12, 2019 6:06:53 PM

The government's plan to train madrasa teachers will be launched next month. It has also announced various scholarships for 5 crore minority students, which will include 50% girl students, over the next five years.

Azam Khan defended the current pattern of education being imparted in madrasas. (PTI)

The Centre’s decision to connect madrasas to mainstream education has come in for appreciation from Muslim clerics who have welcomed the move as a much-needed step for the upliftment of minorities. On Tuesday, Minority Affairs minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said that madrasas across the country will be connected with formal education and mainstream education so that children in madrasas can also contribute to the development of the society.

“Madrasa teachers across the country will be given training from various institutions in mainstream subjects such as Hindi, English, Maths, Science, Computer etc. so that they can impart mainstream education to the Madrasa students,” he said in a statement. The move is in line with the vision outlined by Prime Minister Narendra Modi twice since he assumed charge as Prime Minister in 2014. The same year, Modi said he envisions a Muslim child holding a Quran in one hand and a computer in the other. After returning to power a few weeks ago, Modi harked back to his promise and stressed on Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas and Sabka Vishwas.

While the Centre’s plan is winning laurels from across sections, Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan has objected to the move saying if the government really wants to help madrasas, they should improve their standards. Speaking on the issue, Khan defended the current pattern of education being imparted in madrasas and said that besides religious teachings, subjects like English, Hindi, and Maths are already being taught at madrasas.

“This has always been done. If you (the government) want to help, improve their standard. Build buildings for madrasas, provide them furniture and midday meal facility,” Khan added. He further politicised the issue by saying Madrasas don’t breed personalities like Nathuram Godse or Pragya Thakur. “…announce that those propagating thoughts of Nathuram Godse will be declared enemies of democracy, those convicted for terror activities won’t be rewarded,” he said while speaking to ANI.

Azam Khan is probably the only Muslim leader who has criticised the move that even Muslim clerics have welcomed. Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind General Secretary Moulana Mahmood Madani welcomed the initiative saying, “All the sections of the society should be provided with equal opportunities especially in education for the benefit of the country. We will always welcome such initiatives.”

He further said that Muslims should have a part in nation building and it will only be possible through the capacity building which isn’t possible without education. “If this isn’t just an announcement and will be turned into actions, it’s Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas in the true sense,” Madani added.

Another Muslim cleric Umer Ilyasi thanked PM Modi and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi for the initiative and claimed that Muslims who were deprived of good education facilities will now be able to equally contribute to the nation’s development. “The slogan Prime Minister Modi gave “Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas aur ab Sabka Vishwas” has managed to gain the trust of Muslims for the government. Now the time has changed, it’s not about any religion, caste or creed. We all will work together for the development of the country and will soon make it a ‘vishwa guru’.”

Rehan Akhtar Qasmi, another cleric from Aligarh, thanked the central government and hoped it is implemented. “Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has said that there should be computer education in Muslim madrasa. PM had earlier made it clear that he is planning to bring the minority to the mainstream of education. On the occasion of Eid, the government provided scholarship to five crore Muslim students. We want to thank the government for this step. We hope it gets implemented. It is important to monitor the educational system of the Muslim community,” Qasmi told ANI.

The government’s plan to train madrasa teachers will be launched next month. It has also announced various scholarships for 5 crore minority students, which will include 50% girl students, over the next five years.

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