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Maharashtra government has become a victim of its own identity politics

By: Express News Service | Published: July 4, 2015 12:00 am
madrasa, maharashtra madrasa, madrasa derecognition, madrasa education, madrasas in india, madrasas in maharashtra, HRD ministry, madrasa education system, madrasa board, muslim education system, educationa news, maharashtra news, Maharashtra madrasa news, india news, latest news, indian express The intention behind the survey seems reasonable, which is to insist on secular subjects in the madrasa curriculum.

In Maharashtra, a survey planned to enumerate children who are out of school has turned into a public relations fiasco, with Muslim bodies and the opposition up in arms against the Devendra Fadnavis government. One of the objectives of the survey is to identify madrasas that do not teach subjects like mathematics and social sciences, and declare them to not be schools. This would banish over one lakh madrasa students from formal education, unless they enrol in other schools. The intention behind the survey seems reasonable, which is to insist on secular subjects in the madrasa curriculum. But if minorities and their political champions find it objectionable, something is out of sorts. Far too late, the state secretary for school education clarified that his government will not discriminate between faiths — Vedic schools teaching only the Vedas will be classified as non-schools. By that time, first impressions had settled.

Ironically, these impressions have been assiduously cultivated by the BJP itself. Nationally, valourising yoga while failing to silence saffron activists who demonise madrasas as terrorist incubators has sent out a clear signal. The BJP-Shiv Sena government in Mumbai has drawn attention for being the first ever not to have a single Muslim minister, though the community comprises over 10 per cent of the state’s population. In March, Maharashtra secured a blanket ban on the beef trade, criminalising possession or sale with a five-year jail sentence and a fine. Days after that, it scrapped a five per cent reservation for Muslims. This was immediately controversial because of a perceived differential in treatment: the government had given legislative sanction to reservation for Marathas, despite a high court ruling against it, while scrapping the Muslim quota though the court had approved it in education.

In the modern world, instruction in scripture alone is insufficient, and instruction in the scripture of one’s own community alone pitifully so. However, the Sachar Committee report had revealed that only 4 per cent of Muslim children attend madrasas, many of which presumably teach secular subjects. Besides, it had said: “Muslim parents are not averse to mainstream education or to sending their children to affordable government schools.” The fact that an issue which affects a small fraction of the population can raise so many hackles should urge the BJP-Shiv Sena government to solve its own image problem before it tries to address the problems of minority communities.

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    Ayan
    Jul 5, 2015 at 11:05 pm
    Why do we always have to paint things in saffron and green...cant there be reason and proper administrative control over things...
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      Ayan
      Jul 5, 2015 at 11:03 pm
      what are u talking abt mr editor...let alone in mumbai even in pak these madrasas are now being taken under state control and their curriculum is revised to teach them secular sciences...do we have to degenerate to levels before we take action or do we nip such regressive ideologies in the bud...these ulemas are destroying generations of students who wont find jobs after recieving such education thus relegating them to the backward strata of the society in permanence, robbing them of their only chance of leading better lives thru proper education...what is wrong in being strict about schools teaching subjects which impart reasoning and critical thinking, religious teachings cud be provided in such schools but that shud not be the only thing taught in such schools...even the Muslims lagged behind the Hindus 200 years ago(despite 600 years of Muslim rule) due to such teachings and thus sta behind them, which was utilized upto the hilt by the British using their Divide and Rule...there shud no condoning such activities which have become factories for fundamentalist thinkers...
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      1. Narayan Srikanth
        Jul 6, 2015 at 8:39 pm
        What a divisive write up. The pressutes see, nay imagine, religion in every decision of the BJP. Is that how they want all Indians to look at every governmental decision.
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          Rufusd
          Jul 5, 2015 at 7:20 pm
          One thing that can be said about the BJP-Shiv Sena government in Maharashtra is that its communalism (read implementation of the Hindutva agenda) is totally above board and open which same cannot be said of the government at the centre and its dealings with the IITs, the FTII, introduction of Sanskrit on grounds of 'nationalism', in CBSE schools, changes being made in history text books by relegating Muslims rulers like Akbar to the ranks of the also-mentioneds! Etc. etc.!
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            Sandeep Singh
            Jul 6, 2015 at 4:46 pm
            Instead of asking BJP to worrk on its image you better ask the Pressutes and the Sickulars to change their image!!
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