New Delhi : It is wrong to say that madrassas teach students to hate other religions and are hubs of terrorism, says Arshad Alam, author of the book “Inside a Madrassa: knowledge, power and Islamic identity in India”.
“The data of terror activities and terrorists don’t support the hypothesis that madrassas make terrorists. Also the kind of technology that terrorists have access to, a madrassa student doesn’t have,” Alam said in a lecture in the capital Thursday.
Alam also teaches at the Centre for Jawaharlal Nehru Studies in the Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI).
According to Alam, there are different kinds of madrassas, depending on their school of thought and interpretation of Islam.
The Sachar Committee report said only four percent Muslims go to madrassas for education. But Alam argues that the data of the Sachar Committee about madrassa students is not correct because it relies on the Madrassa Board and National Council for Educational Research and Training’s (NCERT) seventh all India madrassa survey.
Apart from that, there are a large number of madrassas which are being run independently.
“Twelve-thirteen percent Muslims go to madrassas for education and the percentage in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar is higher,” Alam said.
Talking about the syllabi and functions of madrassas, he said Dars-e-Nizami, a century old educational syllabus of Deobandi madrassas, has a mix of religious and non-religious subjects.
“From geography and astronomy to the Quran, the curriculum is all encompassing,” he said.
Alam elaborates that after 1857, two types of schools came into existence – Sir Syed Ahmed Khan’s which is now known as Aligarh Muslim University and Maulana Qasim Nanavtavi’s led by Darul Uloom Deoband.
“It is interesting that Sir Syed and Qasim Nanavtavi had studied at the same institution in Delhi. Its name was Ghaziuddin Madrassa, which is now known as Zakir Husain College,” he added.
Answering a question about the need for religious education in modern minority institutions, Alam said minority and non-minority institutions should both teach religious teachings and madrassas should teach modern subjects.
The lecture was organised by the K.R. Narayanan Centre for Dalit and Minorities Studies of JMI.