Before the Uniform Civil Code, India needs a Uniform Education Code—one secular curriculum for all. When there are 360,000 young minds stuck in the curriculum developed in the 1700s in 3,000 madrassas in the Indian capital alone, you can’t dream to take the nation ahead with millions enrolled in the 600,000 madrassa countrywide, with 40-50 lakh mosques with attached makatabs or madrasas.
What is taught in madrasas
A madrasa is an exclusivist religious school, where Muslim children are taught the Quran, the Sharia, Hadith, and Islamic history of invasions (jihad). The institution of Islamic madrasas in India is as old as the history of Islam in India, say 1,000 years. The syllabus teaches the students to hate all non-Muslims, especially the Hindus who, being idolaters, are dubbed as hateful human beings, called ‘kaffirs.’ Ghazwa-i-Hind (the goal of establishment of Islamic rule across India through jihad) is also taught in almost every madrassa, both in India and Pakistan. Madrassas produce indoctrinated minds, full of hate, fear and false pride.
This derelict institution can't be reformed. Outright scrappage is the solution. Helping them is writing your own obituary. The United Progressive Alliance government initiated an ill-thought plan. A ‘Scheme for Providing Quality Education in Madrasas’ (SPQEM) in 2009-10 was aimed at encouraging madrassas and maktabs to introduce formal subjects—science, mathematics, social studies, Hindi and English. The scheme continues in 18 states in the country. So far under SPQEM, over 21,000 madrasas spread over different states have been given Rs 1,138 crore. Only in Uttar Pradesh there are 1,827,566 children in 8,584 madrasas, as per Central government figures. That is mindless stupidity. The core Islamic scripture, as taught, can't be made secular and humanistic. This scheme initiated by Congress is a sheer loss of time and exchequer and it must be scrapped forthwith.
Why madrasas can’t be reformed
Islamic teachings and modern education can’t coexist. Would the students of madrassa will trust science which says the earth is spherical and revolves around the sun, or believe the Quran which says that the earth is flat? Would they believe, as the Quran says, that the sun sets in the murky water of a lake? How can you teach them harmony and love when they learn from the Quran that all idolaters are consigned to the eternal hell fire?
What Modi Govt must too immediately
1. All madrassas must be nationalized, registered, and the State should have the writ to appoint teachers, administrators and curriculum there. Their financials and sources of income must be scrutinized. All the madrassa should be converted into modern schools open to all the communities.-Community exclusive, organized and institutionalized religious education must be scrapped for any religion. All children must be taught uniform curriculum.
2. All the mosques must be monitored through CCTV recordings to check what is being taught and fed. It is not a coincidence that every riot in Indian cities starts on Friday after Juma prayers. If China and Egypt can control mosques, why can’t India, the second largest Muslim population country? In a nutshell, if you don’t control mullahs, mosques and madrassas, peace and communal harmony in India will remain a pipe dream.
(Khalid Umar is a writer and human rights activist based in the UK. His areas of interest are law, religion and human rights. The views expressed in this article are personal).