The Madrassa Contradiction

Thursday, 21 January 2021



The Madrassa Contradiction

Swapnil Bharali | February 22, 2020 14:41 hrs

Now here is a big time confusion. Take a look at two headlines from the past week, one from G Plus and the other from a national media portal. G Plus: ‘HBS stops state funding of religious education, Madrassas, Sanskrit Tols to close down.’ The other one: ‘Yogi Govt Allocates Rs 479 Crore for Madrasas in Biggest State Budget Till Date.’

The same Bharatiya Janata Party is currently holding power in both Assam and Uttar Pradesh (UP). However, the two state governments have come up with decisions on one particular issue that are basically ideologically contradictory to each other. While on the one hand, the reason given in the case of the Assam madrassas was that the government would not “fund” religious teaching – be it Islamic or Hindu – the UP government, on the other hand, has gone on to allocate a massive Rs 479 crores for the same.

The two moves do beget some confusion. Uttar Pradesh has 16,461 madrassas; 560 of these are government-aided and 8,171 are attached to the Madrassa Modernisation Scheme. These figures are reflected on the madrassa portal of the UP Board of Madrasa Education. In contrast, the State Madrasa Education Board recognises 614 madrassas in Assam. As per the education minister’s announcement, all these madrassas will be converted into regular high schools and religious teaching (of the Quran basically) will be abolished. 

Additionally, the Sanskrit Tols of the state would also be closed down. In essence, this is diametrically opposite to the plans that UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath has made for his state’s madrassas as reflected in his latest budget.

Now, the point I want to make from this madrassa contradiction is the general confusion that has cropped up with regard to the ideological pursuits of the same political party. 

While the BJP has always thrived with holding on strong to its ideology, does this situation give hints of a compromise somewhere or is it all about opportunistic and selective implementation of ideology? Further, if one may raise questions about this selective implementation factor, would answers be such that the madrassas in Assam are producing the wrong kind of students in these Islamic schools and the whole move is basically to nip a certain problem in the bud?

The BJP has never come across as inconsistent in its policies but this move in Assam and UP does beget some answers.

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