We are already funding madrasas, also expect them to follow rules, says Uttar Pradesh minister Dharampal Singh

Oct 16, 2022 12:38 AM IST

During the survey so far, the government says about 6436 unaffiliated, non-aided madrasas have been identified. The district magistrates have now been given additional time to send the survey report to the government.

Uttar Pradesh minority affairs minister Dharampal Singh is aware of the controversy that the government’s twin surveys of madrasas and waqf properties have kicked up in the most populous state. But while staying clear of contentious issues of lack of funds and madrasa board affiliation being held up, he says that the surveys are “well intentioned” and “no good Muslim” is opposing them. During the survey so far, the government says about 6436 unaffiliated, non-aided madrasas have been identified and 5170 of those identified have been surveyed. The district magistrates have now been given additional time to send the survey report to the government.

Uttar Pradesh minister Dharampal Singh (FILE PHOTO)
Uttar Pradesh minister Dharampal Singh (FILE PHOTO)

“The survey reports would be routed to the government through DMs who would be provided these reports by ADM (administration). Now, we have asked the DMs to send the report to the government by November 15,” the minister says. The survey exercise was to earlier conclude by October 26. Excerpts:

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Q: The surveys are on. What next?

A: Look, the madrasa survey is for better education. Merely “deeni taleem” (religious education) can’t make the students who study here become successful as doctors, engineers, bureaucrats and managers. Along with “deeni taleem” they should also learn Hindi, English, mathematics and other relevant subjects. The survey is on and after the findings are submitted and collated, we will take appropriate steps.

Q: You talk of bettering the education system but many madrasas are in dire need of both funds and facilities. What’s the plan on that?

A: We will link those madrasas with various government schemes for students.

Q: What exactly is expected after the survey is over?

A: We will sit together and discuss survey findings. There are issues of affiliation or recognition. There are madrasas where things aren’t streamlined. All these things would determine our next course of action.

Q: Various big and renowned Islamic seminaries like Lucknow’s Nadwatul Ulama or Saharanpur’s Darul Uloom Deoband aren’t recognised by the madrasa board. Is there any plan to get all madrasas affiliated to the madrasa board?

A: Look, our Constitution is secular and none can be forced to follow any religion. But, if big and prominent seminaries like Nadwa or Darul Uloom just focus on “deeni taleem” alone and not link their students to modern education, the prospects of their students won’t improve. So, we plan to get madrasa students to learn NCERT syllabus too. And madrasa education system would also be run on the same pattern as the one in government’s basic education.

Q: It is an important point you are making. Could you elaborate?

A: It simply means that right from age bar to other things, all norms will be implemented in the madrasa education system, too. We are not opposed to them imparting religious education per se. We will add modern education too, and implement some norms.

Q: Most madrasas are starved of funds. Will the government help?

A: We are already funding madrasas, so while we help them, we also expect them to follow rules.

Q: What do you make of the waqf board property survey?

A: Waqf is god’s property and hence no commercial establishment or residential activity can happen here. So, we intend to free such waqf property of encroachments and will come up with educational institutes, coaching centres, hospitals and parks at such places.

Q: What is the timeline for the twin surveys?

A: We have limited manpower. Currently, the madrasa survey is on. At some places we have (given) additional charge to some officers to assist in the surveys. So, one survey will follow the other.

Q: A section of the community is apprehensive of the government exercise. Any plans to allay apprehensions?

A: My salutations to those clerics who have welcomed the government exercise. No good Muslim is opposing madrasa education reformation programme. Only those who never studied in madrasas, took education from convent schools are making such noises. They know that if these students become educated then they won’t be misled anymore. In fact, once the job and career prospects get better, these students would themselves realise how the BJP government helped them. That’s what some fear the most.

Q: Will the government take help of clerics?

A: You would have noticed that RSS chief Mohan Bhagwatji visited a madrasa and was given the title of ‘rashtra pita’. Our Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he hoped that madrasa students would hold Quran in one hand and laptop on the other. Chief minister Yogi Adityanath is busy realising Modiji’s dream.

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    Manish Chandra Pandey is a Lucknow-based assistant editor with Hindustan Times’ political bureau in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. Along with political reporting, he loves to write off beat/human interest stories that people connect with. Manish also covers departments. He feels he has a lot to learn not just from veterans but from the newcomers who make him realise that there is so much to unlearn

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