UP madrasas told to celebrate Independence Day, videograph event
Madrasas, or Islamic schools, in Uttar Pradesh have been ordered to compulsorily observe the Independence Day this year and make videos of the celebration, a move criticised for “raising doubts on the integrity of those running madrasas and its students”.
The order was issued by registrar of UP Madrasa Shiksha Parishad, Rahul Gupta, who said there was nothing wrong with the order.
“The letter has been issued with the right intention of helping madrasas organise the event in accordance with a uniform schedule,” he said.
The circular directs all madrasas to hoist the tricolour and sing the national anthem at 8 am. The flag hoisting should be followed by a speech on the importance of the freedom struggle and the sacrifices made by freedom fighters. The students will also have to pay tributes to freedom fighters on the occasion.
The madrasa students will have to sing patriotic songs and take part in sports events on Independence Day, the celebrations of which must end with the distribution of sweets among all.
The order, which makes photography and videography of the event mandatory, says that visual proof will help the board in encouraging participants so that they can put up a better show in the future.
There are about 16,000 madrasas in the state, of which 560 are fully-aided, and many have not taken it well.
“A madrasa student is equally patriotic as any other student. There was no need to issue such an order, especially only to madrasas, which have been celebrating the country’s Independence since 1947,” said Imam Eidgah Khalid Rasheed Firangi Mahli.
Mahli also questioned the need to photograph and videograph the event.
“I have no objection to it also, provided a similar order is issued to other government schools as well,” he said.
“The order raises doubts on the integrity of those running madrasa and its students. We have an objection on the use of photography and videography,” said a madrasa owner, who did not wish to be quoted.
However, there are others who see nothing wrong in the order. Khwaja Faizi Yunus, director of Eram group of institutions that runs 12 madrasas in Lucknow and Barabanki, said, “We have been celebrating it in the past. Madrasa students stage cultural programmes. We have been hoisting the tricolour too.”
UP minority affairs minister Mohsin Raza welcomed the order and said it would help madrasa students “learn more about the country’s freedom struggle”.