Assam Government’s bold decision : Madarasas cannot impart religious education

Government should stop the policy of appeasement, and build an education system that instils patriotism in students !

H.H. (Advocate) Suresh Kulkarni

1. Assam Government passed a law to include usual subjects (taught in schools) in madarasa curriculum, replacing religious education

For the past few years, a Hindu nationalist Government has been in power in Assam. The BJP Government under the leadership of Himanta Biswa Sarma took some important decisions to strengthen national unity and integrity. What is more surprising is the fact that the person who took these decisions, which will make any patriot or devout Hindu happy, Himanta Biswa Sarma, had been a Congress veteran before he joined BJP.

In 2020, the Assam Government passed a law to ban religious education in madarasas and to include usual subjects such as maths, science, history, geography etc. in the curriculum.

2. The Congress Government alloted State funds to madarasas; later, involvement of some madarasa students in jihadi terrorist activities came to light

First, let us understand more about madarasas and the kind of religious education being imparted in such institutions. Post-Independence, during the initial 60 years of being in power, the Congress Governments passed various laws to facilitate religious education in madarasas. They not only allowed teaching of foreign languages such as Arabic, Persian and Urdu, but also included religious subjects and texts such as Quran, Tafsir, Hadis, Usul, Akhir and Hikmat in the curriculum. After this type of education, it will be naive to expect the madarasa students to serve the Nation. On top of this, the respective Congress Governments started providing grants to madarasas, and the moulvis (Teachers in madarasas) also started receiving salaries from the Government funds.

Many countries, including France, have already banned madarasas. Jitendra Singh Tyagi (erstwhile Waseem Rizvi) and Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen have revealed the (ugly) truth about madarasas. They have exposed the dangers of madarasa education to the world. Despite this, the madarasas continue to operate in India.

We should carefully study the confessions of the convicted religious fanatics, terrorists and jihadis to understand what kind of education is imparted to the students in the madarasas. This analysis reveals that fundamentalist religious education is the root cause of all jihadi activities. Yet, Congress and so-called secular political parties appease the religious fanatics.

3. The High Court upheld the decision to abolish State-sponsored madarasas despite many petitions against it

A. With the help of certain Articles of the Constitution, religious fanatics claimed that such a move violated their fundamental rights

In 2014, BJP came to power at the Centre. Soon, it passed a law in BJP-ruled Assam for madarasas to replace ‘religious education’ with ‘general education’. The religious fanatics opposed this tooth and nail, and approached the High Court. In the process, they filed 13 different petitions in the High Court. These petitions were heard by a two-member Division Bench (of Chief Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia and Justice Soumitra Saikia).

The religious fanatics told the Court, “Article 25 and 26 of the Constitution of India allow religious freedom and Article 30 permits Muslims to administer their schools, colleges and other institutions. Moreover, after 1995, many laws were passed to protect the rights of madarasas, and they even started getting Government grants. Consequently, madarasas have the right to decide what to include in their curriculum; moreover, the students like the subjects being taught in madarasas”.

B. Assam Government clarified its stand to the Court that providing religious education is unconstitutional

While refuting the claims of the petitioners, the State Government told the Court, “India has many religions and sects. Hence, it is inappropriate to include education on a particular religion or sect in any educational institution including madarasas. Therefore, such a practice is unconstitutional. Moreover, more than 25,000 erstwhile madarasa students in the State have recently taken admission in regular schools. They have felt that such ‘general education’ will facilitate easier access to vocational courses such as Medicine and Engineering”.

C. Assam Government provided many historical instances (from India’s colonial past) to validate its stance

Additionally, the State Government explained to the Court the educational system that was adopted by the British Governor-General Dalhousie in 1854.

The Government told the Court that during the British rule, the Simon Commission (A group of seven Members of the British Parliament) was sent to India to amend the Constitution of India. The Commission met with stiff resistance upon its arrival in India with the slogans of ‘Simon Go Back !’

Later, a two-member Committee was appointed to study the issue in detail and provide recommendations. This Committee suggested that the State or Centre should not provide any religious education. This recommendation was further discussed in the British Parliament.

While presenting these instances from the past, the State Government tried to adhere to one fundamental principle of Mohandas Gandhi – ‘All religions and sects should be treated equally.’

D. Assam Government presented an important aspect regarding providing ‘regular education’ instead of ‘religious education’

The Assam Government told the High Court – “Article 28 of the Constitution prohibits providing religious instructions in the State-run schools. Additionally, Article 28(3) says – No person attending any educational institution recognised by the State or receiving aid out of State funds shall be required to take part in any religious instruction that may be imparted in such institution or to attend any religious worship that may be conducted in such institution or in any premises attached thereto.

Despite such a clear instruction, how can State Governments provide grants to madarasas where religious education is an inseparable part of the overall curriculum ? Since madarasas receive State grants, they should provide ‘regular education’ to their students. They cannot continue to provide religious education”.

E. Religious fanatics challenged Aligarh Muslim University in the High Court; however, their petition was dismissed

The petition filed by religious fanatics regarding Aligarh Muslim University was discussed in detail in the Court. The religious fanatics argued that Aligarh Muslim University is managed by Muslims. Later, in their counterargument, with the help of laws passed in 1920 and 1935 and other legal references, the State Government clearly stated that not only do the teachers and other workers at the University get Government salary, but the administration too is managed by Government and not by Muslims.

The Government further told the Court that Article 28 of the NCERT (National Council of Educational Research and Training) Act also states that the fundamental principles of all religions are the same and just the form of worship is different. Therefore, madarasas cannot provide religious education to their students on the NCERT guiding principles.

After carefully listening to the arguments presented by the Government and the religious fanatics, Assam High Court upheld the decision of the State Government to ban religious education in madarasas.

If the other BJP-ruled States pass similar laws, these laws will clear the legal hurdles, if any, since these are within the ambit of the Constitution of India and its fundamental principles. Hence, patriots and devout Hindus expect that other BJP-ruled State Governments should take this bold decision and ban religious education in madarasas.

4. The State Governments should end the policies of appeasement and work towards building an educational system that inculcates patriotism in students

In addition to the above points, the Government must stop the ideological indoctrination and radical-isation taking place in the madarasas immediately. In this regard, the Government should follow in the footsteps of the French Government.

It took less than a day for the French Government to close down all madarasas across the Country. The French Government took this bold decision to ban madarasas since they had become a ‘breeding ground’ for jihadis, terrorists and anti-national forces.

India has already suffered a lot in the past 75 years due to the non-implementation of a ‘Uniform Civil Law’, lack of measures to arrest the exponential growth in population and appeasement politics.

Hindu vote is undeniably the potent force behind the formation of any Government. Hence, patriots of this Country expect that elected representatives should take some bold decisions to strengthen the Nation.

Additionally, they should stop spending taxpayer’s money on the policies of appeasement, and build an education system that instils patriotism in students. The discrimination of Hindus in a Democracy gives the impetus to the call for establishing the ‘Hindu Rashtra’.

– H.H. (Advocate) Suresh Kulkarni (Founder Member, Hindu Vidhidnya Parishad and Advocate in Bombay High Court, 29.9.2021)

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