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HVK Archives: A case for education, prosperity for Indian masses (letter)

A case for education, prosperity for Indian masses (letter) - The Asian Age

Prafull Goradia ()
November 23, 1998

Title: A case for education, prosperity for Indian masses (letter)
Author: Prafull Goradia
Publication: The Asian Age
Date: November 23, 1998

Sir, This is with reference to the report Cleric asks Muslims to
avoid UP schools (November. 20). Declaration of a fatwa a
against fatwa is an unusual development. The first fatwa was
issued by three Maulanas of the Darul-Uloom, Deoband; and, the
second has been issued by chairman of the All India Muslim
Personal Law Board Maulana Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi, better known as
Ali Mian, against the rendition of Vande mataram in schools.
Since it calls for the boycott of a national song, which was an'
integral part of India's freedom struggle, serious thought must
have been given before issuing this fatwa. Since it affects the
life of lakhs of children who study in government-run schools in
the state it should be made sure that the Maulanas think of an
alternative means to educate these innocent children. One also
hopes that these fatwas are not just an attempt to keep Muslim
masses backward so that they are not able to get out of the
clutches of the orthodox leadership. History reveals, that in
the past too, the mullahs advocated an aversion towards English
education imparted in schools and colleges. The result was that
in 1865 at Calcutta, 41 Hindus and only one Muslim passed the BA
examination whereas all the law and medical graduates that year
were Hindus. Between 1858 and 1878, only 57 Muslims received
University degrees as compared to 3,155 Hindus (Reference:
History and Culture of the Indian People, Volume, X, published by
Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan). Muslim leader R.M. Sayani, in his
presidential address at the 12th Indian National Congress held in
Calcutta in 1896, said that before the advent of the British in
India, Muslims were the rulers of the country. Yet, in some
decades, they were reduced to a state of poverty. "Ignorance and
apathy seized hold of them while the fall of their former
greatness rankled in their hearts," he said. Muslim women are
dissuaded from studying beyond the need of ibadat and encouraged
to remain behind purdah. An ignorant mother is the surest way to
bring up uneducated children. Sir Syed Ahmad Khan's effort to
revive education among Muslims is well-known. Haji Muhammad
Mohsin left a legacy for education of Muslims in Bengal. Such
efforts are needed even today to ensure that the community keeps
in step with the progress of other communities.

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