Himanta Biswa Sarma to end state funded Madrassas in Assam and criticizes Grooming aka ‘Love Jihad’

In keeping with his February announcement, Assam Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma stated that all government-funded madrassas in the state will be closed down as religious education cannot be permitted to be conducted using public money. He also said that a notification to this effect will be issued next month.

Times of India (ToI) quoted Sarma as saying “no religious educational institutes will be allowed to function with government funds. We will bring out a notification in November to this effect”. While this move has been largely welcomed, opposition to it came from expected quarters as AIUDF (All India United Democratic Fund) Chief Badruddin Ajmal threatened to re-open the madrassas “after coming to power next year”. 

The state of Assam is said to have 614 government madrassas on which the state spends around 3 to 4 crore rupees every year. The Madrassa Education Board was scrapped two years ago and all madrassas were placed under the control of the Secondary Board of Education Assam (SEBA). Sarma stated that they intended to bring children studying in madrassas into the mainstream by converting the madrassas into regular schools.

This bold move by the Assam government is appreciable considering the fact that madrassas have by and large been responsible for Islamic Jihadi indoctrination. However, Sarma also equated Sanskrit tols (gurukuls) to the madrassas which is a false equivalence because no indoctrination takes place in traditional Hindu schools.

Gurukuls (traditional Hindu residential schools) was wide-spread in Bharat during the British rule which admitted students from all classes. As per a survey commissioned by the then-British rule, there were lakhs of gurukuls with almost 60% of the students comprising of the so-called Shudra varna.

If anything, Sanskrit schools must receive state patronage due to the simple fact that these promote traditional Bharatiya knowledge (did someone say vocal for local?) which is much needed to preserve indigenous traditions. It must be mentioned here that the British systematically destroyed the gurukuls in order to break the backbone of the Bharatiya education system and replace it with their own Macaulay educational system.

At present, the Assam government spends around 1 crore rupees annually on around 100 Sanskrit tols in the state. However, Sarma said, “the Sanskrit tol issue is different. The objection in this regard is related to lack of transparency and the government is taking steps to address the issue”.

The Assam government had dissolved the Sanskrit board and brought all Sanskrit tols under the administration of the Kumar Bhaskar Varma Sanskrit and Ancient Studies University.

While speaking to the press, Sarma also spoke out on the ‘grooming’ (love jihad) issue. He said that boys create Facebook profiles with Hindu names and post pictures of themselves visiting temples to trap girls in the name of love. It is only much after the marriage that the girls realize the real identities of the boys. He termed this a breach of trust and therefore not a bona fide marriage.

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