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Assam government offers financial assistance to the private madarsas

Assam government offers financial assistance to the private madarsas



DISPUR (India),3 Jumada Al-Awwal/25 March (IINA)-In an attempt to improve the standard of the private madarsas of the state the Assam government, under the Chief Minister’s special scheme, has offered financial assistance to 640 private madarsas. Each of the private madarsas gets Rs. 3 lakh. The distribution ceremony was held at the Guwahati Municipal Corporation auditorium on 20th March 2012. The Education Minister of Assam, Himanta Biswa Sarma, along with Forest Minister Rockybul Hussain, distributed the amount to the heads of the private madarsas.

Speaking at the function Sarma emphasized that the students studying in the madarsas had to keep up with the changing times. Only religious education is not enough. There is the need for introducing vocational courses in madarsas, he added. He also said that the state government is introducing such a scheme for financial assistance to private madarsas for the first time. To improve the educational standard of the private madarsas, which wholly depends on charity money, the state government has formed a core committee, he added.


The state Education Department had also offered such financial package to the 69 madarsas of the state under various schemes of 12th Finance Commission for development of Islamic traditional institutions last November. Each madarsa received a cheque of Rs. 7 lakh.

The Education Department has been implementing such financial assistance schemes with an aim to encourage madarsas to introduce modern subjects like Science, Mathematics, Social Sciences and English in their syllabus. The department has been giving special training sessions for madarsa teachers which will help them in imparting modern subjects. Education Minister said that many of the madarsa teachers have been undergoing training in modern teaching methodology offered by various institutions, including the National Council of Education Research and Training (NCERT). And under the Rajiv Gandhi Computer Literacy Programme the department is planning to facilitate teaching of Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and English with the help of computers in the madarsas, the minister added.

There are around 700 madarsas in Assam. So far, just around 80 madarsas have been taken over by the state government. These madarsas receive funds annually like mainstream schools in the state. However, according to Home Ministry sources, there are 721 Madarsahs catering to over 1,20,000 children in Assam.

There are 2 types of madarsas in Assam – government (provincialised) and non-government madarsas (khariji). Curriculum of government madarsas includes general subjects. Majority of the non-government madarsas follow Deobandi curriculum.

Government madarsas are of four categories – Arabic College, Title Madrasa, Senior Madrasa, Pre-senior Madrasa. A Pre-Senior Madrasa has students from Std V to Std VII, an Arabic College has students from Std V to post-graduation, a Title Madrasa offers two Post Graduate classes and the Senior Madrasa has 10 classes from pre-senior to Fadilul-Marif degree (graduation in Islamic studies).

Fadilul-Marif Degree is recognised in Aligarh Muslim University and Hamdard University. However, it is equivalent to the high school leaving certificate (Matriculation) examination in mainstream schools. Madrasa students with Fadilul-Marif Degrees can pursue higher studies (Plus II) in other schools also.

In these madarsas, Islamic as well as modern education is imparted. In 1968 General subjects were introduced along with theological subjects. Modern or mainstream subjects like English, Mathematics, General Science and Social Studies are taught along with religious studies and languages like Arabic, Urdu and Persian. The theological subjects for the Fadilul-Marif degree are the Holy Qur’an, Hadith, Fiqh, Usool, Mantiq (logic). For the Mumtazul-Muhaddithin (equivalent to post-graduation), a student has to study the tradition of Prophet Muhammad, interpretation of the Holy Qur’an and history of Islam. Computer education and vocational training are also introduced in many of the madarsas. However, most of the madarsas have poor infrastructure due to financial crunch.

Non-government madarsas are of two types – Almiya and Fazilat Madarsas and Hafizia Madarsas. The first type of madarsas offers syllabus that consists of commentary of the Qur’an (Tafsir), Hadith (sayings of the Prophet), Islamic Jurisprudence (Fiqh), introductory Islamic History along with languages like Urdu, Arabic, Assamese, etc. The course of Hafizia or memorisation of Qur’an is imparted both in the Almiya and exclusive Hafizia madarsas.

The informal kind of madrasa education system was developed in Assam in the 14th century. Shah Ziauddin, a close disciple of the renowned saint Shah Jalal, is said to have established a madrasa-type of institution at Badarpur (Karimganj District) in Assam. In the 16th and 17th century Assam many learned Muslims opened religious seminaries on the lines of Sattras (religious institutions of the Vaishnavites) where Islamic education was given in an informal way. The British surgeon, J. P. Wade, who stayed in Assam from 1792 to 1794 ( in An Account of Assam) that 10 to 12 houses of Muslims in Gauhati, and more than 20 houses in Rangpur were offering private instructions on Islamic studies to the Muslim children.

M. Martin writes (in The History, Antiquities, Topography, and Statistics of Eastern India, Vol. VI) that in the early part of 19th century Muslim teachers, called akhuns, instructed the young zamindars and wealthy Muslims to read Qur’an and Persian (Farsi), and to understand the business of the government, especially legal proceedings. Persian was then a “cultured” language that every gentleman, irrespective of religion and class, should understand. Martin further writes that children started learning Persian from the age of 5-7 and the course took 10 years. Martin further observed, “In Kamrup district a learned Muslim scholar named Sa’adutullah instructed students in Arabic and Persian literature and the students were lodged at his own expense. He instructed Hindu students too, free of cost, but their customs did not permit them to live in his house. His only reward was his reputation, and when his pupils got job, it was expected from them to make presents to him under the name of rateb. The students studied Allami Zulikha and Bahardanesh, and also the texts of Molla Hafez.”

B. C. Allen writes (in Assam District Gazetteers (Vol. VI) that the Khalifa community of Kamrup district was believed to be the descendents of religious teachers who migrated from Bengal. By the late 19th century the Khalifas gave up their vocation as it was no longer lucrative and took to cultivation works.

Bazlur Rahman Khan writes (in “Madrassa Education System: South Assam,” knoll) that Darul Uloom Baghbari in the Karimganj district was one of the early madarsas established in Assam in 1873 just a few years after the Darul-Uloom Deoband was established (1866). Darul Uloom Bashkandi, another old madrasa, was established in 1897. Maulana Abdul Jalil Choudhury, a Congress leader and a freedom- fighter played a significant role in the institution of the State Madrasa Board and affiliation and categorisation of madarsas (as ‘Title’, ‘Senior’ and ‘Pre-Senior’ madarsas), also called provincialisation. Jalil even disassociated himself from Jamiat-ul Ulema-i-Hind for the latter’s opposition to the move.