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By Zafarul-Islam Khan

Information keeps filtering from various parts of the country that a secret drive is on to gather information about Muslim organizations, especially madrasas. The present rulers in Delhi have somehow persuaded themselves to believe that madrasas are dens of terrorism and ISI bases in the country! 

As a matter of fact much of this emanates from the culture of ignorance which flourishes in our ruling and middle classes about the country’s biggest minority group. Apart from servants, minions and favour-seekers, this class rarely comes into contact with real, ordinary Indian Muslims or their true leaders. In this environment it is natural for both the parties to nurture fantastic ideas about the thoughts and aims of ‘the other.’ The fact of the matter is that the ordinary Indian Muslim, or the Muslim Indian, is as patriotic as anyone else in this country of ours. Like any other community we are serving, contributing and enriching our society. We have sacrificed our lives and personal dreams for the sake of the country whenever situation demanded. 

The madrasas which have somehow become suspect suddenly are the product of the freedom-lovers who refused to teach and study in institutions run by the British colonial masters. The first madrasa at Deoband was founded by freedom fighters who, after the 1857 debacle, devoted their energies to the field of education. Soon the trend caught up and we have a network of these private madrasas, a phenomenon India did not know before 1857 when state madrasas were misappropriated by the British.

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