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Minority institutions in the grip of educational mafia
By Irshadul Haq

In spite of the common refrain of educational backwardness of Muslims, the atmosphere of educational awakening and progress among them is yet to be created by Muslims themselves. This needs to be considered at national level. Today all fields of life are open to privatization, including education. Because of privatization, education is taking the form of an industry and an industry is run on one principle only i.e. profit or loss. Wherever any business is based on profit or loss from financial point of view, the concept of welfare of community or nation is meaningless. Today education, from primary to higher level or even technical, professional or technological level is so much commercialized that it has become extremely difficult for Muslims in general to educate their children.

The greatest disadvantage of privatization of education is being felt by Muslims only. The history of educational backwardness of Muslims is even fifty years older than its privatization. After enforcement of democratic Constitution in the country, the government of India provided special constitutional rights for minorities.

Sections 29 and 30 of the Constitution very clearly provide for the freedom and safeguarding of educational, cultural and religious rights of religious minorities. It has been clearly stated in section 30 that all minorities-religious, racial, linguistic and others will have full freedom in establishing and management of the educational institutions according to their needs. It has further been stated in the same section that the state will not make any distinction in providing government assistance to educational institutions of this type and those of other types. Taking advantage of these constitutional rights during the past fifty years, Muslims set up religious educational institutions on nation-wide scale. These educational institutions are busy in spreading the light of Islamic teachings; but another aspect of this type of education is worth consideration.

We have given so much preference to religious education that gradually we are left far behind in modern education. People who wanted their children to go up in modern education privately, send them to modern schools but this was possible only for those who were financially in a sound position. The result was that a line was drawn between the rich and the poor in Muslim society. Prosperous families began to declare and consider madrasa education as unnecessary. The poor people were helpless because they had no money to educate their children. On the other hand our experts did not pay any attention to this problem. It was proper that in the beginning itself they should have paid attention to their technical education side by side with religious education.

The Christian community showed great wisdom and far sightedness in this connection. On one side they laid emphasis on the religious education of their children through Christian missionaries and on the other side they opened medical and engineering colleges on country-wide scale. The result was that they took great advantage of these things. Muslims also opened medical and engineering colleges in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh and many other states but these cannot be called sufficient when compared to their population. Also, many difficulties and hindrances were being created for them on one pretext or the other by the state governments. For an example, there are two minority institutions in Bihar. Katihar medical college in eastern Bihar, a Muslim minority educational institution, is being made a victim by ruling elites of Bihar on some legal hurdles or the other. After getting fed up, the college management knocked at the door of the court. The case was under the hearing of the court for years and ultimately the college management won the case and it got rid of the difficulties created on account of its affiliation.

Another case of more or less the same nature was that of minorities dental college. The state government has also been creating many difficulties for its management. But Muslims have been facing great difficulties and having a lot of grievances against such Muslim institutions also. In all Muslim educational institutions throughout the country, lakhs of rupees are demanded as capitation fee like other educational institutions. Obviously, such high fees should not be charged from poor and harassed Muslims. In such cases, large number of non-Muslims are sufficient to donate huge sums. The college management admits non-Muslim students in large numbers in their greed for money and Muslim students cannot do any thing except shedding tears on their poverty. In this way these institutions, though being minority institutions, admit upto fifty percent of non-Muslim students to earn more money though legally they have no such problem. On the one hand educational backwardness of Muslims is increasing fast and on the other hand the department of education is increasingly coming in the grips of mafia groups. These educational mafia groups are not at all concerned whether the money is being given by the people of minority community or by the majority community.

These minority institutions need to be pressurized at national level. Now they should be compelled to follow the special principles and rules and regulation with regard to admissions. They should not consider competitive examinations for admissions merely as paper formalities. They should admit financially backward and poor Muslims on preferential basis. They should reduce the ratio of non-Muslim students without any greed for money and in no case they should allow their number to exceed the prescribed limit. ( Translated from Urdu)
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