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Published in the 1-15 Oct 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition


Darul Uloom Deoband 

Darul Uloom DeobandDarul Uloom Deoband is a famous Islamic educational institution which was established on 30 May 1866, nine years after the first war of Independence in 1857 against British colonialism. It was dubbed as “Mutiny” against the occupiers. Muslims and Hindus put together their efforts to liberate the country under the banner of Bahadur Shah Zafar. Indians were defeated and gave up the idea of fighting the enemy in the battle field. They decided to use brain rather than brawn to defeat Britishers. Thus the foundation stone of a madarsa called “Darul Uloom” (house of sciences) was laid in Deoband. This place is well-known for its spiritual values. Deoband is the concocted form of Devi-Ban, forest of goddess. Around the same period two universities were established in Aligarh and Banaras. Darul Uloom Deoband met all the objectives of the National Policy of Education devised in 1986 by the Kothari Commission. Some of the main features of the institution are given below:

Aims and objectives of Darul Uloom: The madrasa aims at preparing law-abiding citizens, who believe in simple living and high thinking. Students passing out from the madrasa are disciplined and they lead a peaceful and pious life. They are self-reliant and they know the art of leading a life within available means. It is the reason that the students of the institution do not beg for government jobs. They don’t seek donations from the public or any other organisation. Not a single student of the madrasa has ever been found guilty of anti-national activities. Not a single case of murder, dacoity and theft has ever been registered against any student of the madrasa.

Free Education: No fees are charged at any level of education in the madrasa, like admission fee, building fee, lodging, food, water, electricity or medical check up and medicines which are charged by schools. The institution provides even text-books free of cost. The madrasa bears all kinds of expenses on its own and it does not take any aid from the government. The expenses are met through voluntary donations of the public.

Disciplined life: Students are well-behaved and respect their teachers and elders. During examinations, students do not take to unfair means. 
Simple life: Simplicity is the motto of life in the madrasa. Since the needs of human beings are unlimited while resources are limited, they tend to adopt unfair means for fulfilling their needs. The students of the madrasa are taught to lead life within their means. 

Adult education: Literacy rate in India is very low. The institution is a boon for the grown up people who want to continue their education. Age is no bar for taking admission to the madrasa. The institution fulfills the aims and objects of the literacy mission of the country.

Some other aspects of the madrasa: About 3500 students are studying in the madrasa at present at various levels. The number of teachers and other staff is over 250. The annual budget of the madrasa is more than Rs. 70 million. Peasants have a special attachment to the institution and they donate wheat and other grains for the consumption of the students.
A student has to study for 13 years to get a graduation degree. He has to spend the early five years for primary education. Hindi, English, Urdu, Persian, History, Geography, General Knowledge and Mathematics are taught at this level.
For the next eight years Hadith, Fiqh, Logic, Islamic Jurisprudence are taught. The students are also taught modern subjects like Computers and Journalism.
Students are given professional training in tailoring, book-binding and calligraphy. The accounts of the institution are audited by a government-approved chartered accountant. The annual balance sheet is compiled. After the scrutiny of the auditor, the balance sheet is presented to the government.

Osama Bin Laden and Darul Uloom: After 9-11 attacks on New York, the name of Osama Bin Laden has been associated with the madrasa which is a false propaganda. The madrasa has been branded as the originator of Taliban. Osama has never visited or studied in Darul Uloom Deoband while King Zahir Shah of Afghanistan had visited the institution. Osama’s activities are in no way connected to the madrasa. To remove misunderstandings, the institution has invited mediapersons and intellectuals to come to Deoband and see the activities of students with their own eyes. The misunderstandings are the creation of Jewish lobby. Confusion has been created under the influence of USA and Israel. 

US machinations and Darul Uloom: US propagates that terrorism has taken root because of Islamic religious education. There have been demands of some people from western countries to change the system of education and textbooks of Darul Uloom Deoband. Bin Laden, Al-Zawahiri, Abdul Salam and Khalid, who are branded terrorists, have never been students of any well-known Arabic university, like Al Azhar of Egypt, or any other famous Arabic institution. The Taliban no doubt received education on the pattern of Arabic institutions but they are not terrorists. The only allegation against them is that they gave shelter to Osama Bin Laden.

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