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Published in the 16-30 Sep 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition


For a better deal in UP 

Apropos Mr. Kaleem Kawaja’s plea for a better deal for Muslims in UP (Milli Gazette, 1-15 September, 2004; UP Muslims deserve more than just cosmetic gestures), I suggest that 1) the reservation for Muslims in public employment and higher education should be at least 12.5% (considering that their level of backwardness is about 80% of the SC); 2) Muslim high schools, intermediate and degree colleges should be recognized forthwith and sanctioned grants under Article 29(2) on par with other schools and colleges. But what is much more important; 3) Urdu should be recognized as medium of primary instruction, Sanskrit should be made an optional, not a Compulsory Subject, in schools, Urdu should be taught to Urdu-speaking students as Mother Tongue from Class I to Class X and Government primary, middle and secondary schools should be opened in all Muslim-concentration areas in accordance with national norm of 1 primary school for a population unit of 300. Regular posts of Urdu teachers should be sanctioned and filled not in an adhoc manner but on the basis of educational norms, school textbooks and school culture should be secularized.

I would like to add that the state government should not interfere with religious instruction which is the primary objective of Madrasas. Nor do I see any need for establishing a State Madrasa Board. But the State should admit holders of Alim and Fazil Certificates of known Madrasas to high school and intermediate examinations respectively. More than half a dozen universities in the State have separate post-graduate departments of Urdu, Persian and Arabic. Where is the need for another Urdu, Arabic and Persian University? Instead the State Government should encourage and facilitate the Muslims in establishing a University of Science and Technology and recognize it as a minority institution.

Syed Shahabuddin

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