August 15, 2017 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
The Uttar Pradesh government lead Yogi Adityanath earlier this month issued a circular directing all the Madrasas (Islamic Schools) across the state to organize Indian Independence Day functions. In it’s August 3 circular the government has also issued directions that such functions should be photographed and videographed and images and videos should be submitted with the authorities. The government’s version is that the video will be used to select the best function and will be used to embolden the others.
The circular is an attempt to tighten its hold upon the independent functionality of the institutions ascribed with the Muslim minority community in the state. The pro-hindutva Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power in the center in May 2014 with a clear agenda to officially declare (establish) India as a ‘Hindu Rashtra’ (Hindu Nation). Working on the same project to turn it into a single entity of Hindu, Hindi, Hindustan the BJP with the assistance of its ideological patron Rashtriya Sawayamsewak Sangh (RSS) has taken many moves which reflects its plans. After being done on the language front by imposing Hindi in almost all the major government offices and educational institution, it has turned its eyes towards Uttar Pradesh the state with largest concentration of Muslims population in India.
Muslims, being the largest minority in India are seen as major hurdle in the process of Hindu nation building project by the Hindutva forces. The UP government’s circular can be seen as a major stepping stone in the goal towards integrating them into the folds of Indian nationalism which is just a mask of the Hindu Nationalism or the Hindutva itself. The Hindutva government has used Bharat Mata, Bande Mataram, Gau-Raksha to generate anti Muslims sentiments which reflects the process of Hindu hegemonic assertion.
The intention behind the issuance of this circular is to assert pressure on the Muslims to prove their integrity and loyalty towards the Indian state to such an extent that it will result in either total collapse of the independent functionality of the Madrasas or else will come under the direct control of the pro-hindutva elements in the state machinery.
Though the aforesaid controversial Madrasa circular is first of its kind which is directly and openly aimed at the minorities affiliated educational institutions but it was preceded by the several steps aimed at saffronising the education system.
A similar circular was issued by the Joint Director for higher education Urmila Singh in wake of birth century of Deen Dayal Upadhyay, founder of Jansangh (Present day BJP) back in June so as to celebrate his life and philosophy. The students were asked to hold seminars, and conferences on his life and philosophy. The said events were supposed to be carried out consistently till September and the same was to be photographed and recorded.
In this process of building a Hindu Rastra by preparing pro-hindutva educational policies which suits the ruling elite the University Grants Commission (UGC) is acting as a convenient tool for them.
Apparently, the UGC whilst following the dictation from Human Resource Ministry (HRD) in its circular signed and issued by its secretary Jaspal Singh Sandhu on 10th January asked the colleges to celebrate Swami Vivekananda’s birthday as ‘National Youth Day’ by holding seminars and debate upon his philosophy and academic work, in September 2015. The then HRD Minister Smriti Irani in a circular issued through UGC had ordered around five universities across the region, including Tata Institute of Social Sciences (Mumbai), Central University of Jammu and Kashmir, Sri Sankaracharya Sanskrit University (Kerala), Ramkrishna Mission University (West Bengal) and Pt Ravishankar Shukla University (Chhattisgarh) to set up a chair in Hindutva ideologue Swami Vivekananda’s name. Swami Vivekananda is highly revered by the upper caste Hindu elite for his work for Hindutva.
Furthermore, to impose Hindutva activities among the students of higher educational institutions the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) a body under UGC governing more than ten thousand institutions having over 18 lakh students made Yoga mandatory for the students as an academic subject. Failing to do so would make it difficult for the student to obtain their degree certificates. Even the considered prestigious institutions of India that is the Indian Institute of Management (IIM’s) & Indian Institute of Technology (IIT’s) were asked to fall in line and use Hindi as a medium to impart their respective syllabus. Initially in the year 2015 attempts were made by the BJP to quash the independent function of these institution and bring its administrative members under the direct control of the HRD ministry but later withdrew following a huge uproar against them by the academicians of the institutions.
Surprisingly, this aggressive scenario to pursue its agenda of saffronising the education system by the pro-hindutva forces at the helms of the affair at the center is not confined to higher educational or minorities related institution, but was preceded with the imposition of three language policy to alteration of historical facts in the textbook and replacing of conventional Indian leaders with biographies of RSS ideologues in the syllabus of the text books approved by the state education boards. The state of Haryana, Gujarat and Rajisthan with BJP governments at the helm of the affairs are vociferously leading this front in propagating the Hindutva ideology of the Sangh Pariwar.
Either way it will serve as a win win situation for the BJP-RSS in their persecute towards achieving a Hindu Rastra, as it may bring the educational content and curriculum of the Madrasas directly under their control. The ruling elite is aware of the fact that proper Islamic teaching or for that matter any religious teaching in case of minorities will act as a hurdle in the so-called nation building process as those religious believes normally leads to asserting of distinct self-identity on the lines of one’s own religion. Such religio-cultural assertions are normally considered as threat and problem by the ruling elite of the sub-continent. As it is clear to the pro-hindutva forces that it is difficult in case of Muslims to amalgamate them into Hindutva folds on religious lines so they are using the tools of Nationalism against the Madrasas so as to suppress their self-identity and that identity a new meaning by training the young minds of the Muslim children that too in the context of Indian Nationalism and that’s how this circular should be viewed at.
Categorically, this move of the Uttar Pradesh government also allude to the fact that the Indian state lead by pro-hindutva forces is trying to integrate a large chunk of Muslim section with it so as implement its impeding policy of ‘Final Solution’ against the left over section that rather falling in line may choose the way of dissent and defiance against compromising their distinctiveness.
The nationalism is the beating bar in the hands of the Hindutva forces. The circular may have been issued for madrassas in the Uttar Pradesh, but it is a clear warning signal for all the minorities.