A ‘progressive’ Muslim gets excited about English language – The Times of India
Abdul Hameed starts his day with half-a-dozen newspapers, four of which are in English. Later, the 25-year-old logs on to news websites and religiously watches CNN and BBC. Then he sits down to write news reports that he contributes to English news portals and magazines. He hopes that he will end up as a feature writer with an English magazine.
This is not what your standard madrassa graduate dreams of. But Hameed, an aalim (graduate) from the Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband in Uttar Pradesh, represents a modern rivulet watering the mindset of maulvis in Mumbai. In the Deoband school, English was treated like an alien tongue, the currency of the Christian West. But another organisation called Markazul Maarif Education and Research Centre (MMERC), which is devoted to Muslim upliftment, is all for linguistic freedom. In the last decade or so, MMERC’s modest ‘campus’ — a group of rented rooms in an old building near Crawford Market (the school is moving to Jogeshwari) — has trained over 300 maulvis (including Hameed) to speak English, in order to prepare them for jobs in India and overseas. (via Words worth: Mr Maulvi’s English August – India – NEWS – The Times of India).
A progressive Mussalman gets excited
Mohammed Wajihuddin is getting very excited about a few hundred ‘maulvis’ learning English. Possibly, he does not know that in the land of English, there are a 10,000 Muslims in prison. Seen in the light of Muslim demographics of ‘Great’ Britain, the picture becomes shocking.
If Muslim males between 18-45 are the ‘target’ population for imprisonment, then we are talking about an ‘eligible population of 250,000 people – out of less than 1.6 million UK Muslims. Of then 10,000 are in prison. And yet Britain is the hotbed of Islamic terrorism in the West! So, learning English is not solution Mr.Wajihuddin! In Latin it is called a non-sequitur, Mr.Wajihuddin!
Coming to Deoband
Deoband seminary was set up after the 1857 War, as a religious institution to ‘escape’ British repression. A 75 years later, the Deoband school became famous during Independence due to its strong anti-Jinnah, anti-Partition stand. 60 years later, Mahmud Madani still talks about ‘our’ India. And the Deoband school is in the vanguard against the ‘jihadi-Talibani-Wahabbi’ propaganda school which is mixing brewing poison in some Muslim minds.
His interview here lays out the land very clearly – without the pussyfooting around the issues. For all those in India, who are onto the Islamic demonization route, this should make them re-think.
For starters, must consider the Indic (by both Hindus and Muslims) fight for the overthrow of British colonialism – from the 1857 War to 1947. The Deoband Seminary, Sheikh Abdullah were all popular Muslim leaders – who did not wish for or support the formation of Pakistan.
And about the root of Islamic terrorism
The problems in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Middle East have their genesis in the cynical intervention by the West – in the last 150 years. These interventions have imbalanced traditional structures – and magnified problems. The US has turned Peshawar into a military arms bazaar. CIA created these Afghan Frankensteins – in pursuit of it own imperial competition with USSR. And then the imprisonment and sidelining of the Frontier Gandhi – Pakistan.
As the 2ndlook post ‘Behind The Web of terror’, on December 17th, 2007, pointed out, the answer to the Pakistani problems in the North West tribal areas was Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan. On October 3rd, 2008, the Frontier Gandhi’s grandson was the target of suicide bomber. The terrorists are obviously worried that Khan Abdul Khan Ghaffar Khan’s sensibility may make a comeback.
The sounds of silence
Instead of making inchoate remarks about English language and linguistic freedom, stiill your mind. When you have an iota of vision, standing and success that Deoband has, then you can talk, Mr.Wajihuddin!
Till then, sit at the feet of the masters at Deoband and learn in silence.