Rajat Sharma

My Opinion

Modernization of madrasas

akb 1 (002)UP Shia Central Waqf Board chairman Wasim Rizvi has written to the Prime Minister and state chief minister to abolish the UP Board of Madrasa Education and all other madrasa boards in the country, and bring all madrasas under the affiliation of Central or state education boards. In his letter, Rizvi has alleged that most of the madrasas are being run by Muslim clerics, who are imparting “misplaced and misconceived” religious education to Muslim children, depriving them of the opportunity to be part of “nationbuilding”. Citing instances, Rizvi has said, in the last 70 years of independence, only a handful of Muslims who have studied in madrasas could clear the civil services exams, and they could do so only after opting for modern education. “The number of terrorists coming out of madrasas is much higher”, he claims.

I disagree with his view that madrasas breed terrorists. Madrasas are set up to impart religious education, which is okay, but modern education in madrasas is also necessary. If modern education is imparted in madrasas, Muslim children can build a brighter future for themselves. In states like Rajasthan, UP and MP, computers have been installed in madrasas, and most of the subjects covered by CBSE or state boards are being taught. Other states should also follow this.

As far as brainwashing young men with extremist views is concerned, a terrorist can be motivated anywhere, and not necessarily inside a madrasa. The Aligarh Muslim University imparts the best of modern education, but a PhD scholar of that university suddenly becomes a terrorist and takes up the gun in Kashmir. The suggestion to close down all madrasas is therefore impractical, but all madrasas should be modernized.

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Why an AMU PhD scholar became a militant?

aaj ki baat_frame_843 (002)This is a curious case of a PhD scholar from Aligarh Muslim University, Mannan Bashir Wani, who went to Kashmir and took up the gun to become a Hizbul Mujahideen militant. The militant outfit on Tuesday confirmed that Wani has joined its ranks. The AMU acted swiftly and expelled the student before ordering an internal inquiry. Wani’s colleagues in the university still can’t believe why he became a militant. His family in the valley is worried about his future. His parents are praying for his early return to the mainstream. Photographs of Wani carrying an AK-47 rifle have gone viral on social media. It is true that many young men in the Valley took to the guns at the instigation of terrorists, but most of them returned to their families, after their parents appealed to them through videos. It is the responsibility of parents in the Valley to appeal to such misguided youths, because terrorism is a blind alley. Pakistan has become a safe haven for terrorists, and this has been admitted by no less than the CIA chief Mike Pompeo.

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Why Kejriwal gave a rude jolt to Kumar Vishwas?

aaj ki baat _1(002)Kumar Vishwas appeared in my show Aap Ki Adalat this weekend and his replies to my questions clearly showed that he was hurt badly because of the treatment meted out to him by the Aam Aadmi Party leadership. He narrated how the Congress candidate Sushil Gupta against whom he campaigned during Delhi assembly polls was defeated by the electorate, but the same person managed to wangle a Rajya Sabha ticket from AAP. Kumar Vishwas also narrated how, in the national interest, he had opposed Arvind Kejriwal for questioning the Indian army’s surgical strike. Vishwas revealed how during the last seven months he was being consistently sidelined by the party leadership.

Listening to Kumar Vishwas’ replies, it appears to me that the moral values and democratic ideals for which Arvind Kejriwal and his supporters had fought, have vanished somewhere in the darkness. Most of the frontline colleagues who had led the movement with Kejriwal have now left him, and Vishwas seem to be the last one in the link.

The very act of nominating N D Gupta and Sushil Gupta to Rajya Sabha, bypassing Kumar Vishwas, clearly underlines the fact that, for Kejriwal, personal relations or political morality do not matter. Kejriwal and his coterie will have to face the political loss for giving tickets to these two worthies, and this would surely hurt all those who had viewed Kejriwal as a symbol of clean, alternative politics in India.

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Why is Pakistan not granting consular access to Jadhav?

aaj ki baat (002)On Thursday, Pakistan circulated a video of Kulbhushan Jadhav in which he “thanked” Pakistan for letting him meet his mother and wife on December 25. In the video, which had many cuts implying that it was doctored, Jadhav was shown as saying that he had not been tortured in custody and that he saw an Indian diplomat yelling at his mother and wife. The External Affairs ministry in Delhi dismissed this video as “propagandistic exercise” which “simply carries no credibility”. The ministry said, “the absurdity of a captive under duress certifying his own welfare while mouthing allegations of his captors clearly merits no comment”.

My question is very simple: if Pakistan believes in humanitarian approach, why doesn’t it allow Jadhav to have consular access from India? India has requested consular access 23 times from Pakistan, but was declined. It is plain common sense – how can a convicted prisoner whom the Pakistani authorities are in a hurry to execute, praise his captors and blame his own country? Nobody will believe this. One should also understand the compulsions which Jadhav is facing while in custody of his enemies. One should understand under what pressure Jadhav is being forced to appear in confessional videos. One should sympathize with him for going through such ordeals.

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Why Maharashtra CM Fadnavis acted with restraint ?

aaj ki baat full_frame_6162 (002)On Wednesday, Maharashtra police acted with utmost restraint when Dalit protesters went on rampage to enforce statewide bandh. It is true that caste violence in Maharashtra never erupted before in this manner when Maratha and Dalits came face-to-face. There seems to be some conspiracy at work behind this violence, but the restraint exercised by police is commendable. Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis chose not to commit the mistake done by his counterpart in neighbouring Gujarat, where police took action against Dalits, and this gave rise to emergence of local Dalit leaders. Fadnavis learnt the lesson, and he asked the police force to exercise utmost restraint. Congress and other opposition leaders were waiting to take political advantage, had there been a major conflagration, but they were disappointed.

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Electoral bonds for political parties is a welcome step

AKB 1 (002)The Centre has notified issue of interest-free electoral bonds for political parties who wish to take donations during elections. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has taken this welcome step to ensure transparency in political donations. All political parties should welcome this step, because there seems to be a popular perception that most of the political parties take huge amounts of black money from vested interests during elections. In the last 70 years of independence, political parties had been taking donations from corporates and individuals, and most of the money was unaccounted. With the launch of electoral bonds, KYC (know your customer) details will have to be filled up by the donor, they the individual or company may prefer to remain anonymous. This step will go a long way towards ensuring a clean, free and fair election.

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Will Donald Trump’s threat to Pakistan work?

akb (002)US President Donald Trump in a tweet on New Year’s Day has threatened to cut off all aid to Pakistan, saying that his country had “foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools”. Trump also added: “They (Pakistan) give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more.”

Soon after Trump gave this threat, the Pakistani civilian and military leadership went into a huddle, and issued statements claiming how the Pakistani army had fought terrorism over the years. At the same time, Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan barred terror mastermind Hafiz Saeed’s Jamaat-ud Dawah, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation trust from collecting donations.

Clearly, Pakistan is doing this to assuage US concerns, similarly like the cosmetic “house arrest” of Hafiz Saeed last year. Pakistan should now realize that such make-believe actions against terror masterminds will not suffice. The rulers in Islamabad should realize the enormity of the dangers emanating from terror, and must take concrete action, otherwise the world will not take Pakistan’s claims at face value.

As for Donald Trump, he is now saying what India has been saying for the last several decades. There is nothing called ‘good terrorist’ or ‘bad terrorist’. Trump’s assertion will have one effect – Hafiz Saeed and other terror outfit leaders sitting inside Pakistan will now blame India for goading Trump to act in this manner. The jihadi outfits will spew out more venom against both India and the US.

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