LUCKNOW: Hoisting of national flag, singing of national anthem, paying tributes to freedom fighters and martyrs and programmes held on the occasion of Independence Day tomorrow in madrassas across the state will be videographed and photographed perhaps for the first time.
According to UP Minority Welfare Minister Laxmi Narayan Chaudhary this will inspire students and they will learn more about the contributions of freedom fighters, though the order has not gone down well with a section of Muslim clerics.
"Children can treasure the memories of Independence Day celebrations through photographs and videos which will also act as a source of inspiration for others. Unlike the previous governments, which indulged in politics of appeasement, we are a government with nationalist bent of mind," he said.
"Every citizen born in India celebrates different festivals ranging from Holi, Diwali, Eid and Lohri. But when it comes to national festivals, they are celebrated by the entire nation. And, the madrassas should not exclude themselves from participating in the national festivals," he said.
The Minister said that today is an era of technology.
"The videos made during the Independence Day can be shared among the students. They can treasure the memories of the Independence Day celebrations. Apart from this, it will act as a source of inspiration for others," he said.
At present, around 8,000 madrassas in UP are recognised by the government body UP Madrassa Shiksha Parishad. Among these, 560 are fully aided by the state.
To a question as to what prompted the government to issue the order to the madrassas, Chaudhary said, "Directives were issued as the government recognised that madrassas get funds from the state government and are supposed to celebrate the national festivals including Independence Day."
"Through different cultural programmes, the students will be made aware of the rich history of the freedom struggle and the heroic deeds of our revolutionaries and martyrs. They will definitely draw inspiration from their heroic tales," he said.
Taking a swipe at political rivals, he said, "Those trying to impute motives and suspecting the intention of the government, I doubt their nationalist credentials."
Reacting to the directive, All India Muslim Personal Law Board member Maulana Khalid Rashid Farangi Mahli said the community has been celebrating Independence Day since 1947 in madrassas, hoisting the national flag and singing the national anthem.
"What is the intention behind the order?" he wondered.
"If you (the UP government) have issued the same order and directives for all the schools, colleges and educational institutes, then we have no objection. If it is only for madrassas, then it seems to be an unusual order. If it is only in madrassas, does it mean that our patriotism is being suspected?" he said.
On the other hand, Yasoob Abbas, the spokesperson of AllIndia Shia Personal Law Board (AISPLB), said there should be no objection to videography and photography of Independence Day celebrations in madrassas but suggested that the directive should be for all educational institutions.
"This will enhance transparency and trust, and also help in removing doubts about Muslims, who are looked upon rather suspiciously. However, we feel that this directive should be for all educational institutions of other religions also. Madrassas had participated in freedom struggle," Abbas said.
UP BJP leader Romana Siddiqui, however, welcomed the UP government's move, saying "When every institute in the country celebrates the day with full patriotic fervour, why should the madrassas lag behind. If convents and missionary schools celebrate Independence Day by holding a number of events, then why not the Madrassa".
According to the circular, on Independence Day, flag hoisting and recitation of the National Anthem will take place at 8 am. Following this, tributes will be paid to the martyrs of the freedom struggle.
Students will sing songs on nationalism and will be told about the history of August 15 and the freedom fighters.
Besides, cultural programmes will be organised on the theme of national unity, along with sports activities. Sweets will be distributed at the end of the session.
The circular asks minority welfare officers to direct all madrassas to ensure that Independence Day is celebrated with zeal and that all the programmes mentioned above are organised.
MoS minority welfare Baldev Aulakh has warned action against madrassas if they did not follow the order.
"We have asked for videography of all programmes. We can check at random as to which madrassas has celebrated it or not," he said, adding, "If any madrassa does not celebrate it, action will be taken against it."