LUCKNOW: In a first, madrassas of Uttar Pradesh will videograph the hoisting of the national flag and other events to mark the Independence Day, thanks to a new state government order.
However, striking a defiant role, the Barelvi sect today decided that its 150 Islamic schools will not follow the official order.
A meeting of the sect held in the revered Dargah Ala Hazrat in Bareilly decided that neither will the national anthem be sung nor the function be videographed in 150 madrassas of the state, Maulana Shahabuddin Rizvi, general secretary of Jamat Raza-e-Mustafa which chaired the meeting, said.
In Pilibhit, 'Shahar qazi' Zartab Raza Khan also opposed the order, terming it "against the Shariat" which does not allow musical instruments.
"The function of Independence Day will be celebrated with full gusto, tricolour will be unfurled in the madrassas, sweets will be distributed and tributes will be paid to those who fought for the freedom of the country, but no action will be performed which goes against the Shariat like singing of the national anthem and videography," Rizvi stressed.
He questioned as to why the circular was issued only for madrasas and not to schools under the basic shiksha parishad.
MoS Minority Welfare Baldev Aulakh has already warned action against those Islamic schools flouting the order.
Meanwhile, UP Minority Welfare Minister Laxmi Narayan Chaudhary said the videography and photography will inspire students to learn more about freedom fighters.
"Unlike the previous governments, which indulged in politics of appeasement, we are a government with the 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 such national festivals," he said.
Chaudhary said technology ruled the contemporary times.
"The videos made during the Independence Day can be shared among students. They can treasure the memories of the celebrations. Apart from this, it will act as a source of inspiration for others," he said.
At present, around 8,000 madrassas in the state are recognised by the state-run 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, the minister said, "Directives were issued as many madrassas get funds from the state government and they are supposed to celebrate national festivals including Independence Day".
Taking a swipe at the opposition, the BJP leader said, "Those trying to impute motives and suspect the intention of the government, I doubt their nationalist credentials."
The order by the Yogi Adityanath-led government has evoked mixed reaction from the Muslim clerics across the state.
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? If you (the UP government) have issued the same order and directives for all schools, colleges and educational institutes, we have no objection. If it is only for madrassas, then it seems to be an unusual order. Does it mean that our patriotism is being suspected?" he wondered.
On the other hand, Yasoob Abbas, spokesperson of All India Shia Personal Law Board (AISPLB), said there should be no objection to videography and photography of the Independence Day celebrations in madrassas, but suggested that the directive should have been for all educational institutions.
"This will enhance transparency and trust, and also help in removing doubts about Muslims, who are looked upon rather suspiciously. We feel that this directive should be for all educational institutions of other religions also. Madrassas had participated in freedom struggle," he said.
UP BJP leader Romana Siddiqui, however, welcomed the state 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, why not the madrassas?"
According to the government circular, flag hoisting and recitation of the national anthem will take place at 8 am on the Independence Day. Following this, tributes will be paid to martyrs of the freedom struggle. Besides, cultural programmes and sports activities will be organised on the theme of national unity.
The circular also asked minority welfare officers to direct all madrassas to ensure that the Independence Day was celebrated with zeal and that all the programmes mentioned above were organised.