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Dharam aur Dhanda: Part 1

The major truth bomb dropped by Gaitonde in the Netflix series “Sacred Games” was as follows:

 

“From the Hindu hotel, I learnt that in the name of religion, people can be fooled beyond limits. (Hindu hotel se apun seekha ke dharam ke naam par insaan ko kitna chutiya banaya ja sakta hai.)

 

This quote can be extended to the present-day situation as well, most accurately in the form of “Madrassas” and how the people in charge of these institutions are brain-washing the masses in order to cater to their own personal gains.

 

The majority of the citizens who are below the poverty line admit their kids into these madrassas, where they apparently receive “Islamic” education, and from what we hear, the purpose behind these Madrassas is to produce future “Aalim-e-din” and Hafiz. This is actually seen as being quite a significant job since you are not only representing yourself, but you are seen as being a mirror image of the religion.

 

The main problem with this system is that of pressure – which means that if a child is not interested in getting this education, he will be pressed to follow the rules. Moreover, if he doesn’t obey them, then his teacher starts beating him. In events like these, many children have even lost their lives.

 

One example of this was when a 9-year-old child was beaten to death by his teacher.

 

The victim, Hussain, used to run away from the Madrassa while his father repeatedly sent him back. On reaching the Madrassa, his teacher used to punish him, just like the day on which he lost his life. On top of all this, his father did not even file a complaint against the teacher, but instead said that “Perhaps this is all God’s will.”

 

From a neutral point of view, this cannot be termed as God’s will, but is rather indicative of plain ignorance. Does Allah allow us to beat an innocent child to death? Or even punish him for that matter? Or What about the teachings of our Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H), who has stressed on several occasions that we be gentle towards the children?

 

As said above, in the eyes of these proponents, religion is nothing more than a means to cater their personal gains.

 

The irony is that they want these children to receive this education in order to get closer to Islam and Allah, but do they actually know that they are actually turning them away from their religion?

 

This theory could be confirmed by the extremist mentality that the people eventually end up adopting. No one is born an extremist – it’s the external factors which change them.

 

Does Islam talk about extremism? So what do they really teach here?

 

This is what Gaitonday told us about, that how they trap us into this. They actually teach kids how to blindly follow their teacher.

 

Even if the teacher asks the child to jump off the cliff, he’d do that without giving it a second thought. The times have changed. Teachers are not what they used to be before. The same thing goes for the students as well. Education in Pakistan is nothing more than just a dirty business.

 

Back in the days, Madrassas were the foundation of large-scale Islamic research centres, and they have produced several influential scholars in the fields of Business, Science, and Astrology. People used to come from all over the world to these centres in order to expand their knowledge, and it proved to be really beneficial.

 

However, now these Madrassas in Pakistan are all about fostering religious extremism within the country. Dharam ke naam per Dhandaa jaari hai.

This is why reforms are required to regulate these institutions.

 

Over 3 million kids attend Madrasas in Pakistan, the main reason being the lack of free education. Most people fall below the poverty line, and thus they are forced to send their children to these Madrassas as they run on public philanthropy, and the parents would not have to worry about the child’s education and his basic necessities.

 

But little do they know that several of these institutes limit the opportunities available to a child.

 

Their lack of civic education, dictated worldview, and limited knowledge make them more vulnerable to these external forces and thus they can be easily coerced to foster someone else’s personal gains.

 

The forefront and most relevant example is of the present sit-in that is being held by JUI-F chief, Maulana Fazal ur Rehman. Without even having a seat in the National Assembly, Maulana was able to gather a good amount of people. Although most people claim that 75% are from his own army of people from these Madrassas or those who blindly follow their leaders. But nonetheless, he was still able to gather a reasonable crowd. All of Islamabad, where this sit-in was taking place was under siege. There were containers everywhere and the business activity was disturbed. Exams were rescheduled and what not.

 

All this for something about which Maulana himself is not sure about.

 

When media personnel asked the people who are sacrificing their lives the question: “Why are you here?” Their response was “We don’t know, Our Quaid (Leader) asked us to come here so we came.”

 

This is the blind faith I was talking about in the beginning, and the part about “Teachers are not the same” is complemented by Maulana’s own situation that in the harsh weather conditions and during night, he used to retreat to his own house, whereas his workers remained sleeping on the cold floors, risking their lives for something they did not even know about. They were just there because Maulana wanted to settle his own vendettas, and once he saw things were not adding up he let these poor people off the bus like some discarded material. They were just serving as fuel to Maulana’s car.

 

I’d rather term this as “Cliff Jumping” mentality, which means that their trust in Maulana is so severely blind, that even if he asks them to jump off a cliff, they’ll do it without giving it a second thought. In addition to this, Maulana’s own spokesperson was also not sure about what his leader was trying to achieve. Moreover, he was adamant of the fact that “Wiki” who operates WikiLeaks is Jemima’s cousin and this is all a Jewish Propaganda. See, this is how they persuade these people to join them in their unlawful motives. Astonishingly, people believe in them and risk their own lives.

 

This is where Madrassa education lacks. It limits the intellectual capacity of these people. Their thinking is confined and they are not allowed to do anything that challenges the comfort of their teachers.

 

Moreover, these Religious protests are very costly towards the country’s economy. Punjab suffered Rs260m loss during three-day TLP protests, led by Khadim Hussain Rizvi.

Madrassa education in pakistan

Madrassa education

Does Islam teach us to destroy the public properties? Or to burn someone’s rickshaw, which he has bought with the entire savings of his life so that he could get food for his children and family? No, this is not what Islam teaches us. Islam is all about peace and harmony, these are just those people who are involved in this dirty game, where they play with the religious sentiments of people for their own use.

 

Additionally, some madrassas are not even registered to the present day.

 

This also tells us about how religious sentiments are used to settle political vendettas. When there is nothing left to build your case on, people then use the most powerful weapon: the religion card.

 

All this, in turn, gives rise to more extremism. Is it okay to block roads in the name of religion? Or to demand the resignation of the prime minister by gathering people, telling them that it’s all Yahoodi Sazish? And the government’s failure to control these issues further emboldens the extremists.

 

It is a ground reality that Madrassas are not serving their true purpose. There is a need to address these issues. Number one being the corporal punishments which are still being given to the students. Corporal punishments should be banned at every level. The shocking death of Hunain Bilal is another incident which shows the failure of our law-enforcing authorities. Hunain Bilal was severely beaten by his teacher just because he did not memorise the lesson.

 

If these laws are not being properly enforced at School level, then how can we expect them to be implemented at the Madrassas in Pakistan, which most of the times are not even on the government’s radar. Corporal Punishment is a big reason for children to drop out from schools. Teachers feel nothing when they commit such acts, because they say that Islam teaches us to respect our teachers. But that doesn’t mean that these people should start beating children under the banner of Islam, because Islam and teachings of our Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h) are totally against violence. This all about the fake image that they create just to benefit their own selves.

 

In addition to this, when a government talks about reforming the Madrassas in Pakistan it has to face stiff pressure from the religious parties. The reason is pretty obvious for this opposition, which is that if the Madrassas get reformed, how will these parties be able to brainwash the people studying there and use them for their own gains. Because after reforms are brought in and children start fighting the caged mentality, they’ll be able to see things more comprehensively and judge better between black and white. But this is all against the self-serving motive of the religious parties and that is why they oppose this issue, whenever it is brought up. As for them, religion is their business and once people get educated and understand what Islam really teaches us about, these ignorant and selfish people will go out of business.

 

Dharam (Religion) is nothing more than just a Dhanda (Business) to them

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