'Darul Uloom can contribute to growth of new thought'
New Delhi: Recalling the history of Darul Uloom Deoband as a centre of political movement for India's freedom, Jamia Milia Islamia Vice-Chancellor Najeeb Jung on Tuesday said the seminary can contribute to growth of a new thought process among Muslims.
Speaking about Muslims and their evolution in India over centuries, Jung said the historic institution at Deoband was once a centre of progressive thought that produced students who joined India's freedom movement.
He said along with Islamic theology, there was also scope to teach modern education at the institution and it can contribute to the country's job market to bring the margins to the mainstream.
"Today at Darul Uloom Deoband, while students are taught Islamic theology there is scope to teach modern education as well. Its contribution to India's job market can bring the margins to the mainstream. The seminary is still revered among a section of Muslims and it can contribute towards growth of a new thought process," he said.
While tracing the history of Muslims in India in his Founder's Day lecture, Jung said both Darul Uloom Deoband and Darul Uloom Nadwa of Lucknow were institutions that were symbols of freedom and resistance to the British.
Founded in 1866 by prominent Islamic scholars led by Maulana Muhammad Qasim, the seminary in Deoband is looked up to by Muslims not only in India but also in South Asia as a respected centre of Islamic learning.
Jung termed the Liberation War of Bangladesh a watershed year for Indian Muslims as it shattered the two-nation theory that was the bedrock of Pakistan's establishment.
He said while for at least two decades after the Partition, Muslims in India lived under its shadow, they started breaking free from history only in the 80s and 90s.
"Unfortunately, the same period saw the rise of Hindu communalism," he said while referring to LK Advani's Rath Yatra and the demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992.
"Today, we in India understand that there is Muslim terrorism and there is non-Muslim terrorism and that there is need to and ensure greater involvement of Muslims in the mainstream," he said.
Veteran journalist and writer Kuldip Nayar said he strongly believed that communal harmony in India depends on New Delhi's friendly relations with Islamabad.