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July 26, 2011 / subramanyam

It’s Deoband’s loss not Vastanvi’s


           The governing council or the highest decision-making body of the Darul-uloom Deoband has shown the door to university’s vice chancellor Maulana Ghulam Mohammed Vastanvi on SundayVastanvi’s crime , he reportedly said that Muslims in Gujarat should look beyond the riots of 2002 and there was growth and employment opportunities in Modi’s Gujarat.

          Well he did not really praise Modi, all he said was that Gujarat is prospering under Modi’s regime,and for this he attracted fire from many quarters.

          Vastanvi was elected as Darul Uloom Deoband V-C on January 10 this year, an MBA degree holder Vastanvi is seen as the moderate and more inclusive face of the community by many. He holds the distinction of being the first non UP resident and the first non-alumnus to get to the coveted post.

          Vastanvi’s followers now believe that he is being targeted as he favours modern education along with religious education and his remarks on Modi are just an excuse to show him the door. As a man who believes in imparting modern education even to the students in madrassas Vastanvi has carved a niche for himself as an educationalist, he started with small school with just 6 students in it in the tribal area of  Akkalkuwa, which is in the Maharashtra –Gujarat border.30 years later, Vastanvi’s brainchild Jamia Islamia Ishaatul Uloom boasts of 2 lakh enrollments . In Akkalkuwa alone, the Jamia runs 15 colleges which look like any other modern campuses. The swanky buildings not only give an international look but they also have modern infrastructure. Each college has a computer lab with internet and other state of the art facilities.

           While Vastanvi’s removal is completely an internal matter of Darul Uloom, the seminary’s decision definitely raises eyebrows on the attitude of the community in accepting change and hearing the voices of the moderates within the community. The regressive forces are repressive as well. The self-righteous maulanas who sacked Vastanvi might be doing more harm than good to the community by crushing people like Vastanvi. Can’t a Muslim say that Modi has developed Gujarat and people of Gujarat including Muslims are reaping the benefits of it? Will they ostracize anyone and everyone for speaking the truth? What Modi did and what happened in Godhra and 2002 Gujarat riots is still a matter that is being probed, Modi is being  accused of  inaction during the riots but the truth is not out yet, nevertheless the world is acknowledging him as one of the best administrators and Gujarat is undoubtedly ahead of  other Indian states in terms of industrialization and economic growth.So if a Muslim acknowledges this whats the trouble ? Is just one comment of that sort enough to expel a man of such credentials from the post of a vice-chancellor? Is this totalitarian attitude of suppressing the moderate and modern voices with in the community the main reason behind the absence of a stable Democratic system in most of the Muslim dominated countries of the world???

          Though I might not be the one who is qualified enough to comment on a muslim seminary, I personally believe it’s Deoband’s loss in losing a man like Vastanvi , for, history is replete with details of cultures and religions which became extinct just because they could not embrace and accommodate change and modernity.Hope  there would be a course correction soon.

(Some facts regarding Vastanvi were collected from the Times of India)

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