Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Romila Thapar of Glaciology

jan 24th, 2010

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: K

On Teachers' Day, let's draw up some new timetables

"These are a few of my favourite things" - Apologies to Rodgers and Hammerstein
"The madrassas had an enormous role in spreading the Islamic concept of equality (Musawat) in India's caste and creed-ridden social milieu. This core concept of social justice made Islam acceptable in India as a religion and way of life. Later on, it led to the synthesis of ideas from Islam and the Bhakti movement."  (Pearls of historical research, at par with the stuff on glaciers!  As for being "creed-ridden" the description suits Islam (cf. Christianity) to a T, rather than Hinduism because, as we all know, they are, by definiton, CREEDAL religions.  Social justice, of course, there is perfect equality among all (formerly caste-ridden) Hindu slaves - see  And yes, the Bhakti movement was just waiting for Islam to demonstrate the virtues of, er, submission, which is what Islam means.) 
"The madrassa system originated in Iraq, and was introduced in India by the Turks in the 13th century. The madrassas got royal patronage under the Mughals and became one of the main sources of public education in the medieval India. Nineteen century madrassas, especially the Dar al-ulum at Deoband and the Nadwath al-Ulum in Lucknow were the fountainheads of anti-colonial struggle, also contributing to create a pluralistic society (Like "Say no to idolatrous chants like Vande Mataram").
"The madrassas also produced social reformers: great renaissance men like Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, Maulana Altaf Husain Hali and Moulana Shibli. Even as they advocated modern education for the community, they created an awareness and atmosphere to promote scientific and secular education without touching the sanctity of the religious education system." (Aligarh Muslim University - highly secular)
"The teachings of the madrassas are mainly in subjects like fiqha, mantaq, tafsir, hisab, geometry and astronomy besides Arabic. This is a combination of the 'transmitted sciences' and 'rational sciences'. This syllabus has remained unchanged for over two centuries. Moreover, the community has a strong belief that there is no room for change in the basics of this syllabus as they are centered on the Quran and the Hadith."  (E.g. 'No Himalayan glaciers in 2035' is 'transmitted science.'  And we idiots thought that the opposite of 'rational' is irrational...)

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