Mission Schools and Qur′an Schools

Parna Sengupta

in Pedagogy for Religion

Published by University of California Press

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780520268296
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520950412 | DOI:
Mission Schools and Qur′an Schools

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This chapter argues that the state and urban Muslim elite in Bengal came to see rural Bengali Muslims as backward not only because they were poor and prejudiced against Western schooling but also because they were not properly Muslim. That is, the rural Bengali population was thought not fully to understand what it meant to be authentically Muslim, as evidenced by their religious practices, which shared many similarities with their rural Hindu counterparts; Muslim Bengalis, it seemed, were religiously “backward.” This chapter focuses on how the colonial state and ashraf leaders' plans for expanding basic education for the Muslim masses were inextricably connected to their efforts to delineate more clearly a modern Muslim subjectivity and Muslim community. The history of how Muslim education came to be defined by assumptions of upper-caste Hindu “conspiracy” and religious “backwardness” helps in understanding its eventual connection to nationalism and communalism.

Keywords: schools; Muslims; Bengali; religious practice; ashraf; education

Chapter.  10866 words. 

Subjects: Hinduism

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