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Indian Politician: Teach Students Stories of Muslim Patriots

CAIRO – The leader of the Muslim wing in Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Hindu group has urged Islamic schools, or madrassahs, to educate students about stories of patriot Indian Muslims, in order to spread harmony and understanding in the country.

“They (children) should be given proper basic training. Children should be taught to love this country, exposed to the life stories of people like Bahadur Shah Zafar. It is required now,” RSS leader Indresh Kumar told Indian Express on Sunday, January 17.

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“Hence, I will appeal the Maulanas, Imams and Maulvis to come forward. They (Maulvis) should make teaching like loving your nation a part of the training so that when a child gets out of madarssah he or she is patriotic, nationalist and also one understanding Islam,” he added.

The senior RSS leader comments came on Sunday as he said he favored exposing children studying in madarssahs to stories of patriotic Muslim personalities to make them love the country “as is required”.

He urged religious leaders from the community to take an initiative in this regard.

Kumar, who is also the patron of Muslim Rashtriya Manch, made the remarks on the sidelines of an event in the national capital recently.

“It is the requirement of today and it should be fulfilled. This should be done amicably, not through conflicts. Madarsas should contribute to spreading awareness of nationality among children,” he added.

Kumar called on different parties to avoid politicizing the issue, urging them to see it from the points of view of development and harmony.

He also urged the BJP-led NDA government to strengthen Madarsa Education Board.

There are some 180 million Muslims in Hindu-majority India, the world’s third-largest Muslim population after those of Indonesia and Pakistan.

The calls are expected to draw mixed criticism from both parties, with regard to the history of RSS towards India Muslims.

RSS was founded by KeshavBaliramHedgewar, an independence campaigner who had split from the Indian National Congress party over what he considered “undue pampering of the Muslims.”

Launched in 1925, the group has been banned thrice by the Indian government in 1948 and 1970s and 1990s.

Surrounded by ambiguity, the group faces accusations of fueling religious conflicts by their opposition to the Indian constitution’s article No 370 which grants Kashmir its special position.

Moreover, they have campaigned for years to support Ram temple in Ayodhya, on a spot where 16th-century Babri mosque once stood.

With one of their group at the top of the world’s second-most populous country, RSS leaders see Modi’s term as their golden age.

Prime Minister Modi, from BharatiyaJanata Party (BJP), has been active in RSS group since childhood.

Offering Modi unprecedented support, RSS volunteers went from door to door to convince people to support their colleague in what was seen as the biggest mobilization since 1977 when RSS workers did the same thing, encouraging people to vote against Indira Gandhi.