I laud the intention of the authors but I must disagree (“The only Indian high schools that teach Aristotle and Plato”). Factually, yes, something called ma’qulat is taught in madrassas that stick to the Dars-e -Nizami. But by that logic they could have also claimed that the madrassas also teach Euclidean geometry and medicine, for uqlidus and tibb also originally included in that syllabus.

Consider the part of the examination paper on Logic and Philosophy that illustrates the article: the first questions asks students to identify the plural of ‘aql (rational thought) while the second asks to identify the singular of mala’ika (angels). It also shows that teachers have not quite found a proper Arabic or Persian synonym for the English “marks” (grades), for they use nishanat (marks, signs, scars, impress). They could have used “nambar”, the word at home now in every Indian language, but they didn’t.

The authors could have asked to see the textbook prescribed for the course. Logic and philosophy are also taught at Indian colleges and universities. There, the syllabus is frequently revised, brought up to global standards and always supplemented with secondary readings. Most importantly, even students at lower levels read many portions of the original texts in its original or in translation. Is that the case in madrasas? Don’t they teach almost every subject from commentaries, some even centuries old, that must now be studied through their own commentaries?

Muslim parents send their children to madrasas because they feel they will be safer there and more at home there than in government schools. The parents’ sense of piety can also be a reason as well as the affordability of madrassas. The authors mean well, but they are not helping the cause of Indian Muslims who need access to affordable quality education – it is a cause they share with countless non-Muslims who similarly must tackle inequity and poverty in their hopes for their children. Knowing by rote the singular form of a given plural is exactly the kind of education they don’t deserve. – CM Naim


Thank you for this wonderful article and what children learn in madrasas. The word is unfortunately used derogatorily. Because Urdu is not a language most of us learn, we can't appreciate the intelligence of these students. – Krupa


An applause for the two writers who value tradition and classical learning irrespective of religion in these times. The article in unputdownable. It outlines the efforts of madrasas in areas of philosophy and literature, which is quite rare otherwise. – Fatima

‘Schism’ between Adivasis, Hindus

It is saddening to read that schisms are being created between Hindus and Adivasis by political extremists on both sides of the divide (“Why Adivasi leaders in Rajasthan marched to the education minister’s house with blood samples”). In India, both communities have existed for time immemorial, each recognising and respecting the separateness of the other.

Adivasis were never Hindus but also were never looked down upon by the mainstream upper castes either, as contemporary political narratives claim. Colonialism and Christian proselytising have put paid to all this. Their way of life has been destroyed and hence the need for affirmative action. But they are as much a part of Indian (Hindu?) society. Not every “Hindu” is a Hindutva or BJP supporter. If Scroll wants to be seen as a serious publication, such perspectives need to be taken into account. MS Sundaresan

Hindutva and Zionism

After World War II, a number of states appear to have been formed (“Religious-national identity, civilisational revival: Hindutva and Zionism are ideological cousins”). Quite a few institutions, big and small, can also be artificially formed. Man can create systems but a nation is born with a living civilisational consciousness. Why is such a big deal made of one billion Hindu people aspiring to have a country of their own? The same holds true in the case of Israel as well. – Chaitanya Aggarwal

Muslim ‘ghettos’

The demolition of the Babri masjid and the Gujarat riots were specifically mentioned to point out Muslim displacement and but there is nothing about the displacement of Kashmiri Pandits. It seems like Scroll is biased. – Shantanu Landge

Editor’s response: Some of Scroll’s coverage of Kashmiri Pandits and their displacement can be read here:

The prolonged wait: Kashmir lives on in the hearts and minds of Pandits

Kashmiri Pandits say they are at risk after government put job transfer lists online

Kashmiri Pandit killings: Nadimarg massacre trial may resume but those accused of murder are dead

Why nomination to Jammu and Kashmir Assembly has left many Kashmiri Pandits unimpressed

Nitish Kumar’s political saga

Nitish Kumar has been chief minister of Bihar several tenures but the state has remained backward (“Why the JD(U) is not playing hardball with the BJP”). Kumar may be a good man but is a bad administrator. After trying to join the Opposition’s INDIA alliance, Kumar turned to the BJP for his own survival. He may be good and even capable, but a poor leader and politician despite his long career in politics – SN Iyer