Madrassas are the cornerpiece of Muslim community life. In a disturbing twist, some of them are being used as transit shelters for child trafficking. Or worse, doubling up as sweatshops themselves. NEHA DIXIT reports
|PHOTO: VIJAY PANDEY
IN SHAKURPUR Basti, a teeming Muslim-dominated, workingclass neighbourhood in North Delhi, there is a four-storey building with a mosque on the ground floor. This is the Darul Ujloom Nizamia Ghausul Uloom Madrassa. On the face of it, there is nothing to set this madrassa apart from an estimated 35,000 madrassas in the country. But unknown to the community, the Darul Ujloom madrassa is subverting its foundational pact with both Allah and his followers.
In many ways, madrassas are a cornerpiece in Islamic community life. They are seminaries where children go for religious education, and in poor neighbourhoods, for non-formal schooling. Most madrassas in India are affiliated either to the Deobandi, Barelvi or Ahl-i-Hadith sects and are funded by zakat — the com- passionate Islamic practice of people donating 2.5 percent of their income to support hospitals, charities or Islamic schools. Zakat donated to madrassas is meant to pay for maulvis’ salaries and free meals, clothing, books and lodging for children.
Dr Sunitha Krishnan, co-founder of Prajwala, an Anti-Trafficking organization, gave a talk at TED India Pvt Ltd. The talk was very inspiring and it brings forth the awareness of the condition of women being trafficked in India.
It is my earnest request to all my readers to contribute to her organization in every way you can. After all, it takes several drops of water to form an ocean.
Cross posted from Indian Homemaker’s Blog.
(Yemen) …”a 12-year-old girl died in childbirth after an agonizing 3-day labor. …young Fawziya was pulled out of school and married to a man twice her age.“
She isn’t the only one.
The issue of Yemeni child brides came to the forefront last year, with 8-year-old Nujood Ali who “was pulled out of school and married to a man who beat and raped her within weeks of the ceremony.
To escape, Nujood hailed a taxi — the first time in her life — to get across town to the central courthouse where she sat on a bench and demanded to see a judge.“ [Full story]
“Yemen is full of child brides. Roughly half of Yemeni girls are married before 18, some as young as eight. Child marriage, common in South Asia, sub- Saharan Africa and Middle-Eastern countries such as Yemen, is dangerous for brides and their children…”
India is not too different. I have met a few, all unhappy. One of my maids once confessed that she had a daughter who she had left in her village near Ferozpur. She was devoted to her son, dropped him to a ‘private school’ everyday and bought Bournvita for him. Didn’t she worry about how her other child was doing?
She said her husband hated the girl and she felt the child was safer with her maternal grandmother. When I conveyed my disapproval, she confessed that the daughter was from an earlier marriage to an older man, and although her husband had promised to take care of her, he treated her cruelly.
When she was 12 her family had married her to a 40-year old widower. He raped her and beat her. She escaped and came back to her village. She told her family she would hang herself if they tried to send her back. She was pregnant with that daughter at the time. She never went back and was married again when she was older.
Her daughter was more like a sister to her, she thought of her grandmother as her mother.
Not all girls escape or die, many stay married and live to have many children (healthy or unhealthy) over whom they have no rights. Women in such marriages are another generation, and much younger, and since our society associates wisdom with age, the husband’s word is the last word in all important matters. Dead or alive, they have no life.
In this age, women trafficking is as prevelant as ever! People are shamelessly putting their daughters for sale on websites!
A recent addition to this sorry tale is Rafiq Qureshi, father of Rubina Ali, the child actor who played the role of young Latika in Slumdog Millionaire. He wants to move out of the slums in Mumbai and hence is cashing in on the fame of the innocent 9-year old.
For more info, read here!
We have in past written about Child Sexual Abuse.
One of the grouse our readers have expressed is about us not a providing solution to a problem. We agree writing about a issue is only the first step toward awareness. But acting on the solution is the most important next step.
One of our friends, Amyth, has taken this action step. His NGO, Elaan deals with this issue of child sexual abuse. Please hop over to his Elaan blog to show your support. 🙂
Teachers turned into wolves.
In a shocking incident in this ancient capital of Gujarat, where people still take immense pride in their society and culture, all hell broke loose after a first-year student of the Primary Teacher’s Training College (PTC) accused six of her teachers of repeatedly gangraping her for six months.
The traumatised girl, who has been sent to the civil hospital for a medical examination, was in a violent condition and doctors said she starts screaming the moment someone touches her.
Here, the “she” being referred to, is a 10-year old girl, who belonged to an aboriginal community in Australia! The little girl was gang raped by 9 men, who supposedly belonged to the upper caste. A case was filed and the offenders were either placed on probation or given suspended sentences.
The woman judge in the hearing, by the name Sarah Bradley, was reported as saying “she probably agreed to have sex with all of you”.
This enraged me beyond anything! What kind of a ten-year old would actually agree to consented sex, and that too with nine men???
A little more information on Judge Bradley’s background and you shall be shocked that she was the one who announced this verdict!!