The session had Hem Borker in conversation with Abdullah Khan. Hem Borker, a PhD scholar from Oxford University published her first book, “The Making Of Islamic Womanhood” in 2018. The book is a reflection of her deep interest in studying the condition and grooming of Isamic women and girls in India. It also captures the complexities of Muslim identity, gender and madrasa education system, its structures and how it has evolved over a period of time. She also records the shift from traditional to modern system of the madrasa education for girls.
The session started with Hem establishing what a madrasa is, then went on to to delve further into the issues of gender. She discussed how the institution of madrasa not only focuses on subjects like other schools, but also offers an orientation to the culture and religion of Islam. Madrasa, she said, provides a holistic understanding of religion and culture, which would enable the students to be well acquainted with their own religion and culture.
Borker said that madrasa teaches woman students what it is to be a muslim woman in the Indian society and the appropriate ways to act. She made it very clear that this practice should not be seen as rigid, rather as an intellectual move.
The session also saw Borker exploring certain practices that she does not approve of. One such is the routine set for young girls, who are required to wake up quite early in the morning to revise their Quran lessons and offer prayers.
To conclude, the session emphasized the contribution of madrasa in establishing the personality and image of islamic woman. The takeaway was that any islamic family who are hesitant to send their daughters to co education schools can rely on madrasa as it provides education as well as acquaints students with Islamic culture.
About The Author: Aditi Dua is a Masters student in English with Communication Studies who has a knack for aesthetics and poetry. Apart from being a literature enthusiast, she highly celebrates challenging ideologies and provide disputing ideas of death. Always available for a conversation over good coffee. She currently writes for TheSeer