Getting the problem to solve itself
The inspiration behind this particular discourse is a letter published in the weekend magazine of a leading national English daily. On its own it wasn't anything extraordinary for there have been quite a few impressive examples of individuals who write in with their worries, woes and thoughts from previously unheard of backgrounds. It goes well that English is in one way back on the ascendance.
What caught the attention was that the letter was written by a madrasha student, bright by his own admission and very, very frustrated at his mother's inclination of not sparing the rod-so to say. He spends time burning off the frustration by talking long lonely walks on the streets of Dhaka. Each word of the letter indicates a state of mind that could find its way down murky paths.
Everyone has been quick to identify the madrasha education section as being the main fomenting ground for all the militancy and this appears to be true to a large extent based on what we read in the media.
It is more than a foregone deal that various organisations are pulling drafts together to organise discussions, meetings and symposia as how to address the issue. Nine out of ten of these will suggest doing away with the independent nature of madrasha education and bringing it in to the mainstream. It is the traditional form of addressing situations such as the one we are currently wallowing in.
The Brits did it in order to divide a populace they sought to dominate using the locals to do their dirty work. It was a strategy used by the Germans to further their Nazi intentions and recently the Americans as they took on the mantle of the world's police force. It has served its purpose but why pray has no one thought of actually asking madrasha students as to how they feel? Why is it that the view has been limited only to the ulema where political agenda gets comfortably ensconced thereby preventing the facts from coming out?
On the flip side we see arrangements made for students of the mainstream education getting the opportunity to further their views on what they will make of the future opportunity afforded them by their education. The media has made a really praiseworthy effort in doing so. Then why are Madrasha education students being denied the opportunity to state what they have to say? Let's do it the British way getting the problem to solve the issue. The outcome may well surprise us.
That way we will have on record their thoughts, their issues, their problems and more likely a realistic way out of this mess. Given that the main political parties are on what appears to be a collision course these discourses could well provide some directions towards a solution. The end result should obviously be an antidote that is palatable to all concerned and a better understanding of everything that went wrong in the first place. (The writer is a free lance journalist, a TV news caster and a corporate executive)