chapter  7
12 Pages

THE GENDER OF MADRASA TEACHING

ByNITA KUMAR

It is easy to distinguish a madrasa-educated man or woman from an uneducated one, and in the population of an artisanal working-class city like Varanasi, both exist. The most readily apparent differences between the two are that, like all schooled adults, the madrasa-taught man or woman is more self-aware of him/herself in appearance and speech, more coherent in articulation and presentation, and more precise about his or her identity as sectarian Muslim, national Muslim, and universal Muslim. At a wider, national level, a lack of difference between a madrasa-educated and an uneducated person does appear, in that both would typically look poor and provincial, and would present themselves as different from the mainstream of Indian formal education. An important line of difference in a city’s population is, therefore, based entirely on the fact of madrasa schooling.