While statewide figures reveal that 12 per cent of the 3.29 lakh-odd students in West Bengal’s madrassas are Hindus, in some the percentage is much higher. At Badaitari Ujiriar High Madrassa in Jalpaiguri district, 25 per cent of the students are Hindus while at Elmenoor Barkatia High Madrassa in North 24 Parganas, nearly a third of the students are Hindus.
So, why do so many Hindus in West Bengal choose to study in madrassas? “Why not?” asks Dr Abdus Sattar, president of the West Bengal Board of Madrassa Education. “The syllabus is the same as in regular schools, the certificates we issue are recognised and considered as secondary school and high school equivalents all over the country. We also enjoy some advantages over regular schools. We charge minimal tuition fees while providing the same or even better quality of education than schools.
A report on the secularization of madrasas in West Bengal: