By Syed Zubair Ahmad
From Delhi, we drove to Muzaffarnagar to attend the Republic Day celebrations at a madrasa in Phulat village , Muzaffarnagar district of Uttar Pradesh . The mere mention of madrasa had already filled our minds with the set of narratives with which we grew up over the years. We expected some students in crumpled kurta and pyjama with a pair of unclean shoes would welcome us with Indian flag – a potential picture of madrasa students. But the perception faded as we entered the campus of Vision International Academy. To our surprise , we come across a spectacular building presenting the look of a convent school. Big playground, well-designed dining hall, clean class-rooms and well kept-parks have suddenly changed our perception.
The students dressed in white Jubba and Nehru Jacket with white skull caps shining like stars foretelling their future. We were spellbound looking the zeal and cheerfulness on their faces. All of them were Hafiz-e-Quran who got admission in this academy to realize their dream of becoming doctors, engineers and other professionals. Braving chilling cold, they were cheerfully waiting for us under the tricolor in play-ground facing their hostels. The tricolor was unfurled by Ameer Ahamed Manappat, the Kerala-based philanthropist-cum-businessmen who is the mentor of this unique institution.
Unfurling tricolor was followed by the recitation of the national song in a mesmerizing voice of a Hafiz-e-Quran. The recitation of the Holy Quran, Naat and the national anthem were presented by new young Huffaz.
The education is the only remedy that can treat the disease of Muslim community, said Hafiz Abdullah while delivering his speech in eloquent English. The main attraction of the event was an informative play where students depicted the evils of the current educational system which is devoid of ethics.
“Professions without ethics have only created problem in modern times. For example, a doctor without ethics will only suck the blood of patients until they die. A doctor with ethics will be a great asset for community, country and humanity at large,” said Syed Zubair Ahmad, editor MuslimMirror.com, addressing the students of the Academy.
“You are the ambassador of communal harmony and future leaders,” said Ameer Ahamed Manappat in his presidential address. Inspiring the students to come out with their best, he said, “Only you can bring a change and no one can do it for you. When you keep your ambition high, sky is not the limit. We have started a revolution to get freedom from poverty, illiteracy and negativity.”
Vision International Academy is a brain child of Ameer Ahamed Manappat which was started six month back with 75 Hafiz e Quran, all teenagers.
VIA is one of the primary projects of Vision 2040 which provides an educational platform for Hifz e Quran passed out students to complete formal 10th and 12th standard examinations along with providing extensive coaching for getting admission into reputed higher education institutions such as IITs and IIMs.
While stereotyping of madarsa students as a meek, docile and educationally backward lot is not uncommon, a visit to this school can change mindsets and strongly-held perceptions. The desire to succeed was clear from the smile on the faces of the students. It seems they are determined to break the stereotypes of madrasa students and make a difference.