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Title: Minds of the madrasa : Islamic seminaries, the State, and contests for social control in West Bengal and Bangladesh
Author: Puri, Nikhil Raymond
ISNI:       0000 0004 5355 1447
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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This qualitative study analytically compares State-madrasa and inter-madrasa relations in Hindu-majority West Bengal and Muslim-majority Bangladesh. It uses Migdal’s State-in-Society approach to explain the nature and bases of these interactions as expressed in three interrelated arenas: educational, organisational, and political. The central question addressed in the educational arena is why some madrasas (recognised madrasas) respond positively to State-initiated incentives for reform while others (unrecognised madrasas) reject the same. In resolving this puzzle, the study seeks also: 1) to classify madrasas in each setting according to their relative thresholds for engagement with the State; and, 2) to identify how, and to what extent, the State can extend the appeal of its reform scheme to unrecognised madrasas. In the organisational arena, the study focuses exclusively on those madrasas that reject State-initiated reform, asking how they organise independently of the State. A key objective here is to determine how inter-madrasa relations vary between Muslim-minority and –majority contexts, and which specific aspects of the State’s policies most encourage such variation. The study’s third empirical section examines State-madrasa relations as expressed through two phenomena in the political arena. The first phenomenon involves the politicisation of recognised madrasas by the State (represented by political parties and their student wings). The study explicates the mechanisms through which this politicisation occurs, identifies the factors facilitating/impeding such politicisation, and assesses the impact of this politicisation on the political allegiances of individual students. The second phenomenon sees representatives of unrecognised madrasas (attempting to) reach into the State complex by launching madrasa-based political parties. The study focuses on this phenomenon to gauge the relationship between a madrasa man’s careers in the educational, organisational, and political arenas: To what extent can madrasa-based political entrepreneurs leverage influence wielded in the educational and organisational arenas towards success in the political arena? And do those who succeed in entering the State complex use this opportunity to promote the societal interests they represent in the educational arena, or in pursuit of increased authority in the organisational realm?
Supervisor: Robinson, Francis; Bano, Masooda Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Political science ; International studies ; Madrasas ; Madrasa Education ; Madrasa Reform ; Religious Education ; South Asia ; India ; West Bengal ; Bangladesh