GUWAHATI, Nov 23 � Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today stressed the need for introduction of religion as a subject in educational institutions to foster awareness about each others� religion � a move � which, he said, could foster harmony in a multi-religious society like India and Assam in particular.
Gogoi said this while launching a five-month �Peace Awareness and Vocational Training Programme� for Madrasa students, undertaken by the Guwahati-based Centre for Development and Peace Studies.
The project, supported by the British Deputy High Commission, Kolkata, has been initiated in collaboration with Assam Markazul Uloom (Islampur Madrassa), Guwahati.
The Chief Minister also said there is need for having a platform for dialogue among
different communities, and said there could be something like religious council that can be put in place.
Apart from the principals and teachers of the selected madrassas, the familiarization workshop was attended by leading Muslim opinion makers besides academics and intellectuals belonging to different communities.
Sanjay Wadvani, British Deputy High Commissioner to Eastern India, said that the workshop is one in a series of events that the British Government has been involved in over the course of several years with the Muslim community in India to promote and share experiences of religious harmony and encourage understanding among faiths.
In his introductory address, CDPS director Wasbir Hussain said that the present programme is only a pilot project designed to impart basic peace awareness among madrassa students as well as to provide opportunities for vocational training on computer education, tailoring, etc.
Addressing the participants, Dr ANS Ahmed, sociologist and former professor, IIT, said that due to the advance of technology, the world has become a global village. The madrasas cannot be left behind in this age of technical progress. Therefore, apart from carrying out their religious teachings, the madrassas have to include basic education on technical as well as vocational courses for the benefit of the students.
Delivering the vote of thanks, Maulana Hilal Kasimi, principal of Assam Markazul Uloom (Islampur Madrassa) said that its time to introduce other major subjects like science, mathematics and English in madrassas and said vocational education must be integrated in madrassa education system.
The three-day workshop is being attended by teachers from the selected madrassas along with opinion makers from various communities.