The Kerala Government has announced a contributory pension scheme for Madrassa teachers above the age of 65,who had worked for atleast 10 years.The contributions from the teacher,the mosque/madrassa committee and the State Wakf Board along with a Government grant will be used for giving the pension.
I know few madrassa teachers and they are not very well off. They are only given a meagre amount as salary. So giving them a pension with some State support should be welcomed.
But some are unhappy with the scheme.They ask the following questions.
Why the Government should give pension to religious teachers who are not Government employees? Why only such benefits are given to Muslims? Is it not appeasement of minorities to gain vote?
The Kerala Government have also announced that there are proposals for pension scheme under active consideration of the Government for people associated with temple tradition. So does it not answer to the complaint that Muslims are favoured? One should also remember that the salary and pension for all Temple employees are given by the Government.
There is a big difference between Hindu temples and Muslim mosques/madrassas in Kerala. Almost all the revenues from the Temples are taken by the Government.This is like that because before Independence most of the Temples were governed by the local Kings.So after Independence instead of giving the right to govern lucrative temples to feuding landlords, the Government took up the responsibility,first in South Kerala and recently due to popular demand in North Kerala too. So the Government also was entrusted with the job of looking after the temple employees.
On the other hand, the Government do not have any role in the working of the madrassas/mosques. The money earned by the mosque is not shared with the Government.The Government only get the fixed contribution for the working of Wakf Board.
So in my opinion the Government need not have jumped in to this scheme for giving pension to madrassa teachers. A more rational,logical and secular move would have been to ensure minimum wages are being paid by the committees to madrassa teachers. The Government can also through the Wakf Board urge the local mosque committees to ensure that pension is given to the teachers. A one time grant to the Wakf Board to help poor mosque committees may also be logical.
This pension scheme will not address the social and educational backwardness of Muslims.
This ill conceived move will only help Sangh Parivar to mobilise majority community through out India against minority ‘appeasement’.
In effect this scheme may be detrimental to minority community.