Narendra Modi gets a pat on his back

New Darul Uloom vice-chancellor Maulana Ghulam Mohammed Vastanvi has said “all communities” are prospering in Narendra Modi’s Gujarat, and there is “no discrimination against the minorities in the state as far as development is concerned”. This is arguably the most significant endorsement of Modi. Darul Uloom, based in Deoband, Uttar Pradesh, is India’s leading Islamic seminary and the fount of Deobandi thought, which has adherents well beyond the country’s borders, especially in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Vastanvi, himself a Gujarati, is an MBA and was instrumental in introducing modern subjects to institutions run by the Darul Uloom in Gujarat and Maharashtra, including medicine, engineering and allied subjects. He is from Vastan village near Surat, where he was first initiated into Islamic studies. His election as Darul Uloom chief is seen as a possible catalyst for change in the conservative seminary. It’s not easy for a man in his position to be charitable towards Modi, accused of persecuting Muslims during and after the Gujarat riots.

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