The Gender of Madrasa Teaching

Nita Kumar, Claremont McKenna College


There are thousands of Muslim children, both girls and boys, going to madrasas in all the cities of South Asia (Sikand 2005: pp 313-14). Zeenat and Shahzad, a weaver’s daughter and a weaver’s son in the city of Varanasi, North India, the centre of silk weaving, are two such children. All adult Muslims, such as all the adult male and female members of Zeenat and Shahzad’s families, explicitly articulate and perform gender identities. Can we make a useful co-relation between the gender identities of the adults and the experience of the madrasa?