Based on extensive fieldwork and archival records, this book traces the emergence and flourishing of madrasas and the myriad ways in which they impact upon local Muslim communities, especially in West Bengal. It also addresses issues of identity, 'secular' education and gender in this context, while exploring the myths that surround these institutions. Amongst other things, it interrogates why Muslim communities prefer sending their sons to government schools to receive a secular education, while the daughters are sent to madrasas.

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