May a Muslim Scholar Educate Sanskrit in India?

Banaras Hindu University news, BHU protests, India news, Hindutva India, Indian Muslims, India Hindu extremism, India Hindu-Muslim divide, Dr. Firoz Khan BHU, BHU Sanskrit protest, India news

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College students on the Banaras Hindu College (BHU) in Varanasi, India, staged a protest lasting greater than two weeks towards the appointment of Dr. Firoz Khan as a college member on the Sanskrit Vidya Dharma Vijnan (SVDV). On the crux of the matter is the truth that a Muslim scholar was appointed to show Sanskrit language, literature and historical Indian shastras to a predominantly Hindu pupil group.

protest is supported by Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), a right-wing
pupil group affiliated with the Hindu nationalist Rashtriya
Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). Rationalizing the protest, ABVP’s BHU wing convener
stated: “Their demand is real. The scholars need switch of Dr. Firoz since
they need solely Hindus as lecturers within the college of SVDV that imparts training
of Sanatan Dharma.”


The scholars have known as off the protest after being assured by the college’s vice-chancellor of corrective measures inside 10 days. The difficulty is way from over, nonetheless, as a subsection of the present and former BHU college members have expressed their parochial view to the president of India, Ram Nath Govind, looking for speedy repeal of the appointment. Khan, who has a doctorate in Sanskrit, expressed his deep disappointment on the protests: “All my life, I learnt Sanskrit and I used to be by no means made to understand I’m a Muslim, however now when I’m attempting to show, all of a sudden it has change into the one topic.”

Myopic View

The resistance to a Muslim scholar educating Sanskrit at SVDV stems from a misguided sense of rectitude from a particular section of Hindu college students and lecturers. Many voices in India have come out in help of Khan, together with a gaggle of BHU college students. In a shock twist, the Varanasi chapter of RSS additionally expressed its help for Khan’s appointment, stating that “The Sangh has a transparent and agency view that opposing an individual appointed by the due choice course of and is devoted and dedicated to Sanskrit literature, goes towards the legislation and social concord.”

It’s however a travesty that sure BHU college students and professors are up in arms towards Khan’s appointment to the SVDV, one among whose cardinal targets is to “take away the pervading misconceptions about faith, spirituality, Astrology and Tantras in society and reinstate the paramount values of ethics and faith for the upliftment of society and nation on the whole and people particularly.”

All of the
extra telling is the truth that the college was based in 1916 by Pandit
Madan Mohan Malviya, together with British theosophist, author, educationist and
philanthropist, Annie Besant. Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya, revered by many, had
no points working alongside the non-Hindu co-founder, Dr. Besant. These
college students and the educating college of BHU who’re towards Khan’s appointment
have failed to know the core rules of the establishment in addition to
that of the founding father of the college. And their refusal to embrace Khan demonstrates
their myopic view of faith, life and studying.


The dimwitted view of some folks, emboldened by the rise of fundamentalism internationally and Hindutva in India, can not take away from the predominant prevalence of communal concord between Muslims and Hindus. In Moin-ul-Islam madrassa positioned in Agra, Hindu and Muslim college students be taught Arabic and Sanskrit aspect by aspect. Based in 1926, the madrassa opened its doorways to Hindu college students in 2005 and right now has extra Hindu college students than Muslim ones on its campus.

In Uttar Pradesh, an 18-year-old Hindu woman, Pooja Kushwaha, has been educating the Quran to Muslim kids. Right now, her free courses are held in a temple for about 35 Muslim college students who’re too poor to pay for the teachings. Endorsing her efforts, a 70-year-old Muslim chief, Haji Jamiluddin Qureshi, stated “It’s heartening to know that such uncommon examples of communal concord exist in our metropolis. A instructor is a instructor and her faith doesn’t matter so long as she is aware of the Holy Scripture properly.”

Dr. Firoz Khan isn’t the primary to face such resistance on account of his non secular religion. Much like Pooja studying the Quran, Gopalika Antharjanam, a Brahmin woman from Kerala, realized Arabic when she was 17. When she began educating Arabic in a public college in 1987, there was an uproar and protests just like what Khan is dealing with right now. Fired from her job as an Arabic instructor, Gopalika took the matter to court docket. In 1989, the Kerala Excessive Court docket dominated in her favor, permitting her to pursue a profession of educating Arabic though she is a Hindu Brahmin.

Protesters towards Firoz Khan educating Sanskrit might take heed these examples as a substitute of writing to the nation’s president or threatening to contest his appointment on the Supreme Court docket. Till they take a stance primarily based on motive, one among Annie Besant’s quotes finest conveys the die-hard place of the protesters: “Refusal to imagine till proof is given is a rational place; denial of all exterior of our personal restricted expertise is absurd.”

The views expressed on this article are the creator’s
personal and don’t essentially replicate Honest Observer’s editorial coverage.

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