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Pained by BHU Row, But Proud That I Live in Bengal, Say State’s Muslim Sanskrit Professors

While 14 Muslim professors were empanelled through the College Service Commission (CSC) this year, 12 had qualified to teach Sanskrit at colleges and universities in the state last year.

Sujit Nath | News18.com

Updated:November 23, 2019, 3:39 PM IST
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Pained by BHU Row, But Proud That I Live in Bengal, Say State’s Muslim Sanskrit Professors
From Right to Left - Ramjan Ali (Ramkrishna Mission Vidyamandira in Belur), Akbar Ali (Narasinha Dutt College in Howrah), Abid Azad (Mahishadal Raj College in East Medinipur district) and Motiur Rahman (Abhedananda Mahavidyalaya in Birbhum)

Kolkata: As a row boils in Banaras Hindu University (BHU) over a Muslim professor teaching Sanskrit, Bengal has shown the way in the last two years with nearly 30 Muslim teachers qualifying as Muslim professors.

While 14 Muslim professors were empanelled through the College Service Commission (CSC) this year, 12 had qualified to teach Sanskrit at colleges and universities in the state last year.

Ramjan Ali, from the latest batch of professors, has joined the Ramakrishna Mission Vidyamandir in Howrah district’s Belur as a Sanskrit professor. “I did my higher education on Sanskrit from Falakata Cillege College in Alipurduar district. Then I sat for College Service Commission and was selected. During empanelment and counselling, I was asked for my choice and I opted for Ramakrishna Mission Vidyamandir in Belur. It was my dream to teach Sanskrit in such a highly reputed institution,” he said.

“On November 19, I received a call from Principal Swami Shastrajnandaji Maharaj and he welcomed my desire to teach Sanskrit at the college. He told me that religious identity is not important and what actually matters is knowledge. I don’t have words to express how happy I am. My father was a mason. Unfortunately, he is not alive. He would have been very happy,” Ali added.

Motiur Rahman, too, has devoted the last eight years of his life teaching Sanskrit. He found philosophy in Sanskrit at a very young age and decided to pursue a career as Sanskrit teacher. This year, he selected through CSC and will soon join Abhedananda Mahavidyalaya in Birbhum as a Sanskrit teacher.

“I was a guest lecturer at Dewan Abdul Goni College in Harirampur in the South Dinajpur district. During the counselling session at CSC, I was given Abhedananda Mahavidyalaya and I was more than happy to accept it. I will join the college at the end of this month,” Rahman said.

Other Muslim professors empanelled to teach Sanskrit through CSC in the last two years are Rafiqul Islam (North Bengal University), Akbar Ali (Narasinha Dutt College in Howrah), Abid Azad (Mahishadal Raj College in East Medinipur district), Hasina Khatoon (Vivekananda Satavarshiki Mahavidyalaya in Jhargram District), Kaberi Hussain (Serampore Girls’ College), Md Israfil (Kalma College in East Burdwan), Razbul Khan (Onda Thana Mahavidyalaya), Dilruba Khandekar (Midnapore) and Husne Parvin (Midnapore). All of them had been teaching Sanskrit at various educational institutions for seven to 10 years before going through CSC.

Speaking to News18, professor Akbar Ali, who will join Narasinha Dutt College in Howrah next month, said, “Being a Muslim, I can feel the trauma of the BHU professor. It’s painful when humans start hating others on the basis of religious identity. We should focus on humanity. Look at Bethune College in Kolkata. They won many applauds for allowing students to choose ‘Humanity’ as a religion in their online admission form. I salute the vision and thought of the college.”

“I am proud that I live in Bengal where such hatred is not there. We should not mix education with religion,” he added.

The most prominent Muslim face who teaches Sanskrit is Bengal is Sheikh Sabir Ali, an assistant professor at West Bengal State University in Barasat, North 24-Parganas. He also received a gold medal, ‘Draupadi Padakam’ from Ramakrishna Mission Vidyamandir for attaining first position in BA (Hons) Sanskrit at Calcutta University. He also received a gold medal from University of Calcutta for topping the MA (Sanskrit) examination from Calcutta University.

He was formerly associated with the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture as a resource person. He is the author of a Sanskrit book titled ‘Vaisheshika-Sutropaskarah’.

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