Eye-opener for Pakistan: Muslim scholars teach Hindu scriptures
- Shri Ram Shaw
New Delhi/Kolkata, Sept 16: Bleating about Kashmir like a sacrificial lamb at every public platform since 5th of August post abrogation of Article 370 & 35A, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan and his cabinet ministers have been indulged in irrational rants and naked attempts to rouse the sentiments of Muslims and disturb social harmony, not just in Kashmir, but all of India. Here is a “ready reckoner & eye-opener” for them.
This revolution was achieved by Ramakrishna Mission Vidyamandir at Belur when for the first time in RK Mission’s 122-year history, Muslim teachers were appointed to teach Hindu scriptures. And, they have been imparting education there for several years now. Belur is in Howrah district, about 10 Km (North) from Kolkata in West Bengal.
Shamim Ahmed, a former Presidency college scholar, and Faridur Rahman were appointed in 2001 to teach Shad Darshana -- Sankhya, Yoga, Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Mimamsa and Vedanta. For some monks of RKM, the appointment was in keeping with the spirit of what Swami Vivekananda had once said: “For India, a Vedantic brain with an Islamic body is the only hope.”
Shamim and Rahman are very popular teachers and our students like their method of teaching, said Swami Atmapriyananda, Vidyamandir former principal. According to him, a meeting of the college’s teachers and monks was held after the College Service Commission recommended Shamim’s name in mid-January, 2000. The decision to appoint them was unanimous.
Ahmed who became a graduate with a first class degree in 1992, did his post graduation from the Calcutta University. He finds his assignment “a pleasant experience.” The teachers and monks are friendly and I face no problem teaching the students, he says. His love for Indian philosophy grew since his undergraduate days. He has studied some of the original books like Nayakusumanjali, Sarvadarshansamghraya and Vedantasara in Sanskrit. Rahman is also well versed in Vedanta and Nyaya. His association with the monks and the scope of using the college library’s varied range of books and commentaries on Indian philosophy helped him immensely.
Asked whether he ever faced any opposition, Ahmed said, “I was brought up in a liberal atmosphere and my parents in Murshidabad are very happy that I am teaching Vedanta.”
Professor Nirod Baran Chakraborty, former head of Philosophy department, Presidency College and a well known scholar in Vedanta had said that the Vidyamandir had done a bold job in appointing the teachers.
However, Imran Khan is now worried for the future of 200 million Muslims across India, its Christians, Sikhs and even Dalits. This is a very thinly-veiled attempt to widen the social and religious fault lines in India, just as Nehru had envisaged. Khan cannot be blamed for living in a time warp in entertaining an idea of India - propagated by the western world in the 1950s - which was socially fractious and incompatible.
Thus it is that a Prime Minister (Imram Khan) who is starkly ignorant of international geography and describes Germany and Japan as proximate neighbours, has been waxing eloquent on the “Hindu hegemony” being perpetuated by a “fascist Hindutva” regime. Glaring is the irony of the Prime Minister of a theocratic State, who answers to his military bosses, holding forth on secularism and pluralism. Given the nature of the Pakistani State, Khan's antics do not appear surprising and form a pattern.