Varanasi: Holding the Quran in one hand and the Bhagavad Gita in the other, Mukhtar
Ahmad conducts "a class of communal harmony" at a madrassa in
Uttar Pradesh's Varanasi district to enable students to draw
similarities between Islam and Hinduism.
Welcome to Bahrul-Uloom madrassa (Islamic seminary) in Chittanpura
town where like Ahmad several other Muslim teachers are involved
in imparting lessons of brotherhood and unity to inculcate "moral
values" in their students.
"Our main objective behind teaching Hindu scriptures along with
the Quran is to undertake a comparative study of the holy books of
the two religions to enable our students to draw similarity
between Islam and Hinduism," Ahmad, a teacher at the Islamic
seminary, told IANS.
"By drawing similarity between the two religions, students will be
able to correlate the teachings of Quran with those of the
Bhagavad Gita and other Hindu ancient text, which in turn would
enable them to respect the two religions in the same manner," he
The Hindu scriptures were introduced one year ago in the syllabi
of the Behroom-Uloom madrassa with an aim to spread communal
harmony and brotherhood. The private Islamic seminary was set up
"The management always asked the teachers to come up with ideas
and suggestions for making students good in academics, improving
their performance and inculcating moral values," 58-year-old Ahmad
"In our discussions, we unanimously agreed that apart from
grooming students and preparing them for future challenges, our
other main objective was to churn out good human beings from the
seminary," he said.
"A few seminary teachers proposed to introduce the comparative
study of the Bhagavad Gita with the Quran that was already being
taught to students. The sole objective was to make students imbibe
the teachings of the religious books," he added.
Today, not only the Bhagavad Gita, the four Vedas -- Rig, Sama,
Yajur and Atharva -- are taught to the students along with
subjects like Hindi, English and Computer Science.
The teachers first read the scriptures themselves for four-five
months and then impart the knowledge to the students.
Seminary officials said the Hindu scriptures were initially
introduced in the classes equivalent to 10-12 standards. But now
they also form the course content of lower classes.
There are over 2,500 students -- both boys and girls -- enrolled
in different classes of the madrassa.
"While we admit boys only till Class 8, we have the provision for
enrolling the girls till Class 12," said Hadis Alam, another
teacher at the madrassa.
As there is no Hindu student at the madrassa, the Islamic seminary
officials believe they would soon get their first batch of Hindu
students with the introduction of Hindu scriptures in the syllabi.
Ahmad said the location of the madrassa in a Muslim-dominated area
could be preventing the Hindus from sending their kids there.
"But the introduction of Hindu scriptures in the syllabi has been
considerably appreciated by our Hindu brothers. We believe we
would soon have Hindu students seeking admission in Bahrul-Uloom,"
(Asit Srivastava can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)