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Kerala’s Islamic institution teaches Sanskrit and Hindu scriptures to students

Students of the Academy of Sharia and Advanced Studies learning Sanskrit and Hindu scriptures during their eight-year course

A classroom in an Islamic institution with students attired in long white robes and headgears reciting Sanskrit mantras and slokas presents a very different and inspiring scene of the multi-religious Indian society. Apart from these studies, in this institution – Academy of Sharia and Advanced Studies, located in Kerala’s Thrissur district — the students and faculty members converse in Sanskrit.

Onampilly Muhammad Faizy, Principal of ASAS run by Malik Deenar Islamic Complex explaining the aim for imparting these lessons said that it was to inculcate among students, knowledge and awareness about other religions.

Interestingly, Faizy himself has studied Shankara philosophy. Talking to news agency PTI he said: “Therefore, I felt that students should know about other religions and their customs and practices.”

He added that since it would not be possible to study Sanskrit and the shastras during the eight-year course period, “the idea is to provide basic knowledge about these and create an awareness in them about another religion.”

The students who join the course after finishing their Class X are taught portions of the Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, Ramayana and Mahabharata, in Sanskrit.

They are also taught Urdu and English in the degree course in Arts that is awarded by the Calicut University.

As the academic workload is substantial, students are selected after clearing an entrance exam. “We take in students who can handle it and also maintain strict standards,” observed Faizy.

Though in the beginning the students find it difficult to learn Sanskrit they become adept by practising regularly.  The parents of these students don’t object to their learning Sanskrit and the Hindu scriptures.

It is getting qualified faculty for teaching the students which is challenging. That is the reason that teaching of Sanskrit was started seven years ago and that too in this particular branch only.

Stressing on the importance of this learning, Hafiz Aboobacker, a Coordinator of the Institute told the media: “It would help students to learn about and understand another religion through their history and Puranas. It would also help to sync our religious views with theirs. It would help to create a new beginning for a new India.”