At Allahabad University, Muslim teachers, students have been stars of Sanskrit departmentUpdated: Nov 21, 2019 00:14 IST
A devout Muslim and a renowned Sanskrit scholar late Prof Kishwar Jabin Nasreen served as head of Sanskrit department, Allahabad University, from 2014 to 2016 and was working as a senior professor in the department when she passed away due to illness in September 2017.
Little wonder then that when a controversy erupted over the appointment of Sanskrit scholar Feroz Khan as assistant professor in the department of Sahitya at the faculty of Sanskrit Vidya Dharma Vijnan of Banaras Hindu University (BHU), all in the AU Sanskrit department were taken aback.
“Language has no religion and opposing appointment of a teacher in the department after due selection by panel of experts just on the religious ground is really sad. Here at Allahabad University, we had Prof Kishwar Jabin Nasreen, who stood out by her command over Sanskrit and won praise from colleagues as well as students alike,” recalls Prof Ram Sewak Dubey, a senior professor of Sanskrit at AU.
Prof Nasreen, who was also proficient in Russian and German language, was a recipient of Junior Research Fellowship in the language and joined the varsity after completing her DPhil in 1978 and joined AU as lecturer in 1980.
“Many of her research papers, during her over 35 years of teaching career, were published in the national and international journals and when in 2003 some controversy erupted over her promotion, the then AU vice-chancellor Prof GK Mehta had wholeheartedly backed he, maintaining that it was a scholar’s knowledge and intellect that counted and not her religion. She went on to become a successful head of the Sanskrit department,” shares Prof Dubey.
She also received many awards for her contributions including the first Janeshwar Mishra Sanskrit Vidushi Samman by Uttar Pradesh Sanskrit Sansthan in Lucknow in August 2014.
The legacy of Prof Nasreen is today being taken forward by around half-a-dozen Muslim scholars who are studying Vedas and Upnishads at AU’s Sanskrit department at under graduate and post graduate level.
“Topics from Bhagwad Gita, Vedas, Upnishads are all part of the curriculum and there is no bar on a Muslim candidate taking admission here,” says Prof Dubey.
The current head of the Sanskrit department Prof Umakant Yadav shares how Muslim students who have studied in the department are presently involved in research work in top institutions of the country.
The 2012 post graduate of the department Irfan Siddiqui is presently pursuing doctoral research on modern Sanskrit at Delhi University, New Delhi, he adds.
MA (Sanskrit) final year student Chand Mohd of Sonai village of Karchana also believes that no language should be divided on the basis of religion. Other Muslim students of the department like Avesh Ahmad (BA-2), Mohd Talib Ahmad (MA-1), Sarah Hanif of MA (final year), Amjad Ansari (BA-2), Gulshan Bano (BA-3) and Fehmida Farheen (BA-3) also share similar sentiments on the issue.