In Odisha school, a Muslim woman is a popular Sanskrit teacher
A huge controversy has been raging over appointment of Firoze Khan as an assistant professor in Sanskrit Vidya Dharam Vigyan of Banaras Hindu University with students objecting to a Muslim teacher for teaching Sanskrit.
But in a backward district of Odisha, a Muslim woman has been teaching Sanskrit to hundreds of students over last 27 years with her colleagues and officials vouchsafing her credentials as a good teacher. Hasan Tara, a 50-year-old Muslim teacher in Reamal block of Deogarh district has been teaching Sanskrit to her students in Khairpali high school without anyone ever raising any objection.
“She is quite a popular teacher in our school and is very diligent in her teaching. My daughter too studied under her and scored good marks in Sanskrit. She very hardworking teacher and tries to ensure that all her students score more than 70% in the Sanskrit examination,” said Khairpalli high school headmaster Anant Satpathy. The school has 160 students spread over in Std 8, 9 and 10.
Daughter of a civil contractor who had migrated from Deoria district of Uttar Pradesh in the 50s to work at Rengali dam in Angul district, Tara took a liking to Sanskrit and graduated in the subject. Later she did her post graduation in the subject and joined the school as a Sanskrit teacher in 1992. Tara says she never found the idea of Muslim teaching Sanskrit anything odd.
“What has religion got to do with language? It’s a very sweet language and the oldest one,” Tara told The Hindustan Times, when asked about the controversy that has erupted in BHU. “None of the guardians, the teachers or the students have ever found it odd. I always focus on the students learning the basics so that they master the complex verbal system.” Tara also teaches Odia language to the students. Her daughter works as a science teacher in a school in Talcher area.
The school’s headmaster Satpathy said ever since Tara joined the school, she has never been found lacking in her enthusiasm for sanskrit. “She is not only diligent in her classes, but also an enthusiastic participant in Ganesh Puja and Saraswati Puja celebrations at school. She is an asset to our school,” said Satpathy.
In BHU, there have been howling protests over Khan’s appointment with students alleging that the appointment of Muslim as Sanskrit teacher goes against the ethos of its founder Madan Mohan Malviya.