Belur college appoints Muslim teacher in Sanskrit department

Kolkata, Nov 22 (PTI) At a time when students of theBanaras Hindu University in Uttar Pradesh are up in arms overthe religious identity of one of its Sanskrit teachers, acollege, on the outskirts of Bengal capital, has appointed aMuslim man as an assistant professor to teach the subject.

Ramzan Ali, who joined Ramkrishna Mission Vidyamandirain Belur following nine years of experience at a north Bengalcollege, said he was overwhelmed by the warm welcome extendedto him by the students and faculty members.

'I was welcomed by principal Swami ShastrajnandajiMaharaj, and everyone... Maharaj told me that my religiousidentity was not important, what mattered was my grasp overthe language, my indepth knowledge and my ability to share itwith the students,' Ali, who joined the Belur college onTuesday, told PTI.

Asked about the Banaras Hindu University (BHU)agitation, he said, 'I believe Sanskrit embodies India'sinclusiveness, its rich culture. Don't forget Sanskrit is themother of all languages. How can anyone bar people from otherreligions from learning and teaching Sanskrit?' A section of students at BHU has been demonstratingagainst the appointment of Feroz Khan as the assistantprofessor of the varsity's Sanskrit department.

Although the BHU authorities backed him, Khan has notbeen able to take classes.

Ali, who is in his early 40s, asserted that he hadnever faced any discrimination as a Sanskrit teacher.

'I never felt that I was out of place or unwantedwhile studying or teaching Sanskrit. Here, at the Belurcollege, the management has arranged for my accommodation andensured that I do not face any inconvenience,' the assistantprofessor maintained.

A student of the Sanskrit department at RamkrishnaMission Vidyamandira said he was looking forward to attendingAli's classes.

It is 'unfair' to question the religious identity of ateacher, he said.

'Ali sir has just joined So far, I haven't had theopportunity to attend any of his classes. I am looking forwardto it,' the student added.

The principal of the college could not be contactedfor his comment. PTI SUSRMS RMS