Religion has been at the centre of polarising debate recently, be it on TV or social media. There has been incessant name-calling on news channels and targeted hashtag campaigns online to run down particular faiths.
In this toxic atmosphere, 21-year-old Shubham Yadav has paved the way for a more open-minded approach. The student from Alwar in Rajasthan has become the first non-Muslim candidate to top the all-India entrance exam for a master’s course in Islamic studies at the Central University of Kashmir.
“I'm not going to study and, you know, cram up the Quran or, like, Sharia.” Shubham Yadav shares with Brut all that comes with topping an unconventional exam. pic.twitter.com/ETNzMBeEoT
— Brut India (@BrutIndia) November 18, 2020
“Islam is portrayed as a radical religion and there is a lot of misconception about it. The division in the society is growing today and it is really very important to understand each other’s religion,” said Shubham Yadav, who will pursue the course in Kashmir for two years.
The university confirmed that Yadav is the first non-Muslim candidate to top the exam. “This is the first time a non-Muslim has topped the entrance exam… We’ve had non-Muslim scholars in the past,” Professor Hamid Naseem Rafiabadi said.
— The Times Of India (@timesofindia) November 17, 2020
Yadav hails from Alwar, where two lynching cases, including the one of Pehlu Khan took place in 2018. “Such kind of incidents also made me think and gave motivation to read about the religion (Islam). I convinced my parents to pursue Islamic studies by making them understand that it will be about Islamic history and culture and they agreed,” he said.
Yadav claimed that his interest in Islamic studies peaked during college days and he has informally studied about the Arab spring, Iran issues, early days of Islam, and Prophet Muhammad.
Shubham Yadav, who topped the all-India entrance exam for Master's course in Islamic Studies at the Central University of Kashmir, says growing islamophobia ignited the urge in him to understand the religion.#Islamophobiahttps://t.co/FMKhMNBGUt
— The Logical Indian (@LogicalIndians) November 15, 2020
Yadav is also preparing for his civil service examinations. While some indulged in the routine name-calling, many congratulated the youth and cheered his success.
There is still some positivity in india. Being a kashmiri you will get atmost love here.
— Malik Abrar (@MalikAb99452340) November 18, 2020
Mashallah this is Great🥺❤️❤️
Shubham Yadav: "Islam is portrayed as a radical religion and there is lot of misconception about it. The division in the society is growing today and it is really very important to understand each other's religion," pic.twitter.com/DSAVQs9klt
— 🄵🄰🅁🄰🅉♟️ (@InquisitiveFraz) November 17, 2020
For the first time ever , a Non-Muslim Boy named Shubham Yadav has topped the entrance Exam of Islamic Studies. He wants to learn Islam to bridge the gap between two religions amidst rising polarization. Embracing each others religion. Thats the true essence of India💕 pic.twitter.com/quf07XcVsI
— sekhAr subhrAnsu (#SSJ)✒️ (@sekharreport) November 17, 2020
Its slap on elements of islamphobia.Those who have a half knowledge become islamphobic.congrats to Non muslim friends who opted to studies.He may light who are living in derkness to follow his path.
— khurram scientist (@Azam50494798) November 15, 2020
More power to young Shubham Yadav. While some choose to spew venom in the name of religion, his attempts to study and rightfully articulate the noble tenets of religion must be appreciated.