New Delhi: Salma Ansari, founder of Chacha Nehru Madrasa in Aligarh, which is run by Al Noor Trust is surprised at the attention her school is getting for the religious amity, which has been there since its inception in 2000.
Gayatri Mantra and Quran recitation have always been part of the school culture, which is affiliated to madrasa board. The new addition is the temple on her school campus, where one can find a room with a mosque and a mandir sharing the space. Here, students eat, pray and study together.
Amused at the issues being raised in context of the school, she said, “This was called the school of beggars and today we are discussing the Hindus and Muslims in them. We must leave them alone as their realities are different. They come from very poor backgrounds. Faith unites them.”
After her school hit the headlines for having a temple, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy tweeted on July 16, 2019 calling Ansari a patriot and said she was gutsy for “wanting a temple in AMU campus” (sic).
Clarifying that the madrasa has nothing to do with Aligarh Muslim University, Ansari says, “I am aghast to know that AMU is being dragged in here. Quite a stupid thing to do, as the Hindus and Muslims are co-existing in my own school premises ever since. The temple has been put up here, and it is not part of the varsity,” she said.
There are a total of 4000 students with over a thousand Hindu students and 30 Hindu boarders. The children of mob lynching victims from Muslim and Dalit community also attend her school.
The rising number of Hindu students attending the madrasa board school prompted Ansari, the founder, to make arrangements for them to pray. She got the temple set up inside a room as she was anxious that in the politically charged environment her students, regardless of their faith, might get attacked.
“We have 30 Hindu boarders, I don’t want them to leave the school campus for prayers. The times are not good and people are being attacked in the heated and charged environment. My students are vulnerable, which is why I got the temple set inside the campus,” she told News 18.com. They would have to leave the premises for prayers and that is too risky for her to allow, she said.
The sound of Gayatri mantra, Ganesh vandana reverberate the campus as does the Quran recitation. “Co-existence has been founding principle of my school. The temple is just the extension of with the changing needs of time. Yoga became fashionable now on campuses, and we have practicing it since years,” she said.
After completing Class 8 from this English medium school, students get into other public schools like DPS and some of them are now lawyers and teachers, she said.