A six-year-old Muslim girl Firdosh, who made headlines a few months ago for securing the first position in Bhagavad Gita chanting competition in Kendrapara district, Odisha, was pulled out of the school by her parents after they were pressurised by Muslim clergy.
“We recently withdrew our daughter Firdosh from Sovaniya Sikhyashram, a residential school at Kapaleswar village on the outskirts of Kendrapara town as per the diktat of the local clergies. She was studying in Class I. My husband, Sk. Qudus, who works in Saudi Arabia, also instructed me to admit our daughter and son in another school. Many of our relatives and religious leaders expressed their unhappiness after getting to know that Firdosh was reciting ‘Gita’ in the residential school instead of reading ‘Koran’,” said Arifa Bibi, mother of Firdosh.
“The parents of Firdosh rightly pulled out their kids from Sovaniya Sikhyashram after getting to know that they were forced to recite Gita every day. A school is a place where everybody is equal and moral education is given. But what was being given there was religious education,” said a Moulavi of the local mosque.
“Firdosh and her 8-year-old brother were the only two Muslim students in our school out of the 110 students and both the children were withdrawn from the school recently by their parents after obtaining School Leaving Certificates (SLCs) from the school to join in another school,” Urmila Kar, the headmistress of Sovaniya Sikhyashram, said.
“Firdosh participated in ‘Bhagavad Gita’ reciting competition organised by Pragna Mission in Kendrapara in March and stood first amongst 56 children in the sub-junior category in the district,” the headmistress added.
This is a textbook case of how ‘secularism’ in Bharat is nothing but Hinduphobia. The secular-liberal crowd (most with Hindu-sounding names) which waxes eloquent about Ganga-Jamuna tehzeeb day in & out, tactically omit mentioning that this river of tehzeeb flows only one way – Hindus are encouraged to visit sufi shrines, appreciate Islamic art, allow cow slaughter, applaud inter-faith marriages etc., while the mere mention of Muslims practising Yoga or learning Hindu spirituality & philosophy is condemned as ‘majoritarian fascism.’
Where is the tolerance for Dharmic/Indic thought? On the one hand, we have Abrahamic belief-systems which propagate exclusive monotheism and preach intolerance towards non-believers, and on the other we have an open Dharmic framework which teaches different tools for a person to achieve self-realization. Which school of thought should we be teaching all our children to create a well-integrated, harmonious society?
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