• CULTURE FEATURE

    A Muslim girl’s love for Gita breaks religious stereotypes

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    EVER since Class 4 student Shama Parveen participated in the Gita shloka [chanting chapters of the Bhagavad Gita]competition at her school some three years back, her love for reading and memorizing the holy book of the Hindus has only grown. And, the fact that she comes from a devout Muslim family has never come in her way.

    “I appeared in the Geeta shloka competition at my school when I was in Class 1. I read Gita shlokas given to me…to remember them for the competition. I won the competition at the school and that encouraged me to participate in such competitions every year,” said nine-year-old Parveen.

    A student of Sarswati Shishu Mandir in Singrauli district of Madhya Pradesh, Parveen has over the years garnered several accolades in Gita shloka and Vedic mantra recitation competitions.

    On October 18 this year, Parveen participated in the divisional-level recitation competition and secured second place.

    Having proven her exceptional ability to remember complex mantras and shlokas, she now wants to expand her knowledge by also memorizing the Quran.

    “I also want to remember all Ayats of the holy book of Quran, as I did with Gita,” said Shama, adding that her shift in focus would not affect her current ability and that she was sure of securing first place in divisional shloka competition next year.

    How does Parveen’s father Mohammed Sahabuddin, a devout Muslim who owns a tailor shop in the village, view his daughter’s love for Gita?

    “My daughter enjoys reading Gita shlokas and winning awards. I don’t care whether she is learning Gita or Quran, I only care for her happiness. I always help her in learning the shlokas. In fact, I have also memorized some of the shlokas by helping her,” said Sahabuddin.

    He further said he offered namaz [prayer]five-times a day and celebrated all Muslim festivals, but that has never gotten in the way of his daughter’s love.

    “Shama also offers namaz at least twice a day along with me at home. She loves offering namaz just as she enjoys memorizing Gita shlokas,” he said.

    When contacted, school principal Heeralal Dwivedi said Parveen is a talented girl and learns things quickly. “She is good in studies. She has done my school proud. She leads the morning prayers as she has memorized all Vedic mantras. We are helping her as we are confident that she would be a national champion one day,” Dwivedi said.

    ©2015 THE HINDUSTAN TIMES (NEW DELHI) / DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC.

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