This decision triggers a storm in Muslim community and various Muslim organizations and prominent Muslims in India have protested against it.
This is not the first time this kind of thing is happening in India. Some years ago government's decision make Surya Namaskar and chants compulsory in government schools was toned down after Muslim bodies moved court against it.
In 2007 Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had announced holding a state-wide 'surya namaskar' and yoga program in all government run schools on January 25. It was compulsory for every student to take part in that program.
Various Muslim groups protested against it and moved to court. After that the High Court ordered that participation in it would not be compulsory, but voluntary.
The petitions claimed that 'surya namaskar'was part of worship system of a religion and that worship of sun was forbidden in certain religious communities. Therefore, it should be voluntary as students come from different religious backgrounds, it pleaded.
Giving the interim order, the HC said, no student shall be compelled to take part in the 'surya namaskar'and added no action including expulsion and de-recognition of schools would be done for not taking part in the program.
Again the state government of MP doing something similar to 2007 but this time its bigger. It is making it compulsory for young Muslims in Urdu and Islamic schools to read chapters from Gita. Today they want to force Muslim students to read gita tomorrow they will ask them to worship their idols. All this needs to be stopped and Indian Muslims are rightfully protesting against it. Muslims have the freedom to decide what they want to do and no one can force their beliefs on them.
It must be very clear that a Muslim cannot bend in front of or worship any other god expect Allah. Allah is the one he is the almighty. As far as surya namaskar is concerned Muslims cannot bend in front of a false god Sun or chant mantras. Hinduism is a pagan religion and pagans worship these kinds of things; sun, moon etc..
Islam is a Monotheistic religion, Muslims believe in one god that is Allah now do you want Muslims to become polytheistic idol worshipers.
Surely Hindus question this ideology and ask Muslims to change their beliefs but will a Hindu change his belief , will a Hindu eat cow or stop animal sacrifice carried out in various temples? No.
In the surya namaskar case Muslim organizations rightly said 'surya namaskar'was performed with chanting Hindu 'mantras' which is not allowed in Islam. Even if mantras are not chanted bending in front of a false god is a major sin.
Surely there are various saffron Hindu forces that like the decision of MP government and want to create communal tensions.
If a Muslim wants to Study Gita willingly just as a study then its fine but no one can compel him to read it.
Most fundamental pillar of Islam "There is no deity worthy of worship except the One True Almighty God ie; Allah" (in Arabic: "La ilaha ill Allah").
From Hindustan Times:
The state government’s decision to include chapters on the Bhagavad Gita in Urdu medium schools, starting from Class 1 and 2, from this academic session has sparked a new controversy. The decision has earned the ire of Muslim organizations.
Several such organizations have come out against the government’s decision and have said if required they would seek court intervention in the matter.
“The decision to include chapters on Gita in government schools itself is wrong and unconstitutional. Now, by including Gita in the syllabus of Urdu medium schools and in Urdu books is like adding insult to injury,” said member of Muslim personal law board Arif Masood.
He termed the government’s decision as interference in religion.
Those who wish to study Gita can go ahead but others should be provided with an alternative.
Muslims would protest this decision tooth and nail and would knock on court’s door if the government does not reconsider its decision, said Masood.
MP unit of Coordination Committee for Indian Muslims has also opposed and condemned the decision. Secretary of the committee, Javed Akhtar asks why the government has chosen only the Bhagavad Gita to impart moral lessons.
India is a secular country and such decisions are against the spirit of communal harmony. “We would definitely take legal recourse,” said Akhtar.
“Such decisions go against the spirit of a secular state. I remember before 1970s, the state government had a book in schools where chapters on Guru Govind Singh, Bible and Islam were incorporated in some form or another. That book disappeared gradually,” said Mohammad Mahir, president of Muslim Vikas Parishad.
If government’s intention is really to teach moral lessons then teachings from all religions should be included, said Mahir.
Social activist Abdul Jabbar said it is really ironical that Urdu has now been associated with a religion.
Earlier, it was considered only as a language that everybody studied; now it has been confined to Muslims alone.
Moreover, the decision of teaching Gita in Urdu medium is another attempt to relate it exclusively to Muslims.
The government should try to teach Islamic preaching as well especially misconceptions spread about Islam.
"It is unconstitutional," said Haleem Khan, member of the Centre's National Monitoring Committee for Minority Education. "If the government does not take back its decision, we will go to the court."
The true face of Hindu led government in Madhya Pradesh has been unveiled. Various Muslim organizations in India have protested against it and now this matter will go to court. Hopefully the verdict will be righteous and in favor of Muslim community.
- By Arslan Khan
( B.A in Islamic Studies, PG Diploma in Journalism, Delhi)