New Delhi: At a time when people are fighting with each other in the name of religion, a girl in Agra has set a rare example of how humankind can live with peace and harmony.
Pooja Kushwaha, a class XII student from Agra, gives lessons of Quran to 35 Muslim children and her classroom is a temple courtyard.
The girl teaches Quran every evening to the Muslim children in a communally sensitive western Uttar Pradesh’s Agra.
With a great command over the Arabic language and its difficult phonology involving a variety of syllables and consonants, Pooja is a perfect teacher for her students.
Reshma Begum, mother of a student at Pooja’s academy says: “It is a marvel to see Pooja achieve this rare distinction at so young an age. I am pleased to have her as my child's teacher. Her religion is the last thing on my mind.”
Pooja learned Arabic from a woman in her locality.
“Many years ago, there was another woman of mixed faith in our locality. Born to a Muslim father and Hindu mother, Sangeeta Begum used to hold Quran classes for children. I got interested in the holy book and started attending her classes,” Pooja said.
Sangeeta Begum, however, could not continue because of some personal problems. She she requested Pooja to keep her legacy alive.
“She taught me an important tenet of Islam, that there is no point gaining knowledge if you don't share it,” the 18-year-old said.
Pooja teaches the students for free as most of the kids in her class belong to poor families.
“Most of the kids are from poor families. They do not have money and I do not want it either,” Pooja said.
Haji Jamiluddin Qureshi, a prominent leader in the city said: “It's heartening to know that such rare examples of communal harmony exist. Her religion matters little, as long as her knowledge is sound. Islam doesn't object to anybody learning Arabic or reading the Quran.”