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Sanskrit Lessons for Aspiring Islamic Scholars

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K K Yatheendran teaches Sanskrit at the Academy of Sharia and Advanced Studies

Thrissur (Kerala): An Islamic institution in Kerala is setting a fine example of inter-cultural understanding in the cultural capital of the state by teaching  Sanskrit. The Academy of Sharia and Advanced Studies (ASAS), which trains students to become scholars and madrasa teachers, provides graduation in Islamic Sharia along with a degree in Arts under Calicut University. Along with this, students are taught Sanskrit, Indian tradition, and other major world languages.  ASAS is run by Malik Deenar Islamic Complex (MIC), situated in Thrissur. K K Yatheendran, a disciple of renowned Sanskrit scholar K P Narayana Pisharody, is teaching Sanskrit at ASAS. Principal of the institution, Ustad Muhammad Faizy Onampilly said students will be learning Kalidasa’s epic poems like Raghuvamsa and Kumarasambhava. Students are selected for a residential eight-year course, during which they gain an in-depth knowledge of Islam, alongside regular school and university education. “We are training students to become Islamic scholars and teachers, and we want them to have a perspective suitable for a multi-cultural society. When they learn a language in depth, the culture and philosophy of India, their perspectives will be molded in the right manner. Through a multi-lingual approach, we can develop the wisdom to understand different cultures among students,” said Faizy, a Sanskrit scholar who holds an MA in Vedanta. Yatheendran felt that the process was not an extraordinary one. “Sanskrit is taught in a traditional manner. They start with ‘Siddharoopam’ and progress to grammar and literature. It is the same like teaching in any other institution. There are some exemplary similarities between Sanskrit and Arabic when it comes to grammar. As students here are learning Arabic, it is easy for them to learn Sanskrit too,” he said.