Setting an example of communal harmony, 18-year-old Pooja Kushwaha, who hails from Agra in India’s Uttar Pradesh state, shows maturity that belies her age.
According to a report by Indian media, Pooja is a class XII student by the day, but in the evening she turns into a Quran teacher for 35 Muslim kids. And she does it for free.
Reshma Begum, mother of 5-year-old Alisha, one of Pooja’s students, told, “It is a marvel to see her achieve this rare distinction at so young age. I am very pleased to have her as my kid’s teacher. Her religion is the last thing on my mind or any other parents’ that I know.”
Many might wonder how the young girl learned Quran.
Pooja told , “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 the kids. I got interested in the holy book and started attending her classes.
I made steady progress and was ahead of all others in her class soon. Due to some personal problem, Sangeeta Begum had to discontinue her classes and she requested Pooja to keep alive this legacy. She taught me an important tenant of Islam, that there is no point in gaining knowledge if you don’t share it”.
“Most of the kids are from poor families. They do not have money to offer and I do not want it either,” she says.
Pooja’s elder sister Nandini, also teaches kids lessons in Hindi and Bhagwat Gita. “These children are from underprivileged backgrounds and giving education to them is a great work. I am proud of my daughters,” their mother Rani Kushwaha told.
Her efforts are seen as a rare example of communal harmony y the Muslim community.
Muslim leader, 70-year-old Haji Jamiluddin Qureshi, who chairs many social forums and has a school of his own, told, “It’s heartening to know that such rare examples of communal harmony exist in our city. A teacher is a teacher and her religion doesn’t matter as long as she knows the holy scripture well. Moreover, Islam doesn’t object to anybody learning Arabic or reading Quran.”