Muslim Sanskrit scholar translating Quran into sanskrit

published on May 13, 2010

Muslim scholar roots for Sanskrit

Ashutosh Shukla / DNA

Mumbai: In his Solapuri topi, full sleeved kurta-pyjama, Pandit Ghulam Dastagir Birajdar could easily be mistaken for a villager trying hard to make a living in the city. The fact is that this 75-year-old scholar would much rather have people see him that way.

A Muslim by faith and a teacher by profession, Birajdar has a simplicity and diction that most villagers are associated with. Birajdar gave an hour-long talk at the Bedekar Wadi, Girgaum, last week on the importance of Sanskrit.

A scholar in Sanskrit, well versed in Marathi, Kannada, Hindi, Urdu, Arabic and a bit of English, Birajdar pitches strongly for Sanskrit, a language that he has mastered. Birajdar is a member in the state government’s advisory body for Sanskrit education.

“Besides Karnataka, no other state has Sanskrit as a language, as after the local, national and English languages, there is no scope,” he said.

Birajdar considers learning Sanskrit his destiny. “Solapur Mahanagar Palika night school happened to be the only one with Sanskrit as the medium of communication. I wondered if the Brahmin teacher would let me in. But, he said my religion was at home not at school. That made a profound impression on me, and I became a teacher of the language,” he said.

At home, Birajdar spends time reading the Quran and Vedas. “The Quran and Vedas have a similar message—the good of humanity. Only the ways of achieving it are different,” he said. He is now translating the Quran into Sanskrit.

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