Shajeena is in love, with Sanskrit

via HK Correspondent published on December 14, 2006

Shajeena, a suave and shy Muslim girl of Nayayikulam, a suburb of the capital city of Trivandrum recently created history by securing 79 percent marks in the M.A Sanskrit of the Kerala University.


With the duppatta drawn over her head, and with sparkling eyes she says that she is really in love with Sanskrit, the wonderful language of Bharath. The 24 year old would surprise you in more ways than one.  She can explain you the concept of Brahma or debate with you on Kautilya’s Arthasastra. An ardent admirer of Sanskrit literature, she can recite Kalidasa Shakuntalam or any other epic poems with ease.


This young girl achieved the honour despite difficulties. Coming from a poor orthodox Muslim family, at every step she had to face conservative members of her own religion.  But her father, Shahul Hameed, a casual laborer, and her mother, Suhara Beevi, a housewife, stood behind her and encouraged her.


 â€œI was always aware of the circumstances at home. So my elder sister and myself never troubled our father for money. We took tuitions at home and earned money for our studies,” she says.


Shajeena fell in love with Sanskrit about three years ago when she took it up as second language for her graduation. She did not have to think twice on her subject for post-graduation. What remained was to convince her family. “Luckily, my father was not very conservative and gave me full freedom to select Sanskrit for PG,” says Shajeena. And she joined for MA Sanskrit at the Department of Sanskrit at the University College, Trivandrum.


But why Sanskrit? “It is supposed to be the language used by Gods. Sanskrit is a complete language, there is nothing to be added or removed from it. Besides, it offers job opportunities,” she says Sahityam, Vyakaranam, Vedantham, Nyayam and Jyothisham are the five branches that General Sanskrit deals with. “Sahityam was my favorite. It’s the purest of literature and you will come across our culture and tradition while learning it,” says Shajeena.


However, when this correspondent met her, Shajeena was jubilant for different reasons. The Coimbatore Arya Vaidya Pharmacy had awarded her a cash prize of Rs 5,001, which was handed over by Padmashree K.J.Yesudas, eminent musician and playback singer at a glittering function. The same week, Prema Panduranga one of the eminent exponents of Bhagavatha and herself a Sanskrit scholar felicitated her at function held at Kochi.


Narrating those moments she became emotional. Giving the Award, Shri. Yesudas said that being a Christian; he had initially faced difficulties to learn classical music. “If I face similar situations, I should never give up, he said. It was so encouraging,” she recalls.


She is aware of the sad plight of Muslim women and believes that only proper education would help them to empower themselves to solve their problems. “ There is need for reform in Muslim society. There is need to modernize our religion. Lack of knowledge is the root cause of all our problems,” she adds.


Vehemently opposing youths turning to terrorism, Shajeena says that learning Sanskrit had helped her to widen her horizon. “ Sanskrit should be made a compulsory subject right from the school level so that we can make the individuals cultured and refined and thereby make our society free of evils”, she argues.


While living as a Muslim, Sajeena had no qualms what so ever with our glorious culture. “ The study of Sanskrit purified my thoughts. I became more and more humble. I could see every one as divine beings irrespective of caste, creed or colour. I now realize that all religions take one to God through different ways,” she emphasizes.


Shajeena is fascinated by the vision opened to her by the study of Sanskrit.  She is captivated by the Science, Art, literature, Medicine, Astronomy and Astrology contained in various Sanskrit texts. Her dream is to do research in Sanskrit literature to bring out its uniqueness, distinctiveness and glorious past.  This poor Muslim girl seeks help from well wishers and lovers of Sanskrit to pursue her ideals.


Her address:  Shajeena. S, MannanKadakkal, Maruthikunnu P.O., Navaikulam, Trivandrum. Kerala State. Pin code: 695603. Phone: 0471-2146695.

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