In a break from the past, a non-Muslim candidate from Rajasthan has topped the all-India entrance exam for a master’s course in Islamic studies at the Central University of Kashmir. “Islam is portrayed as a radical religion and there is lot of misconception about it. The division in the society is growing today and it is really very important to understand each other’s religion,” said Shubham Yadav, who would join the course in Kashmir for two years.
The result of the common entrance test, held on September 20, was declared on October 29. The university, which had set up the religious studies department, which oversees the course, in 2015, confirmed that Yadav is the first non-Muslim candidate to top the exam. “This is the first time a non-Muslim has topped the entrance exam… We’ve had non-Muslim scholars in the past,” Professor Hamid Naseem Rafiabadi told PTI.
Yadav (21) has done BA honours in philosophy from the Delhi University and hails from Alwar where two lynching cases of Pehlu Khan in 2017 and Akbar alias Rakbar Khan in 2018 took place. “Such kind of incidents also made me think and gave motivation to read about the religion (Islam). I convinced my parents to pursue Islamic studies by making them understand that it will be about Islamic history and culture and they agreed,” he said. Yadav said that he developed an interest in Islamic studies during his college days and has informally studied about the Arab spring, Iran issues, early days of Islam and Prophet Muhammad and is looking forward to learn more about it in the formal course. “Some of my friends who are from Muslim community are studying global Islamic politics,” said Yadav, who is also preparing for the civil services exam. Yadav has a younger brother studying in class 11 while his father runs a general store in Alwar.