Rajasthan’s Hindu Youth Tops Islamic Studies Test in Kashmir, Says Islamophobia Attracted Him to Subject

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The non-Muslim, non-Kashmiri has created history by topping the list of 93 candidates for the entrance test for a Masters course in Islamic Studies at Central University of Kashmir.

Yadav has not studied Islam in his school or college and did self-study to prepare for the test

Zafar Aafaq | Clarion India

NEW DELHI — Topping a university entrance test does not often make news but 21-year-old Shubham Yadav of Alwar in Rajasthan is being chased by mediapersons for setting the Jhelum River on fire.

The non-Muslim, non-Kashmiri has created history by topping the list of 93 candidates for the entrance test for a Masters course in Islamic Studies at Central University of Kashmir .

“This attention feels good,” said Yadav. “I have been receiving congratulatory messages from Kashmir.”

He said he was attracted towards Islamic studies as he wanted to know about Islam amidst the rise in hate towards Muslims in India well as globally.

“In the last six years, we have seen a significant rise in Islamophobia in the country,” Yadav said. “There are misconceptions about Islam and the gap between people from different religions is increasing. I thought let me read about Islam and see for myself.”

Yadav, who has applied for entrance tests in other subjects also after graduation, has not studied Islam in his school or college and did self-study to prepare for the test.

After going through the Islamic literature, he has come to realise “Islam is not like the way it is being portrayed in public and media.”

“It is a peaceful and compassionate religion like other religions,” he said. “Scriptures don’t preach anything wrong. It is the people who misinterpret and misrepresent.”

One of the areas where he always wanted clarity was the women and Islam. “There are so many misconceptions about how Islam treats women. But when I read the Quran, I came to know that there are so many different things about women at different places that are being misinterpreted and misrepresented.”

He has been lucky to have parents who have allowed him to pursue a career in the subject of his choice. His father runs a small business in Alwar and his mother teaches history.

Asked for his advice to politicians and ministers in the Modi government over how they view Islam, he said, “They should also try to read about Islam.”

He said that he was baffled to know that the government was planning to bring in laws against the bogey of love jihad.

The news of his brilliant success has garnered mixed response in Kashmir. While he has received congratulatory messages, it has also been viewed from a political lens given that this comes at a time when the Modi regime has brought in new laws to allow any Indian to buy land in J&K and apply for government jobs.

“I want to make it clear that I want to learn about Islam; I have no political interest or any plan to settle in Kashmir.”

Though he has cleared the entrance for Islamic Studies, he says his first preference is to pursue law in Delhi University and is awaiting results of the test. “First I will study law to understand the law of our country and what needs to be changed.” He also aspires to join civil services.

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