Kannada bridging gaps between communities at Jamia Masjid

Language language gap Social and Religious State

Kannada teaching workshop for women teachers by Federation of Muslim Educational Institutes in Yeshwanthpur.

Bengaluru:In an effort to bring the communities together and promote harmony amidst the current tension in Karnataka, Federation of Muslim Educational Institutes (FMEI) and All India Ideal Teachers Association (AIITA) organised a Kannada teaching workshop at Jamia Masjid in Yeshwanthpur.

M. Abdul Rahman Pasha, camp director and language scientist at Karnataka Development Authority explained that it is vital for the teachers to be able to teach Kannada in a holistic manner to non-Kannada speaking children. “It helps to secure jobs and it opens up opportunities for them,” he said.

Pasha said that he tries to empower all the women, Muslim and non-Muslim, through these camps. “It is due to the nature of today’s camp that most of the women teachers present here are Muslim but religion was and is no bar for us.”

Nasreen, a teacher who attended the camp said that more camps like these must be held frequently. “Learning Kannada has become a challenge for the children in Karnataka. Not much effort is being put in teaching Kannada in schools and even homes.There are a very few Kannada speaking neighbourhoods, so while childrenaregrowing up, they don’t get to hear the language much resulting in them not picking it up.”

Hannah, another teacher at the camp said that online classes during the pandemic were a huge success for her. “While I used to take Kannada classes for children, their parents would attend classes at times. That was really moving for me.” Hannah mentioned that if a Muslim child can learn Arabic, which is really difficult to grasp, why can they not learn Kannada.

Hannah herself has immense love for the Kannada language. “I offer my prayers and read Quran in Kannada.”

Iqbal Ahmed, Treasurer at FMEI Bangalore and Director of Zenith Academy said that there is a need within the Muslim community to learn the language to be able to get better opportunities within the state. He said that this will help them greatly in qualifying exams and getting good jobs. “Our focus is on all the minority institutions to help them in logical implementation of and maximum use of Kannada.”

Communal tensions

Speaking on the recent communal tensions in Karnataka, HaroonBasha, FMEIsecretary for south Karnataka said he feels that language rather than becoming a medium has become a barrier. “People must know that a language has a power to break barriers. Anything that is unknown to others, creates a lot of room for misunderstanding. However, our ultimate goal is to help Kannada reach masses and hope that people use it as the first language.”

Request to Hindu brothers

Harun Basha said that all languages are equally beautiful and no language is on top of the other.He tried to make a request to the Hindu community. “I request my dear beloved Hindu brothers of Karnataka to work together with us to make sure every child of Karnataka learns Kannada. One language that will serve as a medium of dialogue for all of us and the tensions will automatically reduce. We will be able to understand each other better.”

Basha said that they want to keep conducting camps like these and they wish to do annual events but funding is a problem. “We are four to five different organisations that help each other to conduct Kannada learning camps.”

FMEI along with other institutions keep conducting Kannada training camps within the Muslim community that are open to anyone who is interested in learning Kannada. No registration fee is charged for these camps.

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