01 October, 2020

Philosopher’s Stone

A Muslim teacher of Vedanta becomes the cynosure of all eyes

Philosopher’s Stone

The media is at it once again. Chasing celebrities, or better still, creating them. And all the brouhaha spun up over its current mascot-Shamim Ahmed, professor of Vedanta and allied philosophy at the Ramakrishna Mission Vidyamandir, Belur-mirrors the tension between what may be perfectly ordinary and natural ‘events’ and a society that may not be ready to receive the news yet.

Ahmed, an unassuming 26-year-old, waves away all suggestions of his accomplishment being in any way unique. Looking every bit a scholar immersed in the intricacies of Advaita Vedanta, Mimamsa, Sankhya, Yoga and Nyaya, he calmly says: "Please ask your questions now, class coming up at 12.40". The tone implies he’s not exactly keen on a media overdrive that zooms in on the ‘incongruity’ of it all.

That, of course, is the source of all the interest in him. Ahmed is the first Muslim to be appointed as a teacher of Vedanta in the 59-year-old history of the Ramakrishna Mission college. The man himself sees no reason why this should be considered unusual by anyone....



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