A viral video depicting Muslim students learning Sanskrit at the Academy of Sharia and Advanced Studies (ASAS) in Thrissur, Kerala, is circulating on social media with the misleading claim that these students are being trained to become Hindu temple priests. However, an investigation by the India TV Fact Check team has revealed that this claim is entirely false, and the Sanskrit teacher featured in the video is, in fact, a Hindu.
The 5.29-minute video, shared on social media platforms, came with a caption suggesting that Muslim teachers in Kerala were instructing Muslim students in Sanskrit to prepare them for roles as temple priests. The India TV Fact Check team debunked this claim, emphasising that the Sanskrit instructor seen in the video is a Hindu, not a Muslim.
Upon further investigation, it was discovered that the original video was extracted from a news report by The Fourth in November 2022. The report covered the teaching of Sanskrit at ASAS, a Muslim educational institution in Thrissur, Kerala. The video presented interviews with the institute's coordinator, students engaged in learning Sanskrit, and the Hindu teachers conducting the classes. Contrary to the false claim, the report makes no mention of students being educated in Sanskrit to become Hindu temple priests. The actual purpose, as stated in the news report, was to include the Mahabharata and Ramayana in the institute's syllabus.
Additional news reports from November 2022 confirm that ASAS, affiliated with the Malik Deenar Islamic Complex (MIC), was indeed teaching Sanskrit. A PTI report dated November 13, 2022, quoted ASAS Principal Onampilly Muhammad Faizy, who explained that the objective of incorporating Sanskrit into the curriculum was to familiarise students with various religions.
This incident highlights the importance of fact-checking and the potential repercussions of misinformation. The misleading claim not only distorts the reality of the situation but also perpetuates communal tension by falsely linking religious groups with a divisive narrative. The accurate context revealed through fact-checking showcases the institute's efforts to broaden students' understanding of different cultures and religions through the study of Sanskrit.