A 12-year-old Muslim girl from Mumbai aced a written competition which evaluates children for their knowledge of Bhagwad Gita.
Maryam Siddiqui stood first among over 3,000 participants at the 'Gita Champions League' contest, organised by International Society for Krishna Consciousness (Iskcon) in January.
"I have always been inquisitive about religions and I often read up on them during my free time. So when my teacher told me about this contest I thought it would be a good chance to understand what the book is about. My parents too supported my idea of participating in the contest," said Maryam, who received the prize on March 15 for the 100 marks multiple-choice question test.
Maryam studied the test material for almost a month before taking the test. "I read through the material and tried to understand what the Gita tries to tell us. The more I read about different religions, the more I have realized that humanity is the most important religion that we must follow," she said.
Speaking about the importance of studying different religions, the young student's father Asif Siddiqui said "Our family believes that one needs to respect and accept all religions. No religion preaches hatred or wrong. However, there are some members who have misguided us. Before these have a bad influence on the children, we need to talk to them and make them understand what is right."
Proud of Maryam's achievements, her teacher Sapna Brahmandkar said "The contest is open to students from all religions so we asked if anyone from school wanted to participate. Maryam is excellent at school exams and she showed the same excellence at this contest too."
This article was originally published on Times of India