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A Brahmin woman teaching Arabic in Kerala

Gopalika, a Brahmin woman began her profession as an Arabic teacher in the year 1987, despite an uproar among the Hindus, who argued that a Brahmin could not teach Arabic. Possibly, the first Brahmin teacher of the language in the country, Gopalika, who hails from Kunnamkulam village in Thrissur district of Kerala, had evinced interest in Arabic at the age of 17. She has been teaching Arabic for more than two decades. When she first took up a job as an Arabic teacher, huge opposition by the locals forced her employer to remove her from the job. She then approached the Kerala High Court which ruled in her favour, resulting in her joining government service through the Kerarla Public Service Commission as a teacher. Gopalika is due to retire on March 31, 2020 as a teacher from Chemmaniyodu Government Lower Primary School. Though, she could not pursue higher studies in Arabic due to personal reasons, she has no regrets. Last year, she was honoured by a Muslim group on the ‘World Arabic Day’. According to Gopalika, Arabic is a beautiful language and it should not be connected with a particular religion.

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