Comparisons are odious but this one tells a tale. At the Banaras Hindu University, a Sanskrit professor has been facing resistance from a section of students because he is a Muslim. Last week, while these students were engaged in a sit-protest against the appointment of Professor Firoze Khan, just 600 km away another Muslim professor was welcomed at the Ram Krishna Mission Vidyamandira in West Bengal's Belur.
Ramjan Ali, who joined the Ramkrishna Mission Vidyamandira last Tuesday, said the protests at BHU were an exception, and not the rule. He further said that since joining the college, he has not felt the slightest twinge of discomfort due to his faith.
"A teacher is a friend, philosopher and guide. The incident at BHU is an exception. A teacher has no caste creed. If a teacher is prevented from teaching, it will not be good for the country." said Mr Ali, who was earlier teaching at a government college in Jalpaiguri.
Even the students at the college, founded by the Ramkrishna Mission, aren't astonished. Ramjan Ali is hardly the first Muslim teacher in the college, which has Muslims teaching English, Statistics, Chemistry, and History.
"The caste and creed of a teacher is not an issue. Our only objective is to get an education," said Kartik, a third-year Sanskrit student. This was echoed by his classmate Anirban Pal, who called the situation at BHU "problematic and very unfortunate".
Ramkrishna Mission Vidyamandira is a college founded in 1941, 25 years after the Banaras Hindu University. It has 700 students and is affiliated with Calcutta University.
Principal Swami Shashtrajnanananda reiterated his college's stand. "Sri Ramkrishna said there are multiple paths to god. Swami Vivekananda said Indian tradition never speaks of exclusion, rather inclusion. There is no question of any discrimination on the basis of religion. We believe a teacher is a guru. That is his identity," he said in a statement.