At a time when a controversy is raging over 40 Muslim clerics taking exception to the singing by reality star Nahid Afrin in Assam, a six-year-old girl from the Muslim community has taken everyone by surprise with her immaculate recital of the Srimad Bhagavad Gita — a Hindu holy book — in Odisha’s Kendrapara district.Firdaus won the Srimad Bhagavad Gita chanting competition in a sub-junior group in Kendrapara this week. Showing exemplary courage, Arifa Bibi, mother of Firdaus, stood by her daughter throughout the competition held at a temple premises in Kendrapara.“When we came across news of the participation of a Muslim girl in the recital of the Srimad Bhagavad Gita, considered a taboo in the minority community, we took precautions keeping in mind the sensitive nature of the issue. We sought the consent of her parents. To our utter surprise, Firdaus’ mother not only gave her consent, but also remained present all through the competition,” said Akshaya Pani, one of three judges.A total 46 children participated in the chanting of the Gita. The participants were judged on their ability to memorise slokas, presentation, audience preference, voice and involvement in the recital. “Firdaus scored 97.5 out of 100 in the competition,” said Mr. Pani.Part of prayer classFirdaus has been put up at Sobhaniya Sikshashrama, a residential school in Kendrapara town. Recital of the Srimad Bhagavad Gita was part of the prayer class. Urmila Kar, headmistress of the school, said the girl is a very bright student.“As a Standard I student, she cannot read slokas. But she has memorised the slokas chanted during prayer classes as we lay emphasise on moral education,” Ms Kar said.