Aligarh Muslim University is always surrounded by controversies as if it exists in the DNA of the University. Regrettably, we don’t hear about any news of academic excellence or achievement in the field of sports from there. But one thing that we notice in the AMU is anti-national activities and political rivalry. The latest controversy is over a portrait of Muhammad Ali Jinnah installed in the Students union office of AMU. Why Jinnah’s portrait should exist in the union office? The clarification being given by AMU is that in the year 1938 Jinnah had visited the University.
The man who was responsible for the partition of India in 1947 has occupied a place of honour in the University being fully funded and run by the Centre. Justifying the presence of Jinnah’s portrait, some so called secular forces are saying that Jinnah was a great leader. He was a member of Congress Party and had participated in the freedom movement. These arguments are hollow. If that is the criterion then it should also be applicable on Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Dr. Keshav Baliram Hedgewar, and Dr. Syama Prasad Mukherjee. Then, why portraits of these leaders were not installed in the union room of AMU. Had Jinnah been so great he would not have divided the country in the name of religion. Anyway, despite the controversy, nobody is going to say anything to AMU. Jinnah will continue to adore the wall of AMU.
Challenging His Excellency
Before the Jinnah controversy, the students union of AMU had created a ruckus over President Ramnath Kovind’s visit to the university. The President was supposed to preside over Convocation of AMU on March 7 this year as the chief guest. The students union had objected to President’s visit and had informed the administration of AMU that they had a strong objection to the presence of someone associated with the RSS. They had threatened to protest if Kovind visited the campus.
When the Union’s stand faced all-round criticism, it changed the track and mentioned that it had no objection to the President’s visit but was against the mindset of the RSS which is against humanity. In a statement, Students Union had said, “If a Sangh Parivar member responsible for the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi and for the demolition of Babri Masjid visits AMU, all know what treatment should be meted out to such person”. Who, after all, had granted the license to indulge in such bullying tactics to the Union members? Who had issued this ‘fatwa’ against Sangh members to bar them from visiting AMU?
How can students union decide who should visit the university and who should not? If the President who is Chancellor of the University will not come whom they will invite? Will somebody come from Mars or do they want someone from Pakistan? In a democracy everybody has the right to express his views but does it mean that you can compare the Sangh with ISI? What the students of AMU know about the sacrifices made by the Sangh for the nation? You are like a frog in the well. The AMU students will have to understand that we Indians live under a democratic framework and we have to respect the views and the faith of all others. If citizens of the country have elected a particular party and a government then this is the mandate.
I pity at the mental bankruptcy of these leaders of the AMU Students Union. On one hand, they say they believe in Mahatma Gandhi and on the other hand they adore Jinnah who was the staunch critic of Gandhi. Jinnah openly insulted him. These elements would come to terms only when the administration of the AMU takes strict action against them. It was a matter of satisfaction to one and all when President Kovind visited AMU and participated in the Convocation as the chief guest without any untoward incident happening there. The opponents to President’s visit were silenced when the administration took a tough stand against the troublemakers.
The matter does not end here. No reservation is granted to Scheduled Tribe, Scheduled Caste and OBC candidates in AMU. Denying facilities to SC, ST and OBC students that are guaranteed in the Constitution is a matter of concern. The Centre has initiated move to ensure that the SC/ST and OBC students get special treatment and reservation in Jamia Millia Islamia University and in Aligarh Muslim University.
Now it is being argued that Aligarh Muslim University was set up in 1920 as a minority institution with the objective of providing education to Muslims in India. It has minority character since its inception. By withdrawing the minority status of the University, its character would be lost. This argument is without any basis. The argument is being put forward so that the SC/ST and OBC students are denied reservation in admission. Will AMU inform how many non-Muslim students are enrolled in the University and how many non-Muslims have passed from there?
Here I must say that Jamia Millia Islamia University is performing a good job. Some 43 students of the University qualified in the civil services examination of Union Public Service Commission. The students who qualified had taken coaching from the Residential Coaching Centre of the University. Of 43 successful candidates, 15 are women. In the last year, 29 students of the University had qualified in the UPSC examination. Unfortunately, we don’t get any such positive news from the Aligarh Muslim University.
R K Sinha
(The writer is a Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha)