ALIGARH April 27: “Religion should not be mixed with nationalism as these concepts together ought not to do any service to the humanity,” said noted scholar and intellectual Mr Kuldip Nayar. He was addressing a National Convention on ‘Restoration of Minority Status of Aligarh Muslim University: Problems and Prospects’ organized by Sir Syed Minority Foundation of India.
Mr. Nayar urged AMU students to work for promoting communal harmony and national ethos while preserving their religious identity. Recollecting painful memories of the Partition of India, Mr Nayar said that he witnessed killings of lakhs of Muslims and Hindus in the name of religion, which left crores of people displaced. He further said that Mohammad Ali Jinnah reaped benefits from the division of Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs, which was a result of British Government’s divisive policy.
While observing that AMU has a long secular history, Mr. Nayar appealed AMU students and the Muslim youth to launch a national movement for India’s unity and communal affinity. He pointed out that with a student strength composed of various faiths; AMU is the right place to launch a movement for preservation of the composite culture of India. He asserted that a fringe of radical elements, which has deviated from the secular traditions of the country, is engaged in spreading hatred on issues like Ghar-Wapsi etc. He warned that this politics of hatred will cause threat to peace and integrity of the country.
“Unlike the earlier days when Hindus and Muslims celebrated their festivals together, it is a pity that certain minority groups now live in ghettos and feel unsafe,” said Mr Nayar who further added that Muslims should not feel threatened as they are equal citizens of India like others as guaranteed by constitution of India.
Referring to the Sachar Committee Report, which shows a dismal status of Muslims in education and social development, Mr Nayar lamented that Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru should have made education compulsory for all.
Social activist and Professor at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, Dr Anand Kumar said that universities make destiny of nations but it is a terrible loss if they deviate from their path.
He pointed out that religious texts did not contribute in country’s freedom rather it was clean political dispensation, which brought independence. He said that a group of narrow-minded people are trying to push the Country to stone-age by forcing Mythological culture. Prof Kumar also showed his concern on education being privatized to benefit corporate houses.
Advocating for the restoration of AMU’s Minority status, Prof Kumar said that this university has served the country and humanity for almost a century by providing education especially to Muslim community.
In his presidential address, Aligarh Muslim University Vice Chancellor, Lt General Zameer Uddin Shah (retd) said that AMU came into existence as a minority institution and gradually developed into a great centre of secularism.
General Shah said that AMU represents the secular Ganga-Jamuni culture and “we are committed to preserve this identity of the University”. He assured that AMU respected all parliamentarians who had been elected as members to AMU Court. He hoped these parliamentarians will play a significant role in the betterment of the University.
Referring to the 1965 turmoil in AMU, during which certain sections of media lampooned AMU’s image causing dilution of AMU’s minority status, former Member of Parliament and ex-AMUSU president, Mr Mohd Adeeb urged students to launch a movement for restoration of minority status of the University. He demanded political parties to include AMU minority status issue in their agendas.
Senior journalist, Mr Aziz Burney said that it is an irony that when the Government is talking about resettlement of Kashmiri Pandits in Valley in separate colonies, it is shying away from giving AMU its due right.
Dr Shakiluzzaman Ansari, former Minister, Bihar said we should refrain from emotional rhetoric and ponder over to create a strategy for restoration of AMU’s minority status.
Mr Bahar Barqi, Supreme Court Advocate and Dr Mohd Shahid, former AMU Executive Council member highlighted details related to minority character issue.
While Abdul Khaliq Kamal, Vice President, Sir Syed Minority Foundation welcomed the guests, Pervaiz Siddiqui, President of the organization delivered the vote of thanks. Dr Ayub Shabab conducted the programme.
Meanwhile, showing solidarity to the victims of recent earth quake in Nepal and India, the convention also passed a resolution to constitute an empowered ‘Action Committee’ of AMU Alumni, faculty members and jurists for requesting Government of India to support the cause of AMU minority status. The resolution also urged the AMU administration to reconstitute a panel of leading lawyers to plead the minority status case pending in the court.