By Our Correspondent
JODHPUR—In a major initiative set to generate new avenues, the Jodhpur-based Maulana Azad University, which is the first private university established by the Muslim community in Rajasthan, has set up a Minorities Research Chair for conducting targeted studies and research on the issues, problems and challenges confronting the minority communities in the state. The research chair will make important recommendations after its studies.
The Minorities Affairs Department of the Congress government in Rajasthan has sanctioned Rs. 2 crores as financial assistance for the research chair. The university was established by the Marwar Muslim Educational & Welfare Society (MMEWS) at Bujhawar village on the outskirts of Jodhpur in 2013. The institution of higher education is now imparting education to more than 15,000 students belonging to Muslim and other less privileged communities in multiple disciplines of studies.
The Minorities Research Chair will function under Maulana Azad University’s Centre of Excellence and Research, for which Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot had granted Rs. 15 crores in 2022. The research chair, which is expected to make a meaningful intervention for the development of Muslims and other minorities, is the brainchild of noted educationist Mohammed Atique, who is the MMEWS Chief Executive Officer and the Founder-Chancellor of Maulana Azad University.
The research chair was inaugurated at a grand function organized on the university premises in the presence of Rajasthan Minorities Affairs Minister Saleh Mohammed, Rajasthan Madrasa Board Chairman M.D. Chopdar, several MLAs, public representatives, government officers, educationists, distinguished citizens, journalists and social activists on August 16. The university is already running M.Phil and Ph.D. programmes in various streams.
In his address, Saleh Mohammed said the Maulana Azad University, which had made consistent progress during the last 10 years, was another name for high-quality scientific education in the future. The Minorities Research Chair would prove to be extremely beneficial for research and education in the areas crucial for the development of minority communities, he said.
After the research chair’s inauguration, the Central Equipment Room of the university’s Faculty of Pharmacy, and the classroom furniture and virtual smart classes of Crescent Public School and Maulana Azad Upper Primary School run by MMEWS were dedicated to the students. A poster of the foreign language training programme under the Chief Minister’s Minority Language Proficiency and Communication Skills Development Scheme was also released on the occasion.
Mr Atique said the Maulana Azad University was making sincere efforts to achieve the goal of “education for all” with a clear objective that no child from the weaker sections of any community should be deprived of education because of the lack of basic facilities. University president Jameel Kazmi said the research chair would review the progress of the government’s schemes for the development of minority communities and evaluate their achievements and success, besides identifying the obstacles in their implementation.
Presiding over the function, M.D. Chopdar described Atique as “Sir Syed” of the modern era while pointing out that the initiatives taken under his leadership in Jodhpur had made a record of sorts. He said the Madrasa Board was taking steps for the modernization and development of madrasas, for which the MMEWS was rendering full cooperation to it. Chopdar also flagged off a vehicle carrying the furniture supplied by the Madrasa Board to various schools in the city.
Luni MLA Mahendra Singh Bishnoi, Jodhpur City MLA Manisha Panwar and Congress leader from Soorsagar Assembly constituency, Ayub Khan, were special guests at the function. All of them praised the stellar role played by the MMEWS and Maulana Azad University in improving the educational standard of the Muslim community in Jodhpur. A large number of distinguished citizens from Barmer, Jaisalmer, Pokhran and Phalodi in western Rajasthan also came to attend the function.
The MMEWS, established in 1929 during the pre-Independence era, runs as many as 330 educational, health and social institutions. Atique has been instrumental in easing the lives of more than 45,000 youths through these institutions working in varied fields of education, health care, community development, rural development, waste-to-wealth initiatives and skill development programmes during the last four decades.
The then ruler of Jodhpur princely state, Maharaja Umaid Singh, was the patron of MMEWS and had gifted a school named ‘Durbar Muslim School’ to the Society in 1936. The Rajasthan government allotted five acres of land to the MMEWS in 1978, on which the Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Muslim Senior Secondary School was constructed.
Since then, the MMEWS has established several institutions, including the Industrial Training Institute, Nursing College, Pharmacy College, B.Ed. College, Mai Khadija Hospital, Rahmatul-Lil-Alameen Blood Bank, Marwar Adarsh Gaushala and Bujhawar Veterinary Hospital.
The MMEWS established the university in 2013 with the intention of providing higher education to the most deprived and marginalized sections of society.
The first president (Vice-Chancellor) of Maulana Azad University was the noted Islamic scholar from New Delhi, Akhtarul Wasey. The current president, Jameel Kazmi, hailing from Jaipur, has taken steps for interdisciplinary studies while maintaining the indigenous ethos and the spirit of plurality in the university’s functioning.
About 45,000 students have so far passed out from the MMEWS group of institutions and become doctors, engineers and business people and entered other professions as well. Some of them have also established nursing homes and clinics in remote rural areas, which are often ignored in the government’s development plans. Maulana Azad University has set the motto, “Gain Knowledge and Serve Mankind”, for itself.