MUMBAI—The goal of this government to snatch AMU’s minority character has been clear ever since it withdrew the affidavit the UPA government had filed supporting the AMU stand.
The minority character was always under threat but I think the decision to give 50% reservation to Muslims in PG medical course by a former VC was wrong. Didn’t they anticipate that it could be challenged. A non-Muslim student challenged this decision in Allahabad High Court which quashed the minority character itself. It was almost smooth sailing as long as the 50% seats in admission for all internal students was applied. Internal meant all of those who took admission at entry level like 11th class. Since both Hindus and Muslims were beneficiaries, and more Hindus in professional courses benefited from it as Muslim students couldn’t compete with them as the admission began after tests, few challenged it.
Now if the Supreme Court scraps minority tag, AMU will have to follow general admission policy. SCs, STs, OBCs, EWS will get their quota. It will be swamped with elements who will change its identity. The purpose with which Sir Syed founded MAO College will die 100 years after the College became AMU. God, don’t bring this day to see at least as long as you keep me alive. I have seen some glimpses of AMU’s glorious days, its fine and famed tehzeeb and adaab. How can I forget my first day when a baira (waiter) had politely sent me back to my room to change into pants and shirt as I had landed at the dinning hall in pyjama kurta for breakfast at Allama Iqbal Hall?
Did I mention Iqbal? Oh, that great poet-philosopher was a genuine lover of AMU, and ardent admirer of Sir Syed. He even wrote beautiful poems-one for Sir Syed, another for Talba-e-Aligarh ke naam. When Sir Syed ‘s grandson Sir Ross Masood became AMU VC in the 1930s, he had invited Iqbal for multiple lectures. Masood and Iqbal were great friends. Iqbal paid Masood back as he gifted the Persian poem he had penned for his own tombstone to Masood’s wife to be inscribed at Masood’s tomb. That couplet is still there as Masood sleeps peacefully beside his father Syed Mahmud and grandfather Sir Syed at a corner of the courtyard of AMU’s Jama Masjid. All this will be allowed to be dumped in the dustbin of history if AMU loses what it calls hard-earned minority tag. Tragically, 20 crores of Indian Muslims are so helpless, powerless politically and intellectually that they cannot convince this government that retaining AMU as a unique institution will be retaining a good feature of India. The government is adamant on bringing it on par with other universities, denuding AMU of its unique character and ethos.