Waking up from deep slumber
Muslims of Bhopal have now realized that they have been deprived
of the Aligarh Muslim University, (AMU), regional centre in the
city by the Bharatiya Janata Party, (BJP), ruled Madhya Pradesh
Government which did not concede to allot 250-300 acres of land
required for the purpose to the AMU authorities. This awakening
came on January 15, just two days before the tenure of the
outgoing Vice Chancellor of the University Prof. P. K. Abdul
Azis’s term ended on January 17, 2012.
Realising that except at Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh) the four other
off-campus AMU regional centres were taking shape at Murshidabad
(West Bengal), Malappuram (Kerala), Kishanganj (Bihar) and
Maharashtra (Maharashtra yet to decide on location) , the Muslims
of Bhopal felt the sense of loss. They came out of their reverie
to retrieve the lost opportunity so that the new the generation
may not accuse them of having committed a historical blunder by
their inactiveness, inertness, indolence and inertia.
And as such at the bidding of Aligarh Muslim University Old Boys
Association, (AMUOBA), Madhya Pradesh Branch a meeting was
hurriedly called at short notice here at Hameed Manzil on Sunday
(January 15) of AMU alumni and prominent citizens of Bhopal to
discuss the issue and how to go about it. The meeting was called
to discuss as how to mount pressure on the Madhya Pradesh
Government, which reportedly had washed off its hands refusing to
allot land for AMU regional centre at Bhopal, to change its stand
and allot land as per requisite.
The former Pro-Vice Chancellor of IGNOU Prof. Baseer Ahmed Khan,
who is also a senior AMU alumni, was invited specially for the
meeting from New Delhi to ignite the sagging spirits of the
Aligarians in special and Bhopal Muslims in general and instill
confidence in them so as to rise to the occasion and take up the
challenge of getting the AMU regional centre at Bhopal
Prof. Baseer appealed to the Aligarians to launch a peaceful mass
movement in the whole of Madhya Pradesh encompassing like-minded
organisations under the banner of AMUOBA. “Any agitation without
organizational support is destruction”, he remarked.
At the end of the meeting it was decided to form a committee for
the purpose of acquiring land for the AMU regional centre at
Bhopal. AMUOBA president Mohammad Iqbal Qazi was named convenor of
the committee who was authorized to name the members of the
committee which would be announced later on. It was also decided
to meet the State Governor, Ram Naresh Yadav and the Chief
Minister, Shivraj Singh Chouhan submitting memoranda raising the
issue of allotment of land for setting up AMU regional centre of
the Central University.
Addressing the meeting Prof. Baseer Ahmed Khan said it is the
rightful claim of Muslims and not a largesse of anyone as they are
also tax-payers and have equal right to the resources in the
country. He said nothing can be achieved in life without
pressurizing the government of the day. In order to build public
pressure a campaign should be launched for the AMU centre at the
state-level which should be broad-based with like-minded people
from all walks of life roped in to join the bandwagon.
Prof. Baseer stressed the need that it is pertinent to clear the
perception that only Muslims would benefit by the opening of AMU
centre in Bhopal. The bias should be dispelled from the minds of
the public at large, politicians of all hues and bureaucrats as
well that the proposed AMU centre would cater to the needs of
Muslims alone as for present there is no reservation for them in
admissions. All communities would be eligible to pursue studies in
various courses offered by the AMU regional centre.
He said AMU is just not an institution for advancement of
knowledge but it is a movement which played a crucial role in
India’s freedom struggle. The AMU alumni were in the forefront of
the freedom struggle who cooperated and coordinated moves with
Mahatma Gandhi to throw away the yoke of British rule from the
country. These historical facts are unknown to the people in the
present era whose awareness in such matters is at the lowest
He recalled that it was forgotten great freedom fighter Maulana
Hasrat Mohani, a 1903 graduate from The Anglo-Muhammadan College,
Aligarh, which went on to become Aligarh Muslim University in
1920, had first moved the resolution of “Mukammal Azadi / Poorn
Swaraj” (complete Independence for India) in the Indian National
Congress, (INC), session in Ahmedabad in 1921. While Gandhiji was
yet not prepared for it and was talking of Home Rule under the
However, Maulana Hasrat did not succeed in view of Gandhiji's
influence and his resolution was rejected. He was in the vanguard
of the freedom movement of India and took a leading part in the
Non-cooperation Movement launched by the combined efforts of the
Congress and the Khilafat Movement in 1922-23 and was sent to jail
Similarly, another great freedom fighter Maulana Mohammad Ali
Jauhar, who was also an alumni of AMU, moved the resolution for
India’s freedom in the first Round Table Conference in 1930-31
held in London. He was the Congress president, who handed over the
charge of the party’s president post to Gandhiji in 1924 in the
Indian National Congress, (INC), conference held at Belgaum, Prof.
However, he lamented that after India achieving Independence the
contributions of the AMU alumni in the national life has declined
and it has diminished over the years.
Prof. Baseer while cautioning Muslims not to despair, said: “Jab
Tak Musalmaan Qaum Ka Ahsas Kamtari Dur NahiN Hogi, Koi Kaam Tab
Tak NahiN Hosakta”. Until and unless Muslims become politically
organized though they may not come to power but no government
could be formed without their consent and go-ahead signal.
Speaking on the occasion Er. Ahmad Ayub, a very senior AMU alumni
who was the brain behind and moving spirit for the rendezvous of
AMU alumna for AMU regional centre in Bhopal, advocated Net
campaign like Twitter, Face-book, LinkedIn etc. to launch
awareness and make it a mass movement with social networking all
over the state.
Adv. Sajid Siddiqui, Madhya Pradesh state president of Social
Democratic Party of India, (SDPI), emphasized on unity among the
Muslim community to achieve the target of AMU centre. Muslims
should spiritedly unite and not get cowed down by the BJP regime
in the state, he added.
Besides Prof. Baseer Ahmad, Prof. Mateen Ahmad Siddiqui, Mohammad
Afaq, S. Hasan and this Correspondent also addressed the meeting
expressing their views over the issue with the hope that the
Madhya Pradesh Government changing its stand will soon allot
suitable piece of land to the AMU required for the purpose.
Sagheer Baidaar, a very senior Alig, AMUOBA vice president A. N.
Siddiqui were present amongst others. Dr. Seraj Khan, who is one
of the AMUOBA vice president, proposed a vote of thanks. At the
outset Dr. Tasneem Habib, a member of the Board of Advisors of
AMUOBA who conducted the proceedings with aplomb, briefly gave an
account of the five AMU regional centres
Later talking to media persons Prof. Baseer said that it is a
matter of pride for any state to get the centre of AMU as the
university is not just confined to one particular community, but
caters to all sections of the society. AMU is one of the
institutions of national importance listed in the VII Schedule of
the Constitution of India along with Banaras Hindu University. The
prestigious AMU is also known world over for providing quality and
affordable education to all sections of the society.
Prof. Baseer informed that the AMU had written the Madhya Pradesh
Government for 250 to 300 acres of land in Bhopal “free of cost”.
However, the state government in its reply two months back,
reportedly said it was not interested in setting up of the
proposed centre in Bhopal.
Replying to a question he said that there is no financial burden
on the state government which has only to provide land whereas the
Union Government would bear the entire cost for the rest including
the recurring expenditure, he pointed out.
It may be pointed out here that the purpose of starting AMU
regional campuses, as proposed in the 11th Five Year Plan, is to
address the issue of educational and social advancement of the
Muslims of India in the context of the social and educational
exclusion highlighted by Justice Sachchar in his report submitted
to the Government of India.
The Union Government has released about Rs. 25 crore to each of
the two regional centres viz. Murshidabad in West Bengal and
Malappuram in Kerala where the work for infrastructure has started
and classes in some courses have begun in rented buildings.
When the AMU opens its centres in five States as approved by the
University Bodies, it is proposed to replicate the Aligarh Muslim
University model in all the centres. The university would
establish a medical college, dental college, engineering college,
law school, business school and various departments depending on
the needs of the regional centres. The university will consult the
local stake-holders before a decision is taken. The centres will
be managed by the University Court and the Executive Council and
the headquarters will be Aligarh.