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Violent Aligarh protests kill Sir Syed’s mission

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 02:46:24 PM, Mushtaq ul Haq Ahmad

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When Sir Syed stood up as a harbinger of Muslim Renaissance by contributing his efforts in the field of education, he earned the wrath of status quoists who never wished that their grip over the common illiterate masses be loosened resulting in the loss of their followers and hero worshippers.


As a revolutionary he had to pass through all the three stages of Truth as depicted by Arthur Schopenhauer, at first he was ridiculed, then he was violently opposed and now he is being accepted as Self-Evident.” His efforts to bring the Muslims at par with the other nations of the world even earned him the title of “An Agent of Devil” but he labouriously continued his efforts without ever thinking about the outcome. He continued his efforts selflessly as ever, which bore fruit after his death.


Then AMU also proved a bastion for the Pakistan Movement, though in the words Of Ale Ahmad Saroor before 1940’s Nationalists had the upper hand but with the adoption of Pakistan Resolution in 1940 by Muslim League the tables turned, but with the Independence of India and creation of Pakistan in 1947 this Muslim educational institution survived the communal holocaust when demands for its closure or exile to Pakistan were hot in the air, but due to the efforts of Jawahar Lal Nehru and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad these evil designs were nipped in the bud, but with the demise of Nehru, a small but unfortunate incident of violence took place on the AMU campus-which was indeed a monumental aberration from AMU’s glorious tradition of utmost respect for teachers-the great Maulana’s successor as Education Minister MC Chagla deprived AMU of its autonomy through an ordinance later turned into the AMU (Amendment) Act 1965.



After strenuous efforts the 1981 amendments to the AMU Act redefined the institution as the educational institution established by Muslims of India which originated as the Mohammadan Anglo-Oriental College and was subsequently incorporated as Muslim University. This measure brought back AMU within the fold of Article 30 of the Constitution which guarantees to the minorities a fundamental right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice. After this issue was over a communal outcry against the new admission policy duly adopted by the university authorities scrapping the old system of reservation for internal candidates and replacing it with a 50% quota for the founding minority-the Muslims- in terms of several successive decision of the Nation’s apex court approving such reservation.


With efforts on to challenge the basic premise of this new admission policy with judicial approval, the current Vice-Chancellor P.K Abdul Azis carried out a number of efforts to inject vigour in the soul of AMU as well as to give it a new face lift. His efforts to raise money from AMU Alumni to carry out these revolutionary, innovative and unique efforts were resented by many who wanted to enjoy the fruits without any labour. They carried out a vicious propaganda and character assassination against this harbinger of change, and now their propaganda, even got a boost with the murder of a student outside the AMU campus. The students have protested violently against this unjustified and brutal murder, and now are demanding the resignation of the V.C. The protests are justified but violence and demand for resignation necessary?


We can reacall the words of last public speech of Sir Syed delivered in 1898 with tears in his eyes “Dear People! My restless heart is today somewhat content. My dream seems to be nearing fulfillment while I am about to become silent forever. My bones have been melting away by my sadness on seeing that while the caravan of time is moving on fast, you show no signs of waking up from the deep slumber. For years I struggled to wake you up. No morning of God arose on me when my heart did not long for this goal and no evening did I pass except by lying in my bed restlessly aspiring for the same. Today on seeing the minarets of the mosque and the corridors of the Strachy Hall I feel as if the restlessness of my heart has assumed the form of this college."


The restlessness about which Sir Syed deliberated still hasn’t been content, as his soul in the grave would be more than restless as to what had now become of his strenuous efforts for which he dedicated his whole life. What Sir Syed was desiring to build were not grand buildings but Grand Men who will serve the humanity but my eyes are still waiting for that uncrowned king who will be having “Philosophy in his right hand and Natural Science in the left along with the Kalimah(There is no deity but God) crowing his head”.


What is lacking, where are the loopholes and why these shortcomings? Why do the Aligs resort to violence even if their demands are genuine? Is this a weakness on the part of teachers who fail to infuse Aligarian Spirit among their students, because Aligarh isn’t a mere learning centre but it has a whole history at its helm and a whole “Tahzeeb” which is attributed as Aligarh Ki Tahzeeb. Is this violence a living testimony of the fact that the legendary Aligarian Tahzeeb is dying an unsung death?


Regarding the removal of V.C would it help solve all the problems? Every great person or revolutionary has his bunch of enemies who always are ready to prey over an opportunity to bring over his/her downfall. Even if the V.C is removed, the next V.C who would be instated would be done so by a Selection Committee over whose rulings the students would have no say. He may even prove worse than the previous one. I would suggest that as a fact every person has his qualities and weaknesses, why should we always point out his shortcomings making his qualities fade in oblivion. In the present V.C’s tenure, new extension campuses of AMU were inaugurated, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan International Award was instituted as well as Sir Syed Ahmad khan Essay Competition is being regularly held, through which the students get to know about the life and works of this great luminary.


Though there may be lapses on the side of administration and V.C, but they must be given chance to rectify them instead of holding them as hostage by violent protests which may be detrimental in the efforts of bringing normalcy. The murderers must be brought to book by due efforts of law not through violent protests which may escalate in more bloodshed and property damage. It may even give legitimacy to the communal elements in the government who under the veil of controlling violence may take over the AMU administration resulting in the dissolution of its minority character and status. So the need of the hour is to develop a peaceful rapport between teachers, students and administration of AMU so that unwanted, communal and vested elements are kept at bay.










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