Invitation to Modi to Address AMU Centenary Celebrations Event Divides Community

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PM Narendra Modi

While the teachers’ association has welcomed it, some students have given a boycott call

Shaheen Nazar | Clarion India

NEW DELHI — The administration of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) is elated that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is going to be part of its centenary celebrations on Tuesday. But a section of the AMU fraternity is crying foul.

At least two senior members of the fraternity have questioned Vice Chancellor Dr Tariq Mansoor’s decision to invite Modi whose government is considered anything but friendly to the Muslim community.

Mohammad Adeeb, former member of the Rajya Sabha and former president of AMU Students’ Union, has released a video message lambasting Dr Mansoor and his team of “mujavirs” (sycophants) for inviting Modi. Noted historian and AMU professor emeritus Irfan Habib has also said that Modi’s participation in the university’s centenary celebrations is not a matter of pride for the institution.

AMU is one India’s premier institutions founded as Anglo-Oriental College in 1875, which became the Aligarh Muslim University in 1920. The university has planned a number of events this year to mark 100 years of its existence. President Ram Nath Kovind is also expected to address one such event in the days to come. The varsity has played an important role in the uplift of the Muslim community in India. It has produced leaders, academicians, scientists, scholars and authors of great eminence since its inception.

The Vice Chancellor has appealed to the staff members, students, alumni and AMU well-wishers for active participation to make the event a success. The university has made elaborate arrangements for the celebrations with the landmark AMU buildings and structures being illuminated with visual projections of creative lights and design, weaving in the rich and unique university heritage to observe the centenary year.

The Prime Minister will be participating in Tuesday’s event through online. Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank is another prominent guest of the event. Modi is going to be the first Prime Minister after Jawaharlal Nehru and Lal Bahadur Shastri to address a function of the university.

Emphasising that “scholars visit universities”, Prof. Habib told the Times of India in an interview, “It doesn’t matter whether the Prime Minister participates in the university’s celebrations or not, especially when it’s a PM who has misled the nation on its ancient culture.”

Mohammad Adeeb is feeling outraged. He said Modi has been invited exactly a year after his party’s government in Uttar Pradesh sent policemen into the AMU campus where students protesting against CAA and NRC were mercilessly beaten up, and later implicated in false cases. Inviting Modi is like rubbing salt into the wounds of those students,” he told Clarion India.

Adeeb said that instead of Modi, the university should have invited some top-notch person from the fields of art or science, or an educationist or a Nobel laureate.

He also had a dig at the AMU teachers whom he called self-seekers. “Their life’s ambition is to become Vice Chancellor, dean or provost. They have no respect for the community.”

Muslim community’s sentiments are attached with AMU, he said, adding today Modi had been invited by AMU, tomorrow Deoband, another centre of Islamic learning, will invite him. “What message the world would get that Muslims are with him and the centres which have been challenging him for his misdeeds are with him,” he said.

According to Adeeb, the university administration wrote at least five letters to the Prime Minister to persuade him to grace the occasion. “What for? He has been consistent in targeting the community. Some individuals may get some personal benefit, but the university or the community at large is unlikely to benefit from him,” he said.

Meanwhile, AMU Teachers’ Association has welcomed the Prime Minister’s visit and called it historic. However, some students have given a call for boycott of the event, according to Madhyamam daily. Faisal Nadeem, an alumnus of the university, in a post on Facebook wrote: “Modi is not INDIA, We will boycott his programme being Alumni of AMU.”

Since the university remains closed because of covid-related lockdown, there are not many students on the campus barring those living in Aligarh city. Hence, the boycott call is not going to make any impact.

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