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Published in the 16-31 Dec 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Row over Urdu University

By Masood Hasan

Lucknow: While the Bill on the Urdu University passed by the State Legislature is now in the hands of the Uttar Pradesh Governor T.V. Rajeshwar, two Muslim leaders of two different political parties are on a 'warpath' over the issue. Irked over the allegations levelled by the UP Parliamentary and Urban Development Minister Azam Khan against the new UP Congress Committee chief (UPCC) Salman Khursheed on the Urdu University issue, the latter challenged the UP minister to a debate on the issues confronting the Muslim community in the state. He went to the extent of challenging Azam Khan that he was keen on the debate particularly on Maulana Muhammad Ali Jauhar University of which Azam Khan was bent upon becoming the pro-chancellor. 

The UPCC chief asked Azam Khan why he has added fuel to fire on the Urdu University issue. If the Samajwadi Party issues any Government Order (GO) to accord Urdu the status of second official language in the state, the Congress would extend unconditional support to the GO, Khursheed said. The UPCC has reiterated his party's stand on the Urdu University Bill clarifying that the Congress would not allow the 'temple of education' to become a grazing ground for the politicians. The Congress wanted amendments in the Bill on the Urdu University and it has cleared its stand on the Bill by the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) in the Assembly and by sending a letter to the governor expressing concern over the name of Azam Khan as the pro-chancellor of the university. Khursheed added that his party was against the nomination of a political person as the pro-chancellor. Salman said that Azam Khan was not aware of how much the Muslims are annoyed with him over the issue and he was being seen with hatred among Muslims. Urdu language is not the language of Muslims only but it is the language of a whole people irrespective of creed and caste residing in Hindustan, Salman told newsmen saying that if it is associated with Muslims only, the Urdu language would die and that would be sheer injustice to the language. He has advised Azam Khan that he should not play politics with the Muslims in the name of Urdu.

The UP Congress Committee secretary Maroof Khan has blasted Azam Khan describing him an enemy of the Muslims and saying that he should tender an apology to Salman Khursheed for his unwarranted remarks. Maroof Khan has reminded Azam Khan that Salman Khursheed belonged to a family which has remained associated with the cause of the Muslims and their uplift. He said that Muslim organizations had also made an appeal to Azam Khan to withdraw his name for the sake of the university. Maroof Khan said that it cannot be gauged what would be taught in the university if Azam Khan is made the pro-chancellor of the university.

Azam Khan fired another salvo on the Congress leadership particularly the UP Congress Committee chief describing him and his party as anti-Muslim and blaming him for creating unnecessary hurdles in setting up the Urdu University. The Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), a coalition partner of the ruling Samajwadi Party in the state, defended Azam Khan as the pro-chancellor for life of the proposed university. While defending him, Minister for Tourism Kokab Hameed strongly refuted the claims of the BJP and the Congress asking them to explain the reasons why they failed to raise the issue when Mayawati was made the chancellor of the Bhim Rao University. He blasted the Congress leaders for pursuing the BJP policy. He was of the view that the Congress should sink its differences over the proposed university and that the objection to it by the Congress and BJP exposed the true colour of these political leaders. He has called upon the Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav to sanction more funds for the proposed university. He has made it clear that the RLD has no objection over the name of Azam Khan as the pro-chancellor.

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