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Published in the 1-15 Mar 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Jamia gets new deptt. on W. Asian studies

The Milli Gazette Online

New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh inaugurated a centre for West Asian Studies at Jamia Millia Islamia here on January 29. From the next academic year, M. Phil and PhD students now can opt for West Asian Studies. The Centre will focus on the political, social and economic changes in the region including Egypt, Israel, Iran, and all the Arab countries. Special emphasis will be given to the strategic importance of these countries with respect to their political and economic transactions with India.

The simmering issue of West Asia once again took centre stage. Noted historian and Jamia Vice-Chancellor Mushirul Hasan said on the occasion that Palestinian state is no more than a distant dream and added that it will be a mistake to abandon them in preference to a regime that wields the big stick to humble its neighbours. He added that India must demonstrate a little flexibility and common sense in its foreign policy to take a resolute stand against Zionisation, the belligerence of ultra orthodox groups in Israel and the ill-treatment of Palestinians by their government.

He reminded the audience that leaders of India’s national movement were not just concerned with the country’s independence but also freedom struggles all over the world. He said that cynical observers may argue that India should eschew involvement in the Arab-Israel conflict and added that this myopic view was aired even when the US and British troops were slaughtering innocent civilians in Iraq and that this view needs to be contested. 

In a special gesture, the University presented a cheque of Rs 14.51 lakhs as a contribution to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund for the tsunami victims. The fund has been raised with the help of teachers and students with cooperation from the Nagrik Suraksha Smiti in the neighbourhood of New Friends Colony.

Hamid Ansari, a visiting professor in the Academy for Third World Countries, at Jamia will be appointed the director of the Centre. 

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