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Published in the 16-31 March 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

UP to have private Urdu university

By Masood Hasan

The Milli Gazette Online

Lucknow: Irked over the stand taken by the UP governor T.V. Rajeswar and the UP state Congress against making Urban Development Minister Mohammad Azam Khan as the pro-chancellor for life of the proposed Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar Urdu University in Rampur, the state cabinet which met under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav has decided to allow it to come up as a private institution. This has paved the way for its establishment in Rampur soon. The state government had taken this back route because it failed to get an approval from the governor despite the bill being passed by the state legislature in the last session of the state legislature. 

Azam Khan The RLD defended the name of Azam Khan as the pro-chancellor of the proposed university for life. Minister for Tourism Kokab Hameed had strongly refuted the claims of the BJP and the Congress, asking them to explain the reasons why they did not rake up the issue when Mayawati was made life chancellor of the Bhim Rao University. He assailed Congress leaders for pursuing the BJP policy. 


The UP cabinet has passed the proposal without any major modification in the proposed rules and laws as enshrined in the earlier norms laid down by the department. The state cabinet has also decided to table it in the coming session of the assembly and a trust would be set up which would chalk out its plans. The government had passed a bill in the last session of the assembly with a provision to make Azam Khan as the pro-chancellor for life of the proposed university. This provision became the bone of contention between the government and its opponents who do not oppose the idea but cannot accept Azam Khan as a life pro-chancellor of the proposed university. Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh and Lok Sabha member from Rampur, Jaya Prada, had announced to offer rupees ten million each for the University. It is said that the land where the university is to be set up has already been identified.

Political parties in the state barring the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), a coalition partner of the ruling Samajwadi Party in the state and headed by Ajit Singh, had raised a storm over the nomination of Azam Khan as the pro-chancellor for life. They approached the state governor with an impassioned appeal not to give his nod to the bill in its present form. UP Congress president Salman Khurshid went to the extent of saying that the University would be set up in Rampur at all costs but Azam Khan would not play any role in its establishment.

The controversy has been going on since the name of Azam Khan figured prominently as the pro-chancellor for life of the proposed Urdu University. BJP leaders in UP had submitted a memorandum to the governor appealing to him not to give his approval to the ordinance passed by the state cabinet for the university. 

The RLD defended the name of Azam Khan as the pro-chancellor of the proposed university for life. Minister for Tourism Kokab Hameed had strongly refuted the claims of the BJP and the Congress, asking them to explain the reasons why they did not rake up the issue when Mayawati was made life chancellor of the Bhim Rao University. He assailed Congress leaders for pursuing the BJP policy. He was of the view that the Congress should not make hue and cry over the proposed Urdu University and appealed to the state chief minister to sanction more funds for it. He has made it clear that the RLD has no objection over the name of Azam Khan as the pro-chancellor of the university for life.

The state cabinet had approved the draft ordinance earlier without any amendment to the proposed Urdu University to be set up in Rampur despite objections raised by the Congress over the name of Azam Khan. The UP governor had also raised some objections when the bill was tabled on the floor of the state assembly for its approval.

The UP Congress had earlier described the decision of the state cabinet for bringing an ordinance on the proposed university as contempt of the legislature. The Congress said that a political leader should not be made pro-chancellor of any university for life.

Political pundits are of the opinion that the Congress and the Samajwadi Party are trying to keep their votebanks intact among the minorities over the issue of an Urdu university.

Since the Congress has been opposing the name of Azam Khan as the pro-chancellor, Azam Khan is claiming that the Congress Party is the number one enemy of the Muslims. Khan has targeted the Congress and went to the extent of claiming that the Congress, which had never done anything for the uplift and betterment of the minorities, was creating hurdles in the setting up of the Urdu University in Rampur. Khan had predicted several times that the governor, a central government nominee, might delay the approval.

When the Urdu University Bill was tabled on the floor of the state assembly during the last session of the assembly, the B.J.P. had said that it was brought by the Mulayam Singh government only to appease Muslims. The state unit president of the BJP Kestari Nath Triparhi had termed the move as "purely communal".

Religious leaders had marched to the Raj Bhawan where they submitted a memorandum to the principal secretary to the governor urging him to immediately sign the draft proposal sent by the UP cabinet, saying that it was the first "gift" of its kind being given to Muslims after Independence. Urdu, a product of the area, was practically killed by the successive governments of the state after Independence. The protest march to the Raj Bhawan was held under the banner of the All India Tahaffuz-e-Madaris Council led by Shiekh Sulaiman, a close confidant of Azam Khan and chairman of the State Commission for Minorities. The Council discussed at length the problems and hurdles faced by members of the minority community.

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