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2005: Indian Muslim Press Statements
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All India Muslim Forum  

All India Muslim Forum condemns Judgement on Aligarh Muslim University

9 October, 2005: The recent judgement ,delivered by His Lordship, Justice Arun Tondon of the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad in Civil Miscellaneous Writ Petition no 24264 of 2005 (Malay Shukla and others Versus Union of India and others), denying the status of minority institution to Aligarh Muslim University within the parameters of Article 30 of Indian Constitution, has come as a rude shock to the entire Muslim community of India .What forms the most outrageous spectrum of this highly controversial verdict is the fact that the Honourable Judge has followed the ratio decidendi, laid down by the Honourable Supreme Court in Azeez Pasha Versus Union of India, the disastrous logic of which was distinctly negated by the Parliamentary legislative measure, namely, Aligarh Muslim University Amendment Act, 1981 (Act No. 62 of 1981) 

It may be noted that in Azeez Pasha Versus Union of India, the whole factum of judgement of the Honourable Supreme Court was based on two questions, firstly, whether the Muslims in India are in fact a religious minority, in contradistinction to Hindus who are considered as majority community, and secondly, whether Sir Syed Ahmed Khan was the founder of Aligarh Muslim University. Making the analysis of the first question, Their Lordships had held that the religious identity of a community is based on two ingredients - one is the form of belief in some supernatural power, while the other being the multi-dimensional system of social relations. About Muslims, the conclusion was that, despite all their sectarian differences and social distinctions, they believe in the same God, in the same Prophet and the same Holy Book. In their social relations too, Muslims believe in perfect equality and the marriages too are permissible and practised within the whole range of community, cutting across all sectarian and caste affiliations. As such, the Honourable Judges observed, Muslims of India are one religious community. While contrasting Muslims with Hindus, it was concluded that they ( Hindus) donot form one religion but various religions, as their each segment, major or minor, has their distinct deities, and in social relations too, even the marriages of one within the fold of other are not allowed. Proceeding on this analysis, the observation of their Lordships was that Muslims in India are in majority whereas the Hindus, with their various components being different religions, are in minority. Once Muslims are in majority, there is no question of their enjoying the minority status as stipulated under Article 30 of the Constitution. 

About the second question, i.e. whether Sir Syed Ahmed Khan was the founder of Aligarh Muslim University, Their Lordships observed that what he established in 1875 was Anglo Mohammadan Oriental College. It was transformed into Aligarh Muslim University, not by the Muslims of India, but through the legislation of the British Parliament which was the representative of the whole country As such, neither the Muslims are a religious minority in India and nor they are the founders of Aligarh Muslim University. 

I am really shocked that this pernicious logic which was specifically repudiated by none other than the Parliament itself in the wake of national outcry, has been sought to be revived by the Judgement of Allahabad High Court. Though for the time being outside the country, I express my full sympathy with AMU fraternity - as a Muslim, as alumnus of this institution and as President of All India Muslim Forum.I assure my and my Party's full cooperation in whatever the sacrifices are needed to restore its pristine glory and original status - from the legal battle to the street demonstrations. In this holy month of Ramzan, I pray to Allah Rabbul Izzat, not only to save the glory of this institution from pernicious tendencies, but also to retrieve the lost glory of Indian Muslims. 

However, on this tragic moment, let me take the liberty to say that such convulsive moments must be utilized to indulge in serious introspection. Mere lamentations and wails have never done any good to any individual or community. Isn't it true that since many decades nepotism, sycophancy and partiality, and even regionalism have come to dominate this institution, with meritocracy having lost its relevance altogether. Isn't it true that till about two decades back, it was producing communists/atheists, and now the situation has been driven to the other extreme that "Jamatees" are its main product. It has stopped producing that dynamic Muslim leadership which can steer the community to some constructive goal and pull it out of its existing malaise. 

We must admit the reality of the situation that the Indian Muslim community is continually subjected to such persecution and injustices because since independence they have not formulated their political destiny. A community which lose the will to have share in the power structure as a collective force become the same as we have become, while slavish tendencies and feminine character of lamentation become their destiny. It is really a misfortune that during the last five decades of independence, we have not even taken the initiative to emulate that great personality, known as Sir Syed Rahmatullah Alaih, by starting some new educational institutions of AMU's stature. 

Let us pray for this crisis to blow over, but simultaneously take a solemn vow that we must try to turn this institution not only as an internationally reputed academic centre, but also as a sacred place which may give Indian Muslims a new hope of life, a new dynamism and a renewed political vigour to become, through their collective strength, a proportionate sharer in the power structure of the country. 

Let me take this opportunity to inform all my brothers and sisters that our body wants to take the initiative in establishing some educational institution of higher learning in U.P., which may Inshallah be converted into a University. Though we are very small people, yet have full faith in Allah. I request all my brothers and sisters in Islam to pray to Allah Rabbul Izzat to transform this dream into a glaring reality. Your cooperation and participation in this grandiose object is solicited and expected

"Khuda tujhey kisey toofan sey ashnan kardey,
ke terey bahar key maujon mein iztarab naheen"
- 'Iqbal'

Sd/- Dr. Mustafa Kamal Sherwani {Presently, Dean, Faculty of Law and Shariah Zanzibar University;Mobile : 00255-747-420360}
& President,
All India Muslim Forum
C - 177, Sector, 'J', Aliganj, Lucknow, India; Phone : (++91-522) 2363062, 2362071, 2328677; Mobiles: 9415011911, 3247781 Email:


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