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Posted Online on Saturday 22, October 2005 00:05 IST

Muslim Islamic NewsAMU-ACT memorandums to PM and Sonia Gandhi 

Press Release

The Milli Gazette Online

A delegation, led by the convener, S.M. Pasha, met the Governor of Tamilnadu today (Oct. 14, 2005) and submitted a memorandum (below) to the Prime Minister through him requesting the intervention of the Central Government to see that the adverse effect of the Allahabad Hiigh Court verdict is nullified and the minority character of the University is restored, through the issue of an appropriate ordinance at first and subsequently pass an appropriate Act to cut the Gordian knot. The Governor read the entire Memorandum in the presence of the delegation and said that he would pass it on with his recommendations. The "AMU-ACT" simultaneously submitted a Memorandum to Smt. Sonia Gandhi, M.P. Chairperson UPA to use her good offices to persuade the UPA Union Govt. to restore the minority character of the University. 

The "AMU-ACT" plans to, Insha Allah, get in touch with as many Muslim leaders in India as possible to request them to constitute an "ALIGARH MUSLIM UNIVERSITY CENTRAL ACTION COMMITTEE' with representatives from as many States as possible so the task of bringing pressure on the Government can be concerted . Copies of the two Memoranda are being printed in English, Tamil, Urdu and Hindi and distributed especially amongst the Muslims since many are not aware of the seriousness of the problem. The "AMU-ACT" solicitis guidance and assistance and appeals to our brothers & sisters to note that assistance delayed is assistance denied! 

S.M.PASHA,
Convener, ALIGARH MUSLIM UNIVERSITY ACTION COMMITTEE IN TAMILNADU {"AMU-ACT"} 
O-22/N-51, Barracks Road, Periamet, CHENNAI 600003
14-10-2005


Text of the Memorandum to the Prime Minister

ALIGARH MUSLIM UNIVERSITY ACTION COMMITTEE IN TAMILNADU
{“AMU-ACT”}
O-22/N-51, Barracks Road, Periamet, CHENNAI 600003
Telefax: 52041113 – Mobile: 98413-49246 
Email: esempee2000@yahoo.com 

MEMORANDUM SUBMITTED TO THE HON’BLE PRIME MINISTER OF INDIA SHRI Dr. MANMOHAN SINGHJI THROUGH H.E. THE GOVERNOR OF TAMILNADU SHRI S. S. BARNALA APPEALING FOR ACTION FOR THE RESTORATION OF THE MINORITY CHARACTER OF THE ALIGARH MUSLIM UNIVERSITY.

Respected and beloved Dr. Manmohan Singhji,

Namaste!

To allege that the Aligarh Muslim University was NOT established by the Muslim minority community, is a WHITE LIE, to put it in extremely mild language. All that the then British Government did in 1920 was to convert, through a Central Legislature, an existing Muslim College into a Muslim University by ‘magnanimously’ granting a Charter, in the name of the King Emperor of England! How, on earth, this technical conversion can be construed as “establishment” of a University, is beyond comprehension. It is nothing but a narrow, silly and presumably mischievous interpretation of the expression “established”, which was casually used in the short title of the AMU Act of 1920. In this connection, we wish to point out that in1955, the Parliament passed a legislation to regulate the administration of the Dargah of Shaikh Moinuddin Chisthi (R) . Does the passing of that legislation mean the establishment of the dargah? To those who say that the University was established by the then British Government through the AMU Act of 1920, here is our answer. To make a concerted drive for the collection of funds to establish a Muslim University at Aligarh, a Central Foundation Committee was formed with His Highness the Agha Khan III as its Chairman and the famous Freedom Fighter Moulana Shoukath Ali as its Secretary. The revered Ismaili Chief went round the nook and corner of the country as a “mendicant” and literally begged from house to house and street to street for funds for “ the educational upliftment of the children of Indian Muslims”. The Founder of the University Sir Syed Ahmed Khan Saheb also collected a large sum of money for the proposed Muslim University. So much so, it is on record that by July 1912, a sum of RUPEES TWENTY SIX LAKHS was collected and by the time the University came into existence the donations swelled up to nearly fifty lakhs! Besides, the assets of the M.O.A. College was worth several lakhs. There was no University Grants Commission then to dole out grants to Universities and so not a paisa was given by the then British Government for the establishment of the University. Thus, it is clear as daylight (except to those who view things through coloured spectacles ) that the Aligarh Muslim University was established by Indian Muslims for Indian Muslims through the efforts and funds of Indian Muslims. Indian Muslims, therefore, have the least hesitation to emphatically declare, with justified and pardonable pride, that the Aligarh Muslim University was a product of their own hard efforts and with no outside benevolence! 

It will not be out of context if a brief history of the “AMENDMENTS” of the A.M.U. Act is narrated here to emphasize the fact that it is not for the first time that attempt is being made to take away the minority character of the University. On the 11th of October 1951, the first Amendment to the A.M.U. Act was passed. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was then the Prime Minister. The “minority character” of the University was not taken away altogether but just diluted by making some important changes such as:

1. throwing open the Membership of the AMU Court to non-Muslims also;

2. granting affiliation to all Colleges within the radius of 15 miles in Aligarh 

3. bringing about changes in the Executive Council and the Academic Council also in accordance with new statutes.

This amendment was certainly not liked by Muslims but there was no massive or impressive agitation because of the tense and dangerous communal environment in the country consequent upon the Partition. What could not be cured, had to be patiently endured. But, it is unfortunate that their silence was misinterpreted and/or purposely misrepresented as approval!

The second Amendment was made in 1965, immediately after the murderous attack on Ali Yavar Jung Saheb. This amendment reduced the AMU Court which was supreme governing body of the University to the status of an ordinary Advisory Body! Muslims felt and felt rightly that this amendment deprived the University of its “minority character”. The ruling in the “Azeez Basha” case, the Supreme Court, played on the words used in the short title of the Original Act describing the University as “ an Act to ESTABLISH and incorporate a teaching and residential MUSLIM University in Aligarh”

The Third Amendment was made at the instance of the then Union Education Minister Janab Nurul Hasan Saheb, in Smt. Indira Gandhi’s cabinet. It deaffiliated the Colleges near Aligarh, which were affiliated to it consequent upon the 1951 Amendment. 

The Janatha Party Government at the Centre , through an Amendment in 1978, took back the status of the University to the position of 1951. 

In 1981, Smt. Indira Gandhiji magnanimously and wisely restored the minority character.

Alas! It was, however, taken away, once again, in 1985.

A few words about the AMU’s reservation policy. Under the “internal” system, the University could admit students from the nearby areas like U.P. and Bihar. Statistics reveal that out of 19,360 students, nearly 16,000 were from the two States. 50% reservation encourages and enables students from far off areas like TAMILNADU, to join the University. The Badruddin Thyabji Committee in1987 and the Mumtaz Ahmed Khan Committee in 2001 recommended reservations. We reliably understand and believe the same to be true that the former Union HRD Minister Shri Murli Manohar Joshi had himself proposed 50% reservation for Muslims. Why he and his Party somersault now on this issue is an unsolved mystery. 

The argument that reservation will undermine the value and the reputation of the degrees of the University, is sheer nonsense. St. Stephen's College in New Delhi has a quota for Christians. Has the value and the reputation of its education gone down because of its reservation quota? NO. Certainly not. Shri Rajiv Dhawan, the great Constitutional Law expert is of the opinion that the 1981 amendments only served to formalize the legal position of the minority character of the AMU. He is reported to have said that, in this issue, the Supreme Court’s ruling in TMA PAI Foundation case should be read in conjunction with the Souray Chowdary case, where it said that reservation based on merit must be increased from 25% to 50%, implying, thereby, that at least 50% seats may be reserved by the Institution. The Apex Court has also made it clear that, whilst denying admission on ground of the applicant’s religion, race, caste or language is prohibited, preferring students of minority groups does not violate Art.29 (2). The Court further ruled that some non-minority students must be admitted by minority institutions but it did not place any ceiling on the reservation. Therefore, the AMU is within its rights to have a quota for Muslims as long it did not deny admission to non-Muslims.

We, respectfully, submit that if the UPA Government restores the minority character of the AMU, its political opponents will cry hoarse that it is doing so to “appease” the Muslim minority community. Let the caravan move on, unmindful of the barkings of the barking dogs. It is, we admit, a fact that the UPA is an ally of the Muslims. But then it is strange but true that even facts must, at times, prove that they are facts and not fictions. The price of the pudding lies in the eating and not in mere proclamations regarding its sweetness. We, therefore, appeal to the UPA Government to take swift and concrete measures to restore the minority character of the University and for this we, humbly, suggest that an appropriate Ordinance be promulgated now and later on an appropriate Amendment to the AMU Act be passed nullifying the adverse effect of the Allahabad High Court’s One-Judge Bench verdict.

The intellectual heart of Indian Muslims lies in the AMU. If the University is stripped of its minority character, the heart will stop beating and if it is made to stop beating, such an act will be tantamount to nothing short of a calculated cold-blooded murder of Muslim education in India! 

Soliciting your early and favourable response and thanking you in anticipation,

Yours sincerely,

(S.M.PASHA)
Convener, AMU-ACT
14th Oct.2005, CHENNAI 

Text of memorandum to Mrs Sonia Gandhi: ALIGARH MUSLIM UNIVERSITY ACTION COMMITTEE IN TAMILNADU

MEMORANDUM SUBMITTED TO Smt. SONIA GANDHIJI, M.P. CHAIRPERSON, UPA COORDINATING COMMITTEE, NEW DELHI SEEKING HER ASSISTANCE FOR THE RESTORATION OF THE MINORITY CHARACTER OF THE ALIGARH MUSLIM UNIVERSITY, WHICH HAS BEEN TAKEN AWAY BY THE RECENT JUDGEMENT OF THE ALLAHABAD HIGH COURT.

Respected Madam,

You are not directly connected with the Aligarh Muslim University or its affairs. Nevertheless, we are seeking your valuable assistance because you are the chief of the political Party, which has been and which is a champion of the rights of the minorities. This University has produced several Congress Party leaders such as Moulana Mohammed Ali, Moulana Shoukath Ali, Hasrath Mohani, Raja Mahinder Pratab, Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Saheb, the former Rashtrapathi Dr Zakir Hussain, the Sher-e-Kashmir, Shaikh Abdullah, Abdul Ghafoor Saheb, Chief Minister of Bihar, Janab Shafi Quraishi, Shri. B.P.Mauriya and many more. Aligarh Muslim University has been a perpetual source of talent to our Motherland. It can boast of having scholars of the stature of Baba-e-Urdu Dr. Abdul Huq, Moulana Abdul Majid Daryabadi, Shri. D.D.Kosambi, Shri. K.M.Pannikar and Haroon Khan Sherwani; of educators such as Dr. Zakir Hussain, Shaikh Mohammed Abdullah; “Fani”, “Josh” “Majaz”, Ali Sardar Jaffari among poets; Sadath Hussain Minto, Ale Ahmed Saroor, Ismath Chughtai, and Raja Raoji among its men of letters. The”Mehfils” of the University still reverberate with the poems of Waheed Akhthar, Zahida Zaidi, Ravindra Bhramar, and Shiv Shankar Sharma Rakesh; eminent personalities who made the grade at the highest ranks of the national ladder like the Indian Ambassador to U.S.S.R. Janab Nurul Hasan Saheb, Chairman of the University Grants Commission Shri Satish Chandra. The Governor of Bihar A.R.Kidwai, the Vice-Chancellor of Jamia Millia Masood Ahmed Khan, Rector of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Janab Monis Raza, Indian Ambassador to Syria Janab K.A. Nizami, Secretary to the Government of India Janab Mahmood Butt and several others.

Among artistes and film personalities – Begum Para, Talat Mahmood, Shakeel Badayuni, Rahi Masoom Raza, Tabassum and Nasiruddin Shah, to name but a few.

As for sport: Olympic hockey players like Mohd. Jafar, Masood Minsha Govinda and Zafar Iqbal.

Revered Madam, the nomenclature of the University may appear rather ‘COMMUNAL’ but the University WAS, IS and WILL be, God Willing, cent per cent SECULAR. Mark the words of its Founder Sir Syed Ahmed Khan Saheb: “I SHALL FEEL SORRY IF ANYBODY THINKS THAT THE ALIGARH MUSLIM UNIVERSITY HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED SO AS TO SHOW DISCRIMINATION BETWEEN HINDUS AND MUSLIMS. ALL RIGHTS OF THE COLLEGE APPERTAINING TO THOSE WHO CALL THEMSELVES MUSLIMS ARE EQUALLY RELATED TO THOSE WHO CALL THEMSELVES HINDUS, WITHOUT ANY RESERVATION.”

Appreciating the spirit of the mission of the Founder of the University, Pandit Nehru says in his autobiography that Sir Syed’s action viz., the establishment of the Aligarh Muslim University was in the right revolutionary spirit.

In his Convocation Address delivered on 20th of February 1949, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, declared: “ So far as Muslims of India are concerned, one can assert without fear of contradiction that the man who played the most important role in this struggle is the presiding spirit of this University. The battle was fought here in Aligarh and Aligarh is the embodiment of the victory of the forces of progress. Here developed the new schools of research, interpretation and reconstruction of Muslim thought…… .” 

Today the minority character of this glorious institution has been trampled upon by the unjust verdict of the Single Judge Bench of the Allahabad High Court, which is based on a silly and/or willy interpretation of the English word “ESTABLISHED” used casually, by the drafters of the short title of the Aligarh Muslim University in 1920, ignoring the glaring fact it was with the sweat, blood, toil, funds and other resources of Indian Muslims.

Respected Madam, the intellectual heart of Muslims of India lies in the Aligarh Muslim University. If the minority character of the University is taken away, the heart will stop beating and if it is made to stop beating, then, we have the least hesitation to declare, most emphatically, that we will construe such an act as nothing short of a calculated cold –blooded murder of Muslim education in India!

Respected Madam, we do not want this intellectual heart of Indian Muslims to stop beating and we seek your help to see that it does not stop beating. We are sure that you can use your good offices to prevail upon the Government of India to see that the adverse effect of the aforesaid judgement is nullified and the minority character of the University is restored forthwith.. We humbly and most respectfully entreat you to do so, for which act of grace, in gratitude bound, Indian Muslims will, unitedly and cheerfully, rally round and strengthen your esteemed Party. The support of your esteemed Party to our just and reasonable demand is likely to be tomtomed by the political opponents of the Congress as “appeasement” to the Muslim minority community for political gains. Let barking dogs bark. Ignore the barkings; harken our pathetic plea for justice and see that what belongth to Ceaser is handed back to Ceaser, so to say.

We have nothing more to add except to say that in Allah, we, positively, trust but Allah Himself makes it clear that He helps those who help themselves and so we are helping ourselves by approaching you for help!

Yours truly,

{S.M.PASHA}
Convener, AMU-ACT
CHENNAI, 14-10-2005

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