UPDATED 3/3/2011 11:07:11 AM
Friday, March 4, 2011
Minority tag would damage Jamia Millia Islamia
In an important development, education activist Firoz Bakht Ahmed has decided to challenge in Delhi HC, the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions` order to declare Jamia Millia Islamia as a minority institution. Added Bakht, the way local Muslim community around Jamia distributed sweets on the decision of JMI being declared as an institution with a minority tag, was only to be lamented.
Talking to News 24, Mr. Ahmed confirmed thisdevelopment, expressing his opposition to the grounds on which Jamia was declared a minority institution, which he is going to challenge legally in the court.
Commenting on the history of JMI, Bakht said, “In fact the institution was to give a concrete shape to cosmopolitan culture and the Hindu-Muslim unity that the Khilafat movement had brought about.”
Ahmed said that if we, as a nation, have to grow, we have to free ourselves from the petty hold of the traps like “minority”, “majority”, “quotas” etc and have to forge ahead with a combined effort to eradicate illiteracy, poverty and obscurantism amongst India’s masses irrespective of religion, region, language, caste, creed or clan of the disadvantaged. Any impudent move to dilute the secular credentials of thiscentral university would foster the revival of communalism that can’t be afforded at any cost now.
In his petition, Firoz Bakht Ahmed said that the card of “minority Character” has sent the message going out that the ethos of the composite culture of the institution has changed and is bound to hurt the reputation of the Jamia Millia Islamia.
Bakht was upset that truth is that this tag of JMI being a “minority institution” will further alienate Muslims. There is a potential threat that the historic Jamia might fall into the clutches of fundamentalists after this. Not only this, merit will take a back seat as well. Inclusive growth is only possible with an eclectic diversity of teachers and the taught.
In fact Mr Ahmed will base his argument on what the founding fathers say about reservations. The petition states, “Interestingly, Sardar Patel did vehemently support the charter of providing political safeguards to the minorities according to articles 292 and 294 of the Draft Constitution in 1949 but five leaders out of seven, namely Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Maulana Hifzur Rehman, Begum Aizaz Rasul, Hussainbhoy Laljee and Tajammul Hussain opposed.”
Bakht also added that during his constituent assembly meeting on May 26, 1949 Nehru said, “If you seek to give safeguards to a minority, you isolate it… May be, you protect it to a slight extent but at what cost? At the cost of isolating and keeping it away from the main current.”
One of the main arguments of Firoz Bakht Ahmed will be to challenge all kinds of reservations including the SC/ST, OBC, Dalit, Kashmiri migrants, the army personnel and the latest one in Jamia that have actually pushed the general category to the wall and they suffer the most. He will say that there are cases where reservations have resulted in the SCs/Sts amassing wealth where the poor general category people are pining for basic necessities.
In fact Mr. Ahmed is going to argue that JMI was never governed by Muslims even before the implementation of the Act. Instead it was a society named as Jamia Millia Islamia Society (1939) which used to run and administer the institute before the enactment of the Act.
Mr. Ahmed is of the view that the minority tag associated with Jamia will isolate the students and youths from the community and thereby will lead to educational ghettoization, some thing which stands contrary to the purpose of the establishment of Jamia. JMI was established to bring Muslims into the national mainstream, he argues.
Firoz Bakht Ahmed, also a grandnephew of Maulana Azad believes that the offering of minority status to JMI reminds him of the two nation theory of Jinnah that had been opposed by Maulana Azad throughout. He has traditionally opposed the case of Jamia’s minority status, even before the NCMEI where he was one of the intervener in this case which was pending before the commission since 2006.
Bakht was concerned that the NCMEI delivered this judgment in violation of the judgment of the Supreme Court in the case, “Azeez Basha vs Union of India, AIR-1968 Supreme Court 662”. The case is subjudice and the minority tag has been given to JMI rather hastily and illegally.