Before you assume anything, you should read about it. It’s been a week since the chaos at Aligarh Muslim University has started. There are several things you need to know, before jumping to any conclusion.
1. The protest is against the unauthorised attack made by a mob
“Everything will calm down once you remove that portrait” – this is the only piece of advice everyone is giving to the university. However, the protest is not related to the portrait of Jinnah. It is against the attack made by the Hindutva/RSS goons. A mob had entered the university premises, with the possession of some weapons – and the worst part is that some of them were seen being escorted/supported by the local police.
2. There was no legal action against the mob
It was 2 PM when the former Vice President Hamid Ansari arrived at AMU to deliver his lecture.
At 2:50 PM, 15 Sanghi goons enter the AMU campus with pistols and revolvers. They attack a student who was passing by.
At 3:10 PM, the students’ union leaders and representatives come to the rescue. Six goons are caught and are handed over to the police.
At 3:40 PM, the police release those six goons and is not ready to file an FIR. There was no legal action against this mob.
3. AMU is not the only place with a portrait of Jinnah
You heard that right. Aligarh Muslim University is not the only place with a portrait of Jinnah.
There’s also a research institute in Shimla, which has a photo of Jinnah.
In Mumbai, there’s a place called the ‘Jinnah House‘.
This is just a political trap, which is being used to divide people along ideological lines. So, why not attack an educational institution suddenly?
4. AMU doesn’t support Jinnah or his theories
Yes, many of the media houses are debating on this issue. We’re living in the 21st century. In 1947, we were partitioned and many families were separated. But those who chose to live here in India, made the decision by choice and we cannot really question their nationalism.
The Aligarh Muslim University never intended to support the theories of Jinnah nor of any other aspect related to the partition. It is an educational institution which teaches Sanskrit, German, English and Urdu – all under the same roof.
The next time you think that the university supports Jinnah, do visit Aligarh once – you’ll get your answers there.
5. The main reason behind the presence of the Jinnah portrait
The All India Muslim League and the Aligarh Muslim University are important parts of Indian history. In fact, we still talk about the Lucknow Pact, where everyone joined hands against the British.
When we talk about the portrait of Jinnah in the Union Hall of the Aligarh Muslim University, it indicates certain historical facts. There are several portraits, including Gandhi’s, Ambedkar’s and Jinnah’s – all of whom were given the lifetime membership of the university union. Hence, this is one of the main reasons why the portrait hangs there. You can erase a portrait but not history.
6. This attack needs to be condemned – it’s an open attack on an educational institution
As a law student, I’ve been taught about justice, secularism and equality. But practicality and theory are different from each other.
This attack is a threat to an educational hub. At first it was JNU, then it was BHU – and now, it’s AMU. Moreover, it’s an attack on different ideologies.
The mob allegedly chanted the slogan “Bharat mata ki jai!” I have this question: does chanting “Bharat mata ki jai” give you the authority to attack an institution? Is this the shield you use to perform any kind of activity?
The sad part was that the local administration never protected the students. Some of them were even seen escorting the mob and the goons, who were carrying deadly weapons. This is really a threat! It’s Aligarh Mulsim University today; it might be your college tomorrow. Stand with the students – it’s about injustice, after all.
7. The former Vice President of India was present at the time when the attack was initiated. Was it a coincidence or a pre-planned attack?
The former Vice President of India, Hamid Ansari was also present at that time for a function within the campus. But the event was cancelled due to this sudden attack.
I wonder if it was a coincidence that the mob was nearly 100-200 metres away from Hamid Ansari. This could have turned out to be a serious threat to a reputed personality.
It’s possible that Ansari himself may have got himself tangled up in this mess.
Thus, there they were, the self-proclaimed ‘saviours’ – to attack the students over the Jinnah issue (or whatever it was). They also evaded facing any kind of legal action in the process.
8. There were no slogans such as “Bharat se azaadi”
The media is one of the main pillars of a democratic institution – and has now expanded into the digital space. There was a time when Annie Besant and Bal Gangadhar Tilak went all over India to spread awareness about self-governing. But today, the same media is manipulating things.
On May 5, 2018, when internet services were suspended in the Aligarh area, a video was circlated which indicated that the slogans being chanted were – “Bharat se azaadi!” This wasn’t the case at all – the slogans actually were “Bharat me azaadi!” Moreover, I don’t think azaadi referred to partition or any other negative aspect.
Many channels focussed on this edited version of the video. It reminded me that while technology has positive impacts, it has its negative sides too.
9. The locks were broken and the hearts were united. The protest was a movement against the injustice
The locks of the women’s college and several hostels were broken and the ‘curfew timings’ were done away with. This allowed people to join the protest against this unjust – not only the students and the students’ union, but the teachers, their association and the non-teaching staff as well. This reflected the unity of the whole institution.
The old students and people from several other universities showed their support for us. These included-
1. Banaras Hindu University
2. Allahabad University
3. Jawaharlal Nehru University
4. Delhi University
5. Jamia Millia Islamia University
6. Maulana Azad National Urdu University
7. Hyderabad Central University
8. Mahatma Gandhi International Hindi University
9. Aliah University
10. Integral University
11. Lucknow University
12. Patna University
13. Jadavpur University
14. Kanpur University
15. Tata Institute of Social Sciences
16. St. Stephen’s College, DU
17. Shibli College
18. JNU Teachers’ Association
19. AMU Teachers’ Association
20. JMI Teachers’ Association
21. West Bengal College & University Professors’ Association
22. AMU Alumni Association, Australia
23. AMU Alumni Association, Riyadh
24. AMU Alumni Association, South Korea
25. AMU Alumni Association, New Zealand
26. AMU Alumni Association, Qatar
27. AMU Alumni Association, Bahrain
28. AMU Alumni Association, Jeddah
29. AMU Alumni Association, USA
30. AMU Alumni Association, Abu Dhabi
31. AMU Alumni Association, Kuwait
32. AMU Alumni Association, Dubai
33. AMU Alumni Association, Saudi Arabia
34. AMU Special Centre, Malappuram
35. AMU Special Centre, Murshidabad
36. AMU Special Centre, Kishanganj
37. National Students’ Union of India
38. AMU Old Boys’ Association
39. AMU Technical Staff Association
40. AMU Employees’ Union
41. AMU Non-Teaching Staff
42. AMU Old Boys’ Association, Bijnor
43. AMU Old Boys’ Association, Rampur
44. AMU Old Boys’ Association, Amroha
10. Let’s assume that the portrait is taken down. Now, will the government or the competent authorities arrest those ‘goons’?
As I have said previously, the issue isn’t about the portrait or about Jinnah. It’s a political agenda to create a wedge between the ideologies and the communities, even if the portrait is taken down. I don’t see any chance of any action being taken against those goons. Even a first information report hasn’t been filed.
What else we can expect? More power to the students of AMU! It’s just my request, before you jump to conclusions about anything, do read up on it. #StandWithAMU!