“Why should anybody be surprised that Jamia stands number one? Jamia has always been in first 10 anyways. Its 100 years old university and its foundations have been laid by Mahatma Gandhi. Our heritage is of immense national pride. We never invited Muslim league to the campus. Mohammad Ali Jinnah never came to the campus”, said Najeeb Jung, former VC of Jamia Milia Islamia.
The Ministry of education recently released the rank list of the central universities on August 13, 2020, Jamia bagged the top spot amongst all the 40 central universities. Jamia Millia Islamia was ranked as one of the top 10 universities in the country by the Human Resource Development Ministry National institutional ranking framework (NIRF). In this month, JMI was in the headlines when 30 students from the university coaching academy cleared the extremely demanding UPSC exam.
Despite the world of academic excellence accolades and national recognition, the students of JMI university are living in fear, anxiety and trauma.
The root for all this was the agitation and the protest against the new discriminatory act passed by the government of India, the Citizenship Amendment Act. When the bill was passed on December 12 in the upper house, students of Jamia, along with alumni association of Jamia (AAJMI) and Jamia teachers association (JTA), organized a protest near gate no. 7 but later they were lathi-charged and tear gas shells were thrown on protestors.
Many were detained and brutally injured. The motto of the JMI students was to protest peacefully. Followed by that horrific incident, another terrific incident took place on December 15, ‘The Bloody Sunday‘, and the world knows the rest. That incident still haunts the students. The aftermath of that brutality was so horrific that it has left marks on students’ memories. Till date, students are suffering from trauma and fear.
“I can’t sleep at night. My knees and backache so hard that sometimes I cry and scream.”
“Whenever I remember that incident, my body shivers, at nights, I dream about Jamia ..that policeman’s face comes to my mind .. Imam sahib face when the policemen beat him. I feel cold. That accident would scare me every day and night. My Jamia was turned into a battleground.”
Some of the students told me this not wanting to reveal their identities. Jamia Millia Islamia is among the oldest universities in India. Iti is observing its 100th year of establishment this year. Once when Jamia ran out of funds, Mahatma Gandhi said, “I would roam across the country with a cup in my hands to collect the money but won’t let this institution shut.” Since then Jamia never looked back. It gave India some of its finest actors, sportsmen, journalists, politicians, scientists, architects, artists and engineers.
In recent years, one of Jamia’s students got placed in Google. Jamia is way ahead in its infrastructure, laboratories and the classroom teachings. The point system of ranking is based on the quality of infrastructure. The students of Jamia believe that there is nothing wrong in protesting against the policies of the government. Once a judge said that, “dissent is the safety valve of democracy. If you don’t allow the safety valve, the pressure cooker will burst”.
It’s not pride that makes us protest, in fact, it is a matter of pride that every Jamian thinks of our nation first. We think what’s good for India and what will harm it. Yes, ideologies might differ, but we understand the art of critical thinking. Opposing government policies doesn’t make anyone an ‘anti-national’, the tag that has been associated with Jamia for the past few months. We love our country first. India is and would be our first priority at any cost, and that’s why we take pride in being the leading university of India.