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Say no to quota at AMU


Asstt Supdt of Police

Shimla, Himachal Pradesh [ [email protected]]

(Tribune 28.05.2005)

THE demand by the fundamentalist fringe of the Muslim leadership for a quota for the Muslims at AMU, Aligarh, was long-standing. The government finally yielded to this demand when it approved the AMU Academic Council’s proposal to reserve 50 per cent of the seats for Muslims for admission in 36 postgraduate courses at AMU citing Section 2(1) of AMU (Amendment) Act, 1981, and Section 5(C) of the Act which empowers the university to formulate policies for promoting “the educational and cultural advancement of the Muslims of India”. This approval, apart from being blatantly communal, is totally against the interest of the Indian Muslims. Though on the surface, it may appear contrary.

It has to be understood that for the Muslim leadership in India, the institutions and issues like AMU, Jama Masjid, MPLB, Babri Masjid, Rushdie affair etc. are stepping stones of their political career through which they raise themselves to the corridors of power and manoeuvre the government of the day. The present move is a fine example of this fact.
The previous government sought to bring AMU under the ambit of the Common Entrance Test (CET). This was interpreted as an attempt to “erode its minority character”. Now to draw political mileage from the whole affair, quota-based admission policy is being introduced as a sop to “rectify” the damage sought to be done by the previous government.

The logic cited for this is “to promote the educational and cultural advancement of the Muslims of India”. However, the argument that the study of the modern courses like MBBS, MCA, engineering, LLB, BEd etc by Muslims at AMU would promote their (Islamic) cultural advancement is absurd on all accounts.
Today’s India is a land of opportunities. Thousands of educational institutions are providing courses in liberal arts, science, technology etc. like never before. We have low interest rate educational loans to facilitate the pursuit of the dream if we are poor. Thousands of fellowships are offered to the young and enterprising. It was never so easy to study and get empowered. There are countless men and women who, by hard work, acquired education and substantially improved their lot.

However, among Muslims there exists really no earnest desire for education and material success through institutionalised mechanism. Muslim society is basically a lost world. It is a world of persistent delusion of persecution complex. It is a world of men sitting idly and waiting for the state to intervene and ameliorate their condition. Here children have no schools, no tradition of selfless intellectual pursuit, and no deep urge to awaken their self or to know the secret of life.

In this world, the dominant belief is that Muslims are discriminated against in government jobs, therefore technical skill and educational qualifications are not worth pursuit. Education is seen more as an eligibility criterion for applying for government jobs than an instrument to choose one’s destiny.

The advocates of educational uplift of the Muslim through reservations have no inkling to work at this level in Muslim society because it involves years of selfless, unnoticed, unrecognised blood and sweat in the hundreds of villages and towns of India. Such work will not win them a general election, or the favour of the ruling party.

In fact, in the rear side of another institution of minority character, Jamia Millia, Delhi, you would get the largest mass of illiterate Muslims. The Muslim intellectuals of this institution are short of time and resources to educate and guide aimless young boys and girls, migrants and locals, unemployed and employed in the self-alienating and demeaning jobs.
Again not very far from here is the locality of the Meo Muslims of Haryana, a community at the bottom of socio–economic indicators. In fact according to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS), female illiteracy among the Muslims on the all India level is 66 per cent and in Haryana it is universal (98 per cent).

Ironically, an organisation run by people of another faith is working here, but not a single soul who is championing “to promote especially the educational and cultural advancement of the Muslims of India” is to be found here.
The prescription of reservation does not address this issue of mass illiteracy and a pathetic absence achievement motivation through approved means. And if there exists indifference and apathy towards education at the basic level, there will be no Muslim to go to study at AMU. The problem of the Muslim community is not the shortage of educational institutions to get enrolled, rather it is the shortage of men and women to get enrolled. The need of the moment is to unleash the reserve of talent, of infinite aspiration among the young Muslims and give it a constructive direction.