Let me congratulate the JAMIA TEACHERS SOLIDARITY GROUP for condemning "the communal witch hunt in Jamia Nagar and demanding an independent and impartial enquiry." I wholeheartedly endorse this bold, pro-people and patriotic stand. This is precisely the way the nation expects its intellectuals, whose education has been funded by the sweat and blood of the toiling masses, to act.
It would help greatly if this statement is printed as pamphlets in Hindi and Urdu and distributed widely in Delhi, especially in Jamia Nagar and the surrounding localities. In these difficult times, the people need to know that they are not alone.
Being in Bhopal, I am clearly not in a position to share the "sense of alienation, terror and insecurity" the students and teachers of Jamia Millia Islamia may be experiencing. However, I am seriously concerned about the manner in which the dream of India as a multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-lingual nation is being challenged. This is precisely the dream for which all sections of the Indian people fought together against the British Empire for our freedom. I have just now seen a powerful statement of Gandhi, cited on this yahoogroup/ googlegroup by someone while commenting on the anti-Christian attacks in Orissa (I would love to have the precise source of this statement):
"Test of our citizenship will be when Muslim or Hindu concerns are no longer concerns only for Muslims or Hindus, but become our concerns."
The JAMIA TEACHERS SOLIDARITY GROUP has shown that, in the hour of national crisis, there are citizens in the country who can pass this litmus test of India's citizenship.
Let us also recall that the JamiaMilliaUniversity was founded at the initiative of Late Dr. Zakir Husain as part of the freedom struggle. The declaration by the University Vice Chancellor Prof. Mushirul Hassan that the university feels morally bound to defend its students until proven guilty, is very much in line with the glorious tradition of Jamia's contribution to the building of modern India. This reminds me that whenever the British Police wanted to enter the campus of the BenaresHinduUniversity to arrest the students fighting for freedom in the 1920s or 1930s, the Vice Chancellor Late Shri Madan Mohan Malviya would take a stern stand that there is no place whatsoever for the Police in the university campus. And the British Police would not have the moral courage to cross the university gates. Prof. Mushirul Hassan's stand puts him in the same genre of India's educational leaders as Shri Madan Mohan Malviya. Hopefully, the Vice Chancellors of all the 300 odd universities of India would stand up with Prof. Hassan and take a similar stand in defense of the Fundamental Rights enshrined in the Constitution, whenever the dignity of the academic community (for that matter, any citizen of India) is challenged.
We need to learn to fight terrorism, including the state terrorism, without falling in the trap of religious fundamentalism and communal politics. This would be India's unique contribution to the world. Given our culturally diverse polity, there is probably no country better placed to learn this lesson than India. May be Jamia's academic community can show us the way forward.
If it makes a difference, please add my name to list of people who are endorsing this statement.
- Anil Sadgopal
Prof. Anil Sadgopal
Former Dean, Faculty of Education
University of Delhi
E-8/29, Sahkar Nagar
Bhopal 462 039 __._,_.___
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