News Analysis |
The debate ignited over Quaid-e-Azam’s portrait at the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), has confirmed India’s fanatic mindset, despite a lapse of over seven decades since the split of the Sub-Continent. The portrait in question was installed in 1938, but on Monday Satish Gautam, a Bharatiya Janata Party lawmaker, asked Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) to justify the display of the portrait.
Gautam wrote a letter to the vice-chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University, Tariq Mansoor, and demanded the removal of the portrait of Pakistan’s founder in the Students’ Union Office.The lawmaker, ignorant of the time of the picture’s installation, suggested that the varsity should install photos of great people like Mahendra Pratap Singh who had donated the land for the establishment of the institute. On the other hand, Shafey Kidwai, the spokesperson for the university defended the hanging of the portrait.
Kidwai explained that Jinnah was a founder of the university and was granted life membership of the student union and his portrait was on the wall due to the same reason.The AMU official bolstered his opinion by saying that Jinnah was the founder member of the University Court in 1920 and also a donor.“He was granted membership before the demand of a separate homeland was raised by the Muslim League.”
Many of the areas in the heartland of Lahore, Punjab’s provincial capital, are still named after Indian leaders and social workers i.e Sant Nagar, Sham Nagar, Dharam Pura, to name a few.
Another factor which endorses the baseless criticism on the portrait is the fact that no Indian leader including Mahatma Gandhi, Maulana Azad, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, C Rajagopalachari, Rajendra Prasad and Jawaharlal Nehru objected to the portrait. The discussion on the portrait was ongoing when on Wednesday, armed workers of Hindu Yuva Vahini, a militia formed by Yogi Adityanath, barged into the campus located in Uttar Pradesh. The workers were so raged over the portrait that they demanded its removal and clashed with the police, at a time when no formal announcement was made in this regard.
The narrow-mindedness of the group can be gauged from the fact that they burnt an effigy of Mohammad Ali Jinnah to express themselves. The administration of university seems to have succumbed to the pressure on the same day as the portrait in question went missing, however, the officials claimed that it was removed for cleaning. The removal coincides with the expiry of a 48-hour deadline given by Hindu Yuva Vahini on Monday, but interestingly no notable figure of India has uttered a single word over this bigotry. Instead, Javed Akhter, renowned screenwriter and poet defended the removal.
‘Jinnah was neither a student nor a teacher of Alig. It’s a shame that his portrait is there The administration n students should voluntarily remove it from there and those who were protesting against this portrait should now protest against the temples made to honour God.’
The portrait saga has once again laid bare the secularism in the face of ‘rising’ India, which was taken off after a deadline from the ultra-nationalistic group.Even the university established some 150 years ago, was the effort of a Muslim, Sir Sayyed Ahmed Khan, which had still awarded a lifetime membership to Mahatma Gandhi, a Hindu.
The portrait in question was installed in 1938, but on Monday Satish Gautam, a Bharatiya Janata Party lawmaker, asked Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) to justify the display of the portrait.
The prejudice of Hindu Yuva Vahini is well evident from the fact that the group was formed by Yogi Adityanath, who has shared a stage with a speaker asking for Muslim women to be taken out from graves and raped.
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Adityanath, now a Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, has made many controversial statements which include comparing Shah Rukh Khan with Hafiz Saeed, for the commonality of the religion. In one of his speeches, he openly claimed that the Hindu and Muslim culture can never co-exist and that a religious war was inevitable. He also stressed that the Hindus need to organize and face this challenge, saying Hindu Yuva Vahini was doing the work of uniting Hindus.
But the insanity of Indians is not limited to the founding father of Pakistan. In fact, India was perturbed over the Muslim identity of any personality involved in the pre-partition movement. In March, a zealot group in Narendra Modi-led India razed a statue of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad to the ground in West Bengal. The demolition stemmed out from a verbal spat with a group of Muslims passing by Jama Masjid.
Moreover, the tragic rape and killing of the eight-year-old Asifa Bano and the criminal silence of Indian authorities over the incident confirms that besides depicting a soft image of the country, the Indian public was still seething in anger against the Muslims. On the contrary, no such demonstration has been planned or orchestrated to shame Indian leaders or freedom fighters in Pakistan. Many of the areas in the heartland of Lahore, Punjab’s provincial capital, are still named after Indian leaders and social workers i.e Sant Nagar, Sham Nagar, Dharam Pura, to name a few.
It appears that the religious fanaticism is dying in Pakistan swiftly, which is well vindicated by the defeat of religious groups in elections, however, radicalism is still on the rise in nuclear-armed states, contrary to what is portrayed in glamorous films.