Tribune News Service
New Delhi, December 22
In a major outreach, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday called the Aligarh Muslim University ‘Mini India’ that represented the diversity of the county. Addressing AMU alumni, teachers and staff on its centennial celebrations, the PM lauded the university for its role in crafting and polishing millions of lives, giving them modern and scientific thinking and inspiring them to work for the society and the country.
“The AMU has changed many lives,” he said, referring to its exemplary role in India’s Independence struggle, nation building and the ongoing coronavirus crisis. “AMU is like Mini India…along with Urdu and Arabic, Hindi and Sanskrit is taught here. Its library has Koran and also Bhagvad Geeta and Ramayana. The diversity here is not just the strength of a prestigious institution like the AMU but the entire country,” he said.
At the same time he advocated “vigilance against misleading propaganda” and keeping “interest of the nation supreme”. “Politics can wait but development cannot, similarly poor belonging to whichever section also cannot wait,” he said. Though he did not refer to the ongoing farmer’ agitation, political observers read hints towards it in his observations. Notably AMU students, who earlier participated in anti-CAA protests, have also extended support to protesting farmers, urging President Ram Nath Kovind to intervene and revoke the three contentious laws.
The PM said while there can be ideological differences among people when it is the question of country’s progress all differences should be kept aside. “On such issues we cannot have differences despite ideological and personal differences. There were difference of opinion in AMU… but Independence struggle became common ground. We need to work on common ground like Independence.”
“We must realise that politics is an important part of society but there are many other issues in society besides politics. For a new India, the core is that welfare must not be seen from the prism of politics. There are some elements who may have an issue with this….they will spread negativity. But these people will be sidelined if we work for the betterment of the country keeping aside politics. Politics can wait, but the country cannot wait for development, the poor and disadvantaged cannot wait for development,” he said.
Quoting Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, the founder of AMU, the PM said the biggest duty of every citizen is towards the country and its progress. The first and foremost duty of one who is concerned about his country is to work for the welfare of all people, irrespective of caste, creed or religion. “For the progress of country, every strata should progress so that everyone gets a chance to realise their dreams without religion and other constraints,” the PM said, adding that his government is working with the same intention, progress without any discrimination, enumerating its various pro-poor, pro-women progammes and policies, including law on Triple Talaq.
“There was a time when the dropout rate of Muslim girls was more than 70 pc, today it has dropped to 30 pc due to programmes like Swachch Bharat,” urging all institutions to encourage women towards not just education but higher education and empowerment.
As he spoke of New Education Policy and increase in number of educational institutions like IITs and AIIMS in the country, he assigned AMU hostels “extra curriculum task associated with India’s Independence”.
“Research on freedom fighter about which not much is known,” he said. To its alumni he asked suggestions on making India ‘atmanirbhar. “27 years after the AMU was formed in 1920, we got our Independence. This is 2020 and next 27 years are very important for your life to make it a modern India,” the PM said.