Though many hearts skipped a beat when Aamir’s name was announced, many eyebrows went up to see Manuu honouring men from the world of make-believe, ignoring the services of scores of Urdu scholars

It was Yousuf Khan aka Dilip Kumar in 2009. In 2013, it is Aamir Hussain Khan, the box office king. Which Bollywood actor will be the next to pick up the Honoris Causa degree of Maulana Azad National Urdu University? No prizes for guessing. There is no dearth of tinsel town heart-throbs.

The problem perhaps lies with the woeful lack of Urdu scholars and their failure to measure up to the University’s standards for conferment of the Doctor of Letters degree.

Even as many hearts skipped a beat when the name of Aamir Khan was announced, many eyebrows also went up to see Manuu choosing men from the world of make-believe for honour, ignoring the services of scores of Urdu writers, poets and scholars who have contributed immensely to the growth of the language.

Justice Rajinder Sachar and Aamir Khan were presented Honoris Causa by Manuu at its 5 convocation held here on Saturday. The honour is reserved for persons of eminence in academics, research or any other specific field. There are no hard-and-fast rules, it is said.

While Justice Sachar’s choice could be justified for the landmark report he produced, highlighting the demographic profile of Muslims, their educational status and poverty levels, what services has Mr. Khan rendered for Urdu? This was the question that troubled many.

There are no two opinions about his acting talent and the social causes he is espousing. But, does that suffice for the conferment of Honoris Causa? Strangely, the thespian, Dilip Kumar, did not turn up to receive the degree in 2004, and today, another perfectionist from Hindi cinema was conspicuous by his absence, too. His mother Zeenath Taher Hussain and sister Nikhat accepted the degree on his behalf. The actor, who is shooting in Australia, sent an email, thanking Manuu for honouring him.

Prof. S.M. Rahmatullah, Registrar, Manuu, said the University wanted to honour distinguished persons. “There is nothing wrong in choosing the actor for this honour,” he said.

Of late, convocations are becoming increasingly glamorous than scholastic. Of course, Urdu University can’t be singled out for blame. Many varsities in the State have been vying with one another to confer degrees on film actors. Though Aamir Khan failed to turn up, his sister stole the show. In her brief address, Ms. Nikhat said that her mother wanted Aamir to be a graduate, and that he had promised her to get a degree. Manuu made it happen.

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