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Jamia V-C urges people not to malign university

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All smiles: Shabana Azmi, Naseeruddin Shah and Professor U.R. Ananthamurthy at the Jamia Millia Islamia Convocation in New Delhi on Thursday.
All smiles: Shabana Azmi, Naseeruddin Shah and Professor U.R. Ananthamurthy at the Jamia Millia Islamia Convocation in New Delhi on Thursday.

Staff Reporter

He seeks to silence “detractors” at the convocation ceremony

NEW DELHI: A month after the Batla House shootout in which two suspected militants were gunned down by the Delhi police and the “stereotyping” in its aftermath, Jamia Millia Islamia Vice-Chancellor Mushirul Hasan sought to silence the “detractors” with a strong message at the annual convocation ceremony on the campus on Thursday.

Speaking as a “concerned citizen heading a university, which happens to be located in close proximity to a troubled locality,” Prof. Hasan asserted that Jamia will remain an indispensable part of the composite edifice called India.

“Nobody dare cast doubt on our credentials. We at Jamia are the custodians of our national interests. We are proud to uphold the Nehruvian legacy of pluralism and secularism…why, then are we called upon, time and time again, to undergo a test of loyalty, a trial by fire after every incident of urban terrorism?…Why should we constantly feel the need to produce certificates of our good citizenship?” he asked while presenting his report.

He urged people not to malign the University simply because three of its students were allegedly involved in terror activities.

“Why target our small but compact institution?... Already our students are being denied jobs because Jamia is supposedly the breeding ground of terrorism. Delivery vans and service providers baulk at entering our neighbourhood. Is this the price we must pay for being the chief protagonist of pluralist and secular nationhood? Prof. Hasan asked. In his convocation address, eminent Kannada writer and critic U.R. Ananthamurthy, who was the guest of honour, noted how the minorities were “alienated from the nation’s mainstream”. “If you are a Muslim, you can hardly get a rented house in a decent middle-class locality in the IT city of Bangalore...The Christians have at least the West to speak for them, but Indian Muslims have none,” he said.

“The whole nation seems to be neurotic. The rulers have to prove that they are efficient and therefore, I have a suspicion that they randomly pick someone to create an illusion of safety among the citizens.” Prof. Ananthamurthy exhorted the students to make efforts to combine development with the welfare of all. Earlier, Prof. Hasan conferred honoris causa degrees on art scholar Kapila Vatsyayan, social reformer and theologian Asghar Ali Engineer and veteran actors Naseeruddin Shah and Shabana Azmi.

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