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AMU centenary event | Politics can wait, but development of country cannot: PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the Aligarh Muslim University's centenary year celebration event via videoconferencing on December 22, 2020. Videograb: Twitter/@narendramodi   | Photo Credit: PTI

“Politics can wait, but the development of the country cannot” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday. Addressing Aligarh Muslim University’s Centenary Celebrations as a chief guest, he said like the Independence movement was the common ground for giving up differences, now, “we should work together for a new India”. “In every society, there are ideological differences but when it comes to national goals, every difference should be kept aside.”

Politics, he said in his online address, was an important part of society but “society is much bigger than politics and power.”

“For the progress of society, there is a space above politics. It is important to keep exploring that space, and campuses like AMU can play a vital role in that,” he noted.

“When we talk of new India, I feel that the development goals of society should not be seen from a political prism,” he emphasised. “When we work on it, the space of those who spread negativity for vested interest would automatically shrink. The underprivileged, the women, and the youth would not like to wait. We have already wasted much time on resolving the differences.”

Invoking ‘Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas’, the PM said every citizen in the country should reap the benefits of development. Stressing that the government did not discriminate among citizens while formulating its policies and programmes, he said “jo desh ka hai woh har deshwasi ka hai (the country’s resources belong to every citizen). The country is moving on a path where nobody is left behind because of one’s religion.”

He cited the example of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and said it helped in reducing the dropout of Muslim girls from schools from 70% to 30%.

Recalling Sir Syed’s remark that the first and foremost duty of one who was concerned about his country was to work for the welfare of all people, irrespective of caste, creed and religion, Mr. Modi said the country was progressing on a path where, “every citizen should remain assured of his or her constitutional rights and about his future.”

‘AMU role during Coronavirus’

He lauded the AMU’s role during the Coronavirus pandemic. “Thousands of people were tested free, isolation ward and plasma bank were developed and the university contributed a big sum to the PM Cares Fund. It shows your seriousness towards fulfilling your role towards society,” he said, adding that the Chancellor had promised support during the coming vaccination drive as well.

Describing the AMU as “a mini-India”, Mr. Modi underlined that while on one hand Arabic was taught on the campus, there was a century-old Sanskrit department as well. “In the library of the university if there is a manuscript of Quran, the translations of Gita and Puran have also been preserved with equal care,” he said.

This diversity, he added, was not just the strength of the AMU but also of India. “We should not let this strength weaken. The AMU inculcates the feeling of ‘ek Bharat, shresth Bharat’. (one India, great India).”

Appreciating that the first Chancellor of the AMU was a woman, he praised the university for empowering women through education and noted that the ratio of women students in the university had risen to 35%.

‘Ties with various countries’

The AMU, he said, had played an important role in strengthening ties with different countries. “The research that is conducted in Urdu, Arabic and Persian gives new energy to our relations with the Islamic world.” He said he had been told there were 1,000 foreign students on the campus. “It is AMU’s responsibility that these students carry with them the best of India because what they will hear and learn in AMU, they will associate that with the identity of India. You have to work on the soft power of the university and work on your role towards nation-building,” he said.

Praising the university for already practising interdisciplinary approach towards education which was the hallmark of the New Education Policy, he gave a task to students to study and research the lesser know freedom fighters on the occasion of 75 anniversary of Independence.

“Make sure your every step is in national interest,” he said. He also appealed to the university to work towards digitising the rich collection of manuscripts that it possessed.

On the occasion, the Prime Minister also released a special stamp, commemorating the centenary of the university.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2021 12:41:07 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/nobody-would-be-discriminated-because-of-his-religion-modi/article33391910.ece

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