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AMU celebrates its role in the Freedom Movement

Image used for representational purpose.

Image used for representational purpose. | Photo Credit: iStockphoto

Commemorating the contribution of Aligarh Muslim University in the Freedom Movement, AMU Vice-Chancellor Professor Tariq Mansoor will inaugurate a special gallery in the iconic Maulana Azad Library on August 15.

“In order to turn attention to, not widely known but seminal contribution of AMU alumni in the Freedom Movement, we have decided to set up a separate gallery carrying the photographs and writings of freedom fighters at the central library,” said Prof. Mansoor.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had hailed the contribution of AMU in freedom struggle during his address on the institution completing 100 years.

Apart from stalwarts like Raja Mahendra Pratap, Maulana Hasrat Mohani, Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar and Abdul Majeed Khwaja, who dedicated their life for Independence, Prof. Mansoor underlined the university had had the rare distinction of producing two Bharat Ratnas—Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan and Dr. Zakir Hussain.”

Dr. Rahat Abrar, former head of the Urdu Academy, who has written extensively on the history of AMU said like any robust academic institution, AMU produced great leaders who may have different ideologies but were all committed to achieve freedom from the British rule.


One of the members of the steering committee, Dr. Abrar reminded Hasrat Mohani, who gave the slogan Inquilab Zindabad, was inspired by Bal Gangadhar Tilak but at the same time Mr. Gopal Krishna Gokhale was also given a very warm welcome by the students when he visited the Mohammaden Anglo Oriental College in 1907. “Raja Mahendra Pratap formed the Indian government in exile in Afghanistan while the likes of Abdul Majeed Khwaja jumped into the Freedom Movement because they were inspired by the non-violent methods of Mahatma Gandhi,” Dr. Abrar said. When Mr. Gandhi was assassinated, Khwaja, who was one of the founders of Jamia Millia Islamia, read out the Quran in the inter-faith meeting before the cremation.

AMU was also the centre of the Khilafat Movement led by Maulana Muhammad Ali and Maulana Shaukat Ali who worked closely with Mahatama Gandhi. Gandhiji visited the campus thrice but it was the 1920 visit that is best remembered when he appealed to the students and faculty to refuse government grant and become free of government control. It led to the establishment of Muslim National University or Jamia Millia Islamia.

On keeping the contentious figures like Liaquat Ali Khan, who rose to top political position in Pakistan, out of the gallery, Mohd. Mohibul Haque, professor of Political Science and member of the steering committee said Indian Muslims were “victims of Partition” and this was not the time to celebrate those who contributed to the division of the country. “The gallery is to inspire students about nation-building and cherish AMU’s role in the Freedom Movement and promoting composite culture which has become all the more important today,” he said, adding the gallery work was in progress and more sections would be added after research.

Focus on female fighters

Librarian and Convenor Nishat Fatima said a special focus has been given to female freedom fighters such as Begum Nishautunnisa Mohani and Begum Khurshid Khwaja. Prof. Fatima, who happens to be the first female librarian in the 102-year-old university, said the institution didn’t believe in gender discrimination and it was just a matter of coincidence that it took more than a century for a woman to head the library.

Member of the Steering Committee and author Prof. Shafey Kidwai said the focus is not just on political figures but also on the literary greats such as Saadat Hasan Manto, Hayatullah Ansari, Ali Saradar Jafri Josh Malihabadi, Ismat Chughtai and Khwaja Ahmad Abbas whose writing shaped the conscience of India during the Freedom Movement and kindled a spirit of brotherhood in the newly independent country.

“Raja Mahendra Pratap formed the Indian government in exile in Afghanistan while the likes of Abdul Majeed Khwaja jumped into the Freedom Movement because they were inspired by the non-violent methods of Mahatma Gandhi”Dr. Rahat AbrarFormer head of the Urdu Academy

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Printable version | Aug 15, 2022 5:16:24 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/amu-celebrates-its-role-in-the-freedom-movement/article65769726.ece