AMU ‘mini-India’, the strength of your nation of diversity: PM
Agra: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Tuesday that “politics can wait but development cannot,” stressing that ideological differences must be set aside in the interests of national goals.
Modi delivered the keynote speech as the keynote guest at the Muslim University of Aligarh (AMU) centennial celebrations, the first time a sitting prime minister has participated in an AMU event since Lal Bahadur Shastri in 1964.
Addressing university students, teachers and staff through a video link, the prime minister said: “There are elements in society that get restless when steps are taken for progress. They try to create negativity, but sooner or later they are marginalized. We have to understand that politics is an important aspect of society. But in society there are also other issues besides politics and one has to overcome them by nation ”.
Although the speech was delivered virtually, elaborate security preparations were made, including a police contingent deployed to the campus’s Bab-e-Syed gate, with a section of university students opposing the prime minister’s participation in the event.
The AMU has been a site of protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, or CAA. Things started to boil over on the night of December 2019, when students and police clashed on campus.
In his speech, Modi supported the mission of making an “Atmanirbhar Bharat”, or a self-sufficient India, and said that time should not be wasted, as in the past, on differences. “Our goal is to build a New India where AMU youth and students can play an important role,” he said, describing the university as “mini-India.”
“The AMU campus is like a city unto itself. We see a ‘mini-India’ between different departments, dozens of hostels, thousands of teachers and professors. The diversity we see here is not only the strength of this university but also of the entire nation, ”Modi said, praising the AMU’s contribution in nation-building and elevating India’s position internationally to through extensive research.
As the premier institute of higher education, the 100-year-old AMU has been awarded the prestigious Padma, President’s Award and Sahitya Akademi awards to its students and faculty members. There are currently about 34,000 students.
The prime minister also emphasized the diversity of AMU. Urdu and Hindi, Arabic and Sanskrit are taught on campus, he said. Along with the Qur’an, the translations of the Gita and Ramayana are kept in the library. “This diversity is the strength of the country. We don’t have to forget it or let it weaken, ”he said.
Modi spoke about the efforts made by the government to ensure that people, made a specific reference to Muslim women, stayed in school. “The school dropout rate among Muslim girls was over 70% and this situation persisted in India for 70 years. The government started the Swachh Bharat mission, built toilets in the villages and toilets for girls who attended school. Now this rate has dropped to almost 30%, ”she said, while applauding that 35% of all AMU students are women..
“I assure you that no citizen, regardless of religion, cast and creed would be left behind in the way of Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas,” Modi said.
The Prime Minister also spoke about the pride alumni have in their roots at AMU.
“It is fascinating to see how the history of education attached to AMU buildings is a valuable Indian heritage. I often meet former AMU students during my visits abroad, who say with great pride that they have studied at AMU, ”he said.
“At AMU, research is done in Urdu, Arabic and Persian. This is commendable, ”Modi said. “Research done in Islamic history elevates India’s position in the Islamic world and gives new energy to India’s relations with them.”
AMU Public Relations Officer Omar Peerzada said it was a historic and successful event.
AMU Vice Chancellor Tariq Mansoor said: “Today is a historic day … our university not only celebrates 100 glorious years since its inception, but after an interval of 56 years, an acting Prime Minister of the country participated in celebrations. ”
“The presence of the Prime Minister has ignited possibility and hope among all of us. For centuries, despite the diversity, we lived as a people in unity and this is what makes Bharat unique and this is a message for the whole world ”, he emphasized.