Mumbai: Establishing that Sir Syed Ahmed Khan had nothing to do with the "two nation theory", Faizan Mustafa, Vice Chancellor of NALSAR University of Law urged the Modi government in New Delhi to desist from playing with Aligarh Muslim University and minority character.
"The university has rightly been described by Hamilton Gibbs as the first modernist organisation of Islam. The third President of India, Zakir Husain, called it the laboratory of Indian pluralism. Let it flourish as a minority institution as it is the best manifestation of our multiculturalism and secularism", Faizan Mustafa wrote in an article published by Indian Express.
He also said that the UGC audit team was wrong in recommending the deletion of the word “Muslim” from the Aligarh Muslim University.
Elaborating how Hindus and Muslims both were part of the team AMU since its establishment, Faizan Mustafa gave examples of non-Muslim alumni and staff who worked with others to take this great institution to newer height.
"It is a matter of great satisfaction that Aligarh Muslim University has consistently adhered to the vision of its founder and does not discriminate between Hindus and Muslims. Most of the gold medals at AMU convocations are bagged by the Hindu students and prestigious professional courses have more than 40 per cent are non-Muslims students", he wrote in his article.
"The Scientific Society which was founded by Sir Syed in 1863 was really national in its complexion and character. Apart from the British Members, it had 82 Hindu and 107 Muslim members. Even the Managing Committee of MAO College which comprised 22 members, had six Hindu members on it", he added.
"The first second master of the school was Sri Baijnath who was no. 2 in the administrative hierarchy. The famous mathematician J.C. Chakravarty joined as professor in 1888 and subsequently was elevated to the coveted post of registrar. The first graduate of the university was Ishwari Prasad; the first MA was similarly one Amba Prasad. Legendary cricketer Lala Amarnath too studied there", he wrote.
Rejecting the notion that Sir Syed indeed the father of the two-nation theory, Faizan Mustafa said he was merely advocating modern ideas of multiculturalism and differentiated citizenship.
"It is erroneously believed by some historians that the Hindu-Muslim divide in India was the by-product of the two-nation theory which supposedly had its origin in Sir Syed’s ideology. “Nationalism” as a consciously-held idea was a 20th century phenomenon even in Europe, from where it was imported to India. Eminent historian Anil Seal has rightly pointed out that during Sir Syed’s times, “there were no two nations, there was not even one nation, there was no nation at all", he wrote.