Social Scientist. v 1, no. 1 (Aug 1972) p. 65.


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Aligarh Muslim University Act

ON June 2, the Rajya Sabha passed the Aligarh Muslim University (Amendment) Act, barely five days after it had been introduced in the Lok Sabha. In suddently coming forward with the bill, which even in its text bore all the hallmarks of reckless haste, the Government, from the Prime Minister downwards, adopted an air of being bent on taking both Hindu and Muslim communalists by surprise, so as to force through a "democratic and progressive" measure. The bill was trumpeted as being designed to develop the Aligarh Muslim University as a "national institution" while preserving intact its "historical character", and as introducing a number of innovations such as student participation in the University adminstration and the democratisation of the University's internal structure.

Moreover, since both the Muslim communalists and thejana Sangh loudly opposed the bill, the Government had the particular satisfaction of "proving" its secular and democratic bonafide to all who might care to follow the parliamentary debates.

But the actual truth is that far from having really fought the communal forces on the issue of the Aligarh Muslim University, the ruling Congress has, in fact, been deliberately encouraging the reactionary communal element to use them for its own purposes. The ground for the growth of Muslim communalism is at least partly created by the policies and practices of the ruling class, which offers hardly any protection with regard to education and employment to the Muslim minority. In the absence of a strong democratic movement, in areas such as UP, the Muslim masses tend to fall an easy prey to those who preach the communal gospel. The congress, in turn, without lifting its finger-to do anything serious about such matters as removal of discrimination against Muslims in employment, or of their backwardness in education, of the protection of the Urdu language, has found it an easy task to deal with these com-munalist leaders, by making them sundry promises before elections and usually forgetting these promises afterwards.

The whole conduct of the Congress and the Government on the issue of the Aligarh Muslim University is a typical example of this unscrupulous attitude. Until after the Parliamentary elections the Congress leadership, through the Congress Muslim leaders, fanned the flames of the agitation to get the University declared a "minority institution",



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