Updated: November 26, 2014 5:05:12 am
The BJP has declared to celebrate celebrate the birth anniversary of “Jat King” Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh at an entrance to the Aligarh Muslim University campus on December 1, inviting sharp reactions from ruling Samajwadi Party which termed the move as one that will “fuel hatred”.
The BJP claims that the land on which AMU stands was donated by Raja Mahendra, a claim that university authorities have contested.
The controversy erupted soon after state BJP chief Laxmikant Bajpai announced that he will celebrate the “Jat King’s” birth anniversary at AMU. “AMU celebrates its founder’s birth anniversary as Sir Syed Day. I have no objection to that. Raja Mahendra donated land for the university, then what is the harm in celebrating his birthday,” Bajpai said talking to The Indian Express. He even visited Aligarh a week ago and asked local BJP unit to make preparations for the event.
Throwing a virtual challenge at the Akhilesh Yadav dispensation, Bajpai said, “I am not afraid of any government, The day is not far off when we will celebrate Raja Mahendra’s birthday inside the campus.”
However, he added that he “will not disturb law and order in the city”.
The announcement has created ripples with Samajwadi Party MLA Zameerullah Khan alleging that BJP wants to create Muzaffarnagar like situation in Aligarh by creating differences between Jats and Muslims. “I have given written representation to ministers Azam Khan and Shivpal Yadav and Assembly Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey for restraining Bajpai from going head with such celebrations. I have also sent a letter to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. The BJP now wants to attack AMU. There is no precedent of to celebrating Raja Mahendra’s birthday. Bajpai is fuelling hatred,” Khan alleged.
Meanwhile, the AMU administration claimed that it had no records to justify Bajpai’s claims, but added that Raja Mahendra’s father Raja Ghanshiam Singh had got one room constructed in Mohammedan Anglo Oriental College (MAO) College. “The MAO was constructed on 74 acres of Cantonment land much before Raja Mahendra was born,” Rahat Abrar PRO, AMU told The Indian Express.
Abrar said the whole university has been made with contributions and the donors’ name are inscribed on stone plaques. “Raja Mahendra is our distinguished old boy. He had studied here but left the graduation in 1907,” Abrar said. Terming the BJP’s announcement as a political move, he said, “I had last seen Raja Mahendra when he was invited for the centenary celebrations of MAO in 1977”.
Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh, the ruler of erstwhile Mursan Estate in Hathras, was also an MP from Mathura. He was educated at MAO, which later transformed into AMU in 1920.
As per records, he reportedly had formed the first government in exile in Afghanistan. His official website claims that being a Hindu, he studied at a Muslim university and married a sikh and is thus also known as Peter Peer Pratap.
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