Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) represents “mini-India” and has to its credit 100 glorious years of excellence in education. Speaking at the university’s centenary celebrations via video link, the PM also said politics cannot be above the nation’s interests.
“We must realise that politics is an important part of society, but there are many other issues in society besides politics… For a new India, the core is that welfare must not be seen from the prism of politics. There are some elements who may have an issue with this. They can be found in all countries. They will spread negativity. But these people will be sidelined if we work for the betterment of the country keeping politics aside. Politics can wait, society can wait, (but) the country can’t wait for development, the poor and disadvantaged can’t wait for development,” said Modi as he addressed students, teachers and staff of the varsity.
The PM said the AMU campus is like a city in itself. “We see a mini-India among different departments, dozens of hostels, thousands of teachers and professors. The diversity which we see here is not only the strength of this university but also of the entire nation. History of education attached to AMU buildings is India’s valuable heritage.”
Modi said he often meets AMU alumni during foreign visits “who very proudly say they’ve studied from AMU”. “Wherever in the world they go, AMU alumni represent the rich heritage and culture of India…In its 100 years of history, AMU has crafted and polished millions of lives, giving them modern and scientific thinking and inspiring them to do something for the society and the nation.”
The PM invoked AMU’s founder Sir Syed Ahmad Khan and said he believed that the growth of the country was above people’s caste and religion.
Stating that everyone in the country, irrespective of their religion, will get equal opportunities to fulfill their dreams, Modi said, “The country is marching forward on the path where every citizen would get the benefits of development happening in the country without any discrimination. The country is on the path where every citizen should be rest assured about their constitutional rights and their future. The country is on the path where no citizen would be left behind because of their religion and everyone would get equal opportunities so that everyone can fulfil their dreams. Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas is the mantra behind it.”
He also said that when it comes to India’s progress, it is important to set aside ideological differences. “Whatever religion you are born in, it is important to blend one’s aspirations with national goals. When it comes to the nation, there cannot be any ideological differences. AMU has produced many freedom fighters, who set aside their ideological differences and fought together.”
“In the last century, a lot of time has been wasted due to differences, but now we need to work together as there is no time for differences… In the next 27 years, you must think of the country’s betterment. I believe we can fulfil the dream of self-reliant India.”
Focusing on the state of education of Muslim girls, the PM said: “The school dropout rate among Muslim girls was more than 70 per cent and this situation persisted for 70 years. In these circumstances, the government started Swachh Bharat Mission, built toilets in villages and toilets for school-going girls. Now, this (dropout) rate has fallen to nearly 30 per cent.”
Underlining the contributions of AMU in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, the PM said the institution conducted free tests, made isolation wards and created plasma banks. The PM also hailed the university’s contribution to the PM Cares Fund. “All this shows the seriousness of fulfilling your obligations towards society.”
During the event, Modi released a postal stamp as part of the centenary celebrations of the University. AMU Chancellor Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin and Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank are also present at the event.
The Aligarh Muslim University completed 100 years as a university on September 14 this year. This makes it one of the oldest surviving universities in India.
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