By Prashant Sood
New Delhi [India], Dec 22 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday sent a message that Aligarh Muslim University reflects India's composite culture and there can be ideological differences but they should be put aside to reach national goals.
The Prime Minister, who addressed the centenary celebrations of AMU through video conference, talked about the university being a mini-India and its diversity being the strength of the country.
It was only the third time in the 100-year history of AMU that a sitting Prime Minister addressed its event, university officials said. The last time it happened was in 1964 when then Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri addressed a university gathering.
PM Modi stressed that the country is proceeding on a path "where every citizen is assured of getting benefits of development without discrimination, where every citizen is assured of his constitutional rights, is assured about the future."
He said the country is moving on the path that "no one is left behind due one's religion, everyone gets the opportunity to move ahead, everyone is able to realise their dreams".
The Prime Minister talked about university's contribution to nation-building and noted that research done in the varsity on Islamic literature and Urdu, Arabic and Persian languages gives new energy to India's cultural relations with the entire Islamic world.
He said AMU has the double responsibility to further enhance the soft power of the university as well as fulfilling the obligation of nation-building.
Teachers at AMU whom ANI spoke to said PM Modi's speech was for the whole country and "has silenced those who levelled allegations against AMU".
The Prime Minister said the university library has rare manuscripts, Quran and translations of Gita and Ramayan and this diversity is not only the strength of the prestigious institution like AMU but of the country and it should not be allowed to be weakened.
He said that at AMU, if students receive education in Urdu, so can they in Hindi, and if on one side students study Arabic at the University, they also study and conduct research in Sanskrit.
He also hailed the university's contribution in the fight against COVID-19
The Prime Minister said "Sabka saath, sabka vikas, sabka vishwas" is the basis of government's policies. "The schemes for the poor are reaching all sections without discrimination," he said.
He also spoke of the need to improve enrolment in educational institutions among girl students in the Muslim community.
University teachers that ANI spoke to said that Prime Minister's speech was not only a message to the Muslim community but to the entire country.
They said the address was watched not only in India but by Indians in different parts of the world.
Prof Rahat Abrar, Director, Urdu Academy, AMU, said the Prime Minister highlighted the role of Aligarh Muslim University in the freedom movement.
"The message he had to give, he did in a very nice way. He has described the composite culture of Aligarh as mini India. He said students of different religions, castes, cultural backgrounds study here," Abrar said.
Abrar said the Prime Minister noted that AMU is a big national asset whose students are in different parts of the world and have a deep devotion to their institution.
"His message is not for Muslims and for the entire country. The biggest message is that Aligarh reflects the heritage of the country's composite culture. It is not only national but internationally recognised institute and has produced great scholars, intellectuals and freedom fighters. The misunderstanding that some people had in their minds, he has tried to remove it," he said.
He said the PM Modi is the third sitting Prime Minister to have addressed AMU event. "Then Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri had addressed the event in December 1964. Before that it was Jawaharlal Nehru," he said.
Dr Raihan Akhtar, professor, faculty of theology, AMU said the university was preparing for the event for a long time.
"The Prime Minister said the university is the heritage of 130 crore people and has played a big role in the freedom movement. PM Modi said that it has made a contribution to research in Islam which has raised the country's stature and this contribution should continue," he said.
"It was an address for AMU but everyone knows that the platform of the university is such that the message which goes from here is a message for 25 crore Muslims of India. What he said is for all the people of the country. It is a message for all," he added.
Akhtar said it "was an intellectual speech" in which he presented the contribution of AMU in a very nice way. "I feel that in next century, the institution will play its role in strengthening the country," he said.
He said the Prime Minister also noted that there can be different ideologies but "where it is a question of national interest or national goals, all should be united".
"We are very satisfied with the speech. The PM's speech has silenced those who made allegations against AMU."
Author and journalist Saba Naqvi also hoped that the future attacks on the university will cease.
"Now that PM has praised AMU for inclusiveness, hope future attacks on the university will cease. One can only hope," she said in a tweet.
Manipur Governor Najma Heptulla also lauded the speech of the Prime Minister at AMU event.
"He described Aligarh as mini-India. He talked about India's composite culture. AMU has contributed a lot to the field of education. It is for AMU to follow the advice given by the Prime Minister," she said.
AMU, set up in 1920, has completed 100 years of existence as a centre of higher learning. The Prime Minister also released a special commemorative postal stamp to mark the occasion. (ANI)