Sonia's AMU visit 'keenly awaited'

Zia Haq

New Delhi, Jan. 30 -- Congress chief Sonia Gandhi will visit Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) on February 16 and make a convocation speech, but expectations are high that she will back minority status for the institution, an issue of concern for Muslims.

Gandhi was invited in her capacity as the UPA chairperson, which she has accepted. She will be welcomed with pomp and pageantry, with horse-mounted students as escorts.

Although an apolitical visit, analysts say Gandhi's Aligarh trip would be keenly watched by Muslims. The AMU is the alma mater of many Muslim elites and a political nerve-centre. India's vice-president Hamid Ansari pursued an MA in political science and also earned his doctorate there.

Muslim educator Sir Sayyed Ahmad Khan had founded the Aligarh Muslim University (then Anglo-Mohammedan Oriental College) after returning from Oxford in 1875. He remains an icon of education for Muslims, a Muslim educationist said.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.