The Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) has hit back at the University Grants Commission‘s idea of dropping the word ‘Muslim’ from its name saying this idea is simply “preposterous”. The AMU claimed that the idea totally overthrows the institution’s long history, purpose, and unique character. “The name of the university gives us an idea about its history, purpose, and character and preserving the same is our bounden Constitutional duty,” AMU Registrar Javaid Akhter wrote in the formal response to the government.
The government has been claiming that this idea of Hindu or Muslim in the name of the college doesn’t bring the secular feel to the country. To this, AMU Registrar said to the Indian Express “One must recall that in India the concept of secularism arises more from the discourse of justice and equality than from an anti-religious position mostly practised in the West.”
In October 2017, the UGC panel had suggested that words such as ‘Hindu’ and ‘Muslim’ in names of universities Banaras Hindu University and Aligarh Muslim University do not reflect their secular character and should be dropped. These centrally funded universities are secular institutions but such words related to religion in their names do not reflect that character, a panel member had said.
On this issue of renaming the Aligarh Muslim University, Union Minister Prakash Javadekarhad said that the government will not accept the suggestion. Besides AMU and BHU, other universities that were audited by the panel include: Pondicherry University, Allahabad University, Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University in Uttarakhand, Central University of Jharkhand, Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalaya in Wardha, University of Tripura and Hari Singh Gour University in Madhya Pradesh.