PM Modi today addressed the students and faculty of the Aligarh Muslim University(AMU) as the chief guest on the centennial celebrations on Tuesday—December 22. AMU, which was set up in 1920, completed 100 years on Tuesday. This is the first time in over five decades that a sitting prime minister has attended an AMU event.
Speaking at the event via video link, PM Modi started his address by lauding the Aligarh Muslim University for its phenomenal work in the field of research on Urdu, Arabic, and Persian languages, and other Islamic literature that has infused energy into India’s cultural relations with the Islamic world and played a crucial role in strengthening India’s relations with many countries.
PM Modi also showered praises for the AMU for its unprecedented work during the coronavirus outbreak. He commended the University for conducting free coronavirus tests, building isolation wards and plasma banks and contributing a large amount to the PM CARES Fund.
PM Modi said the AMU alumni act as ambassadors of India’s rich heritage and culture. “AMU alumni represent the rich heritage and the culture of India wherever they go. 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,” PM Modi said.
PM Modi reminds AMU students and faculties of their responsibility towards the country
While PM Modi extolled the Aligarh Muslim University(AMU) for the contribution it has made towards the society, he also reminded them of the responsibilities they have regarding the country. He asserted that as a centre of excellent Islamic Research, it is the responsibility of the Institution to spread the core values and ethos of India to the world.
PM Modi also drew attention towards how his government had worked towards the betterment of the society without discriminating people based on their caste, creed or religion. He said the plans and policies made by the government have reached every part of the country and the touched the lives of people without any discrimination.
“Bank accounts of over 40 crores poor opened without any discrimination. Without discrimination, more than 2 crore poor were provided pucca houses and more than 8 crore women get cooking gas at their homes,” PM Modi said.
The emphasis by PM Modi on the fact that the government schemes have benefitted people equally, without differentiating them based on their faith, carried a subtle message for the AMU faculties and students that the Centre has been committed to the upliftment of all sections of the society—be it Hindus, Muslims, Christians or any other community—and it expects the same from the Institution in upholding India’s pluralistic ethos.
Resources of the country belong to every citizen: PM Modi
“The country is on the path where every citizen should rest assured about their constitutional rights & 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,” PM Modi said.
The Prime Minister said that resources of the country belong to every citizen and every one of them should benefit from it. “Resources of the country belong to every citizen. Everyone should benefit from it, that’s the spirit our government is working with,” PM Modi said.
There can be differences within a society. To iron out those differences, there can be debates, but when it comes to India’s progress, such differences should be kept aside,” PM Modi said.
There’s another subtle message laced in PM Modi’s assurance regarding the sanctity of the constitutional rights of people and his assertion that the resources of the country belong to every citizen. PM Modi’s statements should be viewed in the context of the anti-CAA protests that swept Aligarh Muslim University after the law was passed last year. The protest soon devolved into violence and vandalism, leading to injuries to several people and damages to the government property.
It is in this context that PM Modi promised the citizens that their constitutional rights will be safeguarded and reminded them that the resources of the country belonged to every citizen and therefore those resources mustn’t be damaged, destroyed or vandalised.
PM Modi asserts the importance of ‘Unity in Diversity’, asks students to carry out research on freedom fighters
PM Modi described the Aligarh Muslim University as a microcosm of modern-day India. He said that he was informed by people that AMU is just like a city, having different departments, dozens of hostels, thousands of teachers and professors.
“The diversity we see here is not only the strength of this university but also of the entire nation,” PM Modi declaimed.
“We must not forget this power of diversity, nor let it get weakened. We should work together to ensure that spirit of ‘Ek Bharat, Shrestha Bharat’ grows stronger day by day in the campus of Aligarh Muslim University,” PM Modi further added.
PM Modi also raised his expectations from the Aligarh Muslim University. He wished that the college would go an extra mile in developing itself and raise the bar even higher. He stated that the University should have 100 more hostels and place a greater focus on extracurricular activities. PM Modi also wished that the students of AMU would preside over researches on freedom fighters and give a push to digitalisation for preserving ancient documents.
Building toilets through Swachh Bharat Mission brought Muslim girls’ dropout rate down to 30 per cent
Speaking about the benefits that the central government’s Swachh Bharat Mission brought for Muslim girls, PM Modi said that the school dropout rate among Muslim girls dramatically came down to 30% which was earlier at around 70 per cent. He cited the building of toilets in schools and villages under the Swachh Bharat Mission has helped millions of girl students.
“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 the dropout rate from 70 per cent has fallen to nearly 30 per cent. The Central government is continuously working to reduce their dropout rates,” he said speaking at the centenary celebrations of Aligarh Muslim University on Tuesday.
PM Modi spoke about the importance of institutions playing an instrumental role in empowering and educating women. To this effect, he praised AMU for having 35% women students.
“Education brings employment and entrepreneurship with itself, employment and entrepreneurship bring economic independence, which leads to empowerment. An empowered woman, at every level and in every decision, contributes as much as any other person,” the PM said.
Abolition of Triple Talaq takes forward founding chancellor Begum Sultan’s dream of creating a modern Muslim society: PM Modi
PM Modi also invoked the founder chancellor of AMU, Begum Sultan, for creating a modern Muslim society and added that the country has moved forward in that direction with the abolition of regressive practices like Triple Talaq.
“Nearly 100 years ago, the Founder-Chancellor of AMU, Begum Sultan worked towards the creation of the modern Muslim community. Today, after abolishing practices like triple talaq, the country has moved forward in that direction,” PM Modi said.
The reference to Triple Talaq made by PM Modi in his speech to AMU was particularly significant, given that several prominent Muslim organisations, including eminent politicians, claiming to be championing the cause of Muslim women, had openly opposed the legislation that criminalised the abhorrent practice of instant Talaq. Such organisations and opportunist politicians had indulged in scare-mongering, attempting to instil fear among Muslims that the central government is bent on interfering in their “personal matters”.
By describing Triple Talaq as one of the steps towards establishing a modern Muslim society, PM Modi reiterated his government’s commitment towards empowering the Muslim women, providing them justice and putting to rest the fears and apprehensions stoked by the opposition politicians and orthodox Muslim leaders that the central government is working against the interests of the Muslim community.