By Pervez Bari
Bhopal: The foundation stone of satellite campus of the Hyderabad-based Maulana Azad National Urdu University, (MANUU), at the outskirts Bhopal was laid here on Saturday nearly three-and-half years after the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, (BJP), Government in Madhya Pradesh in its last tenure decided to allot 6.44 acres of land to the varsity at the last moment in September 2013 just before the November 2013 state Vidhan Sabha elections.
MANUU Vice Chancellor Dr. Mohammad Aslam Parvaiz flew in from Hyderabad to Bhopal, the city of lakes, hills and mosques; to lay the foundation stone in a simple function here at Peepalner village about 12 kms on the outskirts of the city. Madhya Pradesh Madarsa Board chairman Dr. Imaduddin & former chairman of the Board Prof. Mohammad Haleem Khan, MANUU’s M.P. Regional Director Dr. Mohammad Ahsan & Assistant Director Dr. Mohammad Sadat Khan, varsity’s College Teacher of Education, (CTE), Principal Prof. (Dr.) W. H. Siddiqui along with members of the staff graced the function. The elites of the town and students of M. Ed. of the CTE were present on the occasion.
A short play highlighting Urdu’s prolific virtues, qualities, richness, sweetness and importance of the language was presented by the students of the M.Ed. classes of the CTE on the occasion which was much appreciated by the assemblage. Prior to this the Vice Chancellor Dr. Aslam Parvaiz formally inaugurated the Bhopal campus by cutting the red ribbon tape at the tall main entrance gate The whole campus has been cordoned off by the boundary wall. Later, Dr. Parvaiz and other dignitaries planted saplings in the campus to mark the occasion.
Speaking on the occasion Dr. Aslam Parvaiz said that concerted efforts would be made to develop good infra-structure for B.Ed. College, Polytechnic, ITI, model schools etc. at MANUU’s off campus to improve the quality of education; to increase the knowledge base in Urdu and to create conducive environment for quality research. The works have to be taken up as early as possible so that teaching and other academic activities could be organised from the campus itself and not from rented buildings as at present. He pointed out that National Council for Teacher Education, (NCTE), guidelines also requires that classes should not be held in rented buildings.
Dr. Parvaiz lamented apart from hordes of challenges that he has inherited from the time when he took over the mantle of MANUU’s Vice Chancellorship in October 2015, the bane of rented buildings and resources crunch top the list. If the 13th Five Year Plan was coming then the efforts would be made for sanctioning lump-sump grant for the infra-structure development of Bhopal campus. However, expressing apprehensions he said since the 13th Plan’s fate hangs in the balance and there are indications that the government may go for financial transactions on the year-to-year basis. Then it would be very difficult to have consolidated funds for the creation of infra-structure at Bhopal campus as early as possible and it would be a long drawn task to put the acts together for the purpose, he added.
Turning to the students, who were undergoing training to be a teacher, he said that teachers have a big role to play in the lives of the taught. The aim in life should not be to take up any profession to just earn money and lead a dignified life. Teaching is a noble profession wherein just imparting knowledge is not the sole objective but primarily the duty is to mould the character and personality of the taught. This should be the lofty ideal of a teacher to prepare the next generation in such a manner that the Gen-Next is competent in all respects such as morally, socially and professionally when it takes up its due position in society. Earning salaries and perks are complimentary to their noble jobs.
“We have to live for others and not remain self obsessed which is the hallmark of society these days since very long. The self-obsession manifestation can be seen in the over-zealous Selfie phenomena that have emerged nowadays with which the youth of the present era is very much obsessed with. The Selfie obsession has overtaken the youth so intensely that while throwing caution to winds even tragic fatal incidents are reported now and then”, Dr. Parvaiz observed.
Meanwhile, it may recalled here that in 2013 September at the time of state Vidhan Sabha elections the ruling BJP Government in Madhya Pradesh in order to put up a secular image had taken two steps consciously in the last Cabinet meeting chaired by the state Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan just before the model code of conduct came into force.
Firstly, the BJP Government with strategy of elections to state legislative assembly weighing heavily on its mind had allotted the 6.44 acres of land, virtually free of cost while not only waiving off premium to the tune of Rs.13.75 crores but also exempted from the annual lease rent of Rs.27 lakh, for the satellite campus of MANUU at Bhopal. MANUU is a unique university which imparts education to its students through Urdu medium.
Secondly, prior to this a few days back it had appointed Anthony JC D’Sa, a Christian, as the Chief Secretary to the State government.
These gestures of the BJP government towards minorities, Muslims in the name of promoting Urdu, and appointing a Christian as Chief Secretary was seen here by political observers to bring them closer to the party fold and put up a secular image before the state legislative assembly elections. The BJP Government’s decision had then paid dividend as it extended its lease and made a hat-trick to keep the faction-ridden Congress out of power for the third time in-a-row.
A section of the media, especially vernacular daily and leading national English daily, had played a crucial role as they highlighted prominently the biased approach of the state BJP government in keeping in limbo for several years in allocating land to MANUU while granting land to other Central institutions in the state within months of their applications.
However, the real hero in the saga of land allotment to MANUU is its Bhopal Regional Director Dr. Mohammad Ahsan, who ran from pillar to past along with his aides Dr. Mohammad Sadat Khan, Dr. Mohammad Saheel Khan (at present Principal of MANUU’s College of Teacher Education at Bidar in Karnataka) and others, to get the work done. Dr. Ahsan and his aides made innumerable rounds of Vallabh Bhavan, the state secretariat, at each level in the process of allotment in last five years and many a times faced humiliation when Secretaries and Principal secretaries to the State Government refused to meet them after kept waiting for several hours.
It was after much dilly-dallying that the State government had waived off the premium but also exempted from annual lease rent. Now, only a token annual rent of Re. 1 per year is payable on the 6.44 acres of plot allotted to MANUU’s satellite campus in Bhopal at Peepalner village about 12kms on the outskirts of the city. It may be pointed out here that while the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), and the School of Planning & Architecture, (SPA), were given land by the Madhya Pradesh government within five months of applying for it. However, it took seven years for MANUU to get the same. All three institutions come under the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development.
MANUU applied for land for its regional centre at Bhopal in 2008 and in 2010 after overcoming various procedural hurdles and roadblocks. Thereafter, an area of 6.44 acres of land was earmarked at Peepalner village on the outskirts of Bhopal. It took another two years when on October 30, 2012 this piece of land was allotted on the precondition that a sum of Rs.13.75 crore as premium and Rs.27.5 lakh as annual rent had to be deposited before taking over its possession.
With no funds allocated to MANUU for the purchase of land and a demand of an exorbitant premium and annual lease rent by the state government, it thereby applied for a waiver citing the examples of other Central institutions in the State namely IGNOU, School of Planning and Architecture, Sanskrit Vidhya Sansthan.
It may be noted here that it was a clear case of partiality and disparity, on one hand the State Govt. in allotting land free of cost to some institutions of the same ministry for same purpose while on other hand it was asking a very huge amount for a small piece of land (6.4 acres) from MANUU, only because of its beneficiaries being the most deprived minority i.e. Muslims.
Meanwhile, later in the afternoon VC Dr. Aslam Parvaiz inaugurated a national seminar on “Excellence in Urdu Medium Education and Employment Opportunities” at the Madhya Pradesh Regional Centre of MANUU. The seminar was jointly organised by MANUU’s Regional centre and the National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language, (NCPUL).
Several educationists from all over India and two from the United States participated in the seminar. The American participants were Dr. Afroz Taj, Professor of South Asian Studies in University of Carolina (USA) and John Caldwell, Lecturer in Department of Asian Studies in the same university. The educationists from all over the country, specially from Maharashtra, Jammu & Kashmir, Telengana, Bihar & Delhi included: Prof. Syed Haider Abbas Rizvi, Prof. Shakoor Khan, Prof. Mohammad Nauman Khan, Saleem Shahzad, Dr. Rizwan-ul-Huq, Dr. Riyaz Ahmad, Dr. Kafeel Ahmad, Dr. Feeroze Alam, Dr. (Maulana) Arif Juned Nadwi, Dr. Afaque Nadeem Khan, Dr. Asif Saeed, Prof. Afaq Ahmad Siddiqui, Dr. Shoaib Raza and Dr. Bilal Shah.
Inaugurating the seminar Dr. Aslam Parvaiz said the basic reason for social downfall of Muslims in society is due to the fact that parents and teachers in the community have become totally aloof towards children’s “Tarbiyat” (moulding of character and personality). “Tarbiyat Ki Ahmiyat Taleem Se Zyadah Hai. Bachchon Ki Munasib Tarbiyat Aur Zahni Nash-o-Numa Waldain aur Ustaad Ki Zimmedari Hai”. Parents and teachers should exhort their wards/students to strive for excellence in their respective fields even though studying through Urdu medium shall not deprive them of good employment opportunities, he stressed
MANUU’s College of Teacher Education’ Principal Prof. (Dr.) W. H. Siddiqui, Bhopal Shahar Qazi Maulana Syed Mushtaq Ali Nadwi, Madhya Pradesh Madarsa Board chairman Dr. Imaduddin & former chairman of the Board Prof. Mohammad Haleem Khan also spoke on the occasion. Earlier, MANUU’s M.P. Regional Director Dr. Mohammad Ahsan while delivering the keynote address said Urdu medium of education is not a deterrent in employment.
At the outset Qari Hafiz Nadeem Usmani recited verses from the Holy Quran. Assistant Director Dr. Mohammad Sadat Khan proposed a vote of thanks. Poet Dr. Iqbal Masood, Assistant Secretary of M.P. Urdu Academy, conducted the proceedings.
[Pervez Bari is a senior Journalist based at Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. He writes regularly for India’s First Online Muslim Newspaper “IndianMuslimObserver.com”. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org]