Gandhi Ji’s Students’ Union at AMU | Zulfiqar Sheth

On 25 October 1920 Mahatma Gandhi visited the Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College (now Aligarh Muslim University). The first and historic AMU students Union under the leadership of Mr.  K. M. Khuda Bux honored him with a life time membership of Aligarh Muslim University Students’ Union. Mahatma Gandhi was the first one to be given lifetime membership of the Aligarh Muslim University’s Students’ Union.

Today is Gandhi Jayanti (2nd October) and it is wonderful coincidence that Students Union election is around the corner. So it is very much relevant to ponder about Mahatma Gandhi’s association with Students Union at AMU. Imagine if Mahatma Gandhi was alive today and had visited AMU, what he should have told about his dream union? How he would have perceived a future of students’ union in nation-building? What advice he would have given to the upcoming union of this great institution?

Gandhi lived his entire life in simplicity. The very first comment he would have made about glorified ways of student politics and VIP treatment of our student leader. He would have told us not to indulge in material and short term glory but thrive for the long-term and sustainable admiration. He would have quoted examples of simple yet exemplary lives of Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan, Maulana Mohmmad Ali Jauhar, Hasrat Mohani , Dr Zakir Hussain, Dr Saifuddin Kichlu, Rashid Jahan, Ismat Chugtai and Raja Mahendra Pratap. He would have reminded us how these great sons and daughters of this great institution had played an immense role in India’s freedom movement and the modern nation building. He would have then urged our young leaders to be available for the service of the people with full dedication round the clock.

To encourage our leaders to make conducive environment for debates and discussions, to defend our rights and to work for truth and justice, he would have asked us to read our history. He would have told us the story of Captain Abbas Ali, how an 11-years-old, Abbas Ali participated in a march to protest the hanging of Shaheed Bhagat Singh. Captain Abbas’s nationalism and enthusiasm for freedom prospered during his student days in Aligarh Muslim University. He would have asked us to recall the message of Sir Syed to stand up against injustice and shall go forth throughout the length and breadth of the land to preach the gospel of free inquiry, of large-hearted tolerance and of pure morality.

Hindu-Muslim unity was very dear to Mahatma Gandhi. To that he sacrificed his entire life. Today, when the gap between Hindu and Muslims is widening each passing day, Mahatma Gandhi would have appealed our leaders to be champion of the communal harmony. He would have then reminded us that famous quote of Sir Syed that we all know:

We (Hindus and Muslims) eat the same crop, drink water from the same rivers and breathe the same air. As a matter of fact, Hindus and Muslims are the two eyes of the beautiful bride that is Hindustan. Weakness of any one of them will spoil the beauty of the bride.

Mahatma Gandhi, in his entire life, fought against all kinds of discriminations and appealed people repeatedly to disprove favoritism on the basis of region, language, gender, caste and creed. Nowadays, the AMU Students Union elections are said to be dominated by regionalism. To that Mahatma Gandhi would have asked us very simple question. How Sir Syed is known to the world as Delhiite or Aligarian? How is Sadat Hasan Manto known as Punjabi or Aligarian? Syeda Anwara Taimur, an Assamese or Aligarian? Dr. Zakir Hussain, a Hyderabadi or Aligarian ? Hamid Ansari, a Bengali or Aligarian? Sheikh Abdullah (Papa mian), a Kashmiri or Aligarian? Keep hand on your heart and tell me do you know the birthplace of Ishwari Prasad, the first graduate of MAO College? Then he would have calmly told to us; don’t divide for the sake of miniscule and made-up identities. Instead move forward towards broader identity.

He would have suggested the upcoming union to maintain simplicity and be available for the services of every student, to work for gender equality, to make disabled friendly campus, to promote discussion and debate culture, to promote spirit of competition, taking care of weaker students, to celebrate our diversity, to work to realize dreams of our founding members and to promote message of Aligarh movement across the globe.

Published on: Oct 2, 2016 @ 07:43

Awaam India

Awaam India

Awaam India is online platform founded by researchers and senior students of Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh. Awaam stands for dissemination and promotion of progressive and constructive ideas in the society.

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