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AMU-BHU Jointly Needs to Bridge Communal Divide in UP

By Md Tauhid Nasir for BeyondHeadlines 

In northern India, politics is traditionally been a favourite subject of debate and discussion among socio-economic middle-class youths and perhaps this is one of the reasons they are believed to be politically astute people. Be it university campuses, tea stalls or any other gathering you will find the subject is being debated at their leisure time which is good for a vibrant democracy like ours. But, over the past few years, the standard of politics in the country has gradually become dirtier, right from the Centre to central universities like Hyderabad University, Jadavpur University, JNU and now Aligarh Muslim University.

Universities and colleges are institutions where youths go to learn science and technology, art and culture, peace and brotherhood that contribute to the foundation of an effervescent society and safeguards the fundamental interests of the people. But these institutions have failed considerably to impart such values in students’ community.

There was a time when dissemination of knowledge from teachers to students was so effective and revered that knowledge transferred to students was influential in shaping the society generation after generation. Now, things have changed. Students have driven to become political activists and teacher political mentors at the cost of educating students for lives of public service and civic engagement, advancing knowledge through research, and creating leaders for various areas of the public service. Nowadays, students indulged in proxy protests and dharna to promote the ideals of their political patrons in power who often found to be corrupt and semi-literate which has a direct bearing on socio-economic development of the State.

With the world’s largest youth population of over 50% is below 25 years of age, India has emerged as a fine bright spot. This bright spot would have been turned into a sparkling star by driving the economy forward had the policymakers of the country channelized youth force properly in the direction of nation-building. But, sadly the bigoted leadership pushed the whole youth folk on the course of collision pitching one against another in the name of nationalism, religion, cast, and ideology just to gain the political mileage.

With general election is just around the corner, attempts are already underway to polarize India’s most populous and one of the communally volatile states Uttar Pradesh. The media report that some AMU students allegedly manhandle a female reporter on the campus followed by Bharatiya Janta Yuva Morcha (BJYM) workers’ protest is one such example that adds to inflamed electioneering in the Ganganetic states. After the alliance between two arch rival parties Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party in UP which most likely to dash the BJP’s hope of repeating the 2014 performance, the state, which is considered as a gateway to Dilli Darbar, is likely to witness highly polarized election campaign in 2019. One community leaders pitching its people against the minority, while other spewing venom against the majority is just a dangerous game of politics in play. Political parties reap the electoral dividend in terms of votes by whipping the passion of electorates up on the communal line, while ordinary and helpless people bear the brunt the most. What happened in Muzaffarnagar, Dadri, Agra and Kairana are just a few examples to name.

Over the past, a few years communalization of politics in India has been sponsored to such a dangerous level that poses a serious threat to the nation’s unity and integrity. To contain this growing menace, the role of teachers in promoting peace and sustainable harmony are significantly paramount but challenging. Challenging because the present day teaching approach in higher education is plausibly more like a routine practice focused on marketability of the certificates and hardly bring any good to society. Time has come when all the educational institutions should revisit their approach if the way they are imparting education is really helping in bringing the warring communities together.

Uttar Pradesh which hosts two prominent central universities named after the respective communities: Aligarh Muslim University and Banaras Hindu University should take the guard in cultivating liberal values and rational outlook in its students and youths at large. They together can steer away the society from hostility and hatred which is holding us back and divided and this is what great institutions are known for. By two universities coming together in promoting peace and brotherhood, India’s composite culture will further enriched and Sir Syed Ahmed Khan’s dream legacy of ‘Hindus and Muslims are two beautiful eyes of India’ will come true and will be a great tribute to him.

(The writer is a freelance journalist. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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