Jamia Protests: Is Jamia diluting the ideals of its own founding fathers?

Afshan Khan for BeyondHeadlines

New Delhi: A protest has been carried out by the students of Jamia Millia Islamia for last ten days now which turned violent on Tuesday.

On October 5, the faculty of Architecture and Ekistics (the Science of Human Settlements) organised the Global Health Zenith Confluence with Israel as the country partner.

The students protesting in Jamia argue that it is such hypocrisy that the same Israel which denies the medical aid and health facilities to Palestinians is partnering in an event on health.

In a conversation with BeyondHeadlines, the students said that 16 students peacefully protested on 5 October, holding placards with the slogans – Boycott Israel, Jamia stands with Palestine, Long Live Palestine etc. They alleged that after an hour, the guards along with the Proctorial team came and beat two students, put them in a car and locked them inside the Proctor’s office.

Describing the incident, Naushad says, “When we students got to know that two boys have been locked up, we went there and demanded to free them. Students eventually entered the office and then some guards slapped two students. Female students were also manhandled.”

Abu Darda, who was targeted the same day, says, “Proctorial staff pushed me and the guards kicked us. We were locked up in Proctor’s office. 17 guards were present there, torturing and threatening us. The only issue they had was why do we protest at all. One guard also slapped me tightly.”

He adds, “Organising protests is our fundamental right. Why did they detain us? Are we not the students of Jamia? Are we criminals?”

Five students, Sumedha, Gauhar, Arjun, Anas and Abu Darda were issued a show-cause notice by Jamia administration. After this, they had organised a sit-in for nine days demanding the withdrawal of show-cause notices to these five students.

But the situation escalated when students surrounded the VC office on Tuesday and they were attacked by allegedly ‘hired goons’ by the Jamia administration.

One student was reportedly seriously injured and admitted to the Holy family hospital. Students are now demanding the resignation of the officers who ‘hired the goons’ and responsible for this violent attack on students.

Apart from what is happening on the campus, these students are also disturbed because the administration has sent letters to their parents and phoned their families.

“Our VC does not want our protest to be highlighted because convocation is scheduled to be held on 30th October. Proctor has not talked to us formally or informally. They are also denying the partnership of Israel for any event in conversations to the media,” a student told BeyondHeadlines.

Sumedha who alleges the guards of misbehaving, says “Guards threaten us of beating. They also sent letters to our families. My grandmother is admitted in ICU, on that such disturbance only adds to their misery.”

The protest is still going on in Jamia and thousands of students are still marching outside VC office, but no response from VC has been recorded so far.

In response to a question on has JTA (Jamia Teachers’ Association) extended any help to them, the students informed BeyondHeadlines that they came to show solidarity but asked to call off the protest, therefore, the students refused to entrust Jamia Teachers Association as no one was assuring them in written that the show cause notice will be withdrawn.

In a conversation with BeyondHeadlines, Nadeem Khan from ‘India Palestine Friendship Forum’ said, “Maulana Ali Jauhar, the founder of Jamia had a deep connection with Palestine. His grave lies in Palestine, they are hurting his soul. University administration is behaving in a tyrannical manner. Jamia can never support Israel, any support from Israel must also be boycotted.”

The students had called Nadeem Khan and Umar Khalid from ‘United Against Hate’ for supporting their movement on Monday but they both were denied the entry in the campus.

Jamia is perhaps the only institution which has always stood by Palestine when it was free as well as when it was occupied by Israel. If we flip through the pages of history, we realise how close the founders of Jamia were with Palestine whether it be Maulana Ali Jauhar or Gandhi.

Gandhi, the founding father of Jamia said, “Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French. It is wrong and inhuman to impose the Jews on the Arabs…”

Mohammad Ali Jauhar and Palestine

A journalist, educationist, Islamic philosopher, orator and the founder of Jamia, Maulana Ali Jauhar had a more proximate relation with Palestine as he was buried in the Campus of Masjid-Al-Aqsa.

One reason behind burying him in Palestine was that Muslims of India should be linked to Palestine from religious connection just as they love Mecca and Medina. The decision to bury him in Jerusalem, the place from where the Prophet (PBU) ascended to heaven, was taken by his friends, relatives and followers.

Muhammad Ali Jauhar travelled to London with Gandhi for giving a speech at the first Round Table Conference in London (1930) where he demanded complete freedom for India. In this conference, he said that he would not return to India alive unless the country was set free.

“I want to go back to my country if I can go back with the substance of freedom in my hand. Otherwise, I will not go back to a slave country. I would even prefer to die in a foreign country, so long as it is a free country; and if you do not give us freedom in India you will have to give me a grave here.”

This means that he did not want to get buried in the slave India.

On 22 November 1928, he went to Palestine where he was cordially welcomed. The Palestinian women sang welcome songs for him.  According to Hamdard Daily which was Maulana Ali’s initiative, he also visited Masjid Al Aqsa and gave a speech there. At that time Palestinians referred to him as “Zaim Al Hindi Al Kabir” which means ‘The Great Indian Leader.’

He was the one who aspired for United Faiths within United India. The students of Jamia with their strong demand against fascism have kept the spirit of the makers of Jamia alive, whereas the administration seems to be forgetting and diluting the ideals of its own founding fathers.


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