It seems that the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) doesn’t want to leave the limelight as it has stirred another controversy. In a shocking revelation, the map of India without the state of Jammu & Kashmir was being displayed on banners in the university premises. The erroneous banners were posted and spread all across the campus and also found on the main gate of the university.
The authorities defended the drawing of the skewed map of India as a mistake that was committed unintentionally by the dramatics society for staging an anti-partition drama which was supposed to take place at the university.
AMU’s Public Relations Officer Shafey Kidwai said, “The poster was made by the drama society for an anti-partition drama. As soon as the teacher-in-charge got the information, the university took action. We pulled down the posters and postponed the drama.”
Kidwai’s response didn’t seem convincing enough to justify this act, rather it manifested the callousness of the authorities. PRO Kidwai claimed that the drama which was supposed to be staged was based on Asghar Wajahat’s, ‘Jis Lahore Nai Dekhya… O Jamya Nai’ (the one who hasn’t seen Lahore, isn’t born only). The play was written in 1989 and the drama is about the brutal ‘partition of India’ that created Pakistan.
“The posters were prepared by the society (dramatics) and when the teacher was informed of the error in the posters, they were taken down,” Kidwai added.
The banners have been pulled down ever since the controversy erupted and the schedule for the drama is also being postponed. The act goes on to raise question on lackadaisical approach of the administration.
Also, this is not for the first time that the Aligarh Muslim University has made in to the headlines. In the month of May, this year, it rose to controversy over placing Jinnah’s portraits at the Students’ Union Hall. This came into light when Bhartiya Janta Party MP from Aligarh, Satish Gautam wrote to AMU Vice Chancellor Tariq Mansoor and sought a justification for Jinnah’s portrait which was hanging at the university since 1938.
Again in the month of October, AMU was under the scanner as portrait of Muhammad Ali Jinnah was placed alongside Mahatma Gandhi in an exhibition to mark the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti at the AMU library on October 2nd.
The defense, the AMU authorities resorted to in both the incidents is that the portraits had been ‘hanging unchallenged till date’, and it does not seem to be convincing at all. It appears to be an empty and ridiculous explanation, and it also raises a question- what the Congress and other parties were doing all these years and why did they not challenge the display of the portrait of a murderer in an illustrious educational institution?
The AMU administration should take cognizance of all the events that has sparked a row of controversies this year and must ensure that these activities or incidents don’t take place again. The Indian map needs to remain sacrosanct and is not a subject of concoction.