The best way to undercut the influence of a centre of propaganda, radicalism and anarchism is to set up an alternative that offers just the opposite. For example, if a university meant specifically for one community alone has come to become a den of Islamism and radical ideologies, the best way to deal with such an institution is to set up a centre of learning which churns out students who are nationalists and proud of their culture, while also not shying away from wearing it on their sleeves. So, the Yogi Adityanath government of Uttar Pradesh has decided to counter the influence of Aligarh Muslim University in western Uttar Pradesh by setting up the Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh University.
The setting up of the university named after influential Jat king and a freedom fighter Mahendra Pratap Singh in Aligarh is being seen as an ideological coup by the Modi government to counter the radicalism flourishing at AMU. The upcoming university will not just be an ideological counter to the hegemony of AMU, but will also provide the people of Uttar Pradesh with a much-needed alternative for higher education.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 14 will lay the foundation stone of Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh University in Aligarh, named after the Jat freedom fighter, journalist, social reformist. In 2019, chief minister Yogi Adityanath had announced the setting up of the said university, stating that the freedom fighter and Jat leader was not receiving the recognition he deserved. Yogi Adityanath had subtly blamed the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) for ignoring Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh while being indebted to the man.
According to officials, 395 colleges in the districts of Aligarh, Etah, Hathras, and Kasganj will be affiliated to the Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh University. The university will be built on 92.27 acres of land in the village of Lodha in the district’s Kol tehsil. According to the Indian Express, apart from traditional courses, the UP government plans to set up departments of advanced computing, biotechnology, decision sciences, renewable energy and advanced molecular genetics, and schools for multilingual studies, spiritual sciences and yoga.
Who was Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh?
He was the man who called Muhammad Ali Jinnah a ‘snake’, and warned Mahatma Gandhi in 1939 itself to not trust him. Most importantly, Mahendra Pratap Singh set up a provisional government in exile in Afghanistan during World War I. Interestingly, he had defeated former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee as an independent candidate from Mathura to become a member of Lok Sabha from 1957 to 1962. Singh was also nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1932.
Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh was an alumnus of the Aligarh Muslim University, known back then as the Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College (MAO). He had even donated 3.04 acres of land to the university on lease for constructing a school in 1929. However, the AMU has shamelessly evaded responsibility when it comes to recognising the contributions of Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh, and the reasons are not very secretive. In 2019, Yogi Adityanath had launched a scathing attack on AMU, saying, “He (Mahendra Pratap Singh) had given land for the purpose of establishing the university, but his name has not been mentioned on any plaque.”
What does the setting up of Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh University mean for AMU?
AMU is a den of Islamists. Hindus and other religious communities are generally not welcome at the university unless they subscribe to the radical ideology of those who have hegemonized the campus, which by the way, is funded by Indian taxpayers. AMU’s love for Muhammad Ali Jinnah requires no retelling. The campus was up in arms in 2018, upon being asked to take down Jinnah’s portrait.
Over the years, AMU has become a hotspot where the ‘protest culture’ has metamorphosed into a growing anti-national culture. Important to note is the fact that AMU is a central university and does not enjoy the minority status by virtue of a 1967 Allahabad High Court judgment. And yet the University acts as if it is a den of Islamists and radical fundamentalists only.
In 2019, for instance, the AMU faculty had issued a notice to the minority nationalist students of AMU for conducting a Tiranga Yatra on campus. The Tiranga Yatra was organised in memory of the sacrifices made by freedom fighters, but this did not auger well with the Islamist university’s administration.
The setting up of the new university in Aligarh, whose foundation stone will be laid by no less than Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a direct message to AMU – that the good times are over. With the inauguration of the new university in Aligarh by 2023, the students of western Uttar Pradesh will be provided with a much better alternative to pursue higher education – one which does not entail the glorification of Islamic supremacists who have a love for amputating India.
A Slap on the Faces of Jat Andolanjeevis
The fake farmers’ protest, and the leftist unions leading them have now begun eyeing the UP elections, and want to play spoilsport for the BJP in Western Uttar Pradesh – which has a significant Jat population. This is being done with the aim to spoiling the BJP’s election arithmetic. A BJP loss in Uttar Pradesh would be big, with assured ramifications in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. The protesting farmers know this, which is why they are employing every tactic to ensure that Yogi Adityanath does not return to power in the state.
However, chief minister Yogi Adityanath is many steps ahead at the game, and by fulfilling a promise which the state’s Jats have long demanded, he has consolidated his position and now, no propaganda spread by the agitators can convince UP’s Jats to not vote for the BJP.
The Yogi government has killed two birds with one stone here. AMU is about to be reduced into a relic of the past, while the protesting farmers’ moves to dent the BJP’s electoral fortunes in UP have been blunted even before they could be used against the saffron party.