Portrait installed in pre-Partition India in 1938.
ALIGARH May 1: BJP MP Satish Gautam has written to the Aligarh Muslim University Vice-Chancellor objecting to a portrait of Muhammad Ali Jinnah in the Students’ Union Office, demanding that the portrait be taken down.
The portrait was installed in 1938 before Partition, at the peak of Muslim League campaign for a separate nation for the Muslims of India.
It is fine if Jinnah has been revered in Pakistan after Partition. But his portrait should not be put up here in India,” said Aligarh MP Gautam, who also plans to speak to V-C Tariq Mansoor about it. “The university should instead celebrate the contributions of Raja Mahendra Pratap and Sir Syed Ahmed who played a crucial role in establishing the university,” he added.
AMU Students’ Union, however, claims that Jinnah, like many other pre-Partition leaders, were conferred honorary membership of the university and as such their portraits have been installed in the campus since 1920.
“Jinnah’s portrait was installed when he was conferred life membership (of the Students’ Union) in 1938. AMU has many things from the pre-Partition era like the Victoria Gate. Should that be brought down as well?” asked former AMU Students’ Union president Faizul Hasan.
AMU administration also maintains that AMU Students’ Union is an autonomous body. AMU Public Relations Officer (PRO) Omar Peerzada speaking to TIO Bureau Chief, Shirin Abbas, maintained, “It has been a tradition since 1920 to honour people of eminence with life membership. AMU first conferred it on Mahatma Gandhi in 1920 and on Jinnah in 1938. It is part of history… it does not mean we are part of them or their politics. CV Raman and VV Giri were also honoured with the same,”