4th August, 2022
The Vice Chancellor,
Aligarh Muslim University,
Dear Prof. Tariq Mansoor,
I hope you have read the full text of the open letter that 25 of us from academia wrote to the Hon’ble Prime Minister. I am sharing the link just in case you did not get to see the original, keeping in view your busy schedule: https://manushi.in/towards-a-better-india/demanding-total-ban-on-jihadi-curriculum-in-amu-jamia-and-hamdard
I read with interest the following news report in India Today and several other publications:
Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) managing committee has decided to remove the books of Pakistani authors Maulana Abul Ala Maududi and Syed Qutub from the syllabus. These books were included in the syllabus of the Department of Islamic Studies. These books were taught in AMU’s BA and MA classes.
A senior AMU staff told India Today that “This decision has been taken in response to a recent letter that was written by social activist and academician Madhu Kishwar, along with some other academicians, to PM Modi, in which the books of these authors were demanded not to be taught to the students. The academicians had not just named the AMU, but also the Jamia Milia Islamia and Hamdard Universities, claiming that all these universities had books written by Pakistani authors in their curriculum.”
Some academicians have also alleged that Maulana Maududi, an Islamic scholar, was known for his anti-Hindu statements and to have books written by such a disputed character in the curriculum was in itself courting controversy. AMU’s Islamic Studies Department Head Professor Muhammad Ismail said that the “board has decided to remove all books written by Pakistani authors from all curriculums, even though these books do not promote anything controversial and have been on the curriculum of AMU for a long time.”
The above statement gives rise to several questions:
- Why is AMU calling Maududi a Pakistani author deliberately undermining / covering up the fact that Maududi was born in India and founded the Delhi based Jamaat-E-Islami Hind (JIH). This organization in turn founded the now banned terrorist organization, SIMI. Moreover, several other extremist / terrorist tanzeems floated in India such as PFI, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Hurriyyat Conference, SDPI owe allegiance to JIH and the ideology unleashed by Maulana Maududi.
- AMU has responded with lightning speed by announcing the removal of the writings of Maududi and Syed Qutub from its curriculum. Are decisions about books to be included or excluded in AMU curriculum decided in this kneejerk manner? What rules of the Government of India / Ministry of Education / University Grants Commission were followed while removing these books from the curriculum?
- Why has AMU not provided a comprehensive list of the English, Urdu, Persian, Arabic or Turkish language books that have been removed from the syllabus?
- Why is the circular / notification regarding the removal of select books neither in the public domain nor prominently mentioned on the AMU website, social media, etc?
- While AMU has admitted that Maududi was being taught in the BA and MA courses, why is AMU silent about Maududi being part of its PHD course?
- Our objection to Maududi or any other ideologue being taught at AMU is not was not on account of their being “Pakistani” or non-Indian. Our objection is to the jihadi indoctrination being carried out in state funded universities.
In our letter to the PMO we had demanded that there be an overall comprehensive review of the course curriculum and political orientation of AMU, Jamia and Hamdard Universities since these three universities are the torchbearers and intellectual mentors for India’s Muslim society as a whole.
We are truly puzzled by the haste with which AMU announced the removal of Maududi along with the Egyptian ideologue, Syed Qutub about whose writings we had not raised objections. This panic response along with a visibly laboured attempt to present the issue as Indian authors versus non-India indicates that AMU has much to hide. It appears like a move to:
- Kill the demand for a comprehensive academic audit of AMU, Jamia and Hamdard through this token concession delivered with theatrical flair;
- Astutely present the decision as one inspired by allegiance to India as against Pakistan, to avoid the repeat of Jinnah portrait controversy.
Sorry Sir, given the track record of AMU, this exercise in Al-Taqqiya won’t wash. After familiarizing ourselves with the core principles and mazhabi mandate of Islam from original sources, we are not so naïve anymore.