Residential Halls of Aligarh Muslim University

One of the distinguishing feature of AMU is its residential character and the University is known for its halls of residences. Each Hall is divided into several hostels. Any body who has studied at Aligarh Muslim University can not forget the hostel time. The residential nature of accommodation allows students to live in a diverse environment and greatly helps in the building and grooming their personality. Each Hall maintains a common room with facilities for indoor games, a reading room, library, sports club and a literary society thus providing ample opportunity for students to hone their extracurricular activities along with opportunity for studies. Those who have gone through this experience know that a large part of their AMU nostalgia and memory is somehow or otherwise related to their hostel life. On the occasion of Sir Syed Day I plan to start a series of short blogs on the various personalities on whom the Halls of residences and hostels within them have been named at Aligarh Muslim University. I request the readers of this blog to please forward me if they have access to any article in English, Urdu and Hindi about the said people. Mostly information is available for those on whom Halls have been named. However, there are many hostel names about which I am totally clueless. I shall be highly grateful to the readers if they can guide and help me in this endeavour. It is time consuming as there are about 80 hostels in AMU which are named after some or other personality. From my memory I am listing the Halls of residences and the hostels within. There are many names which I am missing. I need your help to complete my list.

Abdullah Hall

Hamid Manzil Hostel

Aftab Hall

Morrison Court

Aftab Hostel

Mumtaz House

Mac Donnell Hostel

Allama Iqbal Hall Boarding House for Senior Secondary School (Boys)

Begum Azizun Nisa Hall

Mohammad Habib Hall

Chakraverti Hostel

Umruddin Hostel

Haider Khan Hostel

Hadi Hassan Hall

Mohsinul Mulk Hall

Amin Hostel

Saifi Hostel

Hali Hostel

Shibli Hostel

MMA Hostel

Majaz Hostel

Nadim Tarin Hall

Indira Gandhi Hall

NRSC Hall

Ross Masood Hall

Nawab Ismail Khan Hostel

Sadar Yar Jung Hostel

Abdul Majeed Khowaja Hostel

Habibur Rehman Hostel

Saronijin Naidu Hall

Abrar Hostel

Hameeduddin Hostel

Jalil Hostel

Moinul Haq Hostel

Sir Syed Hall (North)

Osmania (North and South)

Central (Lower and Upper)

SME (Lower and Upper)

SMN (A and B)

Sir Syed Hall (South)

East Wing Hostel

West Wing Hostel

Nazir Ahmad Hostel

Sir Shah Sulaiman Hall

Agha Khan Hostel

Hasrat Mohani Hostel

Kashmir House

Jaikishan Das Hostel

Bhopal House

Mahmoodabad House

Qidwai Hostel

Viqarul Mulk Hall

Jubilee Hostel

Marris Hostel

Muzammil Hostel

Nasrullah Hostel

Sir Ziauddin Hall

Bhim Rao Ambedkar Hall

A Block Hostel (Upper and Lower)

B Block Hostel (Upper and Lower)

Begum Sultan Jahan Hall

Bibi Fatima Hall

New Hall

Thanking you all once again in advance for your valuable help.

The Menace of Corona Virus: This too shall pass

It was on 31 December 2019 that China communicated to the World Health Organisation (WHO) about an unknown virus in its industrial city of Wuhan. The world did not take note of this communication. Even in China the belief was that it was recurrence of SARS Virus. However, by January 7, 2020, China ruled out the possibility of SARS and identified a new strain of Coronavirus. Coronavirus is a form of virus which causes a range of disease ranging from mild fever to severe pneumonia. The new virus was called 2019-nCov (now called Covid-19) popularly known as Corona Virus.

On January 11, 2020 China announced first death from the new virus. On January 23, 2020, Wuhan was put on Quarantine. By the beginning of February 2020, several countries started reporting their first cases. Italy was among them. It was on 22 February 2020 that Italy reported its first two deaths. As of today 25 March 2020, there are reportedly more than 400000 cases and 19000 deaths and Italy has surpassed China by huge margin (in fact more than double of China) in number of reported deaths. On 11 March 2020, WHO was forced to declare Covid-19 as pandemic. On 24 March 2020, International Olympic Committee also declared postponing the Olympics beyond 2020 to 2021.

Experts are worried about exponential curve when the cases start doubling almost every day. In the beginning it is still manageable but within a month it becomes almost unmanageable as the experience of Italy shows. This curve can be flattened by taking certain measures such as social distancing. It can be done by avoiding social spaces, keeping distance from each other and avoiding physical contact like handshake.

Strict measures have been put in place by almost all the counties. While some countries have managed to control the spread of disease by putting in control measures and information access to citizens, others were slow in taking decisions. Countries which were slow in taking tough decisions are now forced to take them albeit after the disease has already spread. Then there are places like Hong Kong which took tough measures early on and were able to control the spread but let their guard down a little bit early and saw sudden spike in cases.

Every person is important in this fight against this deadly virus as exemplified by now famous “Patient 31” from South Korea. One of the few affected countries which was able to check the spread of virus is South Korea. The government of South Korea was quick to react. The lessons learnt from MERS came in handy. South Korea tested far more people than any other country. Geo tagging of people who were tested positive was done. Laws were immediately changed. The citizens also cooperated and were ready to trade off some personal liberty for bigger social cause for the time being. The experience of South Korea also highlighted the importance of taking each case seriously. The number of people affected by the virus were around 30. Then came in the Patient Number 31 and by the time she was identified and her weekly routine traced back the number of cases increased more than 50 times within a week and the government was forced to declare highest level of medical emergency in the country. All this because she did not practice social distancing. We have to remember that the Covid-19 has very big ego. It will not come to your house unless you go out and invite it in. However, practicing social distancing is sometimes almost next to impossible. It is possible for upper class or upper middle class and middle class to practice social distancing. It is almost impossible in many poor counties and slums. The population density of slums is way too high for social distancing to be practical. Often 5-10 persons live in one room making social distancing impossible.

Every news channel and every newspaper is talking about it. People are learning new terms like Pandemic, Endemic, Lockdown, Curfew, Quarantine, Community Spread, Super Spreader, Social Distancing, Hazmat Suit etc. The pandemic has affected the whole world. Its affect is being felt in almost every aspect of life. It has tested and exposed medical preparedness of countries. It has exposed the disaster management preparedness of countries. One of the first to affected were schools as they were the first one to be closed. Suddenly teachers, kids and parents learned more about e-learning  in less than a week then what they had learned in their lifetime. It has also led to number of conspiracy theories which are flying around like anything.

Businesses have been severely affected. Supply chains have gone haywire. Production has come to a halt in many places and people have already started losing jobs. However, the biggest sufferer is tourism and allied industries like airlines, hotels, restaurants, tourist guides etc. There are going to be a number of bankruptcies in Airlines industry (flyby of UK is an early example). Stock markets have crashed all over the world. The GDP growth is going to be negatively impacted in each and every country. The biggest losers will be small and medium businesses and daily wagers. Homeless people are particularly vulnerable. Desperate times call for desperate measures. The United States Government is planning a 1 to 2 Trillion US Dollar intervention to help businesses sustain. It is equal to 5% of US GDP. The world has not seen such unprecedented government intervention, perhaps, except during 1930’s recession.

Central banks of more than 50 countries as of today have cut interest rates to support businesses. The European Unions is taking unprecedented fiscal steps to help countries overcome the pandemic. It has taken steps to suspend rules on public deficit, thus allowing countries freedom to inject liquidity into the economy as required.

While covid-19 has brought compassion of common people all over the world to the fore, on the other hand it has also brought fear resulting in racism and discrimination to raise its ugly head. Chinese in Germany and France have reported facing racist slurs and have been spat upon in many cases. So much so that in France, a citizen of Chinese origin has started a hashtag #JeNeSuisPasUnVirus which means “I am not a virus”. In India also people from north east have recently faced racist comments such as being called Corona in other parts of India. This is shameful and must immediately stop. On the other hand, we have beautiful stories of people helping total strangers. Who can forget the example of Italian Priest, Don Giuseppe Berardelli, who gave up his ventilator to a younger patient and himself embraced death. It is such stories which restore one’s faith in humanity and gives hope that this too shall pass.

There have been many unintended outcomes of the present crisis. It has forced countries to work together. Japan was one of the first countries to supply medical support to China although they have troubled past and are bitter rivals in many ways. One unlikely positive outcome of the lockdown is the lowering of pollution levels in places previously notorious for high pollution levels. It has allowed families to spend time together which at many places was not possible in the busy schedules. It is forcing people to find new methods and adopt new technologies to work and help each other. More importantly it has made the whole world to realise that at the end we all are equal. It does not matter you are citizen of which country, profess which faith, how rich or poor you are. It has brought everybody at the same level.

Important thing for us is not to panic, help the poor and the needy as much as possible, appreciate family and friends, take government instructions seriously and follow them and last but not least, ponder on the purpose of life beyond money, saving and investment. This too shall pass, Insha’Allah.

Reference:

Aamir Altaf (18 March 2020) ‘You are Coronavirus’: Students From Northeast India Face Bigotry Over Pandemic. Available at: https://livewire.thewire.in/campus/you-are-coronavirus-students-from-northeast-india-face-bigotry-over-pandemic/. Accessed on 25 March 2020.

Al Jazeera.Com (2020) Timeline: How the new coronavirus spread. Available at: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/01/timeline-china-coronavirus-spread-200126061554884.html. Accessed on 22 March 2020.

Ella Torres (13 March, 2020). Backlash against Asians could hinder efforts to contain coronavirus, expert saysABC News (2020). https://abcnews.go.com/US/backlash-asians-hinder-efforts-coronavirus-expert/story?id=69556008

Emiko Jozuka and Serenitie Wang (26 February 2020) China and Japan’s relationship is thawing in the time of coronavirus. Available at: https://edition.cnn.com/2020/02/25/asia/japan-china-coronavirus-enemies-to-friends-hnk-intl/index.html. Accessed on 28 February 2020.

Harry Stevens (14 March, 2020). Why outbreaks like coronavirus spread exponentially, and how to “flatten the curve”. Available at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2020/world/corona-simulator/. Assessed on 23 March 2020.

India Today (24 March 2020) Verbally abused, spat at, harassed: Northeastern citizens come under attack amid coronavirus panicAvailable at: https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/verbally-abused-spat-at-harassed-northeastern-citizens-come-under-attack-amid-coronavirus-panic-1658826-2020-03-23. Accessed on 25 March 2020.

International Olympic Committee (24 March, 2020) Joint Statement from the International Olympic Committee and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee. Available at: https://www.olympic.org/news/joint-statement-from-the-international-olympic-committee-and-the-tokyo-2020-organising-committee. Accessed on 25 March 2020.

James Griffiths (24 March, 2020). Hong Kong appeared to have the coronavirus under control, then it let its guard down. Available at: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/hong-kong-appeared-to-have-the-coronavirus-under-control-then-it-let-its-guard-down/ar-BB11z2Ld?ocid=spartanntp. Accessed on 24 March 2020.

Japan Times (March 2020) How one patient turned South Korea’s virus outbreak into an epidemic. Available at: https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/02/27/asia-pacific/science-health-asia-pacific/south-korea-coronavirus-epidemic/#.XnnDeW5uKUk. Accessed on 24 March 2020.

Kelly Kasulis (3 March, 2020)’Patient 31′ and South Korea’s sudden spike in coronavirus cases. Available at: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/03/31-south-korea-sudden-spike-coronavirus-cases-200303065953841.html. Accessed on 24 March 2020.

Lora Jones, David Brown & Daniele Palumbo (20 March 2020). Coronavirus: A visual guide to the economic impact. Available at: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-51706225. Accessed on 24 March 2020.

Megha Rajagopalan (4 March, 2020) Men Yelling “Chinese” Tried To Punch Her Off Her Bike. She’s The Latest Victim Of Racist Attacks Linked To Coronavirus. Available at: https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/meghara/coronavirus-racism-europe-covid-19. Accessed on 4 March 2020.

Ministry of Health, Sultanate of Oman (2020). Available at: https://www.moh.gov.om/en/corona. Accessed on 23 March 2020.

Ryan W. Miller (24 March 2020) Italian priest with coronavirus who gave his ventilator to younger patient has reportedly died. Available at: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2020/03/24/covid-19-italian-priest-who-donated-his-ventilator-has-reportedly-died/2906351001/. Accessed on 24 March 2020.

Vaihayasi Pande Daniel (24 March2020)’How can there be social distancing in slums?’. Available at: https://www.rediff.com/news/special/how-can-there-be-social-distancing-in-slums/20200324.htm. Accessed on 24 March 2020

World Health Organisation (12 March 2020). WHO announces COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic. Available at: http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/health-emergencies/coronavirus-covid-19/news/news/2020/3/who-announces-covid-19-outbreak-a-pandemic. Accessed on 12 March 2020.

From CAB to CAA

The Rajya Sabha on Wednesday i.e. 11 December 2019 passed the Citizenship Amendment Bill or CAB. It was previously passed by the Lok Sabha on Monday i.e. 2 December 2019. The bill was signed by the President of India on Thursday i.e. 12 December 2019, thus making it Citizenship Amendment Act or CAA.

According to the act, the members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till 31 December 2014 citing persecution shall not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian Citizenship. The six communities identified in the Act will be given Indian Citizenship after 5 years. Earlier the duration was 11 years. The Act also gives immunity to illegal immigrants if they are facing legal cases. However, the act will not be applicable to the Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura as included in the schedule six of the Constitution. The Act will also not apply on areas covered under Inner Line Permit or ILP as notified under Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873.

A large section of the population in the states of Assam and Tripura are opposing the act saying that the act nullifies the provisions of the Assam Accord of 1985. They also fear that if citizenship is granted to illegal Bengali speakers (both Hindu and Muslim), it will undermine their culture and language. It is pertinent to mention here that the Assam Accord fixed March 24, 1971 as the cutoff date for deportation of illegal immigrants irrespective of religion. The Assam Accord was signed by the Government of India, Government of Assam, All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) and Assam Gana Sangram Parishad in 1985 after years of protests in Assam. The present protests in Assam are only against CAA and not against National Register of Citizens or NRC.

Slowly the protests spread to other parts of the country. However, the tipping point came with police assault on the students of Jamia Millia Islamia University in Delhi and subsequently on Aligarh Muslim University at Aligarh. The reports point out the brutality of police on the defenseless students of both the Universities. There are claims and counter claims from the students and the police. Both the educational institutions have been closed till January 5, 2020. Uddhav Thackeray has on record compared the police attack on Jamia Millia Islamia to the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. A fact finding team by human rights activist, Harsh Mander, described the attack on the students of Aligarh Muslim University as more brutal than even Jamia. There has been a long list of colleges and universities where protests by students have been registered against police assault on Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University. Some of the prominent Universities that have joined the protest against CAA are Madras University, Punjab University, Pondicherry University, Nadwatul Ulama, Punjabi University, Osmania University, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi University, Jadavpur University, Indian Institute of Technology (Madras), Mumbai University, Indian Institute of Technology (Mumbai), Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Management (Bangalore), Indian Institute of Management (Ahmedabad), Aliya University etc.

NRC was first done in Assam as per the Assam Accord. The whole process was monitored by the Honorable Supreme Court of India. It was Assam specific exercise. However, the results of the NCR were not to the liking of many and hence the CAB (now CAA) was brought in. Yes, standalone CAA may not be damaging to a section of Indian population. However, when used in conjunction with NCR it becomes lethal. It would allow the filtration of Muslims because NCR assumes one to be a non-citizen and it is left to the person to prove that he / she is a citizen. However, the CAA allows Citizenship to everybody except Muslims. Even otherwise, prima facie, the CAA is against the provisions of the Constitution of India, particularly, Article 14. Article 14 of the Constitution of India states that “The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India”. By leaving out the Muslims from its net, it contradicts this basic principle of the Constitution. The Honorable Supreme Court of India has accepted the plea of concerned citizens to look into the legality of the Act. However, chances that it would be declared null and void by the court look slim. In the meantime, the Union Cabinet has approved to create a National Population Register (NPR). Many argue that NPR is nothing but old wine in new bottle. It is another method of implementing NCR by a different name.

It is worth remembering that the Honorable Supreme Court of India has refused to stay the implementation of CAA 2019. However, it has issued notice to the central government on a batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the Act. A bench headed by the Chief Justice of India said that the matter will be heard in January when the apex court opens after winter break. Now all eyes are on the Highest court of the land to bring closure to the matter.

References and for more information, please see:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/72498580.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst

India Today (2019, December 12) What is Citizenship Amendment Bill: All you need to know about CAB. Available at: https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/citizenship-amendment-bill-all-you-need-to-know-about-cab-1627516-2019-12-11. Accessed on 12 December 2019

Economic Times (2019, December 2) Citizenship Amendment Bill passed in Lok Sabha. Available at: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/lok-sabha-passes-citizenship-amendment-bill-2019/articleshow/72447352.cms. Accessed on 12 December 2019.

Times of India (2019, December 12) Citizenship (Amendment) Bill gets President’s accent, becomes Act. Available at: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/citizenship-amendment-bill-gets-presidents-assent-becomes-act/articleshow/72498580.cms. Accessed on 13 December 2019

The Wire (2019) ‘More Brutal Than Even Jamia’: AMU Fact Finding Report Accuses UP Police of Violence, Islamophobia. Available at: https://thewire.in/government/amu-caa-protests-up-police. Accessed on 23 December 2019.

Apurva Vishwanath. & Kunain Sheriff M. (2019, December 23). Explained: What NRC+CAA means to you? Available at: https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-citizenship-amendment-act-nrc-caa-means-6180033/. Accessed on 23 December 2019.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/wont-roll-out-cab-2-non-bjp-states/articleshow/72499408.cms

https://globalnews.ca/news/6301241/india-protests-citizenship-bill-explainer/

https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-how-to-be-a-citizen-of-india-earlier-now-6165960/

Times of India (2019, December 18) Available at: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/sc-decides-to-examine-constitutional-validity-of-citizenship-amendment-act/articleshow/72864701.cms. Accessed on 18 December, 2019

Gulf News (2019, December 18). India: Supreme court issues notices to Centre on petitions challenging CAA validity. Available at: https://gulfnews.com/world/asia/india/india-supreme-court-issues-notices-to-centre-on-petitions-challenging-caa-validity-1.1576650901831. Accessed on 19 December 2019.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizenship_(Amendment)_Act,_2019

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizenship_(Amendment)_Act,_2019

https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/blog/blog-questions-i-would-like-to-put-to-honorable-amit-shah-on-caa-and-nrc-2

https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/blog/blog-questions-i-would-like-to-put-to-honorable-amit-shah-on-caa-and-nrc-2

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/granting-citizenship-is-centres-call-states-have-no-say-experts/articleshow/72564874.cms

https://www.indiatoday.in/mail-today/story/shaken-and-stirred-from-punjab-to-tamil-nadu-caa-fire-singes-india-1629201-2019-12-18

https://thewire.in/politics/rajasthan-opposition-citizenship-amendment-act-ashok-gehlot

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/rival-fronts-bury-differences-join-hands-against-caa/article30324285.ece

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/p-chidambaram-interview-citizenship-amendment-bill-is-a-clear-signal-a-blunt-signal-to-muslims/article30289448.ece?utm_source=taboola

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/scientists-scholars-call-to-scrap-citizenship-bill/article30259403.ece?utm_source=taboola

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/javed-akhtar-aparna-sen-swami-agnivesh-and-others-flay-cab-nrc/article30271214.ece?utm_source=taboola

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/citizenship-law-discriminatory-against-muslims-un/article30300560.ece?utm_source=taboola

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/citizenship-amendment-bill-united-states-legislators-express-concern/article30290519.ece?utm_source=taboola

https://www.thehindu.com/specials/understanding-the-citizenship-amendment-bill-2019/article30283717.ece?utm_source=taboola

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/hindi/bollywood/news/dont-be-silent-dont-be-violent/articleshow/72862116.cms

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/hindi/bollywood/news/dont-be-silent-dont-be-violent/articleshow/72862116.cms

 

 

49th National Day of Sultanate of Oman

Today is the 49th National Day of Oman. National Day of Oman is celebrated every year on 18th November. First National Day was celebrated in 1970 after His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said first ascended to power in that year. It is celebrated to commemorate the Omani Independence from Portugal. This year will be the 369th anniversary of independence from Portugal. It is also the 79th birthday of Sultan Qaboos Bin Said. This makes Oman one the longest independent countries in the world.

Like every year, streets across Muscat and the rest of Oman are decorated and lighted up in the colour’s of Oman’s red, white and green flag. This year the lighting installations are in the shape of musical instruments and musical notes besides the usual flower shaped installations. Royal Oman Police (ROP) has also allowed people to decorate their cars for a limited period of time to celebrate Oman National Day. As usual there will be lots of shows and activities including fireworks across the country. Most of the major shopping centers have announced 49 percent discount to mark the occasion. Internet giant google has  also joined in by putting Omani Flag as google doodle on http://www.google.com and chrome browser.

The next National Day will be special as His Majesty will complete 50 years as Sultan of Oman. Preparations have already started. Competitions have been already announced to choose the theme and logo. All the Omani citizens and residents of the Sultanate are encouraged to participate in it.

It would not be out of place to mention about the tremendous progress which Oman has made in the last five decades under His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said. Today Oman is a stable and peaceful country. Oman has also made tremendous progress in the field of education. One thing which distinguishes Oman from many countries is the tolerance of Omani society towards people of other cultures and faiths. The population of Oman is around 4.5 million out of which around 2 million are expatriates from all over the world working and living peacefully and happily in Oman. Oman has peaceful relations with all the countries including its neighbors. It would not be out of place to mention that Oman follows the Ibadi madhab or maslak (i.e. school of fiqh) of Islam. Oman was one of the earliest regions to voluntarily accept Islam in the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad (May Peace Be Upon Him).

Happy National Day to Oman. May Allah always shower His Blessings on this peaceful and beautiful country.

 

 

Supreme Court Pronounces Judgement on Babri Masjid

Finally, the judgement has come in the long drawn Babri Masjid case. As promised earlier by all the Muslim organisations, the decision has been accepted with grace and humility though, naturally, with sadness. There was a sense of despondency in some, sense of resignation in some and sense of relief for some at the final closure of the case. For most Muslims under 40 years of age, they have virtually grown up with the issue and are emotionally attached to it. It has to be remembered that the 16th century Mosque was destroyed on 6th December 1992 despite undertaking from state government to protect it.

Five Judges led by Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gagoi, gave judgement on 9 November 2019 thus, hopefully, drawing curtains on the longest land dispute between Hindus and Muslim in Independent India. The other Judges were SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S. Abdul Nazeer.

The judgement puts an end to the uncertainty. While giving the 2.77 acre of land to the Temple, the supreme court accepted the assertions of the Muslim plaintiffs on almost every point except giving possession to the Muslims. The Supreme Court of India accepted most the arguments put forward by the Muslims such as:

  • Supreme Court accepted the Muslim assertion that the Archeological Survey of India report of 2003 does not prove that a temple was demolished to construct the Babri Masjid
  • Supreme Court also accepted the Muslim assertion that Ram Lalla can be a juristic person but not the Ram Janamsthan. However, the Court did not apply the law of limitation on Ram Lalla
  • The Supreme Court clearly accepted that the Muslims offered prayers in the inner courtyard.
  • Supreme Court accepted that the demolition of Babri Masjid was a violation of law.
  • The Supreme Court also accepted that the placement of Idols in the Babri Masjid on 22-23 December 1949 was an illegal act and an act of trespass.

Despite accepting almost every point raised by Muslims, the Supreme Court in its wisdom gave the final judgment in favour of a Ram Mandir. The final decision was based on the assertion by The Supreme Court that the Sunni Waqf Board has not been able to establish its claim of adverse possession. Looking at the operative parts of the Judgement, it seems that The Supreme Court has upheld the Majoritarian point of view, as pointed out by Faizan Mustafa, but it did reparation and invoked Article 142 of The Indian Constitution (Article 142 deals with the special powers of the Court) and directed the Uttar Pradesh Government to allot a 5 acre plot to Muslims to construct Mosque. The Court further said that the Mosque should be constructed at a ‘prominent site’. For the time being, the ownership of 2.77 acre that comprised the Mosque and courtyard have been given to the Government for a period of three months. The Supreme Court has ordered the Government of India to constitute a trust within three months to oversee the construction of Ram Mandir at the site.

As suggested by Madhav Godbole, former Union Home Secretary, the Mosque should be rebuilt by the Government of India as promised by the then Prime Minister of India, P. V. Narasimha Rao, at the time of Mosques demolition. Better still, the Supreme Court could have ordered the same trust to build the Mosque as well. However, there are certain points to ponder. Various possibilities arise from this Judgment.

  • Firstly, a decision whether to go for review petition against the order or not? Theoretically this is one last legal option left to be explored. There are many, for example Wajahat Habibullah, who favour review petition to take the case to its logical conclusion. But it seems unlikely as pointed out by  Imam Ahmad Bukhari of Delhi’s Jama Masjid.
  • Secondly, whether to accept the land given in lieu of Babri Masjid or not. This is most probable as the Sunni Central Waqf Board chairman has hinted that the Waqf Board will accept the land.
  • Thirdly, if the land is accepted then what to do with that land. One option is to make a Mosque. There are already many Mosques in Ayodhya. What purpose will one more Mosque serve? The case was not about a Mosque. Many times alternate land was offered to Muslims in liue of Babri Masjid. Muslims always rejected the offer and continued their legal battle with the promise that they will follow the Courts ruling. Second option is to take the land and not do anything with the land.  The third option as suggested by many is to make an educational institution with a small functional Mosque in it.

I am not in a position to say what will be the final decision of the Sunni Central Waqf Board in this regard and whether the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) will go for review petition or not. I just wish that good comes out of this and this decision leads to an India which is at peace with itself and every community is free to practice its religion without let or hindrance. The final outcome of the decision will be clear only after some time and Historians and Sociologists in future will decide as to how this decision affected the polity and society of India and how it changed India.

References and for more, Please see:

Henry, N. (2019, November 9) Ayodhya Explained: Supreme Court Chose Faith Over Law, Jurist Faizan Mustafa Says. Avilable at: https://www.huffingtonpost.in/entry/ayodhya-explained-supreme-court-faizan-mustafa-says_in_5dc694b5e4b02bf57940668f. Accessed on 11 November 2019.

Shrma, B. (2018, December 5) There Is No Evidence Of A Temple Under The Babri Masjid, Just Older Mosques, Says Archeologist. Available at: https://www.huffingtonpost.in/2018/12/04/there-is-no-evidence-of-a-temple-under-the-babri-masjid-asi-lied-to-the-country-say-archeologists_a_23604990/?ncid=other_huffpostre_pqylmel2bk8&utm_campaign=related_articles. Accessed on 11 November 2019.

Bisht, A. (2019, November 9). As Hindus rejoice, Muslim reaction mixed over Ayodhya verdict. Available at: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/11/hindus-rejoice-muslim-reaction-mixed-ayodhya-verdict-191109131954176.html. Accessed on 9 November 2019.

Masih, A. (2019, November 11) The mosque should be rebuilt by Government of India. Available at: https://www.rediff.com/news/interview/mosque-should-be-rebuilt-by-government-of-india/20191111.htm. Accessed on 11 November 2019

Ayodhya case: Sunni Waqf Board likely to take decision on accepting land on Nov 26. Available at: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/ayodhya-case-sunni-waqf-board-likely-to-take-decision-on-accepting-land-on-nov-26/articleshow/71992492.cms. Accessed on 11 November 2019.

What Is The Result Of The Ayodhya Case? 10 Things To Know About The SC’s Verdict. Available at: https://www.huffingtonpost.in/entry/ayodhya-verdict-babri-demolition-ram-temple-key-points_in_5dc64591e4b00927b2335eca?ncid=other_huffpostre_pqylmel2bk8&utm_campaign=related_articles. Accessed on 11 November 2019.

Outlook India (2019, November 11) Ex-NCM chief Wajahat Habibullah says Ayodhya verdict ”deeply flawed”, favours review. Available at: https://www.outlookindia.com/newsscroll/exncm-chief-wajahat-habibullah-says-ayodhya-verdict-deeply-flawed-favours-review/1660144. Accessed on 11 November 2019.

Supreme Court verdict on Ayodhya: Jama Masjid Shahi Imam says matter shouldn’t be stretched further. Available at: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/supreme-court-verdict-on-ayodhya-jama-masjid-shahi-imam-says-matter-shouldnt-be-stretched-further/articleshow/71984503.cms?from=mdr. Accessed on 10 November 2019.

Damage, desecration & demolition of Babri Masjid illegal act, says SC. Available at: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/damage-desecration-demolition-of-babri-masjid-illegal-acts-says-sc/articleshow/71989378.cms. Accessed on 10 November 2019.

Disputed Ayodhya site goes to temple, Muslims to get alternative land: SC. Available at: https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/disputed-ayodhya-land-goes-to-temple-alternate-5-acre-land-for-mosque-sc-119110900411_1.html. Accessed on 10 November 2019.

May Kartarpur Corridor Heal Wounds

On 9 November 2019 the Kartarpur corridor between India and Pakistan will open to mark the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak. Guru Nanak is the first Guru and founder of Sikhism. It will be inaugurated on the either side by the respective Prime Ministers. It will be a momentous occasion for Sikhs all over the world. The Kartarpur corridor between India and Pakistan will connect the Dera Baba Nanak Sahib in Punjab (India) to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Punjab (Pakistan). The corridor will allow devotes from India to directly visit the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib without Visa. So far devotees had to take visa and travel through Lahore making it both time consuming and costly affair. The other option was to see the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib from an elevated platform on the Indian side. Border Security Force had put binoculars to facilitate devotees.

The significance of the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib for devotees lies in the fact it was built to commemorate the site where Guru Nanak settled and tilled land after his four famous journeys. Guru Nanak lived there for the last 18 years until his death in 1539. It was at this place that Guru Nanak built the first Sikh commune. For Sikhs it is the second holiest city after Janam Asthan. Janam Asthan is the birth place of Guru Nanak located at Nankana Sahib, Pakistan.

To mark the occasion, the governments of both India and Pakistan have announced a series of measures. Pakistan government has issued a commemorative coin and stamp to mark the occasion. Pakistan is also establishing Baba Guru Nanak International University in Nankana Sahib. Similarly, a decision was taken in India to establish Jagat Guru Nanak Dev Punjab Open University.

It has been termed as a corridor of peace. Let’s hope that it actually becomes a corridor of peace and heals wounds and bring people together. Congratulations to Sikh brothers and sisters all over the world on the occasion of 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak.

References and for more information, please see:

https://www.financialexpress.com/lifestyle/travel-tourism/kartarpur-gurdwara-uncertainty-over-kartarpur-corridor-continues-pakistan-yet-to-approve-indian-list-of-pilgrims/1756586/. Accessed on 7 November 2019.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/pakistan-issues-coin-to-mark-guru-nanak-s-550th-birth-anniversary/story-2ydRfb66ej1vS0wBCha9zL.html. Accessed on 7 November 2019.

https://www.indiatoday.in/education-today/news/story/punjab-govt-to-establish-open-university-in-guru-nanak-s-name-1612802-2019-10-25. Accessed on 7 November 2019.

https://www.indiatoday.in/education-today/news/story/pakistan-begins-process-to-set-up-guru-nanak-university-1613621-2019-10-29. Accessed on 7 November 2019.

https://gulfnews.com/world/asia/pakistan/imran-khan-to-open-kartarpur-corridor-to-india-on-november-9-1.67265938. Accessed on 7 November 2019

 

 

Sorry My Dear Times of India, the logic doesn’t add up

This refers to an article in the Times of India dated 31 October 2019 entitled “Hindi with 8.74 lakh speakers is most popular Indian language in US” (Kably, L, 2019). The news report takes data from American Community Survey Data 2018. This data provided by US Census Bureau explores as to how many people in USA speak a language other than English at home as first language. The data itself is a pointer to demographic changes which have taken place in USA due to immigration. For example, some of the major languages which are spoken in USA as first language at home besides English are Spanish, Chinese and Arabic.

Since the report by The Times of India focuses on Indian languages, it analyses the absolute and percentage changes in the speaker of Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Bengali and Gujrati languages. According to the report the number of Hindi speaking population in USA rose by 43.5% over a ten-year period. The percentage increase for Telugu was impressive 79.5%. However, in terms of absolute number of people speaking Hindi was the highest among Indian languages spoken in USA. The report further tells us that Gujrati speaking population has declined in terms of absolute numbers.

The said report provides further insight about the Bengali and Tamil speaking population. It says that “The Bengali-speaking US-based population at 3.75 lakh has shown rise by nearly 68% over the same eight-year period. This is followed by those who speak Tamil, showing a rise by 67.5% to stand at 3.08 lakhs as of July 1, 2018. However, it should be noted that individuals from countries other than India also speak Bengali (predominantly Bangladesh). Tamil is spoken in countries such as Sri Lanka, Singapore and Malaysia. Immigration experts say the spike in Bengali speaking population may also be representative of a larger inflow to the US from Bangladesh”.

However, the report does not give any breakup of either Punjabi or Urdu. There are Indian origin people in USA who speak Punjabi or Urdu at home as their first language. The reasoning given by The Time of India is based on false logic. It mentions that “As a dominant percentage of Urdu and Punjabi speaking populace in the US is anecdotally said to hail primarily from Pakistan, TOI has ignored these statistics in its analysis”. I don’t know if this is discrimination against Punjabi and Urdu speakers or plain incompetence by the TOI reporter.

If the news can cover information about Bengali and Tamil languages with clarifications about non-Indians also speaking these languages, a similar clarification could have been given about the other two languages. Instead TOI just decided to ignore both Punjabi and Urdu based on so called anecdotal evidence.

Last time I checked, both Punjabi and Urdu are in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution. Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution contains a list of 22 scheduled languages. Punjabi is officially first language of the state of Punjab and Second official language of Delhi and Haryana. It is the 11th most spoken in India with 33.1 million people mentioning it as their mother tongue. Similarly, Urdu is first language of the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. Besides Urdu is second official language in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Delhi and Bihar. Urdu is the 7th most spoken language in India with 50.7 million reporting it as their mother tongue.

Ignoring these two languages by giving logic that more Pakistanis than Indians speak these two languages in USA doesn’t make them Pakistani languages and hence not being covered in the news doesn’t make any sense at all. By the same logic Bengali should not have been part of this news also.

We identify languages with geography and ethnic groups for reference purpose only. A language does not belong to any country or geography. All the languages belong to humanity. Urdu is my mother tongue but Hindi and Punjabi are also my languages as much as Urdu. Sorry My Dear Times of India, The Logic Doesn’t Add Up.

Note:

For reader’s benefit, here is a list of 22 Languages in the eighth schedule of the Indian Constitution along with the number of speakers in millions arranged in descending order.

Sr. No. Language Speakers in Millions
1 Hindi 528
2 Bengali 97.2
3 Marathi 83
4 Telugu 81
5 Tamil 69
6 Gujrati 55.5
7 Urdu 50.7
8 Kannada 43.7
9 Odia 37.5
10 Malayalam 34.8
11 Punjabi 33.1
12 Assamese 15.3
13 Maithili 13.6
14 Santali (also called Santhali) 7.3
15 Kashmiri 6.8
16 Nepali 2.9
17 Sindhi 2.7
18 Dogri 2.6
19 Konkani 2.25
20 Manipuri 1.8
21 Bodo 1.48
22 Sanskrit 0.02

Compiled from: Statement 1- Abstract of Speakers’ Strength of Languages and Mother Tongues – 2011

References and for more information, please see:

Statement 1 – Abstract of Speakers Strength of Languages and Mother Tongues – 2011. Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.

Kably, L. (2019, October 31) Hindi with 8.74 lakh speakers is most popular Indian language in US. Available at: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/hindi-with-8-74-lakh-speakers-is-most-popular-indian-language-in-us/articleshow/71828154.cms. Accessed on 31 October 2019.

Gulf News (2018, July 1). Census: More than 19,500 languages spoken in India as mother tongues. Available at: https://gulfnews.com/world/asia/india/census-more-than-19500-languages-spoken-in-india-as-mother-tongues-1.2244791. Accessed on 3 November 2019.

 

 

Sir Syed Day 2019

A very Happy Sir Syed Day to Aligarians all over the world. For the uninitiated, Sir Syed Day is celebrated every year on 17 October as founder’s day at the Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, India in remembrance of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan. Sir Syed was the founder of The Mohammedan Anglo Oriental (MAO) College at Aligarh in 1875 which later became Aligarh Muslim University in 1920. Today is his 202nd Birth anniversary.

Sir Syed was one of the architects of modern India. In the words of Maulana Abul Kalaam Azad, First Education Minister of Independent India, Sir Syed was “the morning star of an intellectual revolution in Asia”. It was Sir Syed who encouraged the Indians in general and Muslims in particular to undertake modern education. He encouraged Muslims of India to enthusiastically embrace English language to be able to compete in the modern world. It was this desire of Sir Syed that led him to start a series of measures such as Tahzibul Akhlaq (Mohammedan Social Reformer), The Scientific Society etc. However, the establishment of MAO College was the culmination of his lifelong efforts. As Sir Syed remarked “Sons (of MAO College later Aligarh Muslim University) shall go forth throughout the length and breadth of the land to preach the message of free inquiry, of large hearted tolerance and pure morality”. Later on his followers carried forward his mission and established the Aligarh Muslim University according to his last message “Oh My Dear Children, You have reached a particular stage and remember one thing that when I undertook the task, there was criticism all around against me, abuses were hurled upon me, life had become so difficult for me that I aged before my age, I lost my hairs, my eyesight, but not my vision. My vision never dimmed, my determination never failed, I built this institution for you and I am sure, you will carry the light of this institutions far and wide, darkness will disappear from all around

Today Aligarians all over the world will celebrate the Sir Syed Day by holding commemorative programs all over the world. There will be programs remembering the achievements of Sir Syed. Old boys will share their stories of University. It will be usually followed by dinner. There are Old Boys Associations in every major city of the world. Many of these are doing commendable work in the field of education. For the sake of brevity, I will not mention their names here. However, there is a need to revive the Aligarh Movement in its true spirit. The Old Boys of Aligarh need to introspect at the reasons for the present dismal situation of the community, find solutions and immerse themselves wholeheartedly to alleviate their condition. That would be true tribute to Sir Syed and his mission.

For more details, see:

Saikia, Y & Rahman, M.R (2019, 21 March) The Cambridge Companion to Sayyid Ahmad Khan. Cambridge University Press

Hassan, T. (2014). The Aligarh Movement. New Delhi: Rupa and Company

Zilli, I.A. (n.d.) Aligarh Movement-A Historical Glimpse. Available at: http://aligarhmovement.com/Aligarh_Movement_A_Historical_Glimpse. Accessed on 17 October 2019