Published in The Hindu. 23 February 2011
Mixed reactions greeted the granting of minority institution status to Jamia Millia Islamia by the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions on Tuesday.
While for many, this is a historic moment for the university, others are opposed to the minority status.
Former Jamia Teachers' Association secretary and a petitioner in the matter, Prof. Tabrez Alam said: “We are feeling reassured that the minority status of Jamia has been maintained by the Commission. We have always contended that the inherent nature of this university which was established by members of the Muslim minority community in 1920 is that of a minority status institute. The Commission has also agreed to this.”
“Initially we had to grant 22.5 per cent reservations for the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes. We will no longer be required to do so and we will be able to provide up to 50 per cent of seats in all courses for students belonging to the underprivileged Muslim minority community,” he added.
Since the institute cannot have more than 50 per cent reservations, the provision of 25 per cent internal quota for those who have passed their qualifying examination from Jamia now stands to question.
Jamia Minority Status Coordination Committee convenor Mohammad Iyas Malik also welcomed the announcement.
“The first benefit is for the Muslim community which is educationally and socially backward and needs uplifting. Muslim students will now have more access to quality education. However, a secular milieu will also prevail,” he said.
On the other Jamia Teachers' Solidarity Association has said on its website: “Jamia was envisaged as a space of higher learning and critical thinking against the insularity and isolationism of all kinds. The demand for minority status vitiates that glorious history of Jamia as a secular inclusive space and will push the university towards ghettoisation.”
Jamia Vice-Chancellor Najeeb Jung when contacted said: “The declaration does not actually change things much for Jamia. The university already has 51 per cent Muslims. The main concern for some is that this move will change the secular ethos of the university. Jamia is a liberal and modern university. This declaration increases the onus on the university to stick to its secularist and nationalist credentials.”