New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be the chief guest at celebrations marking 100 years of Aligarh Muslim University, one of the country’s oldest varsities, on December 22.
“A centenary is a landmark in the history of any university … The entire AMU community and I are grateful to the PM for accepting our invitation,” vice-chancellor Tariq Mansoor told TOI. “The PM’s presence at this historic event will be immensely helpful to the growth and development of the university and placement of our students.” Union HRD minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank will also be attending, he added.
The last time a sitting PM attended an event at the university was in 1964, when Lal Bahadur Shastri delivered the convocation address. It does come with a change of plans though. AMU officials had earlier told TOI that President Ram Nath Kovind would be attending the centenary celebrations. Now, however, he has deferred his plan and will be attending in February 2021. All events will be held online, given the Covid-19 restrictions in place.
A senior AMU official told TOI that the PM’s presence would “send a strong message to BJP functionaries who keep attacking the institution.” AMU protests against CAA had led to a backlash last year. Its scholars have been vocal against cases of violence against women in UP and in favour of the ongoing farmers’ protest in Delhi.
The VC did not share the itinerary for December 22, but sources said the PM may inaugurate the newly constructed campus gate, release a postal stamp and a commemorative coffee table book, and attend the burial of a ‘time capsule’ with AMU memorabilia.
Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College was set up in 1875 by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, along the lines of what he saw at Oxford and Cambridge. In 1920, it was renamed Aligarh Muslim University and was formally inaugurated as a university on December 17 by then VC Mohammad Ali Mohammad Khan, the Raja Saheb of Mahmudabad.