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As religious polarization grows in the world’s largest democracy, targeting minority institutions is no suprise. Jamia Millia Islamia, the name itself invokes a counter culture image in the mind of people who, are not very familiar with the mores of Indian Muslims.

In our post truth society, It is an already accepted fact that journalism has reached a point of no return. Main stream media has largely become a corporate – an obvious pejorative where paid lapdogs have declared unequivocal allegiances to the ideologically corrupt political parties. They have become the proponents of apathy, alienation, cynicism, brutality and fear racking up issues, not of public interest but of sensationalism, divisiveness & polarisation because as they say, ‘which sells the best, is the best’.


In this atmosphere of vigorous mobilization where everything you do, speak or eat becomes a stratagem to attain government objectives more conveniently, the onus is on us to debunk the politics of populism based on division, improbity and hate. So, this article is my response to a recent story published on Live Wire ‘My Family Doesn’t Want Me to Give the Entrance Test for Jamia’, where the author spoke about her family’s prejudices against Jamia Millia Islamia, largely based on the agenda driven misinformation spread by our very own Media.

Jamia Millia Islamia, the name itself invokes a counter culture image in the mind of people who are not very familiar with the mores of Indian Muslims. The reality is that we don’t live like what they show you in Muslim based TV serials and Bollywood movies, not all Muslim women don veil, are oppressed and uneducated, Similarly not all Muslim men wear skullcaps, shave moustache but keep free flowing beards and perform polygamy. A vast majority of Muslims are an exception to your totalizing perspective but, breaking stereotypes is not as easy as breaking fake news.
The line of my arguments isn’t running on vilifying any particular ideology, my disagreements are not in anyway dissensions. I am a strong opponent of ideologies be it right, centre-right or left but I strongly believe in intellectual diversity and one cannot and should not separate education from politics. Universities across the world see a heightened version of polarised debates and our University is no exception but we are constantly working to reverse this rhetorical training of hurling slurs against the opponents into more nuanced debates and discussions, For example, We’ve recently seen the establishment of RSS backed student body in our campus, which shows that our University provides stage to all the ideologies because here we believe that everybody deserves to be heard equally.


In the hope to avert the ongoing propaganda, I interviewed a few students from the University and here’s what they said:

We Agreed to Disagree
For Ankit Singh, a final year history student and a member of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad – the RSS’s student wing, Jamia is the perfect example of communal harmony. “Me and my best friends from the University have conflicting political view points but I’ve never faced any criticism for the same, in fact we had discussions on topics of national importance better than those debates you see on news channels”, he said.

Cultural Competency at it’s Best
Anugya Jha, a 3rd year Law student believes that Jamia broke the shackles of her modern day education and brought her closer to this country’s enormously rich culture. “From the best Holi of my life, to dressing an extra bit for Jummah, I have celebrated the resilience at the campus”, she said.
Vrinda Bakshi, a student of Mass Communication shares a similar arc with respect to her notions about the University. She shares her room with two Muslim girls but she never felt like they’re from different religious backgrounds.
“I have faced many frowns from my extended family regarding my admission in Jamia but now I know how shallow their thinking was, I made wonderful friends here and I know the present-day politics will never transcend our education and liberal thoughts”, she added.

Gandhi’s Legacy of Inclusivity
In 1925, When Jamia was going through a serious financial crisis and the University was about to close, Gandhi Ji said to Hakim Ajmal Khan, “Aapko rupaya ki diqqat hai to mein bheekh maang lunga” and he actually ended up raising funds for the varsity so now you know, Jamia without Gandhi was Impossible.

Sudeep Krishna, a 3rd year law student has represented the University in numerous institutions across the country. A vegetarian, Sudeep spoke of how he enjoyed Iftaris with his Muslim friends. “The quality of education in the university speaks for itself, and I think it’s enough to counter the rubbish arguments of all those running propaganda against the University”, he added.


Challenging the agenda driven propaganda backed by stereotypes is not like shooting fish in a barrel, but also, it’s not impossible. Our University is not perfect and no University is. We have conservatives but at the same time, we have equal number of progressives. In fact, there are more of those who are constantly trying to reverse the pattern of seeing everything with the same perspective, to seeing same thing with different perspectives because, Universities are not just for formal education but to help us grow as an informed individual who knows how to live in an increasingly pluralistic society with higher acceptance for differences and respect for everyone, except for those espousing mass genocide.

Sadaf Parvez is a student pursuing Law from Jamia Millia Islamia.

Edited by: Malaika M Khan

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of The Jamia Review or its members.

What do you think?

Written by Sadaf Parvez

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