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By- S Farman Ahmad Naqvi, Advocate, Allahabad
High Court. , ,

Rabbi zidni ilma-O my Lord! Advance me in Knowledge
[surah Ta-Ha; 20:114]
The vision of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan for establishing
Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College which later on
became Aligarh Muslim University in 1920 was probably
derived from this Qur’anic verse of sura-e-taha. My
assertion supports me when I read that he said time and
again that “Acquisition of knowledge of science and
technology is the only solution for the problems of
Muslims.” He also called the people that, “Call me by
whatever names you like. I will not ask you for my salvation. But please
take pity of your children. Do something for your children otherwise
you will repent. We will remain humiliated and rejected if we do not
make progress. He exhorted his fellow religionists to follow the path
of knowledge and do so with an open mind and heart. He
said - 'Study and revere the Holy Scriptures of all religions
and let not hatred blur your vision’. Sir Syed was fully
aware that education plays a crucial role in the all-round
development of a nation or community. It facilitates the
foundation of industrial and economic development.(1)
After about a century now Aligarh Muslim University
presently gained a stature in academic excellence and is
ranked among the top universities of India. AMU holds

ninth position amongst the top ten universities in India as
per 2013 ranking issued by Times Higher Education and
in its Asia Ranking 2014 AMU is ranked 80th among all
Asian Universities. It’s Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College
Ranked 15th in 2014. It’s Faculty of law ranked 6th as per
the India Today-Nielsen Ranking of Medical and Law
Colleges of India for 2014. AMU Ranked 50th among the
top 100 institutions of higher learning in BRICS grouping
of 2014. AMU Ranked 5th in India in the Week-Hansa
Research in the best Universities survey 2014. As I have
already pointed out that in the times higher education
rankings in Asia its present rank is at serial no. 80 just
having an overall score of 27.2. Whereas Jawaharlal
Nehru University is ranked at serial 90 with a score of
25.3. (2)
It is interesting to know that neither Calcutta University
nor the Allahabad University, with whom AMU was
affiliated at one or the other point of time before
becoming a full-fledged university in 1920, does not find
a place anywhere in the overall rankings. Another
prestigious University situated in U P the Benaras Hindu
University also finds no place in any of the list of these
As the academic stature of AMU rose day by it also
became difficult for it to cope the rush of students to
cater with. Hence it was proposed that its various other
campuses be also established in other states to fulfil the
demand. Some states like West Bengal, Bihar and Kerala
readily came forward to establish the proposed centres
but two states, namely Madhya Pradesh and
Maharashtra, continued dithering on the issue. After the
approval of all the concerned bodies like the Academic
Council, Executive Council and Court and the President of
India in her capacity as the Visitor, groundwork on three

Centres, i.e., Murshidabad (West Bengal), Kisangani
(Bihar) and Mallappuram (Kerala) was speeded up.
I am very much grateful to the old boys association which
invited me to address this distinguished gathering today.
The old Boys Association is as old as the University itself.
You all are aware about its history better than me hence I
will not go in detail delving upon its history. But this much
will be sufficient to say that the AMU Old Boys Association
was given a right to send its 25 representatives in AMU
Court from the day university came into existence.
Actually The Old boys association is in existence from
much earlier than that day. Now it has branches in many
cities in the country as well as in some foreign countries.
The Association enjoys statutory status and plays a role in
the selection of even AMU Vice-Chancellor. However in
recent years, due to legal complications, it has not been
able to hold polls for electing its representatives to the
University Court. The various authorities of the University
also include 25 representatives of old boys of University
as provided under statute 14 (1) (XX) of the statute of the
University. The court is the supreme governing body of
the University and has to exercise all the powers of the
University, not otherwise provided for by Aligarh Muslim
University Act or Statutes or Ordinances and or
Regulations and it has the power to review the acts of
Executive and the Academic Councils. The court has also
got power to make Statutes and to amend or repeal the
same to consider Ordinances to pass resolutions on the
annual report, the annual accounts and financial
estimates, to elect such persons to serve as the
authorities of the University and to appoint such officers
as may by prescribed by the university Act or the
Statutes. The Court has to exercise such other powers
and perform such other duties as may be conferred or

imposed upon it by Aligarh Muslim University Act or its
As I have pointed out that AMU is presently one of the
premiere universities in India and is competing with some
of the best in World. Can such a premiere institution
ignore its basic structural procedures and not allow
representation of its old boys, a major voice in its
structure and deny sharing of their experiences which
they gained in the outside world thanks to their own
My above assessment is based upon that recently the
AMU Court had been constituted probably in the month of
December 2014 but without any representation of its
twenty five old boy’s members and serial number 78 to
102 of the members list had been shown as VACANT,
which otherwise are to be filled as laid down in Statute 14
(1) (xx).
Upon taking into account this peculiar situation how the
court will be able to fulfil the requirement of section 28
(5) of the act, where if the old boys representatives desire
to present a draft of statute, in the interest of academic
excellence, but they can’t as there is no representative of
the said body in the court. Although under the above
provision it is provided that any member of the Court may
propose to the Court, the draft of any Statute, the Court
may reject the proposal or refer such draft for
consideration to the Executive Council, which may either
reject the proposal or submit the draft to the Court in
such form as the Executive Council may approve. This
situation probably is amounting to ignoring the relevant
provisions. This has also created a situation where a large
portion of the constituent body of the court went
unrepresented and hence the opinion of those people not

been properly and fully represented in running of the
affairs of university.
Without adequate representatives of old boys in
University Court any decision taken by it whether will
stand clear from the scrutiny of its actions as the Court of
university is not a lawfully constituted and fully
represented body as major constituents had been left out
in contravention of section 28 of the act?
I hope this petty legal vacuum can be filled by the
University administration and the old boys associations
by a proper constructive dialogue and deliberations in the
interest of this great university. The old boys association
is the biggest constituent in the University Court having
twenty five in numbers; hence they owe bigger
responsibility to solve the problem. The deliberation may
even if lead to amend the AMU Act then in that direction
also the steps be taken in consultation with law officers
and other legal experts.
Another major issue which is presently haunting all of us
is the declining educational standard of Muslims not in
India but world over. In the present era Muslims world
over and especially in India are passing through a deeply
troubling phase. Some demolitions, terrorist attacks,
genocides like Gujarat 2002, false implication in terrorism
cases and so many other such issues besides painting
them negatively in media just on the drop of hat, have
placed Muslims in a vulnerable position wherever they
My estimate is that to fight all the above mentioned
negative phenomenon the only positive weapon is the
education. But when all over world Muslims are facing
this gigantic crisis their educational institutions and
universities are also contributing to their plight by not
helping to raise their own standards.

To substantiate the above assessment I may place certain
data’s which will give an idea of what I am trying to
project. If you go through the records it will transpire that
in the whole Muslim world, comprising of about 50
countries, there are only 2313 universities while in USA
alone there are 2138 universities. In the top ten
universities of the world, there is no representation of any
Muslim Majority Country University at all. In top hundred
universities of the world, no university figures in this
category belonging to a Muslim Majority Country. In top
two hundred universities, USA has 54 universities and UK
has 30, Canada 9, Japan10, China has 7. While Muslim
Majority Countries all together have only 2 Universities in
this group of universities. In the same manner in top four
hundred universities USA, UK, Canada, Japan individually
have more number of universities than all the Muslim
Majority Countries have? The First Muslim Majority
Country University which one will find in the list is
University of Malaya (Malaysia) claiming 156th rank
followed by King Saud University (Saudi Arabia) on 197th
position. In the group of top four hundred universities of
the world, Malaysia has five universities, Saudi Arabia has
three, Kazakhstan has two, Lebanon, Indonesia, UAE, Iran
and Egypt have one each. It implies that out of about 50
Muslim Majority Countries only eight have been
represented in the Top Four Hundred category in context
of the universities of the world. Overall Malaysia leads the
Muslim Majority Country in the number of universities
having 32 universities followed by Turkey having 24,
Saudi Arabia having 9 and Iran having only 3. Data may
vary or I may have got lesser numbers than the originals
which may be a bit higher, but if it is on the higher side
also comparison to the numbers of universities of other

regions, then also it will not improve the tally to the
overall abysmal situation in the Muslim world. (3) (4)
Similar abysmal situation transpires when one compares
the data regarding providing research scholars and grant
of degrees in research materials by various Muslim
Universities. The number of PhDs produced by all Muslim
Majority Countries collectively is 5933 in 2010 whereas
Finland alone produced 7722 Ph. Ds in that year. China
produced 48987 and USA 49096. Moreover China, USA,
Finland, Iceland, Denmark are the countries which
produced individually more PhDs than all Muslim Majority
countries collectively done.