Aligarh: Inaugurating a two-day International Seminar on “Sultan Jahan Begum”, first Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University, the Uttarakhand Governor, Dr. Aziz Qureishi highlighting the contribution of Begum Sultan Jahan, ruler of Bhopal, said that in its 240 years’ history, Bhopal proved to be the first state that produced four female rulers.
Dr. Aziz Qureishi said that Begum Sultan Jahan was the first female ruler who vehemently worked for the promotion of education amongst the Muslim community and established a Trust with an endowment of Four Lakh rupees for educational advancement of females. He said that the educational trust established by Begum Sultan Jahan has now become a private trust. He urged Ms. Sharmila Tagore to revive the trust for the benefit of mankind.
Uttarakhand Governor, Dr. Aziz Qureishi also said that the services and contributions of Bhopal was largely neglected after independence. He urged the female students to excel in their education and provide leadership to the country and community.
Delivering the keynote address, Dr. Moosa Raza, former Secretary, Government of India urged the Muslim community to establish Monitoring Committee to track the implementation of the government programmes and schemes concerning minorities. He said that the community needed to establish Pressure Groups to check the developmental activities and the distribution system in the country. He said that the AMU was the intellectual headquarter of Muslims of India and it could play an important role in providing an Academic Information Bank and intellectual leadership for the underprivileged sections of Muslim society in India.
Referring to a report of the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions, Dr. Raza said that Muslim women were quite ahead of their Hindu counterparts at the time of partition. In 1947, 8.5 percent of Muslim women attended college compared to Hindu women whose attendance was merely 2.4%.
He said that less than 17 percent of Muslim girls finished in the eighth year of schooling and less than 10 percent completed higher secondary education.
Dr. Syeda S. Hameed, Member, Planning Commission, Government of India said that safety, security and dignity have become the top agenda of the Central Government after the incident of 16th December 2012. She said that India had three faces – one Female, another Poverty and third Youth. Dr. Hameed said that in the recent budget, a provision has been made of Rs. one thousand Crore under Nirbhaya Fund and Women’s Bank for making women self reliant and self-sufficient. She said that the accountability be maintained and opportunities be provided for female education.
Noted film personality and Begum of Pataudi, Ms. Sharmila Tagore, cautioned against any attempt to “politicize” issues related to female education, especially those related to Muslim women. She said that there was a growing perception that official statistics pertaining to the status of female education of Muslim women of India did not reflect the ground realities.
Sharmila said that the development perception could only be meaningful if it was visible at the grassroots level. She stated that she was aware of the responsibilities which had fallen on her shoulders as regards the historic Begum Sultan Jahan Trust, which had been established by the great grandmother of her late husband, Nawab Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, for the purpose of promoting women’s education in the country.
Ms. Tagore said that the ruler of Bhopal, Begum Sultan Jahan enrolled her son Hamidullah Khan at this institution and it was a historic step on the part of Bhopal Royal family to receive a formal University education.
In his presidential address, AMU Vice Chancellor, Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Zameer Uddin Shah said that the Member, Planning Commission, Dr. Syeda S. Hameed played an important role in the enhancement of grant of the J. N. Medical College Hospital and now Mrs. Sonia Gandhi has played a positive role for the grant of Rs. One Hundred Crores in the Union Budget.
The Vice Chancellor announced that the UK Times has ranked the AMU 9th among the Indian educational institutions including IITs and IIMs. He hoped that the AMU will be number one University in the country.
Gen. Shah said that the safety, security and dignity of the female students was a matter of prime concern for the University. He hoped the University would produce several hundreds of Begum Sultan Jahan.
Earlier, the Secretary of Female Education Association, Prof. Zakia A. Siddiqui welcomed the dignitaries and highlighted the contribution of Begum Sultan Jahan in the field of women’s education.
On this occasion, Prof. Bilquees Nasim Waris, Principal, Women’s College also addressed the inaugural function. Prof. Sagheer Ifraheem proposed a vote of thanks.