‘Why is It Surprising That Jamia is Number 1?’: Ex-VC Najeeb Jung

“Jamia’s ranking shows why CAA controversy wasn’t needed, India must be proud of it,” says Jung.

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“Why should anybody be surprised that Jamia stands number one? Jamia has always been in the first 10 anyway. It’s is a 100-year-old university and its foundations have been laid by Mahatma Gandhi...Our heritage is of immense national pride. We never invited the Muslim League to the campus. Mohammad Ali Jinnah has never come to the campus.”
Najeeb Jung, Former Jamia VC

In an exclusive conversation with The Quint, Najeeb Jung, former vice-chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia and former L-G of Delhi shares his opinion on the university, that has often been called 'anti-national' but now stands at number one in the government’s ranking of central varsities.

University rankings.
University rankings.
(Graphic: The Quint)

Jung also talked about Jamia’s anti-CAA protests and how this ranking will help the university.

Here are a few excerpts from the interview:

How has Jamia topped the ranking despite being in the headlines for anti-CAA-NRC protests?

The university has been ranked number 1 because of the infrastructure there and the quality of teaching. The controversy is not a hallmark of anything wrong. The controversy erupted due to the passing of the CAA-NRC-NPR. There is nothing wrong with young vibrant students thinking about social and political issues. In fact, I think it’s a matter of pride that these are bright students are willing to agitate with their point of view.

It’s not the pride in the protest but the pride in the thought process that the student can define in his mind what is good for India or what is bad for India. You can disagree, the student can be wrong in protesting against the CAA, that’s a separate issue, but what is critical is that the student is sensitive enough to think through.

How will this ranking help Jamia?

Jamia is way ahead in its infrastructure, laboratories and the classroom teachings. The point system is based on the quality of infrastructure.

And this ranking might help people think that, maybe the controversy wasn’t needed. They will think our students are good. It will help students get jobs. My students are not thirsty for jobs, they will get jobs because they are good.

But this is a leg up because this will help others know the quality of the university and therefore the quality of the students.

Why is Jamia surrounded by controversies?

There has been only three controversies in the past 15 years.

First, the 2005 agitation, when students turned unruly, any university in India can have such an agitation like that.

Second, in the 2008, when the Batla House incident happened, Jamia students weren’t involved, but just because the university has proximity to Batla House, you label the university, we had nothing to do with Batla House.

Third, in the CAA matter, 10 years later... students across India had agitated on the CAA matter, Lucknow University, Allahabad University, BHU, AMU they have all come out. Even Delhi University. To label Jamia in that sense is unfair.

But an agitation by students is well within its right so long it doesn’t break the law, so long they are putting forward their point of view, it’s fine. This happens all over the world.

The students must learn to think for the love of the country and this is what Jamia is performing.

Talking about how Jamia should deal with the targeting, the former VC said that the universities will have to step out of the campus. Jamia, JMU, AMU, etc all these universities must hold seminars and conferences, go out and tell people what they are all about. It's high time they publicise themselves.

"India should be proud of Jamia," he added.

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