About Jamia Millia Islamia (A Central University)
Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) is one of the top-ranked, NIRF 5th ranked, NAAC accredited A grade Central Universities of India. It also occupies a high International rank among 601-800 (THE Rankings 2020). Established in 1920 and became a Central University by an act of the Parliament in 1988, 100-years-old Jamia represents multi-cultural, multi-lingual and multi-national teachers and students. One of the most colourful among International universities, Jamia has produced a good number of academicians, educationists, film stars, producers, directors, journalists, activists, engineering, sport persons, politicians and many prominent personalities.
The story of its growth from a small institution in the pre-independence India to a central university located in New Delhi offering integrated education from nursery to research in specialized areas is a saga of dedication, conviction and vision of a people who worked against all odds and saw it growing step by step. They “built up the Jamia Millia stone by stone and sacrifice by sacrifice,” said Sarojini Naidu, the nightingale of India.
Under the colonial British rule, two dominant trends joined hands and contributed towards in the birth of Jamia. One was the anti-colonial Islamic activism and the other was the pro-independence aspiration of the politically radical section of western educated Indian Muslim intelligentsia. In the political climate of 1920, the two trends gravitated together with Mahatma Gandhi as a catalyst. The anti-colonial activism signified by the Khilafat and the pro-independence aspirations symbolised by the non-cooperation movement of the Indian National Congress helped to harness creative energies and the subsequent making of Jamia Millia Islamia. Rabindranath Tagore called it “one of the most progressive educational institutions of India”.
Responding to Gandhiji’s call to boycott all educational institutions supported or run by the colonial regime, a group of nationalist teachers and students quit Aligarh Muslim University, protesting against its pro-British inclinations. The prominent members of this movement were Maulana Mehmud Hasan, Maulana Mohamed Ali, Hakim Ajmal Khan, Dr. Mukhtar Ahmad Ansari, and Abdul Majid Khwaja.
In 1925, after long deliberation, a group of three friends studying in Germany Dr. Zakir Husain, Dr. Abid Husain and Dr. Mohammad Mujeeb decided to serve Jamia. Dr. Zakir Husain, who had earned his doctorate in Economics from the University of Berlin, was a natural and charismatic leader. Dr. Abid Husain had his Ph.D. in Education. Mohammad Mujeeb, an Oxford scholar in History and a student of printing in Germany, was a passionate and committed reformist. Early in February 1926, the three friends left Germany for Jamia by the Norddeutscher Lloyd steamer, SS Derfflinger.
The Foundation Committee met on 29 October 1920. It comprised of the following members:
Dr. Mukhtar Ahmad Ansari, Mufti Kafayattullah, Maulana Abdul Bari Farang Mahali, Maulana Sulaiman Nadvi, Maulana Shabbir Ahmed Usmani, Maulana Husain Ahmad Madni, Chaudhury Khaleeq-uz-zaman, Nawab Mohammad Ismail Khan, Tasadduq Husain Khan, Dr. Mohammad Iqbal, Maulana Sanaullah Khan Amritsari, Dr. Saifuddin Kitchlew, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Dr. Syed Mehmood, Saith Abdullah Haroon Karachiwale, Abbas Tyabiji, Sait Miyan Mohammad Haji Jaam Chhotani, Maulavi Abdul Haq.
On 22 November 1920, Hakim Ajmal Khan was elected the first chancellor of Jamia. Mohamed Ali Jauhar became Jamia’s first Vice Chancellor, as Allama Iqbal could not accept the offer made through Gandhiji. It also elected a syndicate and created a syllabus subcommittee.
The known freedom fighter and Muslim theologian, Maulana Mehmud Hasan, laid the foundation stone of Jamia Millia Islamia at Aligarh on Friday, 29 October 1920.