The Jamia Millia

By Jawaharlal Nehru

Message on the Silver Jubilee of Jamia Millia, New Delhi, 10 September 1946.

My memory goes back to the early beginnings of the noncooperation movement in 1920. I visited Aligarh then with the special purpose of seeing the Jamia Millia Islamia which had recently come into being under the guidance of Maulana Mohamad Ali. Ardent young boys had come out of the Aligarh University to join the Jamia in furtherance of the noncooperation and Khilafat movements. Under Maulana Mohamad Ali’s dynamic leadership the new Jamia was full of life and vigour. I remember writing an article about it then in which I described the Jamia as “a lusty child of the noncooperation movement”

Years passed and the Jamia moved to Delhi. It had to face a hard time and it had many ups and downs, but it had something which few, if any other educational establishment in India, possessed. It had an extraordinarily able, devoted and self-sacrificing band of workers under the leadership of Dr. Zakir Husain*. Thus, in spite of many wants and lack of every normal facility, it had something far more important than money or patronage. Because of that it not only continued to live but to prosper. There was nothing flashy about it, but in those early years deep foundations were laid of an institution which was to be unique in India. It has grown, spread out in every way, and extorted admiration even from those who were unwilling to grant it. The object it set before it was not to train people just for degrees and service but to produce men of character who would serve larger causes and not merely be wrapped up in their individual interests. It followed, therefore, the new basic system of education of which it was a pioneer in India. 

Twenty-five years have passed and a whole generation has gone by. It is pleasing and satisfying to see the good work rewarded in this manner. On the occasion of the jubilee I send my greetings to all people connected with the Jamia and more specially to Dr. Zakir Husain and his fine band of colleagues. May the Jamia flourish, ever keeping its ideals before it, and go on producing men of worth who will be true and worthy children of India and who, by their service of the people, will help to raise them to higher levels. 

*In 1926 under the leadership of Zakir Husain the teachers and staff of the Jamia Millia formed a society known as the Anjuman-i- Jamia Millia and took a pledge to serve the Jamia for twenty years on a salary not exceeding Rs. 150/- a month. 

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