Partners in Freedom Jamia Millia Islamia

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Item Code: NAJ918
Author: Mushirul Hasan and Rakshanda Jalil
Publisher: Niyogi Books
Language: English
Edition: 2008
ISBN: 9788189738105
Pages: 226 (Throughout Color Illustrations)
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 10.5 inch x 9.0 inch
Weight 1.20 kg
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About the Book


Today, Jamia Millia Islamia has 'grown up' to become a modern, bustling and vibrant University. But it is an institution with a past that sets it apart from other educational institutions in India. It has a character and an identity uniquely its own. More importantly, it has a legacy and a rich inheritance.


Partners in Freedom: Jamia Millia Islamia, endeavours to unfurl the nationalist legacy of Jamia, locate its story in the larger context of India's anti-colonial struggle, and profiles the lives of dedicated men and women who were committed to the ideas of plural nationhood and composite culture. When words do not suffice, rare, never-seen-before photographs relay the narrative. These are eloquent in their testimony of Jamia's role in national life and the long and tortuous journey It has undertaken.


Partners in Freedom: Jamia Millia Islamia, an extensively researched book, is a history of tolerance, camaraderie and enlightenment within the precincts of an educational institution. It illustrates how individuals lived for and worked towards the attainment of high ideals and principles.


About the Author


Mushirul Hasan has authored Legacy of a Divided Nation: India's Muslims Since Independence (1997); John Company to the Republic: A Story of Modern India (2001); Islam in the Subcontinent: Muslims in a Plural Society (2002); From Pluralism to Separatism: Qashas in Colonial Awadh (2003); A Moral Reckoning: Muslim Intellectuals in Nineteenth-Century Delhi (2004); and The Nehrus: Personal Histories (2006).


Mushirul Hasan edits the Selected works of Jawaharlal Nehru, a project of the Nehru Memorial Fund, and is editor of Towards Freedom (1939), a project of the Indian Council for Historical.


Rakhshanda Jalil is co-editor of the Jamia Quarterly and Media and Cultural Coordinator at Delhi's Jamia Millia Islamia.


She has also authored A to Z of 121 Unconventional Management Concepts (Niyogi Books, 2006); Office Fables for Today's Managers (Niyogi Books, 2006); and Invisible City: The Hidden Monuments of Delhi (Niyogi Books, 2008).




Historians have produced many different works on the role of educational institutions in the Indian nationalist movement. Yet, Jamia Millia Islamia figures as a mere footnote in their narratives. A product of the anti-colonial movement, Jamia was nurtured by men and women deeply committed to the nationalistic cause, to the fostering of composite culture and a creative synthesis of 'traditional' and 'modern' learning. Why, then, did Jamia get left out when 'honourable mentions' were being doled out 'in the early days of free India? Why did it not find a pride of place among 'the temples of modern India'? Why was the post-1947 national leadership so reluctant to let the institution growl?


The problem with Jamia is that it has always been a little difficult to describe. Its refusal to conform to standard definitions has cost it dearly. Jawaharlal Nehru had written in 1952: 'The Jamia does not fit in our normal rules and regulations for schools, colleges, universities and the like. I suppose that is why it is a little difficult to help it.' And Jamia too has been not a little prickly about accepting help, even from the most well-meaning quarters. For far too long, it lived in a shell, hiding its light under a bushel, being content in charting its own trajectory at its own pace and conforming to its own, sometimes whimsical, sometimes idealistic, standards. For far too long, the world too viewed Jamia as a somewhat shabby crucible where experiments in modern education were being carried out or, at best, a modest, other-worldly retreat from the real world of competition and 'mainstream' education. Its quaintness drew the high-minded who sought 'otherness' but kept away the serious student and the professional scholar.


Recent years have seen a gradual, and grudging, change in perception. Today, Jamia draws both students and teachers from a wider swathe than ever before. While it continues to be difficult to describe, it is no longer a recalcitrant child. It has grown up to become a modern, bustling vibrant University. But it is a University with a singular difference. It has a past that sets it apart from other educational institutions. It has a character and an identity that is uniquely its own. More importantly, it has a legacy, a rich inheritance that few educational institutions in India can lay claim to.


In the pages of this book, we endeavour to unfurl that legacy and, in so doing, tell a story that has not been told before. We also hope to place Jamia's story in the larger context of the nationalist movement, untangle the tangled skein of cause and effect and arouse interest in the historical study of educational centres in India per se. When mere words fail us and straightforward narration does not suffice, we reproduce rare and never-seen-before photographs of men and women and places associated with Jamia. These are precious records of Jamia's role in national life and its long and tortuous journey.


The correspondence, personal papers and writings of some of Jamia's founders provide the bedrock of our research. In particular, the writings of M.K. Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, M.A. Ansari, Mohamed Ali, Mohammad Mujeeb and Abid Husain have, among others" not just given us the bare bones to flesh out Jamia's story; they have, far more importantly, convinced us that here is a story that needs to be told not in part or in driblets but in its entirety.


The profiles of Dr Ansari, Ajmal Khan and A.J. Kidwai are based on Mushirul Hasan's A Nationalist Conscience: M.A. Ansari, the Congress and the Raj (1986) and From Pluralism to Separation: Qasbas in Colonial Awadh (2004). The chapter 'Intellectual Legacies' is an elaboration of the argument in Mushirul Hasan's Legacy of an Undivided Nation: India s Muslims Since Independence (1997). Dr Rahat Abrar, PRO, Aligarh Muslim University helped us source some of the pictures. As did Javed Alam at the Nehru Memorial Museum & Library and Zehra Rashid, Archivist, Dr Zakir Husain & His Contemporaries Archives and Portrait Gallery, Jamia Millia Islamia, Dr Syed. Jamal Abidi, Assistant Librarian, Dr Zakir Husain Library, Jamia Millia Islamia, and Dr Shakeel Ahmad Khan, Acting-Librarian, Maulana Azad Library, Aligarh Muslim University.


We are especially grateful to Professor Asghar Abbas for his help in locating papers and correspondence dating to the years preceding the birth of Jamia. He allowed access to the Syed Ahmed Archives. Ameeena Qazi Ansari summarized, thankfully, Zakir Husain's stories. Professor Shamim Hanafi, Mr Masoodul Haq, Dr Zaheer Ali Khan, Mr Mohammad Shakir and Professor Sheharyar have been very supportive. Sima Sharma and L.K. Sharma offered useful suggestions while the book was in its draft stage. We gratefully acknowledge their help and advice.


As for the errors and omissions, the best apology we can make is Dr Johnson's Ignorance, Madam, pure ignorance.'


We neither sought nor received any financial assistance from any quarter official or private. Moreover, the views expressed in this work are the result of our study and research and do not reflect the 'official' view.


This is, in fact, a historian's biography of an idea, a movement and an institution that was once called the 'National Muslim University' but is to the Jamia Millia Islamia.








Riding The Tide



An Uncertain Journey



Ambiguous Goals



The Colonial capital



Partners in Freedom



Intellectual Legacies



Jamia Today



Bibliographical essay



Chronology of events



Sample Pages

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