One of the pressing issues the Indian muslims are facing is the lack of education. They lag far behind other communities in education. According to surveys and studies, they are even worse off than scheduled castes and other backward sections in India.

Muslim backwardness

Both state governments and the Center government have played a major role in bringing about such unfortunate circumstances. They have pushed Muslims to the periphery by not providing basic facilities such as, management of sanitation, health services, transportation, and education in the Muslim majority areas.

There is an acute shortage of hospitals, banks, well-conditioned roads, schools, colleges, and universities. By and large, the entire country itself lacks these basic facilities, but Muslim majority areas have taken the brunt of it all.

Take for example, Murshidabad, one of the largest districts of West Bengal in India, has a population of 70 lakh, with Muslims making up more than 66 percent of the population. Despite such humongous number of people, the district does not have a single university even 70 years after the Independence. On the other hand, Bardhaman, another district of West Bengal which has a population of over 75 lakh (only slightly larger than Murshidabad), has three universities.

SIO struggle

Taking cognizance of this gross discrimination, one of largest student organizations of the country Student Islamic Organization of India (SIO), launched a relentless movement to set up a university in Murshidabad. The state and district units of SIO organized a slew of rallies, protests, street meetings and programs from 2015 to 2017 and met administrative officers, politicians, and ministers to petition their cause.

Their arduous campaign finally came to fruition on February 28 when the State Education Minister Partha Chatterjee presented the state education budget, where he announced that they would be making a university in four districts - one of which will be in Murshidabad.

Following the announcement of the university, a delegation of the student group met Education Minister Chatterjee and urged him to put the plan of the university into reality as soon as possible.

“We would like to see that these aspirations become a reality. Hence, we urge you to expedite the process of passing necessary act(s), laying out foundation stone and starting the construction works as soon as possible,” reads the appreciation letter submitted by the delegation to the minister.

Meanwhile, another student group Student Federation of India (SFI) has claimed credit for fighting for the university in Murshidabad. SFI is the student wing of the Communist Party of India (Marxist). The irony is that the party ruled over West Bengal for decades but did not establish a university in Murshidabad. Now its student wing claims to fight for the university in the district.