A G Noorani gets IOS Lifetime Achievement Award

By TCN News,

New Delhi, May 23: The Sixth IOS Lifetime Achievement Award was conferred upon the eminent constitutional expert, author and well-known political commentator A G Noorani here.

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The Institute of Objective Studies (IOS) had organised an impressive investiture ceremony at the Constitution Club of India here on May 23.

A G Noorani
A G Noorani

Noorani was presented with the ‘Scroll of Honour’ by Lt Gen Zameer Uddin Shah, the vice chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) while Justice A M Ahmadi, former Chief Justice of India, handed over a cheque of Rs one lakh. Justice A K Sikri, judge, Supreme Court of India, presented the memento to him.

Presiding over the function, Justice Sikri recalled that as a student of law at the Delhi University, he used to read Noorani’s books. He said, “Some people were sent by God to accomplish the important jobs assigned to them. They performed the job well by creating a milestone. Noorani is one of them, who by his works, has carved out a niche for himself. Everybody is not that fortunate.”

Sikri said that for great people, money did not matter. “What matters to them is recognition and honour. It is difficult to say who is honoring whom; whether the society is honouring Mr Noorani (sic) or by honouring him, it is honouring itself. Either way, it was a win-win situation. Both of them must feel honoured,” he remarked.

He observed that the text of the scroll of honour was testimony to his deep and incisive knowledge of a variety of subjects he had been writing on. He also urged the Institute to undertake research on the topics suggested by Noorani.

Justice A M Ahmadi described Noorani as a prolific writer, who wrote on various issues confronting the socio-political life. Commenting on the country’s current political situation, he said that India was passing through trying times. “Attempts are being made to scare away the Muslims who constitute the largest minority. A calculated move is on to marginalise the Muslims by denying the fundamental rights guaranteed under the Indian Constitution.”

In this connection, Ahmadi made special mention of the Keshavan and Bharti case decided by the Supreme Court, which ruled that the fundamental rights formed part of the basic structure of the Constitution and as such they could not be changed or abolished. “This was next to impossible so long as the Indian judiciary remained independent,” he pointed out.

He said that ever since an autocratic government had assumed reins at the Centre, perception of threat to the minorities had gone from bad to worse. Congratulating Noorani for the award, he said that it should have come to him (Noorani) much earlier.

Noorani referred to a speech of the late President of India, Dr Zakir Husain who had said – “how the AMU will look at India, will decide the future of Muslims in the country and the way the country will look at the AMU, will decide the future of democracy in India.”

“The then Union Education Minister MC Chagla took upon himself the responsibility to reduce the AMU to a department of the Ministry of Education. The erstwhile vice chancellor of AMU Nawab Ali Yavar Jung could not resist him. This was the beginning of a process to undermine the status of the University as a Centre of High Academic Excellence. Luckily, the present incumbent, Lt Gen Shah had done a yeoman’s job in restoring the past glory,” he said.

Noorani asked the IOS to document information it gathered in various areas of study, particularly riots and human rights. Calling for selection of target areas, he suggested that the detailed studies should be undertaken by focusing on the states such as Assam, Maharashtra, Telegana, Andhra Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir etc.

Referring to riots, Noorani said they took place first in the minds of people. He observed that “the Commissions of Inquiry set up to probe the circumstances leading to riots, had conclusively found that they were aided, abetted and organised by the RSS and its organisations such as Bajrang Dal and BJP.”

Laying special stress on school-level education, he said that the lack of education among Muslims continued to be a problem area. Education, he noted, was essential for securing jobs as also for setting up good business. “That discrimination against Muslims was growing could be gauged from the fact that two Muslim young boys were denied jobs by a diamond business house in Mumbai recently,” he concluded.

The chairman of IOS Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam held that in honouring Noorani, the Institute was honouring the finest of values of humanity. “These values are held sacred by our religions, faiths and the Constitution which entrusted us with the task of building a humane society.”


He said that Noorani’s achievements as an advocate, his body of writings as a scholar and his faith in the Indian Constitution were indeed inspiring to everyone. “For our young nation, we need role models who stood for harmony and represented the diversity of our great country,” he remarked.

In his welcome address, Professor Z M Khan, the secretary general of IOS remarked that Noorani was a well-known figure in the academic and intellectual circles. “His comments on and analyses of issues are of high order. The IOS is modestly contributing to the study of the plight of the have-nots and the marginalised sections of society.”

Speaking as the guest of honour, Lt Gen Shah said the AMU stood for secular and pluralistic outlook with the promotion of modern education and concern for marginalised sections.

He informed that the AMU was also the first green university in the country. As 80 percent students of the university were Urdu speaking, it had retained the distinct flavour. The university was also known for its tehzib and culture. He said that during the last three years of his tenure as vice chancellor, he experimented that the problem why the Muslim students failed to compete with others lay in the lack of good schooling.

Earlier, the function began with the recitation of a verse from the Holy Quran by Hafiz Athar Hussain Nadwi. While the citation was read out by S M Shafiq, the proceedings were conducted by the Professor of Law, GGSIU and the Assistant secretary general, IOS, Professor M Afzal Wani, Advocate-on-Record, Supreme Court of India, Mushtaq Ahmad proposed the vote of thanks.

The function was attended by a galaxy of intellectuals, academics, diplomats, politicians, journalists, bureaucrats and social activists. These included former chairman of National Commission for Minorities, Professor Tahir Mahmood, Dr Asaduddin Owaisi, MP, Siraj Husain, IAS, Ahmad Rashid Sherwani, senior journalists, Siddharth Varadarajan, Iftekhar Geelani, Qurban Ali and Dr Zafrul Islam Khan.

Dr Pervez Miyan, chairman of Delhi Hajj Committee, and the Ambassador of Egypt to India were also present.