Deoband not the private property of any family: Vastanvi


Lucknow: Maulana Ghulam Mohammed Vastanvi, who was Sunday removed from the coveted position of vice chancellor of the Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband, said that the institution was not anyone’s private property.

Support TwoCircles

Talking to IANS over phone from Hapur, where he had gone to attend a function at a madrasa, Vastanvi said: “The Majlis-e-Shoora (governing council) of Darul Uloom might have chosen to remove me from the vice chancellor’s position, but I will continue to remain a part of the institution since I happen to be a member of the Shoora.”

“In any case, the institution is not a private property of any individual or a family, it is a heritage of the entire Muslim community,” he hastened to add.

Vastanvi’s remark was an obvious reflection on the common impression that the country’s most powerful Islamic seminary had turned into a ‘family affair’ of the Madni clan that has been traditionally owing allegiance to the Congress party.

The decision to replace Vastanvi was taken by the powerful governing council, which voted nine to four against the Maulana who had raised the hackles of many for praising Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s developmental policies.

Asked why he did not exercise the option to step down from office and waited for the Shoora to show him the door, he said: “When the three-member committee constituted to inquire into the charges levelled against me gave me a clean chit, there was no reason for me to resign. Yet, the Shoora decided to unilaterally throw me out.”

“Apparently, some people in the Shoora were in a hurry to have me out of the vice chancellor’s chair for reasons best known to them,” he said.

Vastanvi’s views were shared by certain leading Islamic scholars in Lucknow as well, but they preferred not to be named.

“Actually, Deoband has been run like a private fiefdom of a particular family, which does not want to lose hold over the institution at any cost,” remarked a prominent Sunni Maulana, heading a number of institutions here.

Another cleric said: “Coming from a progressive, educated and financially sound background, Maulana Vastanvi would not have allowed anybody to use him, nor would he have played the second fiddle to anyone. Therefore, a strong lobby was built to have him out of the way.”

“I am convinced that Maulana Vastanvi remarks about Narendra Modi were twisted and misrepresented to give a false impression that he had said something in praise of the Gujarat chief minister,” he added. “The Maulana never gave Modi any clean chit for what he did against Muslims as chief minister in 2002.”

Meanwhile, in its report submitted to the governing council earlier Sunday morning, the three-member inquiry committee gave Vastanvi a clean chit.

“While two members of the committee opined in favour of Vastanvi’s continuance as vice chancellor, one of the members gave a dissenting note against Vastanvi,” said a Darul Uloom official.

The new vice chancellor, Maulana Abdul Qasim Nomani, told reporters in Deoband, about 400 km from here: “Darul Uloom Majlis-e-Shoora has resolved to terminate the services of Maulana Ghulam Mohammad Vastanvi with immediate effect.”

“With Maulana Vastanvi’s exit, I have automatically assumed the full time office of vice chancellor,” he added.