How students in Maulana Azad University fought prejudices to elect a Kashmiri president

By Anayat Ali Shah for

If you are following campus elections, chances are your attention has remained mainly on the Delhi University elections and the Jawaharlal University elections. But in Hyderabad, the student elections in Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) have given a lot of reasons to cheer too. A Kashmiri student, Tajamul Islam has won the presidential elections in the University, that too with a huge margin.

Support TwoCircles

This is also first time in the history of Indian academics that a Kashmiri student has contested on the presidential position and won the same. The romance behind this eccentric triumph is that, it happened during the midst of current uprising in the Valley. On one side, Kashmir is bleeding, under siege for more than two months. About 80 people have been killed and thousands have been left injured. On the other side, a budding Kashmiri scholar has emerged like a star in the MANUU main campus.


It is a symbolic win that sends a message to the Indian polity that Kashmiris are capable of everything, provided they get the space, love and harmony. To the people people of India, who wish to see the Kashmiriyat, Insanyat and Jamhooriyat from the masses of the bruised Valley, I wish to remind that since the very beginning of the partition and accession, Kashmiris have displayed Insaniyat and Kashmiryat time and gain. When whole of India was burning in the fire of communal hatred during the partition, Kashmir was in peace and enjoying their communal harmony which compelled Mahatma Gandhi to utter, “I have seen a ray of hope in Kashmir”. Recently, when an elderly Hindu woman died in the heart of city, Srinagar and the Kashmiri Muslim brethren defied the curfew to cremate her dead body, this is Kashmiryat and Insanyat. During Amarnath Yatra, a bus loaded with Hindu pilgrims met road accident, fell down in the Jhelum river and nobody dared to rescue them, again, Kashmiri Muslims came out from their vandalised houses, defied curfew and rescued them, took them to the nearby hospital even offered their blood, this is Kashmiryat and Insanyat.

In return, poor, innocent Kashmiris are receiving inhuman treatment in the form of pellets and bullets, leaving them blinded or worse, dead. If this is called democracy, then sorry, no Human can accept this new religion (democracy).

However, students in the campus of MANUU have changed the whole narrative by electing a Kashmiri boy as their president. Despite being fed false and biased information about Kashmir conflict by Indian media, these students have seen a ray of hope in a Kashmiri boy, whom they elected beyond all the prejudices like regional and religion bias etc.

Tajamul is a resident of Bandipora, one of the worst-affected area in Kashmir in the current crises too. However, he has seen a ray of love in the hearts of youth of India that have been misguided from different quarters about Kashmiris. The youth of conflicted Kashmir are suffering from psychological ailments that demand extra care and special treatment from the centre. But the treatment, they are receiving are drifting them towards the point of alienation, from where it is difficult to come out.

Kashmir is the land of harmony and its people are peace lovers, but the broken promises and the harsh treatment on the part of both state and central government shattered their hopes and aspirations. Moreover, National media is too responsible for their predicament which is continuously adding fuel to the fire in which poor innocent Kashmiris are burning. People of Kashmir are waiting for a shower of love that could extinguish the fire and can halt the lava which has been coming out rigorously through the current crises. Further, it can pave the way for Kashmir solution according to its nature of dispute. Let me conclude with the couplets of Faraz:

Tum Apney Aqeedey Key Naizey Har Dil Me Utarey Jatey Ho,

Ham Log Mohabbat Waley Hai Tum Khanjar Kew Lehratey Ho.

Iss Shehar Me Nagmey Basney Do, Iss Shehar Me Ham Ko Rehney Do,

Ham Palan Haar Hai Phooley Key, Ham Khushboo Ke Rakhwaley Hai,

Tum Kiss Ka Laho Peeney Aaye Ho, Ham Pyaar Sikhaney Waley Hai


(Thou are piercing the spears of pseudo faith into every heart

We are the people of love; thou art rippling the swords in the air

Let melody live in this city, let us live in this city

We are the guardians of flowers; we are the saviours of sweet smells

Whose blood thou want to gulp, we are the teachers of love).

The author is a Ph.D student in the Department of English, MANUU