It’s the name which has raised some hackles, though those opposing it are not averse to another university being set up in Karnataka.
The decision of the Union ministry of minority affairs to set up a university on the public-private partnership model in Srirangapatna, 15km from Mysore, and name it after Tipu Sultan, has turned into a bone of contention among political parties.
BJP MLC and spokesperson G Madhusudanopposed it, saying land would not be given to set up the university, while the Congress has taken the stand that the BJP government’s acceptance or rejection hardly matters for setting up of the university.
Ignoring protests, the Union ministry of minority affairs is going ahead with it, along with four other varsities across the country, where minority students will get 50% reservation. The other four universities are planned in West Bengal, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir — all to be set up in association with the Maulana Azad Education Foundation functioning under the ministry.
“It doesn’t matter to us whether the Karnataka government gives us land or not, because being a public-private partnership, we can seek land from private parties. There are many who’ve offered to donate land or the Waqf Board can give it to us,” Union minister for minority affairs K Rahman Khan told TOI on Thursday.
Apart from not being under the state government’s obligation for land, Khan said the five varsities are being started under the Constitution’s Article 31 (rights to minorities to start educational institutions). His ministry has already constituted a panel headed by retired UGC chairman Sukhadeo Thorat to prepare a feasibility report for the five varsities, draw up the syllabus and submit the same by February.
However, Madhusudan feels the varsity, which will have 50% students from the minorities, will disturb communal harmony. “We’ll put pressure on the state government not to support the Centre in establishing the university at Srirangapatna,” he said.
Slamming Madhusudhan, opposition leader in the assembly Siddaramaiah said: “Show me one king in India who kept his sons hostage with the British. He was among the first to take on the British. If someone opposes the Tipu Sultan university being set up, it smacks of casteist feelings.”
WHAT THE TWO CAMPS SAY
It’s a figment of the imagination that the Tipu Sultan university will require 2,000 acres of land. We need only 50-100 acres and many have come forward to give us land . We have not made any request to the Karnataka government, K Rahman Khan, union minister for minority affairs.
There isn’t one but 10 reasons why Tipu Sultan university should not come up. Tipu was a fanatic. He gave only one choice to his people: either accept the Koran or the sword, M Chidanandamurthy, Kannada litterateur.