Breaking the Janmashthami Fast at AMU

Gracious Festivities at AMU

Numerous rumors based on preconceptions have been spread and continue to be spread about Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) throughout the country, labeling my town of Aligarh as a dark area. Fulfilling my father’s dream I came here to pursue law. Initially I was also wary of the name, Aligarh Muslim University, but conversations with my father convinced me, I overcame my reservations and came here to study.

When I joined AMU, I was totally unaware about the culture of AMU, of Muslims per se and also carried many of the prevalent stereotypes. I had assumed that I had to study within an overall communally polarized atmosphere. As time passed, however, I began experiencing those hidden secrets and values within this marvelous university which I would have never experienced if I had not the privilege to study here. The university is known for its tehzeeb, tameez and taleem (culture and education)

From the very beginning, the people of Aligarh helped me around, in every way, making me comfortable. Spending two years here was not a difficult time for me.

When I secured a seat in the Abdullah hall I went in the office of the provost. Due to the weather she had asked me to wear cotton instead of synthetic clothes in summer. ‘Haan,’ , I replied (okay). She asked me to use “ji” instead of “haan” while speaking with elders. That was my first lesson ever at the AMU, a demonstration of its tehzeeb. From that day on I was marked, and when I visit home, my people say that I have been instilled, changed, with etiquette and values.

Every day at this university I learn something new, some things, good things about ‘Muslim’ values; I have tried to instill them within into a habit. I owe a lot to this University.

Just a few days ago, just before Krishna Janmashthami, I experienced something unique. I had offered a fast that day on the occasion of Krishna Janmasthamai. I was hungry all the day and I believed that being in a Muslim university with most of the Hindus being less in number, we won’t be provided special food that is served to us, normally on breaking this fast ritual.

What a surprise awaited me when I reached the AMU dining hall. My hunger and starvation vanished. Not only were they serving “poori, sabzi and kheer  and pulao” to all the students but they also provided food for the students who offered fast that day. When I asked the helper for my food, she asked me to follow her inside, into the kitchen and served me food which had kuttu ki pooriyan, saboodane ki kjeer , zeera aloo and dahi. I couldn’t believe my eyes and tears burst forth in appreciative nostalgia. I started crying. She hugged me to herself and said, “Bibiji we all are here for you, go and eat well”.

Therefore, I can proudly say…..

Yes this is my university.


Here people love each other.

They respect each other.

They respect every religion.

And, here there in no discrimination on the basis of religion      
(The author is a student at the BA LLB Course at AMU)



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