The Arjun Singh Centre for Distance and Open Learning was inaugurated by University Grants Commission Chairman S K Thorat this evening. Earlier in the day, the road leading to Mujeeb Bagh Teachers' Housing Complex in the varsity, also named after the minister, was opened.
The road, named Shahrah-I-Arjun Singh, was inaugurated by M Rais Khan, president of the Jamia Teachers' Association. The University's Vice Chancellor Mushir-ul-Hasan justified the naming of the road and the centre after the minister, saying, "It is our Executive Council's unanimous decision.
"No HRD Minister has taken so much interest in Jamia's development as he has." Jamia had "full freedom to take its decisions", Hasan told journalists, adding they should have no problem with this. "Arjun Singh is the only HRD minister to give us special grants for infrastructure development. Hence the road was named after him," Khan said.
Singh himself inaugurated the Noam Chomsky complex in the campus that will house the Centre for Jawaharlal Nehru Studies, the Munshi Premchand Archives and Literary Centre and a boys' hostel.
While Hasan declined to answer questions whether Singh's consent had been taken before naming the road and centre after him, the minister too refused to answer any queries. "If you don't like it you can bring it down," Singh shot back. Speaking after inaugurating the complex named after Chomsky, Singh talked about Jamia's historical background when it was shifted from Aligarh to Karol Bagh in Delhi way back in 1925.
Quoting Mahatma Gandhi's remarks when Jamia was shifted to Delhi, he said, "Jamia has to run. If you are worried about its finances, I will go about with a begging bowl. "All I can say is that Jamia has been and shall be a different seat of learning," he noted. Singh said the funding Jamia receives today is testimony to the tenacity and resoluteness of the institution and its founders.
He had special praise for the Vice Chancellor and said the varsity had witnessed the "...virtual unleashing of its creative potential under his leadership". "We got special grants of Rs 40 crore in 2005 and Rs 150 crore in 2006 after Singh became HRD minister," Khan said. Besides the special grants, the varsity is getting regular grants too, he said.