'Whoever praises Narendra Modi is cruel and brutal'
Maulana Ghulam Mohammad Vastanvi, the new vice-chancellor of Darul Uloom Deoband tells Gyan Varma that he never praised Narendra Modi
You became the vice-chancellor of Darul Uloom recently and now there are reports you are going to resign. So, when are you going to put in your papers?
Darul Uloom is a 145-year-old institution and I have been part of it for the past 12 years. Because of the recent developments, I have called a meeting of the Majlis-e-Shoora or the governing council on February 23.
I have decided to give my resignation to them on that day and I will abide by whatever decision the council takes. There is no reason to resign before that because there is a process of resigning. I cannot resign on any day I choose; things have to be done according to the rules of this institution.
Since the governing council or the Majlis-e-Shoora is scheduled to meet on February 23, what do you expect from the meeting as the students are demanding your resignation much before that?
This is a completely baseless charge that all the students are against me and they want me to quit as soon as possible. I think there are only a few students and members of Darul Uloom who have demanded my resignation.
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Image: Darul Uloom Deoband. (Inset) Maulana Ghulam Mohammad Vastanvi
Photographs: vijay pandey9/Flickr
'My dignity is nothing compared to the dignity of Darul Uloom'
When I was there recently, I saw only 15-17 students protesting outside my office. I immediately called a meeting of my staff and asked them to speak to the students.
Though some students immediately called off the protests, we had to suspend nine students who had decided to protest and not attend classes. However, soon they also agreed to attend classes and we called them back.
The only reason I have decided to resign is that students are suffering because of this.
Darul Uloom is an institution and its reputation must not get affected because of the actions of a few students. My dignity is nothing compared to the dignity of Darul Uloom and I don't want the institution and its students to suffer because of all this trouble in this historic institution.
'Modi is cruel and brutal and anyone who praises him is also brutal like him'
Some people have started calling you a 'Modi fan' after reports that you had praised Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. What did you say that has upset so many people in Darul Uloom?
I have never praised Narendra Modi. How can I praise him? This is an utter lie. Modi is cruel and brutal and anyone who praises him is also brutal like him. It is all because of a particular newspaper.
The newspaper had wrongly quoted me in a story and if you read the entire article, I have not praised Modi anywhere there.
There is no question of forgetting the 2002 Gujarat riots in which so many Muslims were brutally killed. How can the Muslims of Gujarat ever forget that their children and family members were killed, women were raped and shops and businesses were ruined in the riots? The entire economy of the Muslims was destroyed.
Image: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/Rediff.com
'When we have already lost so much in the riots, there is no point sitting and crying over it?'
What I had meant in my earlier statement was that people should get on with their lives and let the criminal investigation and court cases continue. When we have already lost so much in the riots, there is no point sitting and crying over it.
We are upset, but we have worked towards rebuilding our lives and the lives of our dear ones again. We have to ensure our children get education, health facilities and jobs.
Do you think you are being targeted because you are from Gujarat and Darul Uloom is in Uttar Pradesh? Is it true that regional politics has worked against you?
This is not about Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh; it is not true. I have been in the Majlis-e-Shoora for the past 12 years and there has never been any problem. Earlier, there were three people from Gujarat in the governing council, but one member died recently and now we have two.
Muslims all around the world are concerned about Darul Uloom and what is happening there. We have to live up to their expectations.
Image: A survivor of the 2002 riots in Gujarat rifles through what is left of his shop on July 7, 2002
Photographs: Amit Dave/Reuters
'Nobody is afraid of me in Darul Uloom'
It is being said the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind is behind the anti-Vastanvi wave in Deoband. How do you react to such charges? Do you believe members of the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind are behind the entire campaign against you? There are also some reports that a Congress leader is behind the campaign against you. Your comments.
I will not answer this question.
There are many who see you as a modern Muslim leader who has introduced modern education techniques in madrassas. Are your adversaries afraid of your MBA degree and your reputation?
Nobody is afraid of me in Darul Uloom. Deoband is an international organisation and it is involved in different areas of work. I am not new to Deoband, so there is no reason for anyone to be afraid of me. We all know each other very well.