AMU considering renaming its school after Raja Mahendra Pratap

Committee to be formed to negotiate with descendants of former royal

After the descendants of Mahendra Pratap demanded that the land leased out to Aligarh Muslim University by the erstwhile Raja of Mursan (in Hathras district) be returned to them, the Executive Council of the university has authorised Vice-Chancellor Tariq Mansoor to form a committee to negotiate with the family members.

“The Raja gave the university 3.04 acres of land on a 90-year lease in 1929 that expired in 2019 and since then negotiations are going on with the family members of Mahendra Pratap,” said Shafey Kidwai, University spokesperson.

The said land is divided into two parts. On one part, AMU City High School is functioning and on the adjoining area, Tikona park is situated.

Sources said the family had made a fresh proposal whereby the land of the park amounting to 1.2 acres be returned to them and the school be named after Raja Mahendra Pratap. “The committee is actively considering it,” said the source, refusing to be identified.

Charat Pratap Singh, the great-grandson of Mahendra Pratap, told reporters that he didn’t want a functioning educational institution to shut down but he did want the contribution of Mahendra Pratap in the establishment of the university to be acknowledged.

The BJP units of Aligarh and Hathras have also been raising this demand for some time now.

“A distinguished alumnus of Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College, Raja Mahendra Pratap (1869-1979) is acknowledged as a great freedom fighter and philanthropist,” countered Rahat Abrar, Director Urdu Academy, who has collected historical details of the Raja’s family’s association with the university.

“His great grandfather Raja Teekam Singh, and father Raja Ghanshyam Singh of Mursan were also close to Sir Syed Ahmad Khan. Teekam Singh contributed Rs 800 for the construction of the Scientific Society building at Aligarh. Ghanshyam Singh donated a sum of Rs 1500 for the construction of a room of the boarding house. This room still exists with a plaque in the premises of Sir Syed Hall,” he said.

He reminded Raja Mahendra Pratap was made the chief guest of the centenary celebrations of MAO College in 1977, as the oldest surviving distinguished alumnus of the College.

A Leftist in his political outlook, Mahendra Pratap is best remembered for forming the provisional government of India in Afghanistan in 1915. In the 1957 Lok Sabha elections, fighting as an independent from Mathura, he defeated Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who was the candidate of Bhartiya Jan Sangh.

In 2019, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, while addressing an election rally in Iglas, announced the formation of a university named after him in the region. Last week, he directed officials to expedite work on the project during a meeting with the bureaucrats of the region.

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