Ajmer to have world’s first Sufi university

The world’s first university for imparting education on Sufi philosophy will come up very soon in the holy city of Ajmer, the final resting place of Khawaza Moinuddin Hassan Chisty, considered the most famous and influential Sufi saint of the Indian subcontinent.

To be named the Garib Nawaz University, after the title of Gharib Nawaz (benefactor of the poor) bestowed on the Sufi saint, the educational institution would focus on Sufi studies and research.

The dargah of the Sufi saint in Ajmer is a symbol of communal harmony and is visited every year by lakhs of people from all faiths.

Moinuddin Chisty preached Sulh-e-Kul -- peace to all -- concept which promoted understanding goodwill and harmony between Muslims and non-Muslims. He was born in Chishti in the Sistan region of East Persia – now in Afghanistan – but made Ajmer his home where he preached his unique philosophy of peace and universal brotherhood.

The final nod for the Garib Nawaz University was given by the ministry of minority affairs in New Delhi on Tuesday after a meeting between its principal secretary Lalit K Panwar and dargah committee chairman Mohammed Obedulla Sharif and nazim Dr Ansar Ahmed besides representatives from Bihar, Karnataka, West Bengal and Kerala.

According to ministry sources the university would be set up on the lines of Jamia Milia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim universities and would include other streams of studies beside teachings and research on Sufi philosophy.

Speaking to the Hindustan Times over phone from Delhi, Panwar said that a team from the Educational Consultants India Limited (EdCIL) would visit Ajmer around September 10 to prepare a project report for the proposed varsity.

“We have asked them to prepare their report keeping Jamia Milia Islamia, Aligarh Muslim University and Indira Gandhi national Open University as reference models while preparing the report for Garib Nawaz University,” Panwar said. 

EdCIL is a government-owned consultancy and technical service-provider in the fields of education and human resource development. It works under the ministry of human resource development.

Mohammed Obedulla Sharif, chairman of the Ajmer Dargah committee said, “as this would be the first university of its kind in the world, it would provide a big thrust to Sufi teachings and research and provide a platform to scholars from the globe to discuss the saint’s teachings on love and peace”.

The dargah committee would extend all support to the central and state governments to turn the project into a reality, added Sharif.

Dargah committee nazim Dr Ansar Ahmed added that the committee has written to the Rajasthan government asking 500 hectares of land in the Kayad area of the city for developing infrastructure for the university. “We have 80 hectares of land of our own in Kayad where initially we can begin our work,” Ahmed added.


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