Mufti Abul Qasim Nomani, vice-chancellor (V-C) of Darul Uloom, knows the value of his words. He chooses them carefully.
Mufti Abul Qasim Nomani, vice-chancellor, Darul Uloom Deoband, at his office (Virendra Singh Gosain/HT Photo)
“Not a word on Narendra Modi. He is the PM candidate of the BJP. No discussion on him at the moment. Not even in my individual capacity as I am responsible for Darul Uloom. If there is a change in my position in future, I will let you know,” said Nomani.
Nomani took over the charge of the seminary from Ghulam Mohammad Vastanvi, who was sacked in 2011 for allegedly praising Modi. Naturally, Nomani is careful about keep politics and politicians at bay during the poll season.
“Muslims should not expect any political guidance from Darul Uloom. But we’ll definitely raise our voice to safeguard the Constitution, which ensures the rights to education or practise any religion and the freedom of expression. If they come under attack, we will not hesitate to raise our voice,” says Nomani.
Darul Uloom was set up in 1866 by Muslim clerics and is an important seat of the Sunni Islam the world over.
With more than 5,000 students, Darul Uloom has an annual budget of Rs. 25 crore and it doesn’t accept any government grant.
It takes small donations to make a wide range of people stakeholders in the institution and also to keep it free from government control.
“Many of our former students were in the forefront of the freedom movement. Besides being an obligation as a citizen to get the country free, our students deemed it as a religious call as well,” Nomani said.
He said once the country got independence, they strived to establish a democracy where the state won’t have a religion. “Whenever the soul of constitution is under attack our scholars rise.”
Nomani is very clear that Darul Uloom is a religious and community, and not a political, organisation. “In politics, power equations change and parties come and go. Loyalties and opinions change, but we want to keep Darul Uloom above all this.”