MUMBAI: Maharashtra Government has not presented Mehmood-ur-Rehman committee report before the assembly, but a lot of its content has been leaked out to media even before the report was presented to the Chief Minister. One recommendation, as reported in media, is about Ismail Yusuf College based in Jogeshwari East, Mumbai.
This college was founded in 1920. In 1914, Sir Mohammed Yusuf offered a donation of Rs.8-00 lakhs to then Bomaby province government under British Raj on the condition that the provincial government may buy a piece of land and construct a first class government college for promotion of higher studies among Muslim students.
The condition also included that Muslim students will be preferred in admission although doors of this college may be open for students of all communities. The donor, Sir Mohammed Yusuf Ismail was helped in his endeavor by Sir Agha Khan and Ibrahim Rehmatullah, for construction of a first grade government college, which may promote the cause of higher education among Muslim Youth. Although, the donor put it at the discretion of the then British Governor of Bombay, he expressed that this College may be affiliated to University of Bombay and it must be located at either in Mumbai or Pune.
After a long discussion as well as interventions of Sir Agha Khan and Ibrahim Rehmatullah, the Governor in Council accepted the offer and donation of Sir Mohammed Yusuf. The council informed about its willingness by a letter to the donor on June 24, 1919.
The British government also accepted that Muslim students will get preference in admissions to this college. The finance department, Bombay provincial government, in its letter dated August 16, 1991, gave consent and a GR was issued for construction of the college to be named as Ismail Yusuf College.
After scrutinizing many plots in Juhu, Vile Parle, Bandra, Santacruz, a plot ad-measuring 62 acres was purchased on the eastern side of Jogeshwari railway station. A spacious building of the college along with hostel and a mosque was constructed as per the agreement with the donor.
Thus Sir Ismail Yusuf College of Arts and Science began imparting higher education among Muslims although students of other communities were also given admission. This continued smoothly till independence.
But after independence, in the name of secularism and constitution, Muslims were cheated and back stabbed by the then Bombay province government, free India. In the name of article 20(20) of constitution of India, Muslim character of college and preference for Muslim students in admissions were abolished.
The State Education Department said that preference of Muslims in admissions is against the secular spirit of constitution. Government maintained that it is a government college and as a new constitution was adopted by the country on 26th January, 1950, it cannot honor the agreement which was entered into by Bombay Province Government in British time with the donor Sir Ismail Yusuf.
Muslims must argue that not only the College was constructed, but 62 acre land was also purchased from the donation of Rs.8-00 lakhs offered by Sir Mohammed Yusuf, so, this huge plot of land must also be used for the promotion of higher education of Muslims. During the last 65 years, while Muslims have been busy in a battle for regaining the College in courts and in political fields, the government silently allotted a large portion of Ismail Yusuf College land for a temple, a Marathi school, some public servant quarters and a large gymnasium whereas some portion has been encroached by slums.
Some floors of the hostels have been allotted to government departments for running offices.Now it is said, from reliable sources, that 25 acres of land remain as open plot, out of 62 acres of the original plot in Ismail Yusuf College Complex. Market value of this prime land is more than Rs.2500 Crore. On the western railway line, one may not find such a huge open plot of 25 acres at a walking distance from the railway station.
If this open plot is allotted to Muslim educational institutions, for setting up medical or engineering or professional colleges, then, it may be in accordance with the will of the donor. The State Government has already allotted a lot of land from this complex for a temple, Marathi school, government offices, gymkhana, sports complex and housing quarters, so if Muslims make a united demand, why it cannot allot remaining 25 acres of open plot, in Ismail Yusuf College complex, even if all the cases filed in the courts, continue in the courts?
Muslims are being cheated by politicians who misuse this issue for their personal political gain without a concrete solution. Muslims demand that government must return Ismail Yusuf College to Muslims. There are a few cases being heard in courts for the last few decades. Politicians deceive Muslim leaders, that as the matter of returning Ismail Yusuf College is subjudice, the government cannot take any decision till the verdict.
If Muslims will wait for the verdict, the remaining 25 acres of open plot of land, which is valued at more than Rs.2500 Crores today, which may possibly double in a few years down the line, will be allotted to many other schools, colleges, sports clubs of other communities. State Home Department is also eyeing on this plot for constructing a huge police colony, the sources said.
So, as a first step towards regaining Ismail Yusuf College, Muslims must demand that the State Government must allot this 25 acres open plot of land exclusively to Muslim Educational organizations for education purpose. After getting hold on this precious and comparatively huge piece of land available, they must proceed to other demands of handing over Ismail Yusuf College, for which they will have to wait for the cases to be heard and verdict be delivered.
Till then, Muslims themselves can build other colleges like Ismail Yusuf college in the same complex, if they get hold of the 25 acres of open plot left out of 62 acre of the original land. Otherwise they will lose this last piece of 25 acres, as they lost 37 acres of land from the original Ismail Yusuf Complex plot to Government, slums, government offices, sports complexes, Marathi school and a temple.
Will Muslims wake up to make a new strategy to regain Ismail Yusuf College at Jogeshwari ?