(MENAFN - Arab News) A large number of alumni from India's premier university Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) gathered in the Saudi capital on Friday to celebrate the university's Foundation Day, with a focus on strengthening relations between Saudi Arabia and JMI.
Prof. Akhtarul Wasey, a prominent Indian educationist and a JMI faculty member, who recently won "Padma Shri," a top civilian award of the Indian government, was the chief guest of the event.
Several speakers including Wasey recounted the strong ties that Jamia has had with the Kingdom following the visit of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah to the JMI campus in New Delhi back in 2006.
Khursheed Anwar, president of the Riyadh chapter of the JMI Alumni Association, welcomed the chief guest and attendees.
In his address, Anwar welcomed the chief guest and set the tone of the night function by calling people to promote educational movements like the one JMI started in 1920.
He spoke on the JMI Alumni Association's organizational affairs and thanked everyone, who helped him and his cabinet in successfully completing their two-year tenure.
JMI Alumni Association General Secretary Zafar A. Bari and joint secretary Naushad Alam also spoke on this occasion.
Wasey delivered a potent speech in which he recalled the numerous inventions and discoveries made by Muslim scientists and scholars in the past.
He emphasized the need for an integrated system of education in which "Modern education should be imparted to Muslim students with Islamic theology and jurisprudence."
To this end, he said that the wonders like Taj Mahal, Red Fort and many other monuments of international repute in India were designed and built by graduates of Islamic religious schools (madrasas).
"Great physicians like Ibn Sina and scholars like Ghazali were products of madrasas," he added.
Referring to the position of women, Wasey stressed the need to empower them by educating them and providing them equal opportunities for all-round growth and development as enshrined in the scriptures of Islam. The professor solemnized a happy marriage between Islam and modernity in his speech.
Speaking on his part, General Secretary Bari said that "Muslims in particular and the Indian nation in general can't achieve true development until all sections of the society converge their efforts toward realizing the goal of educational and social development."
Bari said the JMI has produced great men and women including high-profile Bollywood actor Shahrukh Khan and top TV journalist Barkha Dutt.
Mementos were presented to Wasey, Khan, K.N Wasif, a photo journalist, and Murshid Kamal for their distinguished services to the JMI on this occasion.