One of the most renowned central universities in India, Jamia Millia Islamia is celebrating its founder's day today. Significantly, it is one of the few educational institutions which came into being in response to the nationalist call of freedom struggle to boycott educational institutions supported or run by the British colonial rule.
This institution, which garnered immense support from the freedom activists as it battled initial challenges of establishment, stands proudly today as an epitome of communal harmony.
Hakim Ajmal Khan, one of the founders, was elected the first chancellor of Jamia on 22 November 1920. Mohamed Ali Jauhar became Jamia's first Vice Chancellor, as Allama Iqbal could not accept the offer made through Gandhiji.
The institution suffered an acute financial crisis after the Khilafat Movement ended since JMI received funding from the same. At this time, Gandhiji came forward and as an encouragement said, "The Jamia has to run. If you are worried about its finances, I will go about with a begging bowl." One of Ganhiji's son also studied in the university.
In 1925, Dr Zakir Hussain left the University of Berlin to serve at JMI. One of the significant movements which he initiated was to start popular evening classes for adult education. This moved on to become an institution called Idara-i-Taleem-o-Taraqqi in 1938.
The Partition riots which shook the nation did effect Jamia but the campus remained relatively calm.Gandhi said that the campus remained "an oasis of peace in the Sahara" of communal violence. However, books worth Rs 7 lakh were burnt during the turmoil
The first building of the university in Okhla (where the university is currently based) was a school which was established on 1 March 1935.
The Government of India issued a stamp on 29 October 1970, in commemoration of university's golden jubilee.
By a Special Act of the Parliament, Jamia Millia Islamia was made a central university of India in December 1988.