Published: 17th September 2020
A king once leased his land to AMU, 90 years later his family wants it back with university renamed
The AMU executive council has constituted a panel to look into the matter and submit its report to the varsity administration
In a fresh row, the descendants of late Jat king Mahendra Pratap Singh, who had donated land to various educational institutes, including Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), have demanded the land back from the university claiming that it was given to it on a 90-year lease which had expired last year. They have also demanded the AMU administration to rename its city school after the late king. However, the AMU executive council has constituted a panel to look into the matter and submit its report to the varsity administration.
Officials said that Mahendra Pratap Singh (1886-1979), who was part of the country’s freedom struggle and was a renowned social reformer, had given 3.04 acres of land to the university on lease for constructing a school in 1929. The king himself was an alumnus of the Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College which later became the AMU.
As per the sources close to the late king’s great-grandson Charat Pratap Singh, the family had served a legal notice to the university in 2018 about the expiry of the lease. The informed sources claimed that two pieces of land were given by King Mahendra Pratap Singh to AMU for promoting education. The relatives of the late king are ready to donate the bigger chunk of land next to the one on which AMU’s city school is constructed with the condition that AMU authorities would rename it after the king.
For the other piece of land measuring 1.2 hectares, the family either wants it back or a compensation against it at the current market rate of the land.
Last year, the state cabinet had cleared a proposal to set up a new university in Aligarh, named after the Jat freedom fighter. The main refrain of the state government and especially CM Yogi Adityanath was that the Jat king had given land for establishing the university but his name was not mentioned on any
Mahendra Pratap Singh, who set up a provisional government in exile in Afghanistan during World War I, was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1932. He was also elected to the second Lok Sabha (1957-62) as an independent candidate from Mathura defeating the then Bharatiya Jan Sangh candidate Atal Bihari