Banaras Hindu University and Aligarh Muslim University might be in the process of a re-christening as the University Grants Commission (UGC) panel has recommended that words like Hindu and Muslim should be dropped from the institutes as they do not reflect secular nature of an educational institution. This panel was formed on the recommendation of Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) and the key responsibility of the panel was to probe the alleged financial, administrative and academic irregularities in 10 central universities.

“Centrally funded universities are secular institutions but such words related to religion in their names do not reflect that character”, a panel member said on the condition of anonymity.

The universities can be simply called Aligarh University and Banaras University or be renamed after their founders, the panel member added. “The committee suggested that AMU could also be named after its founder, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan,” he said.

The suggestion is contained in an audit of AMU by one of five committees set up by the University Grants Commission (UGC) in April this year.

Some other universities that are being audited by the panel are the prestigious Allahabad University, Central University of Jharkhand, Central University of Rajasthan, Central University of Jammu, Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalaya in Wardha, University of Tripura and Pondicherry University.

The UGC panel recommendations are sure to stir-up a heated debate as many students of these institutes have taken to social media saying that the name of their alma-mater should remain sacrosanct while another group says that the recommendations are the way forward.

Moreover, there is bound to be a political debate over these names as they stir up the sentiments of a large vote banks in both the regions.