A University Grants Commission (UGC) panel, at the behest of the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD), recommended Banaras Hindu University and Aligarh Muslim University that the terms Hindu and Muslim should be dropped from the institutes as they do not reflect secular nature of an educational institution. The key responsibility of the panel was to probe the alleged financial, administrative and academic irregularities in 10 central universities.

After the news broke out, it sparked a huge debate in the political class which later reached social media and the students debated that the name of their alma-mater should remain sacrosanct while another group said that the recommendations are the way forward.

To end the tussle and clear the air, Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar said, “The government has not made any decision to change the name of AMU and BHU.”

“The committee studied various aspects and I have not seen what they have said, but there is neither such decision nor is there any such intention to change the names (of these universities),” the HRD minister told reporters.

“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.