Salman Khurshid - Introduction of a Modern Leader
Salman Khurshid (b 1953, Aligarh) did his schooling at St. Xavier's School (Patna), Delhi Public School (Mathura Road, New Delhi), and college from St. Stephens College (Delhi University) and St. Edmund Hall (Oxford). He then taught Law at the Trinity College, Oxford. A renowned legal thinker and a practicing senior advocate at the Supreme Court of India, he is known for his varied interests in different fields. He leaves a monumental impression in every field of endeavour he engages in and always looks for new vistas of action. As an educationist his calibre is unparalleled. In the capacity of President of Delhi Public School Society he took remarkable steps to expand this elite institution network from 14 to 75 schools in India as well as abroad. He established in Mewat, Haryana (a totally backward area where literacy is abysmal) 3 satellite branches of DPS for the poor and disadvantaged. His vision to impart modern education in the schools like the Islamia Schools without disturbing the basic religious ethos will become the guiding spirit for other institutions of Muslims and perhaps a harbinger of modern education amongst them. He has also taken bold initiatives to introduce languages of different linguistic groups, like Urdu in the DPS curriculum.
Salman Khurshid plunged into politics as an heir to a political legacy but because he wanted to do that uniquely with a difference. He abhors the stereotype Muslim leader model, surviving on emotional sloganeering and pushing the community to political suicide. Nor does he see himself as a "secular leader" sadly cut off from the mainstream. The image of Salman Khurshid is of a national leader who is by faith a Muslim, whose family legacy points to the issues of Muslims, but who sees the solution to their grievances in educational advancement. He repudiates the thesis of their shedding their identity to prove their Indianness.
With very clear views about the Urdu speaking uneducated Muslims, Salman Khurshid took up the issue of Urdu as a means of imparting education maintaining all along that Urdu is the language of national integration. Abandoning Urdu means abandoning the history of five hundred years. History, even when we do not like it, is precious as a memory of a nation. Hence, he committed himself to the agenda of inclusion of Urdu in the secular education system. He has a clear understanding that Urdu can survive only if promoted at school level education. He believes that traditional discussions and debate on Urdu literature, culture and identity will be ineffective for the survival of Urdu language. Hence, the only way for Urdu is in reviving formal Urdu education in its own script. This will be the rallying slogan of the coming times and Salman Khurshid hopes to lead that movement.
Salman Khurshid has actively addressed many public concerns. He has devoted himself to the welfare of common masses and has opened various big and small educational institutions including schools, ITIs for girls, Computer Centres with Urdu DTP; an orthopaedic hospital and other welfare projects such as water-management. His work has enthused the common people of Farrakhabad and the district is emerging as a model civil society.
Most recently he has planned a university for technical education of the minorities that will be set up in the vicinity of Lucknow. Initially an Engineering college will be established. This will be ready by 2004 and will eventually grow into a university. A College for Rural and Agriculture Engineering, School of Nursing, a Dental college and a Medical college will follow the Engineering College. For this purpose the Modern Education Foundation has been established which has purchased 200 acres of land near Lucknow.
The Modern Education Foundation also intends to establish a chain of English Medium High Schools and Senior Secondary Schools. The idea behind this is that in absence of such schools, aspiring Muslim students will not be able to cope with the modern competition. They need schooling of high quality that will enable them to compete with the best in the world.