A former federal Indian minister was given a warm reception by the expatriate community for playing a key role in creating new educational centers affiliated with the historic Aligarh Muslim University (AMU). The event to honor former minister of state for human resources development Mohammad Ali Ashraf Fatmi was organized by Bihar International Society for Welfare and Solidarity (BISWAS). It was attended by a number of Indian nationals in the Saudi capital. “We wanted to thank the minister for the historic efforts that he took while in power to create AMU centers outside and especially in Kishanganj district in India’s northern state of Bihar,” said BISWAS General Secretary Akhtarul Islam. “The minister’s farsightedness has resulted in new educational opportunities for the Muslims of India in general and Bihar in particular,” said BISWAS President Obaidur Rahman. “It was Fatmi’s idea to spread all that is good about AMU to other parts of the country.” Fatmi, an alumnus of AMU, has always been a big votary of the new AMU centers. But there are other leaders in the Indian Muslim community who disagree with his approach saying the creation of new centers will dilute the university’s quintessential residential character. The former minister took full opportunity of the thanksgiving event to explain the reasoning behind the creation of the new centers and the good that is expected to come off these centers. Fatmi said the AMU founder’s dream was to take his message everywhere. “The creation of the new centers is in fact the realization of Sir Syed’s long cherished dream,” he said. “I appreciate Prime Minister Manmohan Singh government’s massive financial aid for the new centers.” Fatmi said he was fortunate to have been in a position as minister to suggest the creation of five new centers. “Even greater reward was the acceptance of the proposal,” he said. Given another chance, he promised to lobby for establishing such centers throughout the length and breadth of India. “Education is the only tool with which we can bring out the Muslims of India from the darkness that they currently find themselves in,” he said and called for the concerted efforts to promote creation of scientific and technical institutions. Guest speakers highlighted the efforts of Akhtarul Iman, the local MLA from Bihar, for taking the lead in setting up the center in Kishanganj. Prominent among those who attended and spoke at the event were businessman and educator Nadeem Tarin, Rashid Ali Shaikh and Tanzeem Hum Hindustani President Mohammed Quaiser. A large number of expatriates from Bihar are gainfully employed in Saudi Arabia. They have remained committed to the welfare of the underprivileged people back home in their state.