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Has Alam, who stole the show at JNU polls, studied at Jamia?

The students’ union election at Jawaharlal Nehru University was held today. However, one man who grabbed headlines during the Jawaharlal Nehru University Student Union (JNUSU) elections was independent candidate M D Farooque Alam. His story was carried by most dailies pointing out how Alam stole the show at the night-long presidential debate with his witty speech and hit out at student political outfits for indulging in ideological wars.

Following his popularity, some former Jamia students, who know are studying in JNU, started talking about him and many thought that he was from Jamia Millia Islamia. On being probed, it was known that Alam never studied at Jamia. A student said Alam had qualified Jamia’s entrance school exam way back but could not get admission due to his age and it was this that many in the circle talked about his studies at Jamia. Alam was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when he was as young as 5-6 years old.

All told, sources said from day one of the campaign Alam grabbed other students’ attention. On the last night of presidential debate this is what Alam said as reported by PTI: “All their movements would start with a ‘Lal Saalam’, but ends with a selfie. Left showed me a dream of aazadi, but later told I was wrong to dream about it. BAPSA played ‘Shakuni’ in JNUSU movements. The ABVP is known for its goon culture and imposition of nationalism.”

Seven candidates are in the fray for the post of the students’ union president.

Alam’s come from a humble background from Bihar with his father being a farmer and mother housewife. Alam’s tryst with JNU began in 2013 when he started doing his undergraduate degree in Russian. Currently, he is studying Master’s in language.

He said he worked between 2016 and 2017 with Google as a translator.

“When I first came to campus, I had a curiosity to learn what student politics is, what are elections, who is contesting, etc. Then I slowly started getting involved in activism on campus. I thought I had heard enough, and it was now time to speak,” he told The Hindustan Times.

A JNU student said Alam was once a member of the All India Students Association but he left. “A major reason for this was that I felt they were too concerned with what is happening outside campus and never addressed campus issues or students’ problems. They were concentrating on Modi and his politics,” Alam told the daily.

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