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Published On:21 July 2012
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

A new Road Map for AMU

By Md. Aftab Alam

The Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) is one of the oldest and had been one of finest educational institutions not only in India but at global level too. From the very beginning, its pass-outs have registered tremendous success in all walks of life in the different parts of the world. The current Vice-President of India is one of those distinguished alumni of this great seat of learning founded by legendary educationist, visionary, social reformer, historian, journalist and legal luminary of his time, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan.

For long, this institution succeeded in accomplishing the original task and mandate of social, educational and cultural advancement of Muslims in India as also sanctified by the verdict of the Supreme Court of India.

The entire historical trajectory of AMU is matched with the process of nation-building in India in late 19th and 20th century. AMU, thus, carries a long and often conflicting historical baggage. In Indian national historiography it straddles between Jinnah’s description of AMU as arsenal of Pakistan Movement and contributions of various nationalist leaders to India’s struggle for independence.

Leaving aside this conflicting historical labelings, AMU was not founded only as an educational institution but as an ongoing and perpetual movement for inculcation of scientific spirit and carrying forward the process of modernization of a community left in the throes of medievalism and social and educational backwardness.

As a university established by an Act of Parliament, it will complete its 100 years of existence in 2020 - the magic year propagated by Bharat Ratana Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam for India to become a super and globally respectable power not only in military sense but in all other spheres of human existence.

Thus, it becomes incumbent on our part to examine and highlight the current state of affairs prevailing on the campus.

In historical sense, AMU has a long glorious past matched with achievements of any other top universities of the world. But, the present state of affairs shows this institution waning and down sliding and presenting a bleak and precarious future for the mission and vision of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan.

Feudal mindset

Firstly, the deadliest disease which has been gradually killing AMU is the prevalent feudal mentality on the campus. The entire academic community is infected with this disease with varying degree.

At the top of this lush-green campus receiving above 250 crores annually from the central grants and large scale waqf properties of its own sits the incumbent of the office of Vice-chancellor, who very soon develops the old Muslim nostalgia of the raja or nawab. Below him stands a long line-up of darbaris consisting of teaching and non-teaching staffs who leave no chance in falling at the feet of the raja/nawab for lucrative posts like Provosts, Member-in-charge of various departments, Proctorship, DSW etc. etc.

Even the elected members of Academic Council and Executive Council leave no stone unturned in prostrating in front of the nawab like persona of the Vice-Chancellor. The chairpersons of various departments and deans of all faculties hesitate in taking independent and conflicting line of thinking and become supine and spineless before the Vice-chancellor.
The notorious movement of the vice-chancellor on the campus in a cavalcade with blaring red-light, hooters and escort vehicle smacks of a petty district officer’s obsession and projection of power. With a stream of poor students hailing from hinterland of UP and Bihar struggling somehow to survive and finish their studies, the Vice-chancellor roams around in costly luxurious car and enjoys his life in well-furnished bungalow.

The feudal concept with a strong regime of hierarchy chokes and suffocates the spirit of free enquiry and thinking as envisioned by the founding father-Sir Syed Ahmad Khan.
If AMU has to secure a glorious future like its past, it should throw out this psychological hangover of feudal social order whose economic basis has long crumbled.

Corruption

Secondly, the financial corruption is very much rampant in the University. If honestly audited and investigated by an independent agency, the financial business of the campus will definitely throw a can of worms. Huge amounts of money get siphoned off undetected by university officials which often shows the complicity of higher authorities of this University. An independent commission under the Chairmanship of a retired Chief Justice of India including audit and accounts experts should be appointed to look in to the corrupt financial transactions / bungling in the university.

Nepotism

Thirdly, the practices of nepotism and favoritism in the process of the selection of teaching and non-teaching staffs in the university have eaten into the vitals of this university. This has been very much highlighted by the Mathew committee report which detected large scale irregularities in the appointment of teachers in various departments of the university. More surprisingly, even after such disclosures the university administration is yet to take any concrete action or steps to punish those found guilty by the Mathew committee.

Besides, a commission to look into the financial irregularities, another independent commission should be appointed to look into the irregularities practiced during the selection of teachers and other employees in the university from 1978 to 2008, the period which witnessed large scale illegal entry into university employment with fake marksheets, dubious date of birth certificates etc. It is high time, the Ministry of Human Resource Development and University Grants Commission should take up these matters seriously and follow the suggested corrective measures.

The way-out

After examining these symptoms of disease inflicting this historically important educational institution and the nature of its severity, AMU requires fresh injection of ideas and visions which can revitalize and strengthen the sickening foundations of the university.

One and only and the most original dose is the partitioning of this large and unviable university into five different autonomous universities namely- Aligarh Muslim University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Aligarh Muslim University of Legal Studies, Aligarh Muslim University of Science and Technology, Aligarh Muslim University of Medical Sciences, and Aligarh Muslim Women University.

This hammering of one into five pieces will firstly dethrone the lordship of the Vice-chancellor-the surveyor and master of all-turning this august office into the fountain of all practices of corruption, nepotism and favoritism, perfectly matching with the dictum-power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. How can a person with a background of fisheries or law or administration appointed as the Vice-Chancellor be able to judge the appointments in medicine, engineering, mass communication or other specialist courses. The bifurcation of this university into five different specialist branches will be able to remove this distortion.

Moreover, fresh initiative of the establishment of five different universities will generate a whole new road map of the expansion of educational institutions in specialized fields. This initiative is in the perfect conformity with the present geographical setting of AMU. All that is required is a grand vision to take some bold steps.

This challenging task firstly requires a greater political commitment and consensus on the grant of minority and autonomous status to all those five universities enjoying the character of central educational institutions.

This move will give a new thrust and hopefully be successful in pushing forward the original mandate of social, cultural and educational advancement of Muslims of India.

Otherwise, with prevailing conditions at the campus, AMU has a very insecure and precarious future. An institution created to light the lamp of scientific learning; free enquiry and rationality will soon get engulfed into darkness. But all dark clouds have silver lining. To quote Karl Marx from his Theses on Feurbach, philosophers have till now interpreted the world, the time has come to change it.

[Md. Aftab Alam is Assistant Professor at Political Science Department of AMU. He can be contacted at ma.alam.ps@amu.ac.in]

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Posted by Indian Muslim Observer on July 21, 2012. Filed under , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

By Indian Muslim Observer on July 21, 2012. Filed under , , , , . Follow any responses to the RSS 2.0. Leave a response

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