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What ails AMU?

By Jasim Mohammad

In the dead of night on 16th September, 2007 a student of B.Sc, Mazhar Naim of Meerut was murdered cold blooded just behind a hostel. The news sent shock waves among students and academicians alike. Shock gave way to anger and by morning the University campus was up in flames. Most important buildings like the Vice- Chancellor’s Lodge, AMU Teachers’ staff club and the Proctor Office were put on burning pyre. Throughout the night arson, looting and destruction went on without hindrance. Policemen deputed on the V.C. Lodge hid their weapons in the bushes instead of firing to contain the violence. Just 400 meters away, the police establishment of the district was watching without any action. The proctor was missing instead of facing the students. The Vice Chancellor, Prof. P.K. Abdul Azis said that “the recent violence in the campus was the most unfortunate accident of his life”. Perhaps Sir Syed was restless in his grave just few hundred meters away. Why one of the internationally known institutions of learning had a quick slide towards violence?

In the last six month three students have been killed. All the murders have been executed in a bizarre way. No clue has been found even thought there are rumours that the incidents are result of the politics on campus. Whatever may be the reason, but the sad fact is that innocent students have been victims of violence and the administration is failing to provide them a secure campus

Not a single murder has been solved till writing the piece. This inaction on the part of the administration has developed a fear psychosis among students. They are feeling insecure within the campus. This insecurity leads them to the frustration which bursts in the form of violence on slight pretexts. No doubt the University administration is taking steps but either they are incommunicable to the students on failing to yield results.

The murder of Mulla Md. Sabit Ali on 8th April, 2007 had also generated violence. The then VC Naseem Ahmad had resigned one month prior to his term end. Unfortunately thereafter another student Kausar Salik Mazhar of B. Tech belonging to Bihar was gunned down on April 25th, 2007. The case was handed over to the CBI but the prime investigating agency has also failed in booking the culprits. The burning question being asked in the campus is how long such negativism will go on?

Now let’s take a glance at the academicians. Most of the faculty members are honest and try to educate our next generation as best as they could. But some are freely engaged in activities other than teaching. Politics is being played to grab administrative posts and this urge of power, however tiny that may, also generate jealousy and politics within otherwise learned teachers. Whatever in the University happens, happens because such teachers encourage rowdy students to settle score with their rivals. Is such a thing proper for that section of the society which is supposed to infuse good citizenship in the students?

Those who love Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) and those who get inspiration from the sacrifices of Sir Syed are deeply concerned for the deteriorating situation. Present VC, Prof. PK Abdul Azis has taken some meaningful and constructive steps as soon as he took over the reins of University on 11th June, 2007. He put emphasis on research projects and compelled staff to act. He paid attention towards dining halls and improved living conditions of the hostels. Soon after the trouble, he announced closure of the University not in a hurry but due to well thought strategy and that is to combat evil elements. His actions are paying results. Common students have left to their homes without any murmur. FIR has been lodged against 21 people for violence on campus. Investigations in the murder of Mazhar Naim are ongoing.

A very important point is that no compensation has been given to the family of any victim. Uttar Pradesh government and the AMU administration both are immune to this aspect. In fact the parents who have lost their sons must have been compensated although no compensation can compensate them.

This is the time when AMU fraternity comprising old boys, students and teachers should rally behind the Vice Chancellor and support his efforts of revivals of Sir Syed’s legacy. If we fail at this crossroad, I feel we will not get another opportunity to correct the things.

“zarrat ka bosa lene ko, sau baar jhuka aakash yahan
khud aankh se humne dekhi hai, batil ki shikaste fash yahan”

(‘hunderds of times, the sky has bowed to kiss the earth here, and we have seen with our own eyes the retreat of the Un-truth here’)

Jasim Mohammad of Millat Bedari Muhim Committee can be reached by email: [email protected]