Aligarh Muslim University Vice
Chancellor Prof. P K Abdul Azis talks to Dr Malik Rashid Faisal on
the turbulent situation in the campus when he assumed office in 2007
and how he restored peace by pushing out criminals, and on how he
utilized funds to create and strengthen academic environment and to
launch new programs.
completed over one year as VC in AMU. What problems and hindrances
you faced here and to what extent overcame?
I came to this
university on the context of the very turbulent situation I was not
fully aware of. Only after I came here I knew the gravity and depth
and dimensions of the complexity of the situation. The whole campus
was under criminalized environment largely created and nurtured by
student union leaders. They collaborated from outside and even
murder of two students did not touch the consciousness of Aligarh.
They simply took it as normal thing and like that. No body took
introspection to correct the situation. The vice chancellor had to
run away from the campus overnight because of the threat posed by
students and respective teachers. Nobody told me about the gravity
of the situation so I had to discover it myself. Then started
further turmoil by some sections of the students going beyond dharna
padarshan. Then suddenly another murder happened in the campus .That
incidents were really shocking. Everything was shocking to me
because from day one I regularly interacted with the students. I
went to premises of the hostels, went to their rooms to understand
the problems along with the union leaders and their fans hoping that
they will be essential partners in running the university. When the
news of the murder came to me I ran to the hospital. Police said
that students are having some other notice.
So they whisked
me out of the hospital and told me your life is under threat. By
midnight they started setting the VC house on fire, they plundered
the whole house and destroyed the entire building, and all rooms
except my bedroom were ransacked. So that was the most painful and
frightening experience. They burned the university buildings built
by Sir Syed, I don't know how the students did that all. So we had
to put the university under sine die. That was a very painful
decision but entire campus was in difficult situation. That was the
decision that the university took. At the end of the day we cleaned
all the nonsense, removed 200 illegal occupants from the hostels.
Criminals were living in the hostels without anything. One had no
courage to go and ask anything. The whole campus was brought under
fear psychosis created by these so called union leaders.
What do you
think are the reasons that students are not that much competitive
here as in Kerala or in other parts?
It was the lack
of academic environment. First time the then vice chancellor Ali
Ahmad was attacked by student union, he was injured. Then the AMU
began to slate down in terms of difficult academic environment. Our
community leaders also did not try to correct the situation. The
union leaders systematically eroded the values. They felt that they
are running the University. Every VC in his term faced violence. In
this way when the discipline had gone, everything else collapsed.
Union leaders having zero attendance were given 100 % attendance. In
prestigious places we do not find such bad things. Excellence from
both the teachers and students is required to create a good academic
environment and it should be nurtured on a sustained basis.
What steps have
you taken for academic rejuvenation so far?
I have placed an
agenda for academic rejuvenation. The main proposal is that teachers
should focus to nurture the students. We should try to develop
research projects. We should also try to bring more funds from
external agencies and finally teachers should come forward to do the
research projects. If you have your research published you will be
known throughout the world. At least one paper should be published
per teacher annually. We have 2000 research scholars. The research
guides should ensure that the scholars complete their projects in 3
years. Presently they are taking more than 5 years. So they should
focus on their research and utilize their talent for the community.
Are you getting
the full cooperation of students and teachers in all your endeavors?
has entered into a new era where the rule of law should prevail.
Though I am facing a lot of resistance here but I am trying to
introduce new ethos and people are falling in line.
It is said that
the funds from the government have not been utilized properly in AMU
so what is the need to create more funds?
Whatever fund we
have received has been fully utilized. It is a misunderstanding that
we are not utilizing the available funds. We have not received Rs 7
crore for the Engineering department as claimed by Minister of state
for Human Resources while addressing the alumni meet. We are in dire
need of money. If we want to do something, money has to come down.
That's why I am looking for more funds to create a good academic
environment. Teachers and students have to nurture it. In Kerala
grass root level of primary education is decisive and competition is
buzzword there. In this University the library is not being fully
utilized. Then how come the competitiveness will emerge.
What are the
major recommendations of the reforms committee you set up and when
they will be implemented?
recommendations of the reforms committee set up under the
chairmanship of former Pro Vice Chancellor M Saleemuddin have been
put on the University website. We have sent it to all teachers, the
members of the board, the academic council, chairmen of the
departments to get their feedback. Once we get the feedback we will
send it to the academic council for approval.
Muslims have a
lot of apprehensions about the minority character of the University
in danger. What is your stand in this regard?
character is well inside the Act but Allahabad High Court had an
objection in the minority character. The issue is now with the
Supreme Court. As of now we have to follow the court order regarding
admissions. We have formed a committee of the executive council to
handle the case in a best possible and professional manner.
A large number
of students come to AMU from Madrasas. They are mostly admitted in
non professional courses. Are you doing something for them?
We are trying to
bring Madrasas into the University system. We are affiliating them
with the University. The only problem is with their syllabi. We have
set up a committee in this regard and efforts are going on. This is
also the policy of the government as it is trying to bring the
Madrasas to the mainstream.
students union is dysfunctional in AMU. Lingdoh Committee has
clearly given the guidelines for students unions. What is your
stand? Why the students union can not function here like in any
union in the last several years has made the campus the hub of
criminals. Parents send their students to learn and not to involve
in a criminal activity. I saw the University vandalized. They
involve in all the crimainal activities. They take money from
contractors. So the University now needs a healing touch. AMU cannot
be left at the hands of the criminals. It is a matter of time and
everyone has supported my action. Lingdoh committee has also given
the discretion whether to have the union or not. The situation was
very bad. Deans came to me crying and complaining against the union
leaders. So we need the rule of law. There is no communication gap
between me and students. I visit halls and mix with the students.
Student's grievance cell is there. The only communication gap is for
criminal students. Once the atmosphere is favorable I will restore
(Dr Malik Rashid
Faisal is Senior Editor, The Sunday Indian, News Weekly (Urdu)