The Aligarh Muslim University, established in 1877 by secularist and nationalist leader Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, became university in 1920. Now it has around 28,000 students, 2,000 faculty members and 6,000 non-teaching members. The numbers of non-Muslims among these employees have a very viable presence.
The AMU is one of the most prominent residential universities in the subcontinent and receives students from all walks of life. It has an eminent history, which is intricately linked with the freedom struggle and the formulation of the Indian education system.
People across all communities have contributed to making it what it is today. The university has been established and administered by the minority community which enjoys protection under Article 30 of the Constitution.
We are currently into the election season. Students unions play a vital role in raising issues of local and national importance. Students at the AMU have always raised their voices on several occasions in the past in an efficient manner. However, it has been observed in the recent past that AMU has become a soft target and centre for polarisation by the right wing group.
One incident after another clearly indicate the intention of a group of students belonging to a political outfit for creating the nuisance in the peaceful campus. Whether it is matter of serving food in the dining hall or unauthorised entry of a TV reporter to the campus to cover an event organised by AMU Students’ Union, all these sequence of events seem to be pre-planned to disturb the peaceful academic atmosphere of the campus.
It clearly shows that a group of students following a certain political ideology try to distract attention from unemployment and corruption in the government before the general election. There is no denying that the university since its inception has succeeded in maintaining a cordial atmosphere for students and faculty of all religious affiliations to live and work together.
The Government of India must see to it that this delicate balance is not disturbed by the communalists of either kind. Likewise, our educationists should consider the cause of the AMU as their own cause, and seek to preserve its autonomy as well as its residential character.
In his less than two years of tenure, Vice Chancellor Tariq Mansoor has taken many initiatives, whether it is in matters of smart classroom, developing infrastructure in the campus, maintaining the academic standard of the university or to revive the “tahzeeb” (culture) among students and faculty to make this great seat of learning unique and great, is complemented by one and all.
Professor Mansoor believes that “talking with students and their representatives on regular basis, making them feel comfortable and easy, is very important in resolving the crisis.” He also opines that the students always want administration to reach them and get their attention.
“As vice chancellor, I always behave like a fatherly figure and keep the communication going with students so as they may feel connected, help us resolving the matter smoothly”, he says.
Referring to a recent incident, Shashi Bhushan Roy, an alumnus of AMU on visit to the campus for a corporate meet, clearly said that “ I have been here for around 15 years and received all my education from this great seat of learning; I have never been discriminated on the basis of my religion or cast.”
It is a matter of great satisfaction that AMU is being ranked among top universities at the national as well as global level. It is accomplishing top academic place in the world like any other excellent university should be doing.
Academic standards are constantly on the rise, curriculum is being upgraded and enriched on a regular basis in every department so as to make sure that education and training that is provided must be relevant to the need of the times. The university goal is to preserve the
Aligarh “tahzeeb” so it is making sure that faculty-student relations are to be cordial, respectful and beneficial to each other.
Sir Syed Ahmad Khan dedicated his life for the Hindu-Muslim unity in the country and worked all his life for the educational upliftment of the community and to strengthen a pluralistic society of a modern India. He stressed on making education a medium to transform people into good human beings.
The AMU represents the secular “Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb” and the AMU community is committed to preserve this identity of this great seat of learning.
To carry the legacy of the great reformer Sir Syed, the university’s main goal is to spread the message of brotherhood throughout the globe and to make AMU a world class seat of learning.
(The writer is a linguist, author and columnist)