Prof Mohammed Amin
Prof Mohammed Amin former Vice Chancellor Jamia Hamdard and for long Vice Principal of St Stephens' College passed away last evening at Sir Gngaram Hospital.
After obtaining his M.A in History from AMU in 1948 he was asked to join St Stephens' College as Lecturer in History in his alma mater from where he had obtained B.A degree in 1946. He remained with the College till 1991 when he took over as the second Vice Chancellor of Jamia Hamdard. He had a PhD from some American University but his forte was teaching and not research - and a great teacher he was. Possibly, he was amongst the last in the vanishing breed of academics who were legends not for their contribution to creation of new knowledge but mainly for imparting knowledge to others who managed to create much knowledge. In this he was in the company of stalwart teachers like Sushobhan Sarkar and Bhabhatosh Datta (Presidency College Calcutta) Amarnath Jha and P.E Dastur (Allahabad University) Babar Mirza and Hadi Hasan (AMU).
Though generations of Indian bureaucrats, politicians and intellectuals coming out of St Stephens were the main beneficiaries of his pedagogy, people like me who had occasion to see him in action as teacher for a very brief while (when he was a Guest Lecturer in the National Academy of Administration at Mussoorie in 1977 for three days) wished that they had studied under him for longer spell.
In real life he was an affable man, ever willing to listen and to share what he knew. A great raconteur, he was full of anecdotes with a knack of find middle ground in contentitiuos situations. His students adored him - it was that adoration which got him a Padma Bhushan in 2012. If he had neglected research, this was more than made good by his illustrious son, Prof Shahid Amin of Delhi University - one of the most eminent name in Modern Indian History and a rare Rhodes Scholar who chose to be an academic in India. His daughter Ghazala, besides being a teacher at Jesus and Mary College is a noted tv and stage personality.
It is a pity that Aligarh did not try to draw on the immense talents of this teacher. Possibly this was on account of his lack of interest in research; one does hope that this was not envy for someone who was extraordinarily gifted in handling classes of bright young students desirous of gaining knowledge. It is not too late to mourn the passing away of a venerable Alig who should be a role model for those who wish to excel as teachers.
*Mr. Naved Masood is an AMU Alum and a senior Civil Servant in Govt. of India and he is based in New Delhi. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org