Syed M. Naseem*
The atmosphere at the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) has been vitiated over the last several months by controversies on the issue of the Vice-Chancellor's use or abuse of power and gross disruptive behavior by few students who possibly are motivated by Aligarh mafia (a nexus of students, staff, and goons of Aligarh). Clashes, abusing, fighting, dharnas, strikes etc has become a common affair at AMU these days. University has become a political field, for irresponsible students, pathetic retired teachers, and spent politicians of regional political parties. Persistent interference of student leaders in AMU management should be blamed for deteriorating law and order situation and conditions at AMU. A real power struggle is on the move and is on horizon.
Appointment of incompetent teachers along with recruitment of exemplary-hard-working teachers in administration and management, and the poor intake quality of the students lead to a proportionate rise in indiscipline and a depressing slide down in the university reputation. Uninterrupted and serious disturbances in the campus created an image in the country that AMU is one of the institutions always a center of unrest or chaos.
A brief description of disruptive activities of AMU studentâ€™s leaders under various VCs administration is as follows:
Under severe pressure from the University staff and students, Vice Chancellor Prof. Naseem Farooqui (Oct. 15, 1990 to Nov. 15, 1994) called general election without any valid union constitution. The outcome of the election was disastrous. Prof. Naseem Farooqui, himself became the prisoner of the students. University staff started playing students against vice chancellor and vice versa. The office bearers of the union virtually took control of the university, especially, admission and examination. They humiliated and beaten teachers publicly and vice chancellor could not come to their help.
Based on the recommendation of the Electoral College, Mr. Mahmoodur Rahman reconstituted the student's union on August 28, 1997. He gave very stern warning to students for immediate dismissal of the union, for interference in the university affairs.
Mr. Mohammad Hamid Ansari sahib time was also a very turbulent period because of so-called leaders of AMU students. Many incidents happened and were all published in various National and local newspapers. Hamid Ansari sahib decided not to renew the Union partly due to lack of approved Union constitution and he also realized that the Union might not serve the purpose for which it was established. Student leaderâ€™s aspirant for Union leadership did not shy away from their continuous demands for the restoration of union. Many serious mishaps happened during his tenure at AMU.
Revolver fight in Shamshad Market, couple of students injured, followed by murderous attack on Mr. Saeed-ur-Rahman, Proctor AMU, one proctorial staff injured by bullet, city police raided AMU hostels and confiscated guns and other lethal armaments. A student was kidnapped and kept in Sir Syed Hall; ransom money was demanded from the parents. University Engineer also received a threatening letter in which a large sum was demanded. Prof. Jafri, former Pro Vice Chancellor was dragged from the Arts faculty and a senior professor in Engineering College was publicly beaten by student leaders on the University Road. On gunpoint students asked teacher to improve their grade in Psychology Department. A heinous murder was committed on the university road; robbery and theft by students were frequent. Student leaders (commonly known as Admission Mafia) were very active at AMU campus. Professor Aziz Khan, controller of the Admission and examination was beaten by those hooligans. Semester examination was postponed because of the student's demand. Hooligans destroyed University properties. Unauthorized people were back in the hostels. One provost was willing to pay 5, 000 rupees to anybody who could take out those miscreants from Sulaiman Hall or any Hall of the residence. Proctor, Saeed-ur-Rahman resigned due to fast deteriorating law and order situation at campus and replaced by Proctor Ajmal Khan.
Vice Chancellor Mr. Naseem Ahmad sahib also decided not to hold the election in his first year of his office, mostly because of total lack of interest among majority of students who want to concentrate on their studies rather than get involved in union politics. However he stumbled to the pressure and called for election (November 10, 06). Mr. Nafees, from his own district of Azamgarh was elected President, he was a well known ruffian, who publicly snubbed and detained, the whole AMU administration in a room for several hours demanding leniency of attendance requirement for his friend in F/O Management. Unfortunately, Naseem Ahmad sahib succumbed and ceded to his demand and command. Once again, Students Union through Mr. Nafees started abusing the AMU administration including VC, who was made powerless by the students union. Finally studentâ€™s mafia gave him and his wife looming death, he escaped to Delhi and resigned a week before his actual retirement.
Current Vice Chancellor Prof. Aziz is now the victim of AMUSU leaders. He will pay dearly for his mistake to concede to the demands for the Union election. This resulted in the occupation of student's union by detrimental group of students, and the Union platform became a source of agitation and unrest. Evidently uncompromising students are back on scene and will continue their dharna and disruption of AMU functioning till admission is completed. I hope the university administration this time will take stern action to bring peace in the campus and to put the university back to normalcy for 80% students who are career-oriented and serious in their studies.
*Syed M. Naseem is an AMU alum based in Washington DC USA and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org