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The Parent Body
 AMU Old Boys' (Alumni) Association - Aligarh
   All Alumni One Dream.
Mr. S. M. Sajid HASAN
Secretary AMU Old Boys Association (Alumni) Aligarh

Secretary’s Message

AMU Old Boys Association held a national convention on “Establishment of out off Campus Special Study/Examination Centres: A Threat to the Minority and Residential Character of AMU” on June 20. It was a much publicised exercise but failed in debating the issue of vital importance. Speakers failed to analyse the topic logically and only emotional speeches greeted participants. As it was a show of a particular lobby sidelining other old boys, it was natural that it will be grounded. Though due to dinner in the programme, there was noticeable attendance at the end of the so-called “National Convention” which was nothing but a meeting of a few like-minded old boys from two or three states. While addressing the convention, Ms. Shaharzad Aleem (great granddaughter of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan) said that she felt pain in the heart when she had seen that the aims and objects of her great grandfather, Sir Syed were being crushed in the AMU. She emotionally said that nobody could have such relations with AMU as she had. “The Vice-Chancellor, who does not know Hindi or Urdu, must go,” she averred. Her comments are not on the line of Sir Syed’s thoughts. Moreover, we should analyse why she has “so much love for AMU”. Pardon me to remind all that Sir Syed House was the personal property of Sir Syed. His heir went away to Pakistan and the Sir Syed House was taken over by Custodian. The University purchased it from the Custodian during the Vice-Chancellorship of Col. Basheer Hussain Zaidi. When Mahmood-Ur-Rahman was the V.C of AMU, Ms Shaharzad claimed Sir Syed House as her inherited personal property. Under a compromise Mahmood-Ur-Rahman legally gave her a plot of 1800 Sq meter in 1999 on the corner of M.M. Hall. She sold the said plot to a builder for Rs 55 lakh and today multi-storied flats have come up over there. If she really loves AMU and her great grandfather Sir Syed, why she did not construct a hostel there? She loves AMU for its vast track of lands and nothing more. Moreover, she is not even an alumnus of the University. She was brought by organisers of the convention to emotionally blackmail innocent Aligarians. General Secretary of the Association, Kokab Hameed charged present Vice-Chancellor, Prof P.K. Abdul Azis that he is conspiring to finish AMU in the name of opening outside centres. I have not come across any other childish comment like this. Kokab, who is associated with a political party, is presently out of power. Like all politicians, he wants to use the AMU ground to strengthen his base. One can just imagine whether opening of centres is a development move or conspiracy to finish AMU. Since Sir Syed established MAO College, the flag bearer of AMU, no Vice-Chancellor has added an inch of land to what the founder had left. The Present Vice-Chancellor has already added considerable pieces of land outside campus which have been allotted by different State Governments free of cost. Is this a constructive step or a destructive one? Another old boy and member of Rajya Sabha, Mohd Adeeb said that present Vice-Chancellor is turning AMU into Spy Centre by installing CCTV cameras. I pity on Adeeb’s intellectual capacity because if one goes by his logic then Parliament is also a Spy Centre as it has CCTV cameras on every corner. From time to time, in the media it has been alleged that AMU is a shelter place of terrorists and unlawful activities take place there. By installing CCTV cameras, the present administration of AMU has achieved two-fold goals. One, it can identify any outside element or illegal activity on the campus; and, two, it can prove that AMU does not provide shelter for anyone leave alone terrorists. Moreover, if one is not carrying out illegal activities, why he is so much afraid of CCTV cameras which are now part of all modern establishments? Advocate of Supreme Court, Z.K. Faizan said it is illegal to establish off-campus centres. He also said, “The way in which he (Prof Azis) passed out on roads of Mallapuram in an open jeep indicates that he wishes to join politics.” This is a comment of an advocate, you believe? Does Faizan believe that the Government of India grants large sums of money to carry on illegal activities? Does he believe that President of India in her capacity of Visitor of AMU will accord her approval to establishment of centres without having legal opinion? And finally, Prof. Azis not only passed in an open jeep in Mallapuram but also a caravan of 150 vehicles received him at Patna airport and he went to Kishangunj along with them. Hold your breath, Prof. Azis also was accorded warm welcome by ten thousand people in Kolkata. This welcome was for the Vice-Chancellor of AMU who is fathoming to establish centres of academic excellence in adverse conditions in most deprived and marginalised areas of the country and people of those regions are seeing rays of hope for their survival, progress and advancement through quality education. Though many more speeches were made in the convention but they were insignificant to analyse. Instead of honest debate on the issue, only frustrated outbursts came out in the so-called national convention. Now, I wish to draw the attention of readers towards some facts. If Old Boys Association was sincere, it should have invited all old boys of the University. It should not have held a meeting of only like-minded old boys. In fact, the Association made up its mind to oppose the establishment of centres from day one. Even before the convention, General Secretary of Association Kokab Hameed told local media persons, “We will oppose centres.” If you have made up your mind then what was the need of a convention? Some speakers charged that present AMU administration is not allowing freedom of speech. You demand freedom of speech (which is in fact there) but do not want to allow it on your platform. There was a time when Muslim Educational Conference and AMU Old Boys Association had played an important role in development, progress and sustainable growth of MAO College and then AMU. I have myself seen times when senior students of the AMU and the Old Boys Association were respected and they guided coming generations to achieve high ideals set up by the founder of the institution, Sir Syed who was one of the most liberalised persons of his era. Distinguished products of AMU played a very significant and positive role in the national struggle also. A number of them occupied important offices not only in India but in other countries, too. AMU produced all types of political figures from rightists to Communists reflecting all shades of public opinion. All societies, cultures and religions have their history and history reflects decisive periods. Within that history, there stands out certain events or periods of rapid change in the course of which there are significant shifts in patterns of thinking and actions which reshape their whole identity. In this course, degeneration of AMU Old Boys Association and Muslim Educational Conference, two prime bodies associated with AMU, is most painful for the Aligarians who still love AMU. Seizing the opportunity of reportage on convention held by Old Boys Association, I wish to raise an important point on the existence of AMU for healthy debate. There was a time when AMU was a truly All India National Institution but today it cannot claim to be “national” or “all India presence” as with the passage of time it became parochial far from being national. In principle, a central university should not function as a parochial and regional one but that it should possess a really all India character. For all practical purposes persons from U.P. and Bihar dominate AMU. The consequence is that opportunities to deserving persons from the rest of the country are denied by the very constitution of authorities. Practically it has been monopolised by only two States. This was actually the case two or three years back. That was not the intention of the founder. With the expansion of AMU to far flung areas, its all India character will be revived and the dream of the founder of seeing his “seeds to grow into a big banyan tree” will be realised. Having laid bare the fundamental facts of all aspects, and having exposed AMU Old Boys Association’s narrow parochial concept, I earnestly appeal to our sixty plus old boys not to misguide coming generations; you are twisting facts for your own goals; that is not Aligarianism. AMU Old Boys Association, which came into existence in 1898 functioned in the positive direction for several decades. But after quite a long time, the Association languished as the stalwarts who had dedicated themselves to its ideals and objectives departed from this world. When it was taken over by our sixty plus old boys, it became an inactive organisation, only to become alive for opposing Vice-Chancellor. It’s indeed time to think over the matter and change total attitude in a positive direction, and to make the Association serve the ideals and purpose for which the MAO College was originally established and later incorporated into a university in 1920. AMU is our asset and a trust for future generations. What is at stake is not Prof Azis’ initiatives or egos of our sixty plus old boys but opportunities of education to deprived Muslims which must be provided if Muslims are ever to evolve into a prosperous and effective community.

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