Aligarh Muslim University Vice-Chancellor Lieutenant General Zameeruddin Shah (retd) is again in the forefront as he sparks a new controversy, trying to forceful evacuation of residential Halls and changing pattern in Phd admissions.
Having retired as deputy chief of the army staff, General Shah — actor Naseeruddin Shah’s elder brother — comes across as a no nonsense individual who is determined to make AMU the number one university in India by 2017.
He has been titled as the most controversial Vice-Chancellor by national media. In a hard hitten questioning hour by Maeeshat special correspondent – Mohd. Rehan Irfan, he clarifies all doubts. Here we have Excerpts from the interview.
Mr. Vice- Chancellor (VC) your personality is very dynamic , I mean from being a highly decorated army officer to a central university VC. What made you take on this assignment?
Entire generations of my family have been AMU educated. But AMU also needed a dose of discipline to put it on an even keel. Teachers also needed some discipline. I felt I owed this debt to AMU for what it has done for generations of my family. Let me tell you it is a very thankless and difficult job. But somebody had to do it!
AMU founder-Sir Syed Ahmad Khan’s dream was to enlighten education and standardize the living standard of muslim community all around. Being a VC, In last 4 year how hard you have worked to accomplish sir syed’s dream? And regarding this what are your future plans?
I would like to say, we have achieved something, yet we have to achieve a lot. We got ‘A’ grade by team NAAC this time. We are also running three centres in Kerala and Bengal and one in Kishanganj in Bihar. They are still in temporary accommodation. Being very honest, they are in a very poor condition because we have a huge financial crisis.
My objective has been to restore AMU to its former glory and make it one of the best universities in the country. The Times Higher Education Survey ranked AMU as the second best university in India after Punjab University. I just want to make AMU the number one by 2017 which will be the 200th birth anniversary of our founder Sir Syed Ahmed Khan.
In your governance why university administration is unable to control crime, corruption in admissions, katta culture, forceful evacuation of residential halls etc? Where ever you go a new controversy flow. Why?
That was a very unfortunate accident, I really feel sorry! In fact, that was a part of politics by some disturbing elements. We have closed all unnecessary gates that linked to university, also increased the security measures.
Actually, people wants change without a change and that is impossible. So this year we have changed some rules and regulations for Phd admissions because I was concerned about favoritism charges on teachers. Last year many deserving students don’t get admission. We are fully prepared with the new format. Let’s hope for the best.
There is nothing like controversy, I don’t have any interest in politics. I fearlessly spoke truth most of the times. Actually problem lies in their mind, they are afraid, don’t want changes in anything. Neither they are ready to upgrade themselves nor they wants to relocate!
What about the minority character of university? What if, AMU loses its minority character then what would happen?
This matter is sub-judice in the court of law. It will be the end of AMU if it losses. The institution was founded by Muslims. It is a secular university with an Islamic ethos.
We have our own set of procedures for the appointment of the AMU VC. We have our own admission procedures for taking students. People are making fun of minority institutions. This is not the first attack on AMU. This has happened before. What is happening here can happen with other minority institutions too.
It will have a tremendous impact on Muslim minds. We are trying to integrate Muslims into the fabric of India. Muslims are emotionally attached to the AMU.
The entire Islamic world will be annoyed. Let me tell you the thoughts that emanate from AMU have greater weightage than anywhere else in the world “Jo abr yhn se uthega wo sare jahan par barsega”.
AMU fraternity have its Alumuni in India as well as in every part of the world, do they have some contribution in any manner?
Each and every Alig wants their children to study in this university. Sorry to say but AMU Alumuni Associations in India have zero contribution. However, we have received around 2000 crores by Dr. Nadeem Treen (UAE) and Dr. Frank Islam (USA). New hostels and faculties construction work is on. They also offer jobs to our students.
Apart from gossips i urge all Aligs to stay united and help AMU to accomplish Sir Syed’s dream.