Back Where It Be­longs

Long con­sid­ered a lost cause, Ali­garh Mus­lim Univer­sity is inch­ing its way back to the top

India Today - - EDUCATION - By Shafi Rah­man

Known hith­erto for vi­o­lent clashes be­tween stu­dents in­stead of its aca­demic rep­u­ta­tion, Ali­garh Mus­lim Univer­sity ( AMU) seems to be turn­ing a new leaf. It ranks fifth on the IN­DIA TO­DAY- Nielsen list of In­dia’s top uni­ver­si­ties this year, six places up from 2011. The re­cent ap­point­ment of Lt- Gen ( re­tired) Zameerud­din Shah, who re­tired as the deputy Army chief in 2008, as vice- chan­cel­lor on May 12, could mean the cam­pus with 27,000 stu­dents may fi­nally get a much needed dose of dis­ci­pline. “My at­tempt will be to re­store the past glory of the univer­sity and also the schol­ar­ship that it in­voked 30 years ago,” said Shah, 63, in a re­cent in­ter­view. He will have his task cut out for him.

Shah in­her­its ma­jor changes wrought about by his pre­de­ces­sor P. K. Ab­dul Aziz, 65, who stepped down on Jan­uary 17. In Au­gust 2007, a stu­dent group at­tacked the home of the then vice- chan­cel­lor. Aziz de­cided a ma­jor crack­down was in or­der. Soon af­ter, the univer­sity ex­pelled over 1,200 out­siders who had been il­le­gally squat­ting in hos­tels and set up a cen­tral al­lot­ment com­mit­tee con­sist­ing of eight se­nior teach­ers to re­al­lo­cate the va­cated rooms. For the first time, all stu­dents on cam­pus were is­sued iden­tity cards. “Our fo­cus was aimed at re­cap­tur­ing the vi­brant spirit of the en­quiry which was the hall­mark of the univer­sity in its early years. We de­cided to pay par­tic­u­lar at­ten­tion to aca­demics and re­search,” says V. K. Ab­dul Jaleel, 62, regis­trar of AMU since 2007.

In 2008, the univer­sity asked teach­ers to end the back­log in PHD sub­mis­sions; the num­ber of Phds more than dou­bled in a year, from 220 in 2008 to 500 in 2009. “We also de­cided at least 500 teach­ers should sub­mit re­search projects to var­i­ous na­tional and in­ter­na­tional agen­cies. Be­sides this, ev­ery

CHANDRADEEP KUMAR/ www. in­di­a­to­day­im­ages. com


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