Back Where It Belongs
Long considered a lost cause, Aligarh Muslim University is inching its way back to the top
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
REGISTRAR ABDULJALEEL( IN CAP) WITH STUDENTS