Thursday, September 20, 2007

AMU Paralyzed again 07-09-17

Aligarh Muslim University Paralyzed Again

Mirza A. Beg

Monday, September 17, 2007 Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Indian, Tuesday, September 18, 2007, Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Counter Currents.Org, Wednesday, September19, 2007

Indian Express, Thursday, September 20, 2007

About five month ago Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) was in turmoil. Two students had been killed and the administration was moribund. The Vice Chancellor, Mr. Naseem quietly abdicated or felt forced to abdicate and skipped town through the back door. Alumni and well-wishers of AMU were abuzz with righteous hand winging and heartfelt advice. I expressed my views in an article, on the vicious cycle at the AMU.,

A month later a new vice Chancellor was ushered in with fanfare. He made much needed changes in the administrative staff. Most, who claim to be in the know, seemed to have approved.

Suddenly on the 12th of September the news of rape of a student in the Abdullah Girls Collage hit the news. On September 16th another student was murdered in the heart of the campus by unknown assailants. These two events are unspeakably horrible. All efforts should be made to bring the culprits to the bar of justice. Instead, they trigger a mass violent protest and the university is closed for indefinite period (Sine die). Slide back to nightmarish yesterday again.

It is a vicious cycle indeed. If we keep repeating our nightmarish yesterdays, the bright mornings of hope will for ever elude us and be beyond our reach.

Terrible things happen from time to time. How do we react and conduct ourselves is the measure of civilization, decency and courage. It appears that we always fall short, and keep repeating the same mistakes, as if we are locked on a treadmill, condemned to tread the same strip over and over again. The obligatory condemnations pour in from all quarters and we feel ever so slightly better.

Rape and murder are criminal offences of exceedingly grave nature, and a purview of the police investigation. They are not, and can not be construed as an internal disciplinary matter of the university.

There are mechanisms in place to handle such cases in the penal code, albeit the wheels of bureaucracy and justice grind slowly. That is where the clout of the university administration and the political leverage of the students and the community could have been brought to bare to move the process as fast as judiciously possible.

It appears that the administration does not know how to take immediate action to let the students and their parents know that they are not asleep at the switch.

The students or at least many of them have no idea of the purpose of the university and the importance of their being on the campus. It appears that they wait for a provocation and go on a rampage destroying and burning the very structures of the hallowed institution that is supposed to show them the path to success, so that they can be responsible for their own and the community’s destinies, so that such events do not happen.

Instead of pillaging the students could have given a little time to the administration to gather its wits and take action. Granted, the past administrations from time to time have been corrupt or at the very least inept. They could have kept a close watch on the progress of the investigations. They could have written, and in time deluged the relevant offices with petitions. In the absence of proper response, carried out large peaceful and quite vigils every day at a certain appointed times, and not disrupted their own and others education.

Islam teaches us self-control and relentless pursuit of justice with the right means, avoiding injury to innocent others. In the land of Mahatma Gandhi the lessons and effectiveness of peaceful protests are engraved in our history. They have been successful and are part of the unread pages of the history books. They ought to be engraved in our hearts, but sadly they are obscure even in the institutions of learning.

An institution dedicated to intellectual development and pursuit of the betterment through learning can ill afford a lock of reoccurring yesterdays on our psyche to blind us to the waiting tomorrows.

There are many good students and very good faculty members, but they are effectively prisoners of impetuous few who would rather destroy and burn the halls of learning. Until the students realize that they are at AMU to get the best education they can and stop listening to those who preach otherwise; the members of faculty realize that they are there to intellectually serve the institution the best they can and shun the deleterious groups; and most of all the community demands that of its children to behave, no one can be found to govern an institution where education is treated as incidental. Most intellectuals will tend to shy away from such an impossible task.

I have written this before, “This is a microcosm of the Muslim community as well. Great Leaders are born occasionally, their appearance can not be willed. They are exceptions not a norm. Individuals make a Community; we as individuals need to take up the challenge to improve. Most societies improve with individual responsibilities not with slogans shouted behind a time serving leader.”

The first responsibility of the administration is to bring the rapist and murderers to justice. The second responsibility is to take much needed steps to make the campus safe. And the third responsibility is to punish those students who destroy and burn the university property and disrupt the education by force.

Mirza A. Beg can be contacted at, or

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