AMU News Today: University VC Zameer Uddin Shah tries to dispel doubts
ALIGARH: Lt. Gen. Zameer Uddin Shah, Vice Chancellor, Aligarh Muslim University has in a letter addressed to the Alig community sought to clear the air regarding certain allegations against him on the issue of transfer of University land to private parties for developmental activities.
In his letter, Lt. Gen. Shah sates, â€œI agreed to serve AMU and resigned from a very prestigious job because I felt I needed to repay the debt my family owes to an institution where generations of my family studied. I did not come to AMU to loot its coffers or build a hereditary â€˜Zamindariâ€™ for my childrenâ€.
He said, â€œA large number of persons supported my candidature for VC and after my appointment some wanted their pound of flesh. They wanted undue favours. When I did not comply to their unreasonable demands they accused me of being ungrateful and disloyal. I would like to make it clear that my loyalty, from the day I assumed office, remained only to AMU. These disappointed parties are bitter and now my primary detractorsâ€.
Lt. Gen. Shah said, â€œA lot of vicious hate mail has recently been initiated by these self appointed guardians against me. The persons of this ilk are a small number of frustrated, retired and serving, employees who have resorted to slander when their efforts to have me sacked was thrown out by the Honâ€™ble Allahabad High Court. They have fed the media with provocative and blatantly false information to sully my name. It is now time to respond to these self appointed guardians of AMU, who have never done anything for their alma mater other than criticising any progressive measures undertaken. Their modus operandi has been to tie down the Vice Chancellor in a â€œWeb of Deceitâ€.
The Vice Chancellor explained that the Universityâ€™s decision to transfer a plot of land to a private builder for building a hotel near the campus was prompted by the need of providing much needed accommodation to those who visit on different occasions. He said, â€œAMU is woefully short of good guest houses. If we want to be a world class University we must provide our visitors with accommodation befitting our ranking. Where will we accommodate hundreds of visitors who will visit AMU in 2017 during Sir Syedâ€™s Bicentenary celebrations? Unfortunately we donâ€™t have funds for building a first rate guest house. During the Alumni meet in 2013 an alumnus who has been very generous in giving grants to AMU put forward the proposal of a â€œ BOTâ€ ie â€œBuild – Operate- Transferâ€ guest house on the pattern adopted by Universities abroad. It involved leasing 10000 square yards of land on a 25 years lease to the builder. He would bear the cost of construction of a first rate guest house of 100 rooms. 10 rooms would be reserved for AMU at our guest house rates. The remaining rooms would be rented out at commercial rates to recover the cost of construction. If we ever needed the complete 100 rooms, which we would need in 2017, we would just have to give prior notice of one month. The entire property would come under the owner ship of AMU after the period of lease of 25 years. The lease was to have been legally binding. In any case the benefactor has withdrawn the offer because of the wild accusations. AMU is the loser. We will have to restrict the number of guests in 2017 bicentenary celebrationsâ€.
Regarding of transfer of land to Sir Syed Education Foundation for construction of schools, Lt. Gen. Shah said, â€œThe AMU Act restricts us from opening any school beyond 15 miles of the University mosque. This was inserted by our British rulers to restrict the spread of education to a small pocket of land. The AMU Amendment Act of 1981 however empowered AMU to create a â€œCentre for the promotion of educational and cultural advancement of Muslimsâ€ (CPECAMI). Under this centre we raised the â€œSir Syed Education Foundation (SSEF)â€ to promote education (schools) and the â€œBridge Courseâ€ for Madarsa Students. The serving VC of AMU is mandated to be the president of SSEF. It is by no means a hereditary position. Much against my will I was persuaded to remain a Trustee for life. I intended to continue serving the cause after I demitted the office of VC, but now realize it is futile to play the role of â€œGood Samaritanâ€. I am sure there are a lot of people, waiting in the wings to shoulder this responsibility. The detailed proposal will be put up to the EC in its next meetingâ€.
The Vice Chancellor further added, â€œHaving closely monitored the inadequacy of good schools for Muslim children we decided to revitalize the â€œAll India Muslim Education Conferenceâ€ whose initial charter was to establish one modern school in every district of undivided India. We wished to revive the â€œAligarh Movementâ€. We realized that any Muslim child who had studied in a good secular public school found no problems of acceptability or faced any discrimination. Our aim is to build one modern secular school, with Muslim ethos, in every district where there was a sizeable Muslim populationâ€.
He said that these schools will be started as self reliant units whose expenses will be met out from the fees collected from the students. He said that the graduating students of these schools will be considered as internal students for admissions in AMU. He also made it clear that these schools will be run on CBSE pattern and its doors will be open to all without any discrimination on the basis of caste, creed, religion and gender.
Lt. Gen. Shah pointed out, â€œWe requested donation of two acres of land and so far have received overwhelming number of offers. The Ministry of Minority Affairs is considering giving Rs 10 Crores per year for the construction of the schools. Time is at a premium otherwise detractors will stymie our efforts and the commitment of Ministry of Minority affairs may not fructify. It is up to the Millat to decideâ€.
Regarding the Sir Syed Public School at Muzzafarnagar, which has been at a centre of controversy, the Vice Chancellor said, â€œWe started construction of the first school in village Juala which was the epicentre of the refugee camps. The funds were donated by AMU students who sacrificed their Sir Syed Day Dinner. The AMU Teachers Association also promised a large sum of money but subsequently backed out. The villagers who had donated land also withdrew the offer on instigation by some AMU â€œdo goodersâ€. When we indicated our intention to finish construction and offer it as a gift to the Refugees the village donors had a change of heart and on 07 Nov 2015 signed the deed to lease the land to SSEF for 30 years. The money donated by AMU students has not been spent so far since we had to halt construction. The work done on the school building has been from the private donation of Mr Salman Jafri who is the secretary of the SSEFâ€.
Regarding the disciplinary action against a teacher, the Vice Chancellor said, The majority of teachers are competent and hard working. They take good care of their students. A minuscule number, who have never made any effort to improve their own qualification, however, habitually miss classes. I recently suspended one such teacher who also happened to be Secretary AMUTA and should have had greater sense of responsibility. He tried to obfuscate the issue by obtaining approval of his leave one day after his absence from class was detected by me. This is morally indefensible and not accepted by me. The teacher has been suspended for dereliction of duty and insolent behaviour. It is not action against Secretary, AMUTA, as is being projected to garner support from sundry organizationsâ€.
He said that he would â€œroot out this apathy amongst an insignificant number of teachers who do little work other than playing with the future of students entrusted to themâ€.
The Vice Chancellor concluded by saying, â€œIt is a myth that a VC cannot perform in the last two years of his tenure. I have one year and six months tenure left and will continue working to the best of my abilityâ€.