Jobs @ MG
Jamia Urdu thrown to the wolves
By S Ubaidur Rahman in Aligarh
Urdu is bleeding and bleeding profusely. It has almost been done to death.
Its coffers are empty and sources of income have been dried up. All the
money in different accounts of the Jamia has been emptied, rather stolen.
Its Rs 15 million deposit with Steel Authority of India (SAIL) has been
withdrawn and squandered away. The Jamia's hard-earned reputation as a
centre of excellence has been destroyed. Several groups and sub-groups are
yearning to get hold of this historical institution that has been serving
Urdu and helped it survive in post-Partition era. Their endeavor has
nothing to do with the language or for that matter with the community, but
to serve their own narrow interests.
Jamia Urdu’s annual income comes to millions of rupees. And that is the
element which is driving different parties crazy to get hold of it.
Jamia, where around 1.4 lakh students appeared in different examinations
in 1998, has seen a steady decline ever since. Only 64 thousand students
appeared in different examinations in 1999 and the strength declined
further to a meagre 35 thousand last year. Aijaz Tirmizi, an accountant in
Jamia Urdu and the vice president of its employees union says that if
things do not improve, the enrolment will further decline.
Jamia employees have not been paid their monthly salaries since January
this year except one month salary in June and that too from their
provident fund that luckily stands unscathed. There are around three
hundred employees, most of whom are now searching for other options. They
have been literally starving. A number of fourth grade employees are
reported to have been forced to ply rickshaws. Some are doing other petty
jobs in order to feed their families. Most of the staff members have not
been able to pay the tution fees of their children. A number of them have
not paid their rents and other monthly bills and are now facing eviction
by their landlords.
The story does not stop here. Several degrees of the Jamia that qualified
students for different graduate and post graduate courses and employment
in different states have been de-recognized. Even Aligarh Muslim
University has de-recognized Jamia’s degrees. Adeeb-e-Mahir, that
qualified a student to seek admission in BUMS in the AMU, does not find
its place in the AMU prospectus. Delhi government used to recognize the
‘Muallim’ degree of the Jamia for teaching posts in primary schools,
but a recent circular has said that Muallim degree holders can no longer
seek employment here. A number of Jamia students who had passed Muallim
were able to get employment in different government schools in UP during
Mulayam Singh’s administration and even later. The UP government had
recognized the degree for the assistant teacher’s post in primary
schools. But the government has recently withdrawn that facility.
A number of other universities that recognized Jamia degrees for admission
in various courses in UP, Bihar, Punjab and Rajasthan have withdrawn
recognition. Some others are contemplating to do so.
Things have come to such a pass that the Jamia remains closed for around a
month now and different factions are now involved in legal and goonda
It all started with the arrival of Anwar Saeed in the Jamia as deputy
registrar, says an old Jamia employee and office bearer of recently formed
Jamia Urdu Employees Union. 'He is the person who has destroyed the Jamia
within a very small period. He is now facing several cases of fraud and
cheating to the tune of more than Rs 60 million,’ he adds.
Tirmizi says that Anwar always rides others’ shoulders and he knows
perfectly how to discard those persons who are no longer of use or who
start aspiring to play an independent role. He bought and brought
different people to fight different people. And after some time he again
brought others to fight those who helped him earlier. It went on till very
recently but the game cannot continue for eternity says a union leader.
His first casualty was Razi Khan Afridi who was the Jamia registrar when
Anwar Saeed joined as deputy registrar. Afridi is reputed for his honesty
and upright and civilised manners.
Every year the Jamia purchases a large quantity of copies for
examinations. Afridi insisted that lowest bid will be considered for the
purchase of the copies. Anwar wanted to go for the highest bid to make
some extra fast bucks. Afridi insisted and, as a former confidant of Anwar
Saeed says, he collaborated with the then vice-chancellor of the Jamia, Dr
Masood Hasan Khan, and leaked out the papers. He then shrewdly got the
matter ‘probed’ and accused the registrar to have leaked the papers!
Poor Afridi felt so much embarrassed that he told the VC that he intended
to resign. But it was only verbally. But the eager VC accepted his verbal
resignation and appointed Anwar Saed as registrar. It was then that Saeed
started playing his game. He forced the Pro-Vice Chancellor Khalique Anjum
also to resign. It was again a forged case as one of his former friends,
Farhat Ali Khan, says. Farhat says that Anwar Saeed forged a case against
Anjum that involved a paltry sum of Rs 250 and forced him out. This was
the time when Saeed got a new constitution of the Jamia registered with
the Deputy Registrar Chits and Funds, Agra, that placed all the powers in
the hands of secretary who was none other than Anwar Saeed himself thanks
to his coteries.
But there were hurdles in the way. First Saeed had to fight Khalique Anjum.
He brought in a local businessman, Haji Muqeet. Later he thought that Haji
was not of his use and he is taking an independent path. He brought in
local MLA Abdul Khaliq to tame the Haji. Haji went to court and the case
is still pending.
Later his relations with Abdul Khaliq too deteriorated and he brought
local goonda elements, like Farhat and Abrar, to tame the MLA. He
appointed Farhat as officer on special duty in the Jamia and Abrar as
personnel officer. Over their shoulders he rode comfortably for quite some
time and did whatever was possible to divert to his bank accounts every
single rupee that the Jamia had earned and invested over the years. He
allegedly bribed the local administration heavily. ‘When the Jamia
employees are not getting their monthly salaries a son of a SSP is getting
Rs 10000 monthly as scholarship’ says Farhat Ali Khan. ‘He bought
local officials upto the levels of inspectors and sub-inspectors. He spent
considerable amount on the marriage ceremony of the brother of the lone
Muslim minister in the UP government who is very near to him’ Farhat
This was all to protect him from the long hands of law. He started a
lavish life-style and spent recklessly over his local and foreign tours.
He got his son admitted to UK school and started visiting London every now
and then. All his visits were paid for by the Jamia Urdu. He did not visit
UK alone. He had a team of his coteries always in tow.
Saeed withdrew money using all possible ways from Jamia accounts. Tirmizi,
who sees accounts in the Jamia, says he spent Rs 3.8 million on the
construction of his residence on the first floor of the Jamia building in
Aligarh. Tirmizi says that actually the cost would have been only around
Rs 1.5 million. He adds that bills worth Rs 10000 were raised for only
‘salad’ in the Jamia functions which were organized every now and
then. And every function caused the flight of lakhs of rupees from Jamia
Farhat says that ‘Anwar Saeed started corrupting the Jamia system by
selling the examination papers before the exams.’ ‘Appointing the
inspector of examinations was also a lucrative business for him. The Jamia
staff was never appointed as inspector of examinations. Allotment of
centres was also a money minting machine for him', says Tirmizi. Earlier
Jamia had a policy that no centre will be allotted within the radius of
forty kilometers of an existing centre. But all these norms were thrown to
the winds by by him. Now there are four and five centres in every town.
He launched a monthly Urdu magazine Qaus-o Quzah despite the fact that
Jamia has its own official magazine, Adeeb. This magazine on glossy paper
is nothing but a PR excercise. Many glazed pages of the magazine are
devoted to the colour photos of the registrar attending functions and
meeting people. This correspondent was struck hard when Syed Sajid,
controller of the Jamia, informed that the magazine that is priced at Rs
15 costs Rs 18 when it comes from the press. The heavy posting charges are
extra. And almost all the copies are sent free.
Anwar Saeed also launched a daily newspaper Qaumi Mafad from Aligarh. The
story here is no different than Qaus-o-Quzah. Syed Sajid says that the
copy printing cost of this newspaper is around Rs 5 but it is priced at Rs
2. This too is a PR exercise according to Sajid. It was closed when the
Jamia bank accounts were emptied. Saeed also launched an English-medium
primary school in the Jamia campus. There are now 11 students and three
teachers besides three fourth grade employees in the school. The fee
charged is a meagre Rs 150 but Jamia spends more than twenty times on
‘He was doing all these when the employees in the Jamia had nothing to
feed their children,’ says a Jamia staffer. He furnished his office and
enjoyed everything that money could buy, says a member of the Jamia
employees union that was formed last May when it became clear that things
have clearly gone out of gear. ‘It had also become essential as we had
no option but to press unanimously for our demands’ says Aijaz Tirmizi.
Meanwhile, Farhat and Abrar filled the executive council with their
relatives by paying Rs 25000 per member as required in the new
constitution prepared by Saeed. When their relations were strained they
defied Anwar Saeed and ‘elected’ one Abad Hasan Khan (brother-in law
of Farhat) as the new registrar. Another person was elected as the
society’s president. They also procured approval for these actions from
the office of the deputy registrar, Chits and Funds, Agra.
Now Anwar Saeed stands exposed and friend-less. He is trying to secure
stay from the high court. But as most people believe, he stands no chance
of getting stay from the court. To put salt on Saeed’s injury, Abad
Hasan Khan has inserted an advertisement in Dainik Jagran that proclaims
him to be a fugitive!
There are now three parties to the Jamia dispute. One consists of Anwar
Saeed, the second one belongs to Farhat and the third one is that of Haji
Muqeet. All of them are involved in a high-pitch legal battle. Farhat who
was implicated in a case of shoot-out in Jamia on 23 June, and was denied
bail thanks to the money power of Anwar Saeed, had to remain in jail for
20 days, is now baying for his blood. ‘When I can save him from goonda
elements I can also get his head shaven and paraded on the streets’ says
Farhat in a tense environment in his palatial house where plain cloth
security guards are keeping vigil all the time. He has damaged in three
years what was built in 63 years of Jamia’s life’ says Farhat. 'We
will not allow him to play with the Jamia any more, he adds unconvicingly.
‘People feel that it were Farhat and Abrar who made him live in a
make-believe world and taught him that he could do anything as long as he
has money' says a senior member of the Jamia employees union. He adds that
till 1997 he was neither as rude nor corrupt as he became after his
friendship flourished with the duo. Haji Manzoor, father of Haji Muqeet,
feels that his son's step of forcing Khalique Anjum out of the Jamia was
the biggest mistake. He says the step deprived Jamia of a laureate who
worked selflessly and efficiently for the Jamia. When asked about Farhat
and Abrar he said that they are worse than Anwar Saeed and their
association with Jamia proved detrimental for the historical institution.
On the other hand, Jamia union leaders say that they will cooperate with
whoever comes legally. But what strikes most is that no one in the
community seems interested in the Jamia affairs. So much for our love for
Top: Jamia Urdu turned into a fortress by Anwar Saeed;
Below from left: Anwar Saeed, Abrar, Farhat, Syed Sajid and Aijaz Tirmizi
Pictures: Ahmad Rahmani