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Jamia Hamdard scaling new heights
By S Ubaidur Rahman

Clockwise: Faculty of Islamic Studies, Late hakim Abdul Hamid, Current Chancellor Saiyid Hamid, Hamdard Convention CentreIf you believed that there are only two universities in Delhi, DU and JNU, you are off the mark. Besides Jamia Millia Islamia, the capital’s newest university is the Jamia Hamdard which has in store a big surprise for people who visit the university in Tughlaqabad for the first time. The university has one of the best purpose-built campuses in the capital and a calm and clean environment that none can match.

Conceived as a centre of higher learning by the late Hakeem Abdul Hameed, Jamia Hamdard came into existence when six educational institutions, including the Indian Institute of Islamic Studies, were merged into a single university in 1989. Now the university boasts of a number of faculties ranging from medicine to IT, nursing to management.

The small educational institution has seen constant diversification and enlargement. It will be wrong to brand the university as a centre of Unani medicine alone, though this still forms the core of the university. ‘The Unani system of medicine is still an important part of our efforts. We are trying to popularize this system in the country and have been quite successful. We have started standardization of the medicine and have collaborated with Ranbaxy,’ says Jamia’s young vice chancellor Muhammad Siraj. But it is only a part of the university, he adds. ‘Now we have an excellent faculty of business management and technology. We offer best courses in pharmacy and nursing. We have post graduate level courses in pharmacy. In our science faculty we offer research facilities in as diverse subjects as cloning and expression of mammalian genes, production of hormones and other molecules of medical importance, molecular biology of infectious diseases, natural product chemistry and bioactive natural products, medical elementology, toxicology and biotechnology. We offer post graduate courses in environmental botany, biochemistry, toxicology and biotechnology. The department has laboratories of neuro-behavioural toxicology, predictive toxicology and environmental monitoring,’ Siraj adds. ‘We also have a good management faculty that not only offers graduate and post-graduate level courses in management but also courses in information technology’, says the VC.
Situated in the midst of the historical Tughlaqbad, the monuments of Tughlaq era, the campus provides an excellent educational environment to the students. Inside the campus too, students have been provided with unmatched educational and recreational facilities. Typical Muslim architectural buildings, spread over a hundred acres of land, may give a visitor an idea that Jamia is a conservative place. But you enter the campus and your perception changes instantly. Students here are as modern as in any campus in the capital and beyond.

They flaunt the modern lingo, wear trendy cloths and use the latest gizmos. ‘When someone hears of the Jamia Hamdard, he does not visualize more than any institution imparting Unani education. But here even this system has been transformed into an excellent medical college. There is much, much more on offer’ says U Ghazi, a student of the BUMS. The sort of faculty, lab and other facilities are available here for the BUMS students are rarely in a large number of medical colleges imparting modern medicine education, says Faiz, one of his classmates.

Usama Akram, an internee in the Majeedia Hospital of the college, is more forthcoming. ‘We are given an opportunity by the college to join the hospital even in the second year. The college has an state of the art hospital with 24 hours emergency services which, with some exceptions, are not available to any other university hospital in the country.
Most students here find Hamdard a better place to be than the JNU or the Delhi University. Faculty members and authorities are unapproachable in other universities. Here if I have a problem I can easily walk into the dean’s office or even see the vice chancellor, says Malik Wasim, a PhD scholar in the department of Islamic Studies. Unlike DU where one hears of strikes every now and then, our university is serious about studies and the teachers are extremely helpful, says a student of the pharmacy faculty.

Its a safer place to live than other campuses in the capital and particularly for women, says Shahwala, a final year student of medicine. You don’t hear about attacks on women like the JNU where despite high security arrangements it is a routine incident, she adds. Here we don’t even confront eve-teasing, says Shahwala wrapped in a large embroidered chadar.

A major difference between Delhi University, the JNU and the Hamdarad is evident at the time of student union elections. Unlike other universities where hockey sticks, knives and even fire-arms are used freely during the election season, Hamdard remains peaceful largely because here no elections are held for the student union, rather the office-bearers are nominated by the vice chancellor and the faculty members.

‘Though it is not good that we don’t hold elections like other universities, but our system is better since elections bring more harm to the educational environment than any good. They politicize even student-student relations and also the faculty, says a student in the faculty of pharmacy.
Last year an unfortunate incident marred the calm and cool environment of the university. Salman, a second year student of the BUMS from Azamgarh, was found hanging from a tree near the department of the medicine in mysterious circumstances one morning. Furious over the ghastly incident, agitated students went on strike. Education remained severely affected for many weeks.

It was before Siraj Ahmad, the current vice chancellor, took over. It seemed that after the death of the late Hakeem Abdul Hameed saheb, the university is heading towards anarchy. But the atmosphere cooled quickly and now everything is in place. ‘He has also improved the functioning of every faculty after taking over,’ says a student of the faculty of nursing.

The vice chancellor now regularly visits all the faculties and takes no chances. Even irregular teachers now arrive on time, says a second year student of the faculty of medicine. The vice chancellor is now trying to teach discipline to the students and his staff alike who were left rudderless during the tenure of the previous vice chancellor, Prof. Alauddin. Things are rapidly changing in the campus, says Ubaidus Salam of faculty of medicine.

Clockwise: Faculty of Islamic Studies, Late Hakim Abdul Hamid, Current Chancellor Saiyid Hamid, Hamdard Convention Centre

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