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Published in the 1-15 Jan 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Platinum jubilee celebrations of English Deptt

The value of learning English language but not bypassing the rich legacy of the literature in native languages was emphasized by various speakers at the Plantinum Plus Jubilee Celeberations of the Department of English of Aligarh Muslim University here on Dec. 8. The speakers included Syed Shahid Mehdi, Siraj Husain and Naseem Ahmad, vice-chancellors of Jamia Millia Islamia, Jamia Hamdard and AMU respectively. 

Naseem Ahmad asked the department of English to take care of varying societal needs of students in teaching the English language particularly when the world had become a global village and the spirit of competiveness prevailed everywhere. Mr Ahmad said that the English language offers job opportunities to students in different fields specially in media and industry and of course in academics. In fact a number of students of the Department of English have joined the print and electronic media in recent years. The Department can also claim credit for preparing its students for the big overseas market.

Siraj Hussain recalled that Sir Syed, the founder of AMU wished to make Aligarh the Cambridge of the East. He admitted that AMU was the mother of all the three major educational institutions of Muslim in the country. Therefore, it was imperative on the part of Aligarh to update its syllabi constantly. 

Syed Shahid Mehdi reminded the audience about the role of English language to spread the rich literature of other languages. He said Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation was against the British rule but not against English language. 

Satish Jacob, former deputy Bureau chief of BBC, urged the teachers of AMU to emulate the example set up by the teachers of St. Stephens College of University of Delhi in writing books in English language on various subjects. 

Prof Farhat Ullah Khan, Chairman of the Department of English and the host of the celeberations informed the audience that the Department of English of AMU had already updated its syllabi by adding the post-graduate courses in communicative English etc. much before the request from the UGC in this regard.
 

- Rahat Abrar

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