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Published in the 1-15 Jan 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Osmania may get a Muslim Vice Chancellor

By Ibrahim Usmani 

Hyderabad: The state government has announced a search committee for the selection of Osmania University’s Vice Chancellor. After the announcement, pressure is building up on the congress government from some quarters that this time a Muslim should be appointed to the post. The post fell vacant due to the death of Prof. Ananta Swamy He was from the Backward Class. The teachers of Osmania University, who are favoring a Muslim for the post and have also made representation to various people, say that the congress has come to power only due to the support of Muslims and other Minorities and that is the reason the chances of his candidature is strong. 

At present out of eleven universities in the state, only one has a Muslim as its vice chancellor. The eleven universities are: Osmania University, Acharya N G Ranga Agricultural University, B R Ambedkar Open University, Poti Sri Ramlu Telugu University, Kakatiya University, Nagarjuna University, Sri Padmavati University, N T R University of Health Science, Jawaharlal Nehru Technical University, Sri Venkateshwara University and Dravidian University. Out of these only Sri Venkateshwara University has Iqbal Ahmed as its vice chancellor and his tenure is also coming to an end. 

According to a teacher in Osmania University, the congress after coming to power has appointed vice chancellors in Kakatiya University, Nagarjuna University and Jawaharlal Nehru Technical University. All these belong to the Reddy Community. B R Ambedkar Open University’s vice chancellor Ram Chandra belongs to the Backward Class.

Out of the eleven universities, only Osmania University has the minority status and is situated in Hyderabad, which has a good percentage of minority population. Also as the University is started with Urdu medium, Muslims are strong contenders. The last Muslim vice chancellor of the Osmania University was Mr. Hashim Ali Akhtar. For a long period of nearly twenty years, not a single Muslim has been appointed to the post. After congress coming to power, there is hope that Muslims will get their due. 

Those in the running for the coveted post are Head of Department of Islamic Studies, Dean Arts College and Former Registrar Maulana Azad National University, Prof. Sulaiman Siddiqui, Prof. Ahmedullah Khan, former Principal Law College, Prof. Ilyas Ali Dean Business Administration, Prof. Mohammed Maqbool Director Centre for Educational Development of Minorities and Prof. Sufi Ali Public Administration. Scheduled Caste community is also vying to get its person for the post. Those in the running among them are Prof. Kanti Ram Principal Nizam, Prof. Ravindra and Prof. Shankar. Among those on the run from the Backward Class are Prof. P L Visheshwara Rao Arts College Principal and Prof. Venkateshwara Lu.

According to a Muslim faculty member in the Osmania University, the congress cannot ignore their representation as till now Muslims have not got any confidence building measure from the present government on any issues. 

Although the final decision in this regard rests with the government, only time will tell whether the congress government will really appoint a Muslim as vice chancellor of the university. It will be clear by December. 
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