Thank you, Prof. P. K. Abdul Azis!

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When I passed my high school exams in 1993 and started taking interest in AMU-related affairs, I was told that the Mohamedan Anglo-Oriental College was established for a few hundred students which now has become AMU with over 20 thousand students, a majority of which is Muslim.

Going through some books and articles on Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, I was deeply inspired by his thoughts as the message he gave to our downtrodden community was loud and clear: We should make our best efforts for the educational advancement of the community; no one in the community should be deprived of good education only because of their socio-economic status.

I was always bothered by this question that even after 100 years of the establishment of Muslim University, as to why we do not have such universities in every state of India whilst even the AMU Old Boys in Pakistan have set up several educational institutions across Pakistan to further Sir Syed’s mission.

My uncle, who is also a very senior Alig, told me way back in 1994 that there are a few very senior and respectable Aligs in India and abroad who often discuss if we should have branches of AMU in Bihar, Bengal, Kashmir, South India etc which will offer education to Muslim students who do not either have easy access to Aligarh or are hesitant to send their children far away.

In 2007, when Prof. Azis joined our alma mater as VC, even before his joining, the self-styled and so-called well-wishers of AMU started painting a bad picture of him. It was interesting for us to see if a South Indian VC with such an opposition would be able to finish his term in AMU.

The day Prof. Azis declared his intention about setting up new campuses in Kerala, Bihar, West Bengal etc., he made many more enemies among teachers and old boys of AMU. Though many of my Alig/Muslim friends and myself felt that it’s a historical move by Prof. Azis which will definitely leave a great impact on Muslim educational uplift in the long run, and the Alig community should support the VC wholeheartedly, but we were shocked and surprised to see the opposition to the VC by some senior Aligs and teachers on each and everything, even in respect of day-to-day affairs of AMU.

Despite facing turmoil in the campus and allegations against him, Prof. Azis did not put off his best efforts to set up these campuses, and finally he is successful in establishing Mallapuram and Murshidabad centres, and another one in Bihar is in the process. He was treated very badly by many of our Alig brothers and teachers almost throughout his tenure as VC.

Kudos to Prof. Azis, who is not an Alig, but promoted and strengthened the mission of Sir Syed. He should also be applauded for somehow bridging the gap between Muslims of South and North India, which is of vital importance for the Indian Muslim community as a whole.

Our respected Aligs should understand that Aligarh Tehreek is not only about wearing the sherwani and having annual dinners in the name of Sir Syed, but we have to perform other obligations towards the Qaum as well, part of which Prof. Azis has carried out on behalf of all Aligs.

We look forward to seeing these satellite centres converted into full-fledged independent universities (Insha Allah) serving our community and the nation in the coming years.

Thank you, Prof. Azis. I am sure you will be remembered by the future generations with utmost respect.
Ahmad Raza Faruqi (B.Tech., 2005, AMU)
Doha, Qatar -
(First posted on TheAligarhForum)

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 January 2012 on page no. 2

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