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Academe Providing Stepping Stones To Success (Sabahuddin Ahmad)

Inspired by glorious cultures, secular principles and green environment, I feel great introducing my relation to people as an alumnus of this great University. I am privileged to write a short note about my stay in AMU and thankful to editor of this magazine, who informed and requested my contribution. I was really happy to now that Mohsinul Mulk (MM) Hall is now 50 years old. Since, the history of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) can be read from its webpage, but not mine; therefore please accept my introduction in paragraphs of this writing.

Raised in Allahabad, I didn’t not know more except that AMU is a central university of international fame. I took my basic education from one of the best colleges in Allahabad, CISCE affiliated St Joseph’s College (SJC), where people only talk about the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) or All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS); reason being, the students in our school had only two options, either take Mathematics or Biology or both. In my case, I took Biology. At that time, AMU was known to me as Institution which favours intake of internal students and otherwise bright students. Soon the time came, and I had to leave SJC.

I was not among the ‘creamy’ students of the school, therefore, knew that it would tough for me to get admission in medical colleges, but still I took a drop and came to AMU first time, for medical preparation in August, 2007. I stayed back with my cousin at Sir Syed (SS) Hall, North and joined a coaching in Dodhpur. A month passed since my stay at AMU, when luckily I had a chance to give ‘Intro’ to seniors of S.M. East (Lower) hostel. According to seniors of that hostel, I was the most desirable ‘murga’ from the junior’s slot of that very year. Seniors were impressed with my ‘zero resistance’ against the rule of ‘intro’ nights. Each Saturday night was meant for seniors and juniors, of being known to each other; creating a strong bond between them. Though the concept of ‘intro’ comes from ragging of other universities/institutes, but here in AMU, it was far-far better and important; experience was never chaotic or troublesome. Many students coming from remote-areas feel shy and are slow; the seniors interaction make them well versed and they are better supported in future activities when they are close to each other. It is not known, when a senior will be helpful to a junior or vice versa till they are really in need of each other. Tie of this relation remains strong for longer time, which I feel today itself.

Soon after the Ramadhan started, situation, unfortunately, became most unfavourable. A student was shot dead near Café de Phoos. In backdrop of the event, when situation became rampant, the university was closed sine die. I had to leave for home putting my career apparently at stake. In next session putting my PMT preparation off, I for Botany Honours at Department of Botany, AMU. I was selected and was alloted Sir Ziauddin (SZ) Hall by default, but on my request Dean, Students’ Welfare changed my Hall of residence to MM Hall. It was Hall with maximum capacity and had number of seats vacant. My application was forwarded and my personal file was sent to MM Hall. I was assigned Saifi Hostel room #42 in the first year of education at this university. Class used to start at 8, in the morning and my Hall was far off from department; so I had to be quick, always; otherwise one day, a Professor could haven’t allowed me to sit in the class. This Professor is tall man, who prefers cycle of ‘Gandhi’ style according to nomenclature of AMU students. He told me to go back to bed, as the whole night I must have talked to my girl-friend. For your surprise, that was the real truth behind. After studying and before bed, the time was spent at Saifi hostels’ terrace; I was not afraid, talking on terrace late night, as I was not alone person. There were fellow colleagues too.

I was the “one and only” student from Faculty of Life Science residing in MM Hall. Second year of stay at MM Hall was okay; not very impressive. Once I was unable to wake up and my attendance was falling short. So I wanted to leave the bed and reach the department. Though, time to step in the class was not appreciable. When I reached late, lady teacher asked me the reason, I gave such excuse, that she had no comments — ‘I was washing cloths’; she permitted me to sit in the class and also marked my attendance. Probably those were last days of the session, hence such things were not repeated and I was on the safer side. Final year of the stay in AMU was most memorable one. It was time, when Prof. Suhail Sabir, was provost for MM Hall. Please, permit me here to introduce him. He is the person of strong determination; he did a lot for this Hall. The big green garden in front of Provost Office, the lighted passage to exit gate, all these objectives were proposed and completed in his provost-ship. He also contributed a lot in the mosque of the hall, with capacity of more than 1000 peoples. I knew less, but was sure that he is good person. I still remember a day, when I was going out of the Hall, with my fractured hand with plaster and he saw me, and stopped on the way asked, what have I done to my hands and will it get okay. Neither this person had ever taken my classes, nor had I met him for any scholarship related issues (for which he is famous for, among many students). Through his curiosity to learn about the student of this Hall resembles that how much caring he is for students. Students during his tenure at MM Hall had experience very akin to ‘a bud of rose being highly protected by green sepals’.

In the final year, I was appointed as Joint Secretary of Literary Society. I was also nominated by provost, as a Member of Grievance Committee to the Vice-Chancellor. Holding position of Joint Secretary, I luckily organized annual literary and cultural fest ‘Abshaar-2011’. Taking up a position and doing some activity is not easy task in AMU. There exist some ilk of students who run for credit with nil contribution. I had similar obnoxious experiences as I was left alone in organising the event. Later, I felt, it could have been better, if I have had applied for post of Secretary rather than Joint Secretary. I was really upset. But I felt okay, for everything that happened. But provost motivated me, he said ‘it is your event’, and you should be happy and responsible for’. These lines helped me to overcome the situations during the Abshaar-2011. One thing that gives me immense pleasure is that the term “Abshaar” was proposed by me which is still followed hitherto by you people.

Later, I completed my graduation. I applied for M.Sc. Bioinformatics, and got selected after written test and interview at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. Today, I have completed my M.Sc. in Bioinformatics and working as Computational Biologist in different research projects. During under graduate studies at AMU, my confidence was boosted and resulted in elevated desire for performing research. My first article Curse of Land Mines was published in a popular magazine ‘Science Reporter’, a publication of Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), India in second year of stay at AMU. A similar article Dolphins-Sentinels of the Sea was published in the same magazine very next year. In the final year of the course I also joined General Education Centre (GEC) for Computer Hardware, hobbies workshop and literary club.

During my stay at AMU, I found a good friend luckily, who have helped me in bad and good times as well, and above article are from the bucket of his motivational lectures, which he continuously spilled during the tea break at Shamshad market. I had many other good friends in AMU too, especially from Department of Fine Arts; all of them are at good places, earning their living. Deciding a friend is tough job. I suggest you; please take time, but stay in company of good friends only, because they are going to carve your future.

No doubt AMU is great hub to learn a lot, it is place where a person can enhance his or her inter personal skill. It provides us with the best faculty, best facility and best environment. The green and fresh atmosphere of AMU campus is really missed here in Delhi. I would suggest every young student reading this note, to utilize the resources of the AMU to the full and achieve a standard in his or her personal as well social life with a motto:

‘Jo Abr Yahaan Se Uthaa hai, wo Saare Jahaan Par Barsegaa’

*Sabahuddin Ahmad is an Alumnus of Aligarh Muslim University. He stayed at Mohsinul Mulk Hall during his studies in Botany Homours (2008-2013). He can be reached at his Facebook Profile
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