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The Carbon Connection (Dr. Suhail Sabir)


When I was approached by Mr. Muhammad Naved Ashrafi, the Editor of Hall Magazine to write about my experiences of stay at Mohsinul Mulk (M.M.) Hall as a student and thereafter as a Provost, I was not sure about which aspect I should focus upon. Should I recollect my days of stay in the Hall during 1973-1983 or the days when I was Provost? I decided to focus on Provost-ship as I really enjoyed the job which otherwise is a very challenging task.

It was some time in the mid of June 2009 when I was called by the erstwhile Vice-Chancellor Prof. P.K. Abdul Azis who told me that I was being given the responsibility of Provost-ship of a Hall of residence. I was not given a choice and the office memo (issued on 22.06.2009) mentioned my name as Provost of Mohsin-ul-Mulk (M.M.) Hall. I was asked to take over immediately. The then Provost, Dr. Imteyazul Haq called me and invited to take charge in the evening of June 22, 2009. Thus, I became the Provost of the biggest Hall of residence having a strength of around 960 students. Since it was a vacation period and most of the residents had gone to their homes, I tried to understand the major problems of the Hall.

As the university was reopened during July 2009, students rejoined the hall as the new session had begun. At the inception of the new session, biggest problem was to accommodate new entrants. There was no vacancies and a large number of students were waitlisted. The back-log was to be cleared and somehow it was cleared as the new annexes were created. I was earnestly assisted by a wonderful team of wardens who helped me a lot in overcoming many hurdles. I tried my best to have a one-to-one relationship with the residents. Students’ council was formed. I was fortunate to have a very dedicated team of students who always helped me to do good things in the hall. I worked overtime to see that some infrastructural projects are under taken. 


The hall was in very bad shape and it was nick named as a ‘village’ and ‘jungle’. With the help of hall staff, I could change the landscape of the hall. The hall mosque was renovated. During the three years span, I organized two grand Annual Hall Fests, three Sir Syed Day functions and three Annual Literary and Cultural Fests. Hostel functions of each hostel for all the three years were also held. A number of motivational lectures were arranged through which the mind-set of the students was changed. Most of the bright student qualified for National Eligibility Test (NET) and Junior Research Fellowship (JRF). Some of the residents also qualified various Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) examinations and large number of students left AMU to join other prestigious institutions in the country. Few students left for higher studies to the USA and other countries. There was a time when President of the Aligarh Muslim University Students’ Union (AMUSU) and four Cabinet Members of AMU and AMU Court Members among students were elected from M.M. Hall but I had no problem dealing with the student leaders. M.M. Hall performed very well in various sports, wining inter hall championships in Cricket after 28 years and Volleyball Championship, three times in a row. Football and Hockey teams also performed very well.

During my three years of stay, some unfortunate moments also came when a resident of Allama Shibli Hostel committed suicide and a resident of Saifi Hostel died in an accident. However, on both the occasions student kept complete calm and helped the Hall Administration to overcome these tragedies. When the new regime took over and the hall Administration was changed I left my job, but on a very high note.


The residents loved me and I loved them too. After two years I am still in touch with most of the residents, some of them are even my facebook friends. I am still unable to forget those three years which I spent as Provost of this great hall. Although I was Provost of the hall, but students gave me love and affection of the kind a son can give to his father and hence how can I forget that. It was their cooperation that made most difficult and challenging job look so easy. I shall always remain indebted to the residents of Mohsin-ul-Mulk Hall. I wish and hope that who so ever takes over as Provost of the hall should continue to maintain the infrastructure built during my tenure as has been done by my successor Prof. Mohd. Ashraf. I recall few names likes Tasdeeq, Naseeb, Sabahuddin Ahmad, Ahmar, Imran, Maroof, Arshian, Kashfurrehaman, Sayed Ali Khan, Sartaj, Husain Jafri, Zafar Iqbal, Mehdi Abbas, Khursheed, Nawaz, Azam, Shahnawaz, Adul Bari, Raisul Bari, whom I can never forget. These were the gem of the students.

I am sure there were many more who extended me their cooperation in maintaining discipline in the Hall. They offered their services whenever needed. I am greatly thankful to the entire Non-teaching Staff, Subordinate Staff and last but not the least my team of Wardens viz. Dr. Akram Javed, Mr. Ghufran Ahmed, Dr. Abdul Aziz Khan, Dr. M. Yunus Ali Khan, Dr. M. Rizwanur Rehman Khan, Dr. Mohammad Shamim, Dr. Aminul Islam. I always believe that it is a team work and I was fortunate to have a wonderful team of very dedicated teachers who performed their work in a marvelous manner. It is my firm belief that if 19 Provosts and around 200 wardens perform their duties well, there should never be unrest as around 18,000 students live on the campus. Administration must take into account this fact and should always appoint good, dedicated teachers who must command respect amongst the students as Provost of the Halls of Residence.

*Suhail Sabir is a Professor of Chemistry in Department of Chemistry, AMU, Aligarh. Also, he is the Founding Chairman of Alumni Affairs Committee of AMU. He has served as Provost of Mohsinul Mulk Hall. He can be reached at https://www.facebook.com/suhail.sabir.5/
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