AMU: This is how ‘irresponsibility’ invites ‘global shame’.

Naved Ashrafi | February 18, 2017

In one of the lab courses during my first year graduation class in Botany, students were asked to submit assignments on different topics. I along with one of my colleagues was required to work on ‘Newest trends in Microscopy’. We worked together and prepared two “identical” copies of the assignment. When we approached the teacher to submit the assignment, we both were strongly rebuked by Dr. Athar Ali Khan, one of the best teachers of Plant Taxonomy and Ecology in AMU. He asked us how work of two different person could be identical! ‘This act by you people if continued in future, will bring ‘global shame’ not only to this institution, but also to the nation’, he strongly apprised us of our irresponsible act. I heard the word ‘plagiarism’ at first only that day as spoken by Dr. Khan.

Later, in a class on Indian Administration during post-graduation at Department of Political Science, Prof. Arif Hameed (erstwhile Chairperson) told us that he was slated for purchase of some new computers with “genuine” Windows operating system for the department. Suddenly students interrupted him asking, ‘why genuine Windows? A lion’s share of computer users have ‘pirated’ Windows! Purchasing a genuine Windows would cost much exorbitant!’. Prof. Hamid replied that use of pirated Windows by anybody was morally absurd and if a State institution like Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) pursued such a route to resources, this was to invite international shame!

Both teachers, I now realize, were very alive to something ‘global’ or ‘international’ vis-à-vis India and AMU.

These lessons of morality, ethics and ethos are not confined only to AMU. These are indeed human concerns and pervade round the globe where sensible people live. But as we know we are not human all the times; we do some misdeeds too, covertly and overtly. ‘We may not pay Satan reverence, for that would be indiscreet, but we can at least respect his talents’, said Mark Twain. Talents ? What kind of talents?

Recently, a video clip appeared on Youtube channel of Dawn News, Pakistan. They have very genuine grievance against what may be called as ‘highest level of moral turpitude’ on part of some AMU students. Here it is:

Well, it was the month of August in 2016 that some students of AMU’s music club just performed at Women’s College “Ae Rahe Haq Ke Shaheedo”, –the introductory song of Season 9 of Pakistan’s Coke Studio. Musheer Kazmi wrote this piece and it is said that it was penned down in eulogy of Pakistani soldiers, their valour and victories against their enemies [obviously, be it India or others!!] Last stanzas are symbolic tribute to the Pak soldiers with mentions of glad-tidings from members of Ahlebait (People of The Prophet’s House) or Panjatan Paak (five sacred souls: Muhammad, Ali, Fatima, Hasan and Husain). Ahlebait and Panjatan Paak are highly revered terms used in Sufi and Shia Islam in the subcontinent.

So what did AMU people actually do with the song? They, without using common sense, sang the same song for Indian soldiers in Women’s College auditorium on Independence day!! They even didn’t care the fact that India is not ‘Islamic Republic’, rather it is ‘Secular Republic’! Secular in European terms essentially means ‘wordly’ and ‘not divine’. Below is the performance by AMU guys:

One line in poem says, ‘Rasool-e-Paak Ne Bahon Me Le Liya Hoga’ (Holy Prophet PBUH would hug you and hold you in arms on your bravery.) I don’t know how this line, when used for Indian soldiers, would have bearing on Islamic theology, shariah and sacred or privileged canons with regard to Muslims. Would this tantamount to blasphemy or not, will only be decided by social media and campus muftis at AMU.

Original Poem by Musheer Kazmi | Defence.Pk

 

Undoubtedly, performance by music club boys and girls is fabulous in tone and tenor as shown in the video but one would certainly have grievances with the content. When the video was uploaded and shared on facebook by the video author, I commented on video out of discomfort which that particular treachery reaped. My comment was the first one and it still exist in comment box on Youtube. It reads in Naagri:

बहुत बहुत मुबारकबाद. बहतरीन परफॉरमेंस के लिए. लेकिन माफ़ी चाहता हूँ कि उस बात के लिए जो अब कहने जा रहा हूँ. वो यह कि यह कलाम पाकिस्तान के शायर मुशीर काज़मी साहब का है जिसमे उन्होंने पाकिस्तान के फ़ौजियों की क़ुर्बानियों को खिराज पेश किया है. वो फौजी जो हिन्दुस्तान [या पाकिस्तान के दूसरे दुश्मनों] से लड़ते हुए शहीद हो गए. इस कलाम में जिन अल्फ़ाज़ का ज़िक्र किया गया है वो पाकिस्तान की तख्लीक़ पर आधारित है. यानि पाकिस्तान एक सेक्युलर मुल्क नहीं, वो इस्लामिक रिपब्लिक है. वहां इस्लामी क़ानून चले, इसी मक़सद से पाकिस्तान की बुनियाद रखी गयी, सैकड़ों लोग बेगुनाह मारे गए … फिर कहीं जाकर पाकिस्तान बना. “राहे हक़”, “रसूल पाक”, “अली तुम्हारी शुजाअतों को सलाम”, और “हुसैन पाक” जैसे अल्फ़ाज़ सिर्फ पाकिस्तान के परिप्रेक्ष्य में इस्तेमाल किये गए हैं. अलीगढ़ के लड़के-लड़कियों द्वारा इन शब्दों का भारत के लिए इस्तेमाल किया जाना बेवकूफ़ी भरा क़दम है. दूसरी बात, मुशीर साहब के ओरिजिनल कलाम के आख़िरी बंद में हज़रत फातमा ज़हरा और हज़रत जैनब का ज़िक्र किया गया. आप लोगों ने उस पूरे बंद को ख़तम कर डाला और अपनी तुकबंदी चिपका दी. ये ओरिजिनल कलाम में डाका डालने जैसा काम है. अकादमिक क्षेत्र में इसे “प्लेजियारिज्म” कहते हैं. तीसरी बात, म्यूजिक क्लब के अफ़राद कब तक इमीटेशन और नक़ल का सहारा लेता रहेंगे. बेशक, बच्चे-बच्चियों में टैलेंट की कमी नहीं है लेकिन उनको नयी तख्लीक़ की तरफ प्रेरित क्यूँ नहीं किया जाता? पाकिस्तानी कलाम की नक़ल करना ज़रूरी था क्या? और यदि नक़ल की भी तो थोड़ी अक़ल के इस्तेमाल करने से परहेज़ क्यूँ किया गया. अलीगढ़ का रौशन माज़ी भी कुछ नहीं देता क्या ? अफ़सोस हमारे हालात पर !!

Grievance of Dawn’s video is about “re-writing the last stanza” and that too in the name of “borderless music”. Fortunate enough is the music club crew that Coke Studio (Pakistan) has not invoked any copyright infringement against AMU hitherto.

Most pathetic is the fact that the piece performed by AMU crew at Women’s College was rehearsed and worked upon under the guidance of music instructors of the club who are equivalent to university faculty members. The music club is a part of Cultural Education Centre (CEC) of AMU. The centre has other clubs like Literary and Debating Club, Drama Clum, Film Club, Fine Arts Club etc. The centre has good infrastructure and a Coordinator with stark supervision responsibilities. Below Coordinator, each club is supervised by Club Presidents who are senior faculty members from AMU’s different faculties. Below presidents, one senior student of the club is appointed as Secretary/Convener of each club on seniority-cum-merit basis. The centre has many feathers in its cap. It has remarkable history of its productivity. Recently, Faiz’s poetry by a senior member Ali Saeed Taqvi and other members of the club has been well praised. Similar response was received by AMU Tarana Reprise and Hum Dekhenge. There is no denying the fact that CEC has been the most performing institution of AMU. But what has come on horizon as of now is graver, pathetic and idiotic. When I say “idiotic”, it must be understood in the sense Plato used it.

At the end of the video, when song is over, the person on the lectern who welcomes some dignitaries is the worthy coordinator of CEC under and before whom all this happened!!

It must be pondered over how this three-stratum supervision [of Coordinator, President and Secretary] at CEC lend a deaf ear to the blunder in making to invite obnoxious humiliation and shame.

Naved Ashrafi

Naved Ashrafi

Naved Ashrafi earned his Botany Honors and was awarded Gold Medal in Masters in Public Administration at the Aligarh Muslim University. He is doctoral fellow in Public Administration at the Department of Political Science, AMU.