By Malik Javeid
I remember the day when you were appointed as Vice Chancellor of Kashmir University. Like many others, I took to my Facebook page and posted in joy: Red Letter Day for Kashmir University. I knew of you as great researcher and equally great teacher who had a legacy of being among very few people in the valley to have worked with Nobel laureates. In my friend circle , we used to discuss you as person, who prays five times a day, who prefers austerity over extravagance, who doesn’t give damn to the “suite-boot” culture prevalent among Kashmir University’s teaching fraternity and a person who maintained informal relations of with everyone without caring about the status and position of person in contention.
But like a good cricketer, who cannot prove to be a good coach, same is the case with you, who couldn’t prove to be good administrator of the University. Today I feel deeply embarrassed in calling you as Muhammad Bin Tughlaq of Kashmir University. You have aggravated the mess by following the policy of wise fool king of India.
You were behind the idea of introducing evening classes in 2015, when intellectuals and whole media fraternity had voiced their concern through proper channels over this novel idea for lack of infrastructure and prevailing turmoil like situation in Kashmir which makes it hard for a person to stay outside home after 6 pm on a normal day; how could it have been possible in turmoil, and that too, with girl students.
If our university , which cannot manage to accommodate half of the regular students in hostels, how could have they managed to do so when roll had doubled courtesy of evening classes? But, you were adamant on your stand and this year you ended up eating the proverbial humble pie by discontinuing evening class in most departments but only to continue in three departments to hide from media outcry for your failures. Now, the irony is that there are no separate classes for regular and evening batches anymore. Quality is being compromised over quantity; a classroom which was made to accommodate thirty students now houses sixty students, and poor evening class fellow students have to pay double the fee for same services being provided to regular students as if university has done great favor by accommodating them.
Gone are the days when teachers used to individually monitor students; now, they cannot remember even their face. Such is the student teacher ratio in highest seat of learning- thanks to evening classes!
Next, you introduced the CBCS (choice based credit system) in the university on UGC guidelines, but you failed to implement it on ground in a proper manner. You were the person who called it a “paradigm shift” from the usual learning but, it has proved to be the hoax as most students are still unable to understand purpose behind its inclusion in curriculum and if statistics are taken recourse to, the university records lowest attendance of students on Friday’s and Saturday’s as these days are meant for teaching elective subjects. This is all due to non-seriousness of university administration, which never looks into the genuine grievance pertaining to CBCS.
Regarding the landscape of Kashmir University, it is famous for its pristine beauty which is supplemented by green parks and a canopy of tree bordering roads and parks. But, all this seems to be history now as university seems to be on operation “All Out” to uproot as many trees as possible. Under this program, nearly a dozen deodar tree were uprooted to make space for road widening from Sir Syed gate to Central Square! Couldn’t there have been alternative to protect these trees? (Please remember the same Kashmir University is working with Rahim Greens under CSR ( Corporate Social Responsibility ) to protect the environment by supporting and promoting aforestation. Where was our honorable VC when everything was happening in broad daylight under his nose?)
Now I have come to know that you are asking for an extension in tenure to more two years to hold the chair on which you have utterly failed to deliver to the expectations of whole student a fraternity. This is nothing but a travesty. It is better for you to bid adieu to this hallowed chair and let other person(s) with a better outlook and understanding serve this highest seat and citadel of learning.
—The author can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org