“When a boy winks and a girl smiles, information is exchanged in wireless mode”. This is how Prof. Mohammad Naseem Faruqui explained wireless communication while inaugurating “The cellular Radio and Mobile Communication (CRAM-92)”, a seminar in the Kennedy Auditorium of the Muslim University Aligarh in the winter of 1992. The event was organized by Department of Electronics Engineering; Aligarh Muslim University This is one of the best and easy to remember ways to explain wireless communication I have ever heard. This left a long lasting impact on me of Prof. Faruqui and his abilities to communicate. It is very sad news that Prof. Faruqui is no more with us. Even being such a good communicator, somehow the students, staff and the alumni could not receive his message and most part of his tenure ended up in disturbance and chaos. Even after so many disturbances and a chaotic situation, his efforts to bring Muslim University in 21st century could not be blocked by his detractors. Even though AMU campus faced a lot of turmoil and chaotic situation due to Demolition of Babri Masjid, riots in Aligarh, Police firing and death of a student, his mission to modernize Muslim University did not stop. He computerized and modernized the process of admission and examinations including Engineering, Medical and other competitive exams and the results of these competitions could be declared within few days of its occurrence. Introduced many modern professional course including, Masters in Finance (MFC), Masters in Tourism (MTA), Masters in International Business (MIBM), Masters in Food Technology (MFT) and B.Tech. in Computer Engineering. He paid special attention to the Department of Electronics Engineering and used to teach a paper of Digital Communication for M.Tech. He helped out of the way to establish “Center of Telematics and Research” under the Dept. of Electronics Engineering and purchased state of the art equipments of the time. He used to regularly visit the center to guide the students working at the center. It was his tenure which gave finest faculty members to the Department of Electronics Engineering at AMU Aligarh. People may disagree with me but I personally consider Prof. Mohammad Naseem Faruqui as the best Vice-Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University in last quarter of a century.
Mohammad Naseem Faruqui was born in district Sultanpur of United Province of British India in the family of Mr. Abdul Saleem Faruqui. After completing his primary education in Sultanpur, he joined Allahabad University for graduation before joining Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur in 1952. After completing his B.Tech, M.Tech and PhD from IIT Kharagpur, he joined his Alma mater as a Lecturer in 1958 in Department of Electrical Engineering and rose to Reader, Professor and finally Deputy Director of IIT Kharagpur before becoming Vice-Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University on 15th October 1990. He had published more than 35 research papers in national and International Journals and guided 4 students for PhD. His areas of interest were Digital Communication systems, Computer networking, Office automation, E-Governance, Image-Processing, Video & Speech Bandwidth Compression. After having an experience of more than three decades in teaching and research at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, India, Prof. Faruqui took over as the Vice Chancellor of the Aligarh Muslim University on 15th October 1990 and served till December 15, 1994. After leaving AMU Aligarh he became Chairman of U.P. Minority Commission for a while and then moved to his favorite profession of Teaching and joined as Professor at University Putra Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. After a while he moved back to India and joined as Chief Executive Development at Institute of Management and Technology (IMT) Ghaziabad. He was awarded VASVIK Award for outstanding research, National Promotion award for development of AMD. He later joined Jaypee University of Engineering and Technology and Galgotia College of Engineering and Technology in Advisory role. He also served as Chair Professor - IIT Kharagpur Foundation. Prof. Faruqui also headed I.I.T. Foundations Project – “A computer and Internet access to every student in the hall rooms”. The project was the vision of Suhas Patil, an IIT graduate of 1965. This single project was to catapult IIT Kharagpur into the ranks of the most connected academic institutions in the world. In May 2002 along with Dr. K. C. Sahu, Prof. Faruqui was presented with Lifetime Achievement Awards by IIT Bombay in recognition for the 33 years he served at IIT Kharagpur in various capacities, including that of Dean and Deputy Director and later working on major projects for the Ministry of Defense.
Prof. Faruqui passed away on August 24, 2012 at Kanpur after a prolonged illness in Kanpur. His burial took place in Kanpur. He is survived by his widow Mrs. Swaleha Faruqui, a son Mr. Nadeem Faruqui and a daughter Sania Akhtar.
Prof. Faruqui wrote his memoire of his AMU Aligarh days as “My Days at Aligarh”. He was always in touch with the affairs of AMU Aligarh and was a member of AMUNetwork for a long time and wrote a very thoughtful article, “Aligarh Muslim University -- Search for Excellence” in December 2010.
My Days at Aligarh
Author: Prof M N Faruqui
Originally posted on AMUNetwork@yahoogroups.com on Friday, December 03, 2010
The Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) has been functioning as a University since 1920 and earlier as a College since 1875. There has hardly been any change in its style of working, outlook, and approach. AMU is suffering from ennui and obsolescence like the traditional universities in Northern India who are also in this predicament. The ‘total educational’ system that was established at AMU by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and later by his eminent successors produced some remarkable people over the years. The University was famous and stood for certain concepts and ideas that had served it well. However a systematic deterioration of concepts and values has occurred with the passage of time and the rapid technological and social transformations taking place all around. The essentiality and compulsions of the educational backwardness of the Muslim community have hurt the university most.
Totally un-informed and politically motivated demand for a Minority status is doing more harm than good to the University. Barring one course the percentage of Muslim students in the University is around seventy percent. It is high time that the University rejuvenates and take measures to modernise itself in academics and infrastructure facilities in order to achieve excellence and serve the community better. Painstaking, sincere and challenging performance of the faculty is another component of excellence. Efforts of opening outside centres of AMU are misguided and harmful to the cause of preserving Aligarh spirit and imparting quality education.
I would like to discuss here the problems of AMU from an Academic point of view and take up Administrative issues later. The faculty of the University has become totally ‘inward’ looking with a frog in the well attitude where the world outside is, as if, immaterial and is inimical to their interests and hence of the University. This pessimistic and unrealistic view rubs off on its students inculcating in them a feeling of isolation and a pessimistic attitude.
Revive AMU :
The first step would be to revive the spirit of AMU. This University is not a place that just distributes diplomas and degrees but inculcates a way of life, a value system and a ‘Tehzeeb’ in its students. AMU was known for and was proud of this heritage and considered no education complete without imbibing the “tehzeeb”
The classical style of teaching-learning adopted by traditional departments has resulted in an obsolescence of ideas. AMU had some very outstanding Professors in various fields of Arts and Science but intolerable level of inbreeding has led to sycophancy, dissemination of favours and a palpable deterioration. World over revolutionary changes have taken place in the teaching-learning process and AMU has to wake up to these radical and innovative changes. Some of the Academic issues that should be addressed by the faculty, students and the administration of the AMU are discussed below.
Make AMU a Modern University in all senses. The requirements of the Infrastructure needed to achieve it are discussed subsequently.
A University is seen to be active, vibrant and ‘alive’ if it offers courses in newer disciplines and continuously upgrades the content and scope of the existing courses and disciplines. A look at a comparable American University will show the depth, variety and scope of courses they offer. The University should put more academic rigor in Ph Ds and Masters level courses and go through a conscious overhaul of its Postgraduate programmes and become a leading university in offering out-of-the-box thinking and ideas. At Masters level student must put about 25 to 30 hours of work per week.
Some of the important and in my view mandatory changes that have to be made are listed below. Going along its unhurried leisurely pace of functioning is not going to bring any significant change in the development of the University. Attitude of the faculty have to change.
i. Emphasis on Post Graduate teaching including Ph D education should be increased
ii. Revamp the curricula and syllabi and make education more serious. A revision of the curricula every alternate year should be mandatory. This has to be an internal effort as Board of Studies seldom helps generate ideas.
iii. Reports, Projects, and Assignments should be an Integral part of the curriculum, right from the First Year. Emphasis must be increased on self learning by the students and extensive use may be made of Internet and other Information Technology techniques. This applies to all disciplines and Faculties and not only to Engineering.
iv. The Project or Assignment in every course in each semester should require about 25 hours of independent work by the student. Rigour has to be maintained for excellence.
v. Number of days of Instruction in a semester be fixed (say 90 days including exams); As a measure of reform the University must cut the number of holidays and follow fixed schedules of Instruction and Examinations.
vi. Number of hours of functioning of a department should be 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week.
vii. Compulsory and wide use of Computers should be made for submitting reports and assignments. Short Mid-Term examinations should be introduced.
viii. Decouple Faculties for examination purposes and decentralise Faculty-wise functioning. (Semester system in Arts and Social Science and Science Faculties is a must if already not done).
ix. Create large number of Adjunct Professors who can interact with faculty and students
x. Introduce Computer literacy courses for all students
Feedback about teaching must be taken from students about the teaching in a course. Good and sincere teaching and research should be rewarded through various incentives including cash awards.
1. If a University has to develop into a world class Institution it has to have a world class Infrastructure in addition to a dedicated Faculty and a liberal and open minded Administration.
2. Having well equipped laboratories, modern class rooms and state of the art Internet facilities are essential first steps towards achieving the goals.
3. For the Internet they have to install a total Wireless system with Broadband connectivity. There should be no compromise on buying the largest bandwidth available. All Departments, Faculty rooms, labs, class rooms, individual rooms in Halls of residence and total Administration should be provided with connectivity, computers and appropriate software. Faculty members and students should be encouraged to own laptops and easy loan schemes may be negotiated with banks. This is a MUST for all Faculties in the University. For students having financial difficulties small clusters of computing facility may be established in some Halls in the beginning.
4. Build new Halls of Residence in order to reduce the overcrowding that creates problems all around. The living conditions and the state of cleanliness of the toilets etc leave a large scope for improvement. The messes in the Halls have to be revived and made hundred percent functional. Eating in the dining hall must be compulsory. Other than cleaning them up they require more modern gadgets to function smoothly.
5. Power Supply by the State agencies is also a major problem and a draw back to all Technology and Science based education system. Irrespective of the cost hundred percent power backup is essential and must be provided.
6. The renovation of ‘Heritage” buildings including Halls of Residence were once funded by UGC but a fresh look is desirable and action taken. Departments that are not housed properly deserve a building of their own.
7. Lack of renovation of the buildings including better and latest equipment and facilities in the Medical College has hampered the development of the college.
8. Overhaul and re-equip old and obsolete Equipment and Facilities in the Science, and Engineering by discarding old and obsolete equipment and ideas.
9. Faculty members and Administration have to be held Accountable for lapses if any.
Obtaining Funds for development would not be difficult since the Government of India has been generous in grants to the University but unfortunately they have been either returned or utilised for some other purpose.
1. The University has to run Faculty Development programmes to train the teachers in modern pedagogy.
2. Incentives and Promotions should be tied up with the performance of a teacher judged by either students’ feedback score or research output. A minimum of 2 papers in refereed journals in a year may be adopted as a standard for good performance.
3. Liberal funding for paper presentations be made available for attending conferences both National and International.
Posted on February 13, 2012
Author: Prof M N Faruqui
1952 -56 IIT Kharagpur student;
1958 – 1990 Faculty at IIT Kharagpur,
Former Deputy Director, IIT Kharagpur
1990-94 Vice Chancellor, Aligarh Muslim University.
Prof. Faruqui can be approached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Engineering Education is under attack for lack of Quality, Creativity and Innovation as well as technical knowledge in the students passing out of the large number of Colleges. Unfortunately many impediments and problems of engineering education, as it exists, have been clubbed together and the whole sector has been tarnished and whitewashed by one brush of non-performance. The poor output from Universities and colleges can be divided into three or four categories for proper analysis of the reasons of deterioration.
1. Admission and quality of students admitted: Schools are deficient in actual learning and there is a menace of Coaching Centers encouraging it and making money on the side.
2. Substandard colleges: Often producing poor quality graduates both Bachelors and Masters, thus providing poor quality teachers, the cycle is self defeating
3. Frozen and antiquated curricula and syllabi: Flexible curriculum is need of the hour. Affiliated colleges bundled into a Technical University are choking the education stream. Freedom of enquiry required for educating young minds is totally missing and in turn Research efforts suffer.
4. Reforms necessary: Free colleges from the bondage to a Technical University. Colleges could be grouped in three categories Excellent, good, and poor. Excellent colleges should offer Masters and Doctoral programs on their own. The ‘Good’ college should be confined to offering B Tech programs only but permitted to give their own degree. Other substandard colleges should be forced to wind up or offer Diploma courses.
We shall discuss and concentrate on points 3 and 4 above. The misfortune of the colleges is that they are allowed to start functioning commercially without proper facilities and they are tied to the apron strings of a state level Technical University. There is a dearth of trust and confidence in the capability of this college that they can impart good quality of education independently. This college is pushed under the umbrella of an omnibus system called a Technical University. Here the responsibility shifts from the “affiliated” college to the omnipresent but distant university. Managing few hundred colleges this University has to forget nice terms like Innovation and concentrate on day to day survival. Innovations in curriculum, examinations and depth of questions asked, projects and laboratory exercises, searching assignments, peer learning and group teaching etc are out of question. Rote learning, ‘describe and explain’ type of questions are set in the examinations and the obvious effort is to pass the students. Unfortunately the standards even then are so bad that large number of students fail.
I believe in the adage that once a man is thrown in the water he either learns to swim or is drowned. The situation is the same here. A chosen college is allowed to function independently and I am confident this college would rise to the occasion. A refrain from good affiliated colleges has been that they are choked and are helpless in doing something different. The reform starts with fixing the category to which a college belongs. It may be time consuming but a criterion has to be worked out to separate them into excellent, good and poor class for three years initially. We will discuss how a ‘good’ college can be pushed into ‘excellent’ category and maybe a ‘poor’ college into ‘good’ class.
The objective of this effort would be produce graduates who are vibrant, smart, creative and innovative in their field. Now let us look broadly into what is required to be done to achieve this objective. This is not a unique solution but points out the direction which is likely to improve the situation.
Teaching Learning Proces
a) Admission: At the time of admission grading of the students is necessary in order to help the college in admitting better quality intake. A fixed level of performance in the Class 12 examinations ( say 60 percent) followed by the position in the Competitive examination held specifically for admission should be used for admitting the student. In my view the result of Class 12 examination should be sufficient with an agreed formula for equating various Boards in the country.
b) Revamp: Change the curricula and syllabi to make it current, forward looking, and dynamic. Provision must be made for slow learners and students coming from the deprived sections of the society. While going about it the following are essential:
c) Credits: The distribution of credits should preferably as follows.
Core ………………. 30 % (approx)
Electives ………… 30 % (approx)
Science ………….. 20 % (approx)
HSS ……………….. 20 % (approx)
Extra Curricular Activities
The above distribution of 30 percent to Electives is an important step in this reform. These Electives are not confined to the material (sometimes advanced) not covered in the core. There is no end to knowledge and information all around in all fields but the core has to be kept minimum necessary allowing a flexible approach. There are a lot of Options of having electives from the same area, from interdisciplinary area or from multidisciplinary area and a diversity should exist or rather be encouraged. Naturally the degree awarded would be in the core area.
d) Science courses; There is a lot of repetition in the topics covered in class XI and XII and the syllabus followed in Physics and Mathematics courses in the initial stages in Engineering. This is counter productive since it does t not allow newer topics to be introduced. The syllabi are practically the same of what we had in Allahabad University B Sc course in 1950-52. Not that principles and subject material has changed but when do we teach subjects like Lasers, Nano technology, solid state and nuclear Physics to name a few.
Similarly we go on teaching Mathematical theorems and how to solve a given Differential Equation, say, but never discuss why or how we come across the problem whose solution is the equation. A student never knows or understands which or how an actual problem leads to a particular equation. Invariably the teacher of Mathematics in a college has no exposure to engineering and technology problems. Naturally his exposure of Mathematics to his students does not touch actual applications.
e) Humanities and Social Sciences: Exposure to Humanities and Social Sciences is an integral part of the mental make up of an engineering graduate. The courses should be well designed to cover the whole gamut of a person’s outlook of the society, duties and obligations to fellow human beings, and a positive and a happy outlook and perspective of life. We should not clutter them with ‘n’ number of Management related courses. Twenty percent of the curriculum allocation to HSS will mean about eight subjects in a program which effectively means one subject of HSS in every semester. A number of subjects of contemporary relevance can be taken up here and the mental horizon of the students widened. Some courses in this group could be compulsory or core and some others depending on the choice of the student.
f). Labs and Projects: There should be heavy emphasis on Laboratory exercises since I firmly believe that a person actually learns about the subject in the Labs. Routine experimental setups, using set ups in green boxes, now popular, should be prohibited. Experiments should be challenging and the student must learn either to design or establish some principle of engineering through his own efforts working in a group. The assignments have become a dull routine with the teachers and the students without making any efforts to enliven it. At least here the assignment has to be such that the students have to make an effort to look for the material from the Internet or the library, if desired, and present it in his own fashion. The cut and paste tricks should be punishable if a student resorts to that.
Projects are an important component of creative teaching. Heavy emphasis on projects where the ingenuity of the student is tested and if properly encouraged they should be able to tackle research problems effectively and may take a research career later on. The projects could be individual or a group of two or three students. Effort on successful carrying out the Projects would lead to better Labs, Assignments, Seminars. Projects should be the backbone of good quality innovative and creative course work.
If you look at the average engagement of a teacher in a good college is maximum of 6 hours of teaching in a week and the balance 10 hours in laboratory etc. If we assume that six hours of lecture would require about six hours of preparation he is technically busy for about twenty hours in a week of about forty hours. The argument that he has no time to check the assignments thoroughly and critically does not wash. It is a fact that if he is not active in research he has ample time to guide the students in the projects and assignments.
g). Extra curricula activities: In order to develop a well rounded personality, Extra Curricular Activities must be encouraged so that the students participate in Social and Cultural as well as Sport and Games freely. Unfortunately a number of Engineering Colleges are being established and permitted to function without a provision of play grounds and student activity clubs. No encouragement of debates and quiz competitions is given by the administration so much so that all that is left of a cultural activity in a college is to hold one gala festival in a year. The main attraction of such festivals has shifted from students taking part in various activities to that of inviting well known artistes from outside to come and entertain them.
Research Activities and Faculty:
It goes without saying the obvious that educational standards can only improve if the faculty and the students are directly involved in Research either for a degree or for projects, preferably sponsored. Now the research standards are not up to the mark for various reasons. But on the face of it there are three reasons for poor performance in research.
i) Insufficient financial support particularly for sponsored research. There has been almost a total lack of support to university kind of research by Indian industries. As long as the industries are not interested in the outcome of the research –whether theoretical or applied and experimental — they see no point in supporting it. If we continue buying and importing new technologies and equipment including manufacturing plants the need for research does not exist. The same is true for Government efforts also except the Defense industries where an embargo on exports to India exists in the foreign counties.
ii) Insufficient or poor incentive for research graduates. Whether a person has Bachelors, Masters or Doctoral degree the industry almost does not differentiate in terms of emoluments, position of responsibility and promotions. Unfortunately this is also a fact that good students join industry after B Tech and students coming out of ordinary colleges join the Masters program to improve their qualification and employability. After all the filtering the students who join the Doctoral program are the ones who are reconciled to a teaching career. Though a large number of vacancies exist in the teaching profession but then actual salaries in most of the private colleges is far below that stated.
iii) The career prospects are dismal in the teaching profession. Unlike all services like the Civil service, the Military or the Industry where once you get in your performance is monitored against your contemporaries serving along with you, in teaching your performance is measured against outsiders not even in your organization. For example for a promotion to the post of Infantry Major in the army your competitor is another Infantry Captain but not a Captain from E M division or a Deputy Secretary from Civil Services. As an Associate Professor you may have to compete with somebody coming from a completely different university set up. Every time there is a nationwide advertisement for a post to be filled in the university. I do not see any advertisement for the post of Joint Secretary or a Colonel in the army. Sometimes in the industry they do induct people at the senior position but after exhausting all local available talent. The teaching in Engineering college is the only profession where you compete with outsiders at every level of promotion.
(iv) The Engineering colleges financed by the Government at least give the proper scales, the DA and other benefits to the faculty but the Private colleges seldom can afford to give the same emoluments to them. The main reason cited is that the fees that they can charge is limited and it is not enough to pay the teachers that is expected. Some Private colleges do manage to pay their teachers well but those are exceptions. Even if we do not take into account the high salaries and perks paid by the Industrial houses to their engineers and managers the actual benefits enjoyed by the people in Civil and Military services are also far more than what is doled out to a faculty member. It is part of their pay packets and service condition. The result is that teaching profession is least paying and attractive and only draws talent from the bottom of the barrel of eligible people.
Faculty Development Issues
In all services like Civil, Military or Industrial there is provision of upgrading one’s skill and periodical training at the expense of the organization is almost mandatory. Neither before nor after joining the teaching profession a person is required to be trained. At one time the Government had started the QIP program for training the engineering college teachers to do research and acquire a Doctoral degree while being paid the full salary and an additional subsistence allowance at the place of work. It benefitted a large number of teachers but slowly the initiative has petered off. Five day seminars in the name of Faculty Development that have become the fashion of the day are meaningless. In addition to the 3 years leave program for doing a Ph D all faculty members must be forced to go for training in an Industrial or a Research establishment for periods ranging from six months to a year fully supported by their parent college. It is no use saying the quality of education is poor without taking any concrete steps to set right the problem.
Pay the teachers a pittance in comparison to similarly trained people and then expect wonders from them.Since salaries are tied up and are according to the national scales the perquisites have to be scaled up. Why does an IAS / IPS officer not crib about the salaries because they have a large number of hidden benefits which the faculty members do not enjoy. Even if the staring salaries of teachers are similar to what these officers get the faculty get much poor compensation. Better facilities and perks based on performance are essential therefore to attract better people into teaching. Most of the Private Engineering Colleges, and they are in vast majority, treat their faculty shabbily. Barring a few the Management of these colleges are helpless because the fees they charge is not enough to pay proper salaries to the faculty.
If we want quality of education we have to pay more to the faculty and therefore more fees from the students. We in our country suffer from over-regulation and over-control to the extent it becomes counter productive. We have allowed a large number of Private engineering colleges to be opened and now we discover that thousands of seats are vacant in every state since there are no takers for them. Naturally these colleges are also suffering from shortage of qualified teachers and adequate facilities. Maybe opening new colleges is more lucrative in terms of return of investment — probably a lot of undeclared money is parked here — than pushing for improving the quality of education. Legislation closing these colleges is not possible in our democratic country but they can be declassified into the third category. It would be possible to work out a criterion for demotion of such college who do not meet the standards. The situation is so bad that some state government has requested the AICTE not to give permission for opening new college.
Foreign Universities Role:
India in its long history has been colonized by different kinds of people — some came as conqueror hungry for land and loot, others came for trade with us but became masters very quickly. The third kind of conquerors aiming to colonize in another way are on us. These are aiming to make us subservient to them intellectually. Not that Indian students have not been going to foreign, mainly Western, countries for higher education it was not harming Indian universities in any major way. The subjects and specializations in India were also based on knowledge acquired from there. The performance of the Indian universities and colleges were not up to the mark and required reforms and tightening of standards to improve things.
These foreign universities are not coming here for India’s benefit but for their own ulterior motive. They are facing shortage of local American and European students particularly at higher levels of Postgraduate education and this is one way to attract talented students to their country. They also realize that in India there is a craze for foreign degrees coupled with a prospect of job there. We cannot object to a person’s desire to obtain a higher degree and maybe a lucrative job outside India. This has been the scene for the last 50 years or so. The situation has changed now and we find that the foreign universities suddenly want to open campuses here for Masters Program and going up to a Ph D. In my view the direct outcome would be as follows:
1. The efforts to improve the quality of education in Indian institutions will suffer because the local institutions cannot compete with them in terms of resources at their command.
2. There will be a tremendous unbalance in salaries and perks of the staff. The foreigners employed to teach here would have to be paid much higher emolument in addition to the protection of their dollar salaries. The local cost would have to be borne through enhanced fees from students making most of it unavailable to ordinary citizens.
3. A better scheme would be to send the faculty members in sufficient numbers to these foreign universities for them to get trained. The benefits of such a scheme would be valid for generations of students trained by these faculty members.
In conclusion, it can be said the allowing the Foreign Universities to operate in India is serving their interests and not of Indian educational interests. The process is not viable unless they charge heavy fees from students and pull away the good ones to go and work in USA / UK for their benefits.
Prof. Shankar Lall Maskara*
There are very few persons who have qualities and virtues like those possessed by Prof. M.N. Faruqui. His heavenly abode, on Friday, the 24th August 2012, was a very sad day of mourning and sorrow for his family, friends, colleagues, students, admirers and many others, spread throughout the globe. All those who ever came in contact with him immediately bonded with him. He had a towering and charming personality with a generous heart and ever smiling face. He embodied Wisdom, Vision, Compassion, Courage, Patience and Confidence. His breadth of knowledge in various subjects and analytical skills to go in depth with strong reasoning power displayed on all occasions of crisis. People rushed to him for solutions to their problems. He could easily win over even his opponents.
He entered IIT Kharagpur as a young first year student of engineering when the IIT was just in its infancy and continued as faculty and subsequently holding many high positions of authority till late eighties when he left to take over the coveted position of Vice-Chancellor of the prestigeous Aligarh Muslim University. During his very long stay at IIT Kharagpur, he made numerous contributions to its growth and advancement . As a consequence of his and some others dedicated efforts, IIT Kharagpur acquired a prestigious position on the Academic map of the world during this period.
He was one of the few stalwarts of the E & ECE department, who brought laurels to the department. With others he pioneered introducing innovation, modern teaching methodologies and subjects in the department. Growth of the department during his tenure was unparallel and along with other pioneers and their contributions, the E & ECE Department occupied a unique position in the field of Electronics and Communications world over. His, and also of few others, researches and sponsored project activities brought many laurels and prestige to the department. He excelled in academics, administration and education at large.
On a personal front, I have indeed lost a great mentor and guide in all aspects of my life and work. I could look forward to him whenever I faced any crisis. My long association with him since 1966 to late eighties in IIT Kharagpur and even beyond, till in 2011, in fact, really shaped my life and thinking in a big way. I am ever indebted to him for all he has done for me. I can never repay this great GURU for all the GYAN and blessings I received from him throughout.
Along with my whole family I express our deep condolence for his sad demise.
May the Almighty grant peace to the departed soul and strength to the bereaved family.
Our sincere homage,
Shankar Lall Maskara
August 25, 2012
*Prof. Shankar Lall Maskara is a Former faculty member of E & ECE Dept; IIT Kharagpur from 1966 to 2004 and can be reached at email@example.com
Posted on July 6, 2011
Author: Prof M N Faruqui
1952 -56 IIT Kharagpur student;
1958 – 1990 Faculty at IIT Kharagpur,
Former Deputy Director, IIT Kharagpur
1990-94 Vice Chancellor, Aligarh Muslim University.
Prof. Faruqui can be approached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In my opinion, we in India are at the cross roads and are bumbling along on a very uncertain and uncharted path of “education” for all, for the future in technology, and for the future builders of India.
Some how the policy makers of our country have come to the conclusion that in the field of education everything existing is bad, corrupt, and is not conducive to growth they desire. Naturally the first step is to change or “destroy” everything. Yes, in a sense revolution is one standard method of forcing things instead of them being allowed to evolve? But we are forgetting that revolutionary thinking requires a stomach to carry through the reforms ruthlessly and also have the power to do so. It is better to try an evolutionary growth rather a half-hearted revolution imposed with an apparent lack of cohesion in thinking and trying to attack the whole spectrum of education at once.
I would like the ‘educationists’ to identify the problems we are facing in the primary, the high school, the secondary school, and technology sectors and the university. In my own thinking I would like to mention some of the problems that are choking the system. The observations are not unique but I have attempted to highlight the bewildering feeling of a sordid chaos at all levels. Let us start with the university and let me add “Why can’t we leave the administration and academics of Universities to Academicians?”
The problems the Universities are facing are described below:
• Lack or very meagre amount of Funds.
• Interference by the state and by the private promoters, politicians and bureaucrats as well
• Toothless administration by the University Grants Commission. The UGC are totally undesirable and should be done away with. The colonial powers may have decided to exercise control over what is taught in the universities but in the independent India should not the universities be free to teach what they like and how they do so. What positions, age, qualifications and salaries they have for their staff should not be the concern of the UGC. The immediate question raised is what happens to the ‘standard’ of education.
• Shall the standard not be market driven; if the students find the degree valueless the University would be closed down? A check on the standard of education imparted is discussed in later paragraphs.
• Universities should charge heavy fees so that they can sustain themselves financially. Loans from the Banks, partial fees waivers for the deserving students would make students in India pay for their education as against the present practice of parents bearing the whole cost.
• Emphasis should shift to Post Graduate and Research. Business and Industry have to finance research in the Universities and I can see the role of the government would be to make research funding by industries compulsory.
• Our total thinking is veering towards funding for Technical education only but we are forgetting that Social Science make a far larger impact on the society. Even today, engineering has only 10% students. 40 to 50 % students study so called Arts, 20% study Science and the balance around 20% study Commerce and Management. It is the quality of social science and humanities education rather than the quantity that is the main concern.
• Somehow with our colonial past we have been downgrading educational efforts in Social Sciences. If we look at it dispassionately we would find that our efforts in Technical education have made us totally subservient to USA and European powers. Even the great money earner of IT industry derives it sustenance from them. The technologies that we acquired form abroad could not be duplicated in numbers and we are importing improved versions again and again from the same sources.
• The standards in UG and PG classes of most of the universities have fallen so much that not much value is placed on them – a pity. We have seen that in some universities classes hardly are held in Law courses and Masters programme in Commerce. Not many efforts are being made to modernise their syllabi and curricula and make the education more intensive so that a student in these courses spends as much time studying at home as in the engineering classes.
• Shortage of faculty to teach is another aspect of poor quality of education imparted in our universities. No doubt one-to-many with eye contact of the teacher with the students in a small size class [say around 40] is the most effective and suitable mode of teaching. Since the availability of good faculty is becoming difficult the universities have to adopt well known ‘large class’ techniques where a competent and well qualified faculty member engages the lecture. This is backed by intensive tutorials and use of digital technology.
• If we do not trust our universities to check and correct their own standards it is futile to expect a visiting committee to find all the faults and non-compliance of the rules and regulations. Normally the universities have Faculties of Science, Social Science, Arts, Commerce, Languages etc and the task of maintaining standards should be of the Faculty. They may form a three member Internal committee that will look into details of the working of that Faculty. Issues like number of days of instruction, attendance of the students, level of question papers set, desired coverage of the subject, level of gradation and award of grades, student feedback etc may be under their scrutiny. A peer evaluation hopefully would lead a better check on the standards.
• Universities could also offer degrees in Engineering and Medicine if they fulfil the conditions required. The
case of Engineering education is discussed in a subsequent article.
• Permission to open a university (including Colleges discussed below) either by the government, private trusts, or other organisations could be given by the State / Central government through an Act passed by the legislature. However I would suggest that a University could be opened by any individual or group subject to a broad guideline approved for all such ventures. The idea is that quality of education should be a measure of the success of a university. Placements would be automatic if the quality of education is good. Post-establishment of the university there will be no bureaucratic ‘look into’ its functioning.
Far reaching suggestions have been made by the high power Prof Yashpal Committee appointed by the government to suggest reforms in the education system at the university level. Particularly they cortically reviewed the functioning of UGC and AICTE among other things. Some of the suggestions made by the members of the committee are very welcome but some are only purely rhetorical and risky. Since UGC, for example, is not working as desired it should be disbanded and replaced by a ‘Supremely Powerful Central Committee who would regulate and look after everything. They would appoint Vice-Chancellors to all universities – as if that gentleman selected by this august body would solve all the difficulties of the university. This committee consisting of Noble Laureates and eminent scientists sitting in Delhi would provide instant solutions to the university problems. Was it Don Quixote that comes to mind?
The bureaucrats, industrial leaders, Ministers, and what-have-you in public “blame” the defenceless universities that they are not doing research. Unfortunately nobody turns around and asks ‘hey this is the amount of money the society has given you for research and you have wasted it and done nothing much”. And then we wake up and see that Harvard, Yale, Berkeley et al are doing so well but why not our local Harvards. Have they bothered to find out the total budget of these universities and their per student expenditure? Their research budget, their Alumni funding and Industrial projects funding would take care of the needs of some states in India. Put gas in the machine before you expect it to run and perform. Find funds and more importantly find how to get funds for the universities and then put them in the dock for non-performance..
We are discussing non-engineering and non-technical colleges mostly affiliated to a university that actually award the degrees. Unfortunately these institutions are totally tied up with the other colleges of the affiliating university. They have no freedom to decide their curricula and syllabi, their exams are conducted by the university and the evaluation is also done by them. This is a great hindrance and stumbling bock in developing creativity, innovativeness and diversity in education and ideas. The suggestion of the Committee that 1500 colleges that are doing well be made into Universities is a very welcome move. If a particular college has the facilities and is doing well I see no objection to this college being made independent and permitted to have its own syllabi and curricula and award degree. They have to make all efforts to maintain their standards and if they fail to live up to their reputation the student registration will drop and they will end up losing their independence. Suggestion of a SAT type universal test is good and desirable and along with a recommendation from the teachers from the school could be used as the yardstick for admission.
Other than the student reactions and feedback, the college performance has to be reviewed and evaluated every three years. These colleges should be allowed to offer Honours degrees that are research driven degrees with emphasis on liberal education and academic excellence. Subjects belonging to a wide range of subjects of Social Sciences, Sciences, Commerce, Law and Languages etc could be offered by them. In some subjects where facilities exist, these colleges could operate at the PG and PhD level like any university. Admission to the ‘regular’ university entrusted with major research efforts would be open to the students passing out of these ‘college-universities’. I have a different suggestion, different from the Committee, for Colleges that do not make into the above category. They may be allowed to offer only UG degrees designated as a Pass degree with an emphasis on a broad level of liberal education. Since vocational and technical studies have not been given the importance that is required these Pass courses may have vocational studies as one important component. The range of subjects on offer may be extensive with a technical flavour as suggested. Students passing out of these colleges would normally not be eligible for pursuing Postgraduate degrees. However, if the student so desires and his performance is excellent, he may be allowed to join the third year of the Honours programme and get into the PG stream. in effect these colleges may be encouraged to offer Vocational and ‘Technology’ oriented programmes with various combinations of any three subjects like; English, Economics, History, Geography, Philosophy, Psychology, Computer Science, Information Technology, Mechanical Sciences, Health care, Electrical Sciences, Environment, Arts, Hindi, Urdu, Regional Languages, Banking, Agricultural Finance, Agricultural Marketing and a large number of subjects from various disciplines.
We would be looking at the functioning of these colleges to produce educated middle level workers connected with various economic activities of the society but with some technology orientation mainly brought through Computer Science, Information Technology, Mechanical and Electrical Sciences and Banking etc.
Dr Mohammad Sajjad*
I waited for someone he bestowed favour upon to write aninformed obituary of the late Prof. M. N. Faruqi, the Vice Chancellor of AMU,1990-94, who passed away on Friday 24 August 2012. He had obliged too manypeople, who could otherwise have hardly been considered competent enough forthose favours. They include teachers in the Faculties of Arts, Social Sciences,and Law, essentially expected to be more competent in literary articulations,required for the exercises like obituary writings. The nomination quota of theVC for admissions was put to worst possible abuse, not only by the most crookedof Muslim politicians, but this had also increased the success rate of thechildren of the AMU employees. Many of these beneficiaries pretended ignoranceabout the death of their ‘benefactor’ even after many hours of his demise inKanpur, not far away from Aligarh. Ithink there is a lesson for the VCs and other powerful academicians: whiledistributing favours in academia, do take consideration of certain degree ofmerit.
The yearof his arrival and my enrolment in AMU coincides. I was struck with the kind ofwarm reception he was given by the students led by their Union. I had nevereven heard of such pomp and show despite the fact that I come from a family ofan academic, an alumnus of one of the most prestigious universities of India.
Being a“junior” in AMU, that too in the “tarikhi” S. S. Hall, on the Saturday nights,I was being “tutored” by my “seniors”, about the proud culture (Tahzib and Tamaddun) of AMU. Despite the fact that this “introduction” wasmuch less harsh than the “ragging” of any other campus, I was upset probablybecause of being a much pampered and protected “child” (only son) of a certainkind of family and was trying hard to cope with the home-sickness. My fatherwas not very enthusiastic about sending me to AMU which in his views was not acentre of academic excellence compared to his alma mater, the CalcuttaUniversity. This created mild confusion in my mind: whether my father’sobservations about AMU’s academics was less than correct or the culturalpractice of pompous welcome to its new VC was any index of its academicpromises. This conflict soon resolved to an extent with the editorial of The Pioneer, quite popular in thecampuses those days when it was edited by Vinod Mehta. [It was before beingtaken over by the BJP’s Chandan Mitra]. The editorial commented that the AMUhad developed a dubious distinction of extending heartiest welcome to its VCswith feudal-Victorian regalia of horse cart, and then packing them off in theworst possible manner. This turned out to be too true in 1994. Prof. Faruqi hadto quit premature. He had brought a bright, Professor Yahya, of IIT (Delhi) as hisPro Vice Chancellor who was forced out soon after joining. The one whosucceeded him, was considered good at his academic accomplishments but histenure is remembered only for having sandwiched the AMU between the warringgroups of the lumpens supposedly patronized by him and the Controller. Thelumpen ‘students’ had turned dangerously violent against Prof. Yahya. Bombswere also used in the frequent shows of muscle strength. [Later on I was toldthat rather than a country-made pistol, the use of bomb was a new feature ofthe growing lumpenism on the otherwise least criminalized campus of AMU]. Soon,frequent group-clashes among the students became order of the day. Regional andsub-regional polarizations were the ‘ideological’ fodder given to the beastlystudent upsurges and mobilizations. Each of the SS Hall, Sulaiman Hall, SZHall, M. M. Hall, and the R. M. Hall came to be identified as the den of thelumpens from specific regions/sub-regions. Any moment, anywhere, these groupscould start exchanging katta shotscreating panic and fear. This is what they derived sustenance from. They weredetermining which teacher will get what kind of academic administrativeassignment, which Department will have Selection Committee, and who will berecruited/ promoted. The notoriously patriarchic orientations of the AMU peoplestarted having lewd gossips about the male VC and the female Controller, whowas also supposed to be patronizing a group of lumpens. The ring-leader of thisgroup contested AMU Students’ Union elections not to win even once; still hewent on to accumulate much wealth. Did he do so by turning himself into anadmission mafia? I must not speak more on that. To my dismay, I saw a teacheralmost prostrating before an office-bearer of the AMUSU for promotion. And hedid get it. The gentleman subsequently occupied/occupies a big academicposition hence a member of very powerful decision and policy making body of theAMU.
Prof.Faruqi, a bulky, tall, handsome man with husky voice was a kind-hearted soulwith lots of sympathies for the human beings in general and for the students inparticular. He had much larger heart with deep spirit of forgiveness for theerring students, and even teachers. This good quality of him proved to be aliability for his image as it was exploited by the crooks of the campus to thehilt. I have mixed memories of him. Arguably, many recruitments done during histenure contributed towards breaking the academic backbone of AMU. Contemporaryinsiders know it pretty well that many people owe their jobs in AMU to Mrs.Faruqi; the access to the VC Lodge was too democratic; few “visionaries” hadmade their way to the “aunty” and her “kitchen”; this kind-hearted innocentlady showered maternal affections to such “enterprising” aspirants, and on herrecommendations quite a lot of favours were distributed. I don’t know how manyof these “sons” called on to the bereaved aunty.
TheCommon students came to know it more clearly than ever before that thereexisted deeply entrenched vested interests in AMU whereby the lobbies of theteachers made use of the student groups for their dirtiest possible narrowself-interests, not to say of the nexus with the land mafia. This is how theadministration was paralysed; the heartrending lawlessness overshadowed hisacademic contributions and vision. His close associates tell that he had thetact of obtaining funds for AMU. He was the one who “computerized” the campus,brought new professional courses like the B. Tech. in Computer, M. F. C., andM. T. A.; and the Institute of Agriculture when Balram Jakhar, the UnionMinister of Agriculture was made the chief guest on the Sir Syed Day; addedUrdu medium sections in the AMU schools.
He had toface turbulent days: 1990 and 1991 had communal riots in Aligarh; 1992 was thehorrific year of the demolition of the Babri Masjid, when he went on to say,‘refer the matter to the UNO’; this was either an innocent or a bold statement,unflattering to the government of the day; contrast it with the pliant VCs;1993 had huge student upsurge; and in 1994 he had to quit.
Prof.Faruqi had to contend with many problems: The Leftists of the campus were undergoing moral and academic degeneration (soon got split), Rightists were in ascendance; few yearsbefore his arrival they had already demonstrated their stick-wielding strengthin protest against the youth festival; a considerable number of the students,teachers, and waiting-to-become-teachers came from an upstart, neo-rich, firstgeneration entrants to the university education; they had their owncultural-behavioural specificities.
Prof.Faruqi should however be appreciated for having opened up the rot of AMU hiddensince long; “new groups” of students got access to the files and workings(rules of the games) of some offices; he, sort of, democratized the disorder inAMU, and the loot was no longer the monopoly of few; it was rather muchbroad-based. He, perhaps wittingly, exposed the rot, laid the things bare open.This expose’ has had an implication. The ‘holy’ and ‘sacred’ image of AMUstarted taking back-seat, creating spaces for airing criticism against its ailments,and its plunderers. Prof. Rasheed Ahmad Siddiqi’s flattering chauvinism aboutAMU had to give way to some iconoclastic critique about its academic andpolitical culture. There started emerging a climate of opinion to enable AMU Speakif not fight against such evils. The morbid logic of “Don’t expose the ills ofAMU as it will bring a bad name to the university” was damned. The task, ofcourse, remains still unaccomplished. Prof. Faruqi did a big job by publishing,My Days at Aligarh, even though hespoke in disturbingly good words for a particularly notorious section of thelumpen students operating during his tenure. He has been appreciably candid andunambiguous in putting many records of AMU straight. Even better thing abouthim is that he had courage of conviction, and had no hesitation in confessinghis mistakes of having recruited a large number of incompetent people and keptreminding some of his successor VCs (including, I am now told, the incumbentone) and other Aligs that such mistakes should not be repeated. He was so sadof this thing that he remained reluctant about visiting AMU after having leftit in utter disgust.
Notwithstandingthe human frailties, this feeling of contrite, remorse, and repentance shouldhopefully add to his merit of being a noble and kind-hearted human being,besides his many good contributions not only to AMU but also to the IITKharagpur which resurged back to number one with his gigantic efforts. I prayto Almighty his soul may get high luxuries in the heavenly abode. Amen.
Centre of Advanced Study in History
Aligarh Muslim University (India)
*Dr Mohammad Sajjad is a Asstt. Professor at Centre of Advanced Study in History Aligarh Muslim University (India) and can be reached at email@example.com
Abul Hasan Siddiqi*
I have worked with Prof. M.N Faruqui in the capacity of Member In-Charge Press, Chairman Department of Mathematics, Chief Election Officer AMU Students Union and AMU Court Members from Donor’s constituency, Dean Faculty of science and Pro Vice Chancellor. I have travelled with him to various places in India in connection with educational and cultural advancement of Indian Muslims as envisaged under section 51(2) C of the AMU (Amendment) Act 1981. I also visited with him various centers of Azad University in Iran. On the basis of my experience of working with him I would like to mention here some of the strong points of his way of functioning as the Vice Chancellor of AMU
1. Prof.Faruqui joined AMU as the Vice Chancellor when U.P was in Communal frenzy and worst–ever communal violence broke out in Aligarh. How he along with the help of the dedicated faculty members faced the situation is described in detail by Dr.Ishrat Ali Qureshi in his book “Aligarh Past and Present”, AMU Press 1992. Prof. Faruqui tackled this grave and explosive situation, the like of which the AMU did not witness even during the partition days, with tact, courage firmness and probity. The executive council passed a resolution in its meeting held on January 19-20, 1991 appreciating the manner he steered the university during the most difficult period in its history.
2. A very dangerous situation was also created /prevailed in the AMU campus just before and after the demolition of the Babri Mosque on 6 December 1992. The entire university administration was on its toes for several weeks. There were several communal riots and violent protests in different parts of the country but fortunately nothing happened in Aligarh except a peaceful symbolic protest .This was only due to tact full handling of the situation by the AMU administration under his able guidance and with the cooperation of over whelming majority of faculty members having different faith and political views.
Handling of these major events very successfully clearly demonstrates his administrative skill. He was not only a very competent administrator but also a visionary. It is unfortunate that his tenure ended abruptly due to a strategic planning by a group of his wise opponents and unwise supporters.
He had set the following goal during his tenure for which he worked untiringly till the last days in his office.
a)To ensure planned growth of the university keeping pace with the present day explosive growth of knowledge.
b)To introduce diversification in the courses of studies with a view to augmenting the employment potentialities of the students.
c)To strive for academic excellence by improving the quality of teaching and research in the university.
d)To encourage deserving and meritorious teachers in their academic and research pursuits by providing them with opportunities of timely promotion.
e)To plan imaginatively expansion of the campus keeping in view the present as well as future needs of growth of the university.
f)To develop the educational infrastructure so as to provide stronger base for teaching and research.
g)To devise ways and means to promote especially the educational and cultural and advancement of the Muslims of India as lair down in section 5(2)(c) of the Aligarh Muslim University (Amendment) Act ,1981
h)To improve democratic functioning of the university by conduction regularly meetings of various bodies.
i)To promote national unity and communal harmony and to strength further they efforts of the university for the promotion of composite culture of India.
j)To improve finance in the wake of ongoing resource crunches.
k)To device ways and means to cope with the growing pressure of students and hostel accommodation and teaching infrastructure.
l)To improve the functioning of administrative officers by using modern technology of automation and computerization
It is no exaggeration to say that the quantum of developmental work carried out during his tenure with the active support of his team members is much more than total developmental work during the tenures of several Vice Chancellors together, for example obtaining funds for five halls of residence, Agricultural faculty, UGC grant for prep year courses, introduction of fairly large number of job oriented courses and establishment of several new departments. He along with his team of functionaries achieved a gigantic task of persuading students community to pay development charges which was initiated during his tenure. Introduction of entrance test at Pre University level was also a revolutionary step as it enhanced the standard of AMU. Introduction and approval of a new admission policy which enhanced percentage of brilliant Muslim students from different parts of India was a step in right direction for keeping all India character of AMU. The concept of creating centers of higher learning managed by AMU in different parts of the country , especially those areas which have pre dominantly Muslim population was initiated during his tenure (this was mooted to reduce the burden on the main campus). The number of donors increased drastically during his tenure and consequently AMU Welfare Fund was enriched. He was president of the Duty society AMU for a period of 3 years during which the society organized multifarious activities and received grants from Ministry of Welfare government of India.
*** Prof. M. Shafi - http://aligarhmovement.com/aligarians/mohd_shafi
** Prof. Zakia Siddiq - http://aligarhmovement.com/aligarians/Zakia_A_Siddiqii
Prof. M. N. Faruqui - http://aligarhmovement.com/karwaan_e_aligarh/mnfaruqui
*Prof. Abul Hasan Siddiqi is a retired faculty memeber of AMU and had served as Pro-Vice-Chancellor with Prof. M.N. Faruqui. He can be reached at; firstname.lastname@example.org