“Union For Us And Our Report Card For Them”

abdullah azzam

The AMU students union for the session 2014-15 was installed on November of 2014. It has been almost 6 months the respective chairs took reins of the union and have been in constant effort to accomplish the agendas they once promised during the election campaigns which were challenging yet aspirational ones. Student un-ions has been always considered as the voices and face of the whole student com-munity which is expected to formulate, proclaim and deal with student discomforts in the campus. Looking intricately over the functioning of the AMUSU over these months it is unde-niably true that the Union had some noteworthy achievements into its account yet unfortunately there are issues which have remained deprived and should have been the Union’s concern.
The end to dining hall deficit, curbing it to mere 100 rupees (which was earlier about 400-500 rupees) has been a notable attainment although the manifestos during campaigning have promised summing it within 1000. The union despite of dissensions hurled numerous resistance, be it the administration, lobbies of bad hats, Munshis and other personnel’s attached to dining hall functioning and checked the long prevailing corruptions in the dining halls. Various malfunctions related to accounts or the quality of goods bought from the Kendriya bhandar were also unveiled during the probe. It took over the dining hall of Suleiman hall, show-cased that the idea behind deficit was act of corruption and finally reached consen-sus with other hall authorities. But still dining halls of M.M Hall and S.S (North), R.M hall run with excessive deficits.
Along with dining hall deficit the students Union claims of acting on the thread to check corruption in university. It had continuously pressuried the administration to allocate the donation funds to Kashmiri flood victims. The result being the admin-istration assigning the convener of relief committee to implement necessary measures to send the donations to flood victims. Similarly a torrid issue in the con-text of corruption, the admission policy scam was somehow addressed / by AMUSU by appealing the Vice Chancellor for a transparent public enquiry and investigation of the fraud but the attempts gradually crashed amidst other mainstream news, a GBM and few Facebook posts. The Union’s impassive interest towards the fees hike in the recent session which was present in the agendas of the candidates have left the students in askance.” AMU has always been a university for the poor. Such relentless fees hike has cer-tainly affected the students coming from poor backgrounds. These financial issues have direct or indirect consequences over academics and hostel living of a student” says a student of BSc IInd year. Same is the case regarding the delayed approval of scholarships of research scholars. This kind of issues should have been a prime con-cern of the Union and any help from the AMUSU would have surely aided them.
The union is happy taking credits for organizing of the RECRUFEST-2015 which witnessed over 400 placements from both professional and non-professional cours-es. Along with this the increase in number of seats for the research scholars in various departments like Geography is surely an applaudable effort. But looking deeply, increase in number of seats and placements are not the only troubles stu-dents face here. Also no such companies were invited who can hire student’s pur-suing courses like Masters in Geology, Geography etc. Apart from ill maintained departments, deterioting research laboratories, non-upgradation of syllabus, non-existence of various courses like B.Pharma, Bachelors in business administration etc. are issues which the union should have eyed upon seriously rather ostensibly.
The AMUSU in its quest to make the Academic council accountable (which should have four elected students) inculcated more members in the committee apart from the President and Vice President of AMUSU. The secretary along with Mohosin Mandal, Research Scholar Dept. of English were ensured participation in academic council. Further AMUSU has obtained assurance from the university au-thorities regarding the election of student representatives into academic council along with AMUSU election from next sessions. Its again praiseworthy to point the Union has tried commendably to make the cam-pus vibrant, and illuminated the students and dared to create a platform in the context of seminars, conventions, programmes being organized over issues pertain-ing to societal reforms, socio-politics, dissenting voices of the minorities in the pre-sent era. Some of the notable ones include the convention on ‘ State excess on innocent citizens”, a seminar on AFSPA on Women’s day and “Remembering Sahid Azmi” and sessions over custodial deaths along with protest marches. These pro-grams genuinely heralded the students about such oppressive laws, injustice caused to the oppressed which has remained invisible amidst us yet conspicuous. Aligarh Muslim University has always been a pioneer institution in bringing social upliftment of the minorities through education but doesn’t have a minority status. When asked to several students, the expressed their grievances that it is even more unfortunate to point out the AMUSU being vehemently ignorant to such an delicate issue of minority status i.e. directly related to the identity of the university and the aspirations of a deprived minority. GBMs have ultimately ended in farce chaos and never reached proper consensus. “Multiple speeches during the installation cere-mony annunciated promises of putting efforts in acquiring the minority status but such lethargic approach to such flaming issues concerned to our university will have grave
repercussions in near future” says another student. Abdullah Azzam, President , AMSU said “Minority status in AMU is more than a legal issue. The case is still in the Court and mere protests and dharnas will yield no fruitful outcomes. Minority status concerns our political dis-courses, legacy and cultural practices. The AMUSU has continuously strived to make these things visible in the campus by organizing semi-nars and programmes on isuues concerning to minorities such as the one on State excess on citizen and AFSPA. We tried to enlighten the students about the torments of the minorities so that students from here can further address these issues in the whole nation in future.” He adds “JNU is recognised for its leftist politics although it doesn’t have a legal status for the same. Similarly more than the court verdict what we need in AMU is an active campus and political orientation towards safeguarding minority rights. Another mocking criticism which the Union faces is being depicted as the ‘Facebook Union’. Some people who wanted their names to be anonymous said that the union only heralds its deeds on Facebook not on the real field. To the contrary Riad Azam a student of M.A final says “Facebook posts can only be manifested when work is done by the union and not just false claims. Social networking sites are power-ful agents to communicate with students directly and instantly as everyone is in Facebook, Twitter, Gmail. This the very first union to try something like this and keeps the students well informed. And by this working of AMUSU gets accountable to everyone and open to criticism as one cam comment directly and point the students union”. It is obvious that Students union lacks real executive powers but has the consensus of student masses. It has always remained and will always remain a pressurizing body over the administration and other anti social elements for the sake of student community. There will always be elements opposing to new ideas being legislated. But again this was the whole idea behind the students union which emerged from its precursor “The debating club society” which aimed in making students leader mature in terms of student accountability, being frontiers in collective interests of student community, respecting their ideas, policy formulation and stepping into the mainstream politics for the sake of developments of the nation as a whole. Thus union representatives who may be the future politicians have such wonderful platform to exercise duties, to push limits to attain consen-sus over prevailing issues and force the administration which tries to student voices to come in terms of agreement. It is the hopes and aspirations of the whole student fraternity associated to the Student union in the setting of AMU’s glorious past, controversial recent and glittering future
Therefore with few days left before dissolving of the union one can affirmatively hope for the redressal of issues which has not been act-ed upon yet but promised earlier and optimistic about the further functioning of AMUSU along with culminating of the AMUSU’s 6 month term with a successful and holistic record.
-Soyeb Allam
(B.Sc. Geology II year)

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