AMU: Aligarh,MY University
And shall I tell you something memorable about my days on the campus; of course, 17 Oct was a special day in the great man’s dreamland
“Whole A.M.U is adorned with beautiful lights. All hostels are giving splendid look in red deco lights. Tomorrow is the birthday of the great founder of this prestigious university – Sir Syed Ahmad Khan. May Allah bless him with Jannat ul Firdous.”
This is a dairy entry of the 16th October, 2006, when I was a student in AMU. The only time I have ever kept a diary and wrote into it regularly was during my AMU days. I kept it because I wanted to record each and every experience that I was anticipating from the university life, so that after a long time, reclining leisurely on my bed in an cool autumn night, when I turn the pages of my dairy I could revisit all those beautiful memories: late night discussions at Chungi dhabas, sipping chai with crispy bites of Matri; rickshaw ride on hot summer days through narrow and crowded Amir Nisha market; loitering around Arts faculty; shoddy food of dinning halls; purchasing Iftaar stuff from Zakariya and Shamshad markets; visiting grand annual Numaish and the list goes on and on. Aligarh is really full of things.
In July 2005, when my name found a place in the list of selected candidates for B.A honors course, a friend of my mine wrote me a brief email: “Congrats! Now you are an Aligarian”. At that time I didn’t know what it really meant to be an Aligarian. In fact, the word itself was new for me. It was only after I stood up with my hands down, expanded chest and raised chin in the majestic Kennedy Auditorium, singing with the surcharged chorus: “Ye mera chaman ye mera chaman me apne chaman ka bulbul hoon”, that I realized what it meant to be an Aligarian. Each word of this beautiful creation of Majaz echoes in your heart; it gives you a sense of belonging, fraternity and pride.
The sizable community of Kashmiri students in the campus made my life much easier. I knew there is always someone with whom I can talk in my own language, share native jokes and seek help.
It is rightly said that you need to detach yourself from your land to critically assess it and appreciate its merit. AMU provided me that space and inside its spacious premises, walking on its winding long roads I would think of my homeland incessantly. I kept going to the colossal Maulana Azad library to search for books on Kashmir and I did read many of them. In the dairy entry on the 26th October, 2005 I wrote: “I also went to Library’s Urdu section to return the book I had kept for long, Anthology of Kashmri Verse 1930-1960. I enjoyed this book very much. For the first time in my life I felt the greatness of our literature. I enjoyed Mehjoor the most. He is a great poet. Dina Nath Nadim’s Determination was one I felt is Kashmir’s ‘Kadam Kadam Badaye Ja…’ I got many poems from the book Xeroxed, like Complusion (Majbooriyan), Flower of Nishat Bagh (Baage Nishat Ke Gulo), and Determination (Iraada)”.
When you stroll around the SS Hall and look at its long arched corridors and its expansive green lawns, it evokes a heightened feeling of awe in you; the vision of its great founder manifests itself in its architectural splendor. I still remember the words of a university professor in a conference: “badi badi jaghon par, badhe badhe khayalaat aatay hain” (In big places, big ideas grow). And of course, he was referring to the marvelous SS Hall.
While all seems normal and going fine, you never know what happens in the campus suddenly. In my brief three years stay at AMU, I witnessed two sine dies. An Aligarian knows well what a sine die means! On a short notice, packing all your belongings within 24 hours and shooting off the hostels, many a time even forgetting your laundry pegged out on a line somewhere at the corner of the hostel; an AMU sine die surely tests your wits.
What makes life at AMU different is its ambiance of magnanimity, and accommodating calmness. That feeling is usually experienced when one returns to AMU after a long time, putting down your feet on old arched Aligarh railway station and asking a wiry cross legged, biddi smoking rickshaw puller, “University kitna lo gay?” and you know he will never say “Das rupiye doc sahab”.
But in the end he will always settle for Duss Rupiye.
Lastupdate on : Sun, 16 Oct 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 16 Oct 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 17 Oct 2011 00:00:00 IST
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