Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) student union president, Tajamul Islam talks about new vice chancellor, issues he fought for in the election, life of Kashmiri students in the campus and gender disparity, among host of others things in an interview with Fasiullah SM.
1. What’s your reflection on being the first Kashmiri president of MANUU student union?
First of all I did not fight this election as a Kashmiri student. I am just like any other student on this campus. Because I am a Kashmiri, things deviate to other side. I know well that the entire Kashmiri students here are heartbroken as they were against my coming into student union election. They were divided in their opinions. But at the end I motivated them by my slogan against the regionalism and then they gave their full cooperation, and after all this is not a parliamentary election but student union election.
One more motivating and surprising thing is that I was motivated to come into union election by my friend who has lost his brother-in-law who was a lecturer (in Kashmir) and that has gone viral. So that’s a motivating and inspiring thing for me.
2. There are cases of Kashmiri students being attacked in Indian campuses. How do Kashmiri students feel in MANUU?
Kashmiri students absolutely feel free and safe in MANUU. But not just in MANUU but entire Hyderabad. I have maintained it everywhere that Hyderabad is a very Kashmir-friendly space. So they absolutely feel free and secure here.
3. What issues were central to your student union elections?
I gave a call against regionalism and I thought regionalism was not promoting ability and merit. So entire university got one with that slogan. And I also picked up an issue of gap between administration and students. Almost every contestant made it as their primary agenda to speak on the gap between the administration and students. I took up the general issue as well as disappointment of research scholars.
4. What’s your take on fellowship being ceased for UG and PG students in MANUU?
I see even the research scholars cannot afford to reside near by the MANUU campus because it is a Hitech City. I will take up this issue with the Vice Chancellor and convince him to bring back this scholarship to UG and PG fellows.
5. How do you improve relations between student, administration and teachers? Especially, after an undesired fuss at the campus earlier this year.
I have actually maintained it everywhere when the Vice Chancellor came here our university was in a very sorry state so his disappointment with students was very genuine. I have maintained it as well that the earlier administration should have played a very positive role in encouraging our Vice Chancellor and promoting positive thinking . That’s what was needed and character assassinations were made popular and hatred was made popular rather than cooperation and proper representation from the student union or from the earlier administration.
6. Do you think that after this new VC has come to MANUU things have changed?
Things have really improved when the vice chancellor came to this campus. He is a motivational speaker, and his speeches were saved by the students; and all the students saved his speeches on laptops and phones, and he’s doing really well. And we need a proper representation and that was needed and the regional feelings which were evoked during the election created havoc in the student union politics on this campus.
Watch: Interview with Tajamul Islam of MANUU
7. Research scholars bring reputation for any university. Do you think they are getting their due in MANUU?
Research scholars are very disappointed because the scholarship is not delivered on time. There are so many issues with research scholars. They are disappointed and I will take up this issue as well.
8. AISA associates were seen canvassing for ANSA candidates. What’s the connection between both?
First of all I did not call any AISA associates for canvassing and did the most disciplined campaigning on the campus. I did my canvassing as per rules and regulations of MANUU and Lyngdoh. And here are many students who are associated with AISA, but I did not invite anyone. My relation with AISA is that we accepted and supported their call during the UGC movement. AISA is a very progressive student union and they think globally.
There are things that are beyond the scope of a single campus to take up. For example, the scraping of Non-NET fellowship. MANUU single-handedly could not have handled that or any other campus. So they bring all the students on one platform and fight for the common issues of students which are beyond the scope of any single campus.
9. Do you propose to bring new professional courses in MANUU?
I will do anything that is better for this campus.
10. You talk about gender disparity in the campus. How you are going to deal with it?
Actually, a girl feels poorly represented and one of the primarily aims and objectives besides Urdu promotion in this campus is women empowerment. But the real women empowerment has not happened. Despite every facility available on the campus, the entire environment is not encouraging for the girls. You can hardly see or can not at all see any girl playing in the stadium.