Monday, February 4, 2013

Sir Syed Memorial Lecture - 2013

Yours truly is just back from Sir Syed Memorial Lecture - 2013.

University has a deserted look, today being a holiday since yesterday installation of Students' Union took place. A better expression for the university would be all-dug-up, a major sewage, drainage, road widening overhauling is underway.

The lecture was in Engineering College conference room. Yours truly must have been to that room after a long time for it sported all new look. The acoustically beneficial grotesque roofing has been replaced by white thermocol tiles and the floor as well as chairs have been replaced. You do feel like entering the room.

When yours truly reached Dr Salahuddin Umari, Director, Sir Syed Academy was in the process of introducing the Academy and the speaker Dr Gordon Campbell, FRAS, Professor of Renaissance Studies, Leichester University. He had chosen the topic The Inheritance of Sir Syed: A View from the West.

The lecture was not too deep and yours truly says that as a complement. A public talk is not supposed to be dry academic monologue. Sir Syed Academy had taken the thoughtful step of distributing glossy printed lecture as well as material on Academy itself.

Dr Campbell spoke about the things that included terms like 1857, traditional Perso-Arabic education at home, death of elder brother of Sir Syed, plaques in London's Mecklenburg square containing three educationists and reformers related with India including our founder, idea of a college or university, Francis Robinson, rote learning, critical learning, present dispensation at AMU, his twenty visits to India as well as his at least second lecture here at AMU, Professor Saud Alam Qasmi, Professor A.R.Kidwai, culture, Tehzeeb, importance of values, what British universities can learn from AMU and more.

Most gratifying part for yours truly was a short acknowledgement speech by Pro Vice Chancellor Brigadier Syed Ahmed Ali. He spoke with remarkable confidence as well as infectious optimism. Clarity of a serviceman was palpable. He emphasized that students should greet the teachers with As-Salamu Alaikum and divulged the fact that he and the Vice Chancellor have started wearing Sherwani on Fridays.

Yours truly lingered around for a few moments after the lecture and managed to have a few words with the PVC. It was slightly irksome to assure him that a Sherwani sporting bearded man can be in a science subject that was mentioned in the lecture just held with longing. Yours truly acknowledged his oozing confidence and conveyed a desire that he should do some thing to inject the same confidence into the hearts of our students. His momentary brooding can be taken as a sign of the fact that the point went across.

May Allah (SWT) forgive yours truly for praising a person on his face, it was meant for the good of our dear students. May He (SWT) imbibe our students with the confidence.