Monday, December 22, 2008

Reminiscing the Glorious Old Days :: Visit to AMU :: December 2008

हर शाम है शाम-ऐ-मिस्र यहाँ, हर शब् है शब्-ऐ-शीराज़ यहाँ;

ज़र्रात का बोसा लेने को, सौ बार झुका आकाश यहाँ;

ख़ुद आँख से हमने देखि है बातिल कि शिकस्त-ऐ-फाश यहाँ ............

यह मेरा चमन है मेरा चमन, मैं अपने चमन का बुलबुल हूँ.......


No prose or poetry could better describe the essence of our glorious alma mater, Aligarh Muslim University, than these celebrated verses of Taraana-e-Aligarh (our University Anthem), composed by Asrar-ul-Haq Majaz. So great is the essence of this anthem that it is relished and savored by Aligs and non-Aligs alike. However, you have to be an Alig in the true sense to authentically feel the spiritual imprint of this anthem. You have to live, and continuously relive the traditions, customs, and ambience of the glorious alma mater.

Not every Alig gets an opportunity to visit the AMU frequently; even Aligs living as close to AMU as Delhi often do not happen to visit AMU. Same had been the case with me; I have been living in Delhi since long (have kept on moving from place to place, though!); however, I could not visit AMU in the past 6 years. Then, it was finally time to visit the great alma mater once again, on December 20, 2008!

This was my first visit to AMU after I got married. In fact, my getting married is an important prelude to this memorable visit! We (my dearest mother, wife, and me) had been to Aligarh to attend a wedding reception (Waleema) of one of my in-laws. I was really looking forward to this trip, more so because it was a radiant opportunity to relive my days at AMU!

Our journey started off from Mayur Vihar in Delhi (where we are putting up these days); and we took the route through Great NOIDA Expressway to Dadri, Sikandrabad, Bulandshaher, Khurja, and finally Aligarh. The only noticeable difference was the grand gala drive on the Greater NOIDA Expressway. As we entered Dadri, all the previous trips to and from Aligarh to Delhi (I had been a frequent visitor to Delhi while at AMU) came back live and kicking. The same bumpy roads, the same pavements, the same posters on the walls ;-) , the same stalls on the roadside, and the same gush of honking horns of the UP state transport buses! Just after entering Aligarh, a visible distinguished landmark flashed – Grand Surjit. This was a development that had taken place after my last visit to Aligarh, so it was a novel sight for me! We finally reached the Kathpulla, and took the turn towards Tasweer Mahal (towards the University Road). Then, all the surprises came full swing on board!

The road from Kathpulla leading to Tasweer Mahal now has a well-maintained divider. Lots of new constructions have sprawled up, and for a moment, I looked confused as if I had lost the way! But we soon arrived at our destination – Amir Nishaan of course (where my aunt stays)! That was around 10.45 in the night. We assembled at our aunt’s home and started our recollection of those glorious old days of our student life at AMU with my cousins (who also happen to be pure Aligs :-)). At the same time, I desperately waited for the morning, so that we could launch our spree of reliving the days on the Campus!

Next morning, we started off towards Baab-e-Sayyed, to get a good stroll of the Campus, as it was now. However, we were a bit unfortunate since it was a Sunday and the winter vacations had almost started (you know what it feels like on the Campus during winter vacations). The streets were pretty deserted, with the exception of a few groups of students who had assembled on the lawns of Maulana Azad Library. We first decided to visit our Department (Department of Economics).

The building of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences now has a prominent entrance (an iron gate just outside the campus of the building. An average but noticeable board read “No parking, fine Rs. 100”. That was something – I recollected how the roadside of the building used to be clogged with bikes and bicycles during our days; it was not the same now perhaps. The fountain in front of the building was a little less dirty as compared to our days – perhaps because S.S. Day had passed recently! Otherwise, the building looked the same, inside and out. We took some quick snaps of the Faculty and marched up to the Department of Economics, which would obviously be closed on a Sunday. I marched across and beyond the Department, viewing the notice board, trying to take a peep inside the closed door of the Seminar, and finally peeping through the closed doors of the lecture theaters trying to get a quick glimpse. Few more snaps, some with my “wifey” obviously :-). Then we proceeded to our next destination, Maulana Azad Library.

The building of Maulana Azad Library was the same from outside; the same barriers towards the entrance, the same lamp posts, the same parking lot, and the same lawns where small groups of students were busy in collative studies (:-)). From the inside, though, a lot had changed. Right at the entrance, there was a beautiful dummy of Baab-e-Sayyed, deftly exhibited in a glass show case. The Magazine and Newspaper division has now been shifted to the ground floor, besides the entrance to the Research Division. The Research Division, straight from the entrance, was also looking different. Oh yes! I could see numerous computers along the wall of the Research Division, for accessing the catalogs online!

As we climbed up to the first floor, another shock awaited me! On the first floor (which used to be the Magazine and Newspaper reading area earlier) was a magnificent Computer Section and Online Journal Lab! My next stint was the famous lamppost just outside the main entrance of the Library. It felt so nostalgic to sit on the base mound of the lamp post and recollect this most famous smoking spot for us… I simply couldn’t resist taking a snap here! Fortunately (shall I call it fortunate now??), I did not get a chance to smoke out there, since I have embarked on the "Quit Smoking" drive, meticulously sponsored by my wifey (more so because she was there with me only)!!

We speedily moved on towards the General Education Center (GEC). The fountain opposite to the Department of Museology was so tempting indeed! All those beautiful moments of chatting and having tea with friends and classmates while sitting besides the fountain thronged back into my memories. Kennedy Hall looked equally glorious and inviting; however, it was closed and we could not go inside. The weather was also pretty foggy, so the pictures did not come out well. How can I forget the antique but alluring University Canteen! Well, the same old iron rod chairs, most of them broken, the same old groups of students sitting with cups of tea; with few alterations.

We had thought of exploring the Campus more; however, it was getting late as we had to get ready for the wedding reception. Unfortunately, we had to cut short our mesmerizing visit; we decided to take a quick trip towards Zakir Hussain College of Engineering and Technology, towards the Athletic Ground, backside of Sir Ziauddin Hall, towards JNMCH, and then returned back to Amir Nishaan (where we were putting up). We had not expected that the gala trip would come to an end so quickly. We had to attend the wedding reception and leave early the next day to join office. However, the trip was a rare one; perhaps one of its own kind. Let’s hope we get some more time to explore the magnificence of our Alma Mater soon in the near future :-)



Anonymous Anonymous said...


it is a great feeling, after a long time a found something which revived all my memories of my days in AMU. thanks for such a nice feeling which i can't explain.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008 3:39:00 PM  
Blogger Faraz Izhar said...

Lovely description Qais..

No matter how hard I try; just can't stop missing the campus. And I loved driving thru it on quite and foggy winter days..

All coming back to me.. the places that you mentioned; GEC; Library; the canteen.. the games committee fields; the skating rink; gym; swimming pool.. all the roads..gulistan-e-syed...
one of my favourite roads in these "foggy" kind of conditions was the road which connects the University Circle to the Tasveer Mahal-Shamshad Market road..

and those lovely winter days and the fog..

Miss the campus.. bad..


Tuesday, December 30, 2008 6:31:00 PM  
Blogger Qais said...

Thanks for the comment, Faraz sb

This lovely piece has contributed by my friend - Sharjeel who is my +2 batchmate from AMU and a die-hard alig, too.

About the road between naqvi park and University Health service, it happens to my favourite as well. Serene, calm, peaceful yet leading you somewhere...

Friday, January 02, 2009 4:41:00 PM  
Anonymous shazia said...

sharjeel bhai,ur describtion hs reminded me of my days,i think all alig arians hve same feeling aftr leavcng amu.
shazia hasan

Sunday, January 04, 2009 10:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

good wishes to all my alig.specially 1988&1989 batch of jnmch...i would wish to say nothing but ;;DAUD PEECHAY KI TARAF AI GARDISHAY AYYAAM TU...PHIR DEKHA DAY MUJHKO WAHI SUBHO--SHAAM TU

Sunday, January 25, 2009 11:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really nice to revive my memories of the department(1994-1997).

Monday, February 23, 2009 7:04:00 PM  
Blogger Zeshan said...

Interesting. Keep those memories rolling.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009 4:19:00 AM  
Blogger Khalid said...

Qais bhai,

This piece by Sharjeel bhai has revived an innate desire in me to visit our dear alma mater after 10 long years. Inshllah! planning to visit the campus soon.


Khalid Nadim

Wednesday, January 06, 2010 8:37:00 PM  
Blogger Fakhir said...

UFFF....yaadein bas yaadein...Hope you could go to RM Hall too!! Kamra no.6 / 16 / 33 / 35....How about the movie ' 1942 - A Love Story' .... And the Nihari Night with Dr. Ansar!!!.........................!!

Thursday, June 30, 2011 4:36:00 PM  
Blogger Fakhir said...

UFFF....yaadein bas yaadein...Hope you could go to RM Hall too!! Kamra no.6 / 16 / 33 / 35....How about the movie ' 1942 - A Love Story' .... And the Nihari Night with Dr. Ansar!!!.........................!! Fakhir!!

Thursday, June 30, 2011 4:36:00 PM  
Blogger Qais said...

Dear Fakhir,
Wo "1942 - A love story" ka 2nd show, Jumma Namaz after buying the movie tickets, bohat behtareen yaaadon mein se hai..

Aur wo Lazeez Nihari Dr Ansar ke saath, jaan se bhi mehngi pad sakti thi.. yaad hai sab kuch! :-D

Thursday, June 30, 2011 6:20:00 PM  
Anonymous I.A.Farooqi, Dehra Dun said...

Great narration but on a visit to my hostel (Osmania ) I was depressed to see strings tied to poles of the veranda with undergarments hanging. This is not the Aligarh I knew in 1956 when I said Good Bye to it with a heavy heart.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012 11:47:00 AM  

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