By N Jamal Ansari
The appointment of Prof. M. Shakeel Samdani (popularly known as Prof. Samdani ) as Dean of Faculty of Law, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh is not merely a routine appointment nor Prof. Shakeel Samdani is simply a legal teacher. In my view, his appointment as Dean, faculty of Law (AMU) will prove a turning point in the history of the Law faculty.
It may be noted that like Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, Prof. Shakeel Samdani has multifaceted personality. Instead of being a conventional teacher, he is also an effective public speaker, prolific writer and freelance journalist, social activist, educationist and moreover a humanist.
Let me elaborate the talent and contributions of Prof. Shakeel Samdani, not to appease him but to inform larger section of public which still believe in devoting life for any sustainable cause and upliftment of deprived section of society.
Prof. Shakeel Samdani has credit to publish more than 250 articles in national and international journals and periodicals. Some of his researched articles have not only made waves but also became source of studies and inspiration for our young generation. The most noteworthy point is that Prof. Shakeel Samdani has not confined his writings to any single language, as most of teacher or intellectual do. He has crossed language barrier and has published articles in English, Hindi and Urdu, which has increased his readership and reach. Some of his articles have been translated in other regional languages also.
Apart from writing skills, Prof. Shakeel Samdani is an effective and forceful speaker. He has presented his research papers and delivered lecture / speech in more than 300 national and international seminars and symposia. If I am not wrong, he has addressed audience across the country and recieve invitation in such large numbers that he finds himself in peculiar situation, which to accept and which he reject. I don’t think that there are many such lucky teachers in AMU.
Prof. Shakeel Samdani is also an active social activist. He is member of several professional and civil organisations. It is proud for us that he is member of All India Muslim Personal Law Board ( AIMPLB) which is top most Muslim organisation and whose opinion matters for Muslim masses as well as the government. As an expert of Muslim Personal Law, Prof. Shakeel Samdani has succeeded in making sustainable contributions to AIMPLB in general public and national interest. Likewise he is Patron of All India Minority Advocate Association ( AIMAA) where he became successful in motivating young advocates to serve the poverty stricken section of society. Prof. Shakeel Samdani founded Sir Syed Awareness Forum (SSAF) to inform and educate youths and students about sacrifices and contributions of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, founder of the Aligarh Muslim University. SSAF holds a seminar cum motivational progrramme in the famous annual Aligarh exhibition since 2009 and it will be eleventh seminar in the forthcoming exhibition. Earlier nobody thought or took any initiative to organise such an informative progrramme on Sir Syed in exhibition. It may be noted that the event didn’t only attaract AMU students and fraternity but also common Aligarh masses and district officials because they want to know about various aspects of Sir Syed personality. In my eyes, this is biggest contribution of Prof. Shakeel Samdani in carrying on Sir Syed mission. I am amazed how I sum up involvement of Prof. Shakeel Samdani because he has his presence in so much wide field that it is almost impossible to mention them in a single post. Prof. Shakeel Samdani is General Secretary of United Muslim Organization (UMO) whose foremost aim is to promote secularism and communal harmony, as enshrined in Constitution of India. There are many more organisations which are fathoming under his wings.
Apart of that Prof. Shakeel Samdani has held many administrative posts in university. He had transformed General Education Center into a vibrant creative hub of young bubbling students. He was also entrusted responsibilities as Estate Officer, AMU which is only single Gazetted post and the incumbent is appointed directly by Government of India in consideration of his aptitude and talent. As AMU Estate officer, he succeeded in recovering lands of university which were encroached by people. Not only had that he also recovered pending dues from tenants.
I feel it necessary to point out that the Law department of the AMU was founded in 1891.At that time of history; only few universities had law development. AMU law department or later on say law faculty has a glorious history. It had earned a good reputation in legal studies but unfortunately with the passage of time, it started losing its sheen. It is due to this fact that I say that the appointment of Prof. Shakeel Samdani as Dean, faculty of Law is not a routine appointment, rather it is an opportunity to bring back glory of the faculty, provided university administration and students both realise the situation and seize the opportunity.
Though I am a small and humble man but in my capacity of an AMU alumni and former staff member, I dare to suggest the new Dean, faculty of Law, Prof. Shakeel Samdani that he must gear up to bring faculty on rails to recover yesteryears glory. According to my information, since last 6-7 years, not a single seminar or symposium has been held in faculty of Law whereas in other departments, such seminars/symposiums are regularly held. I don’t know the reason behind this horrific fact but shudder to think the intellectual fate of our young students who are being deprived from acquiring latest knowledge. On the other hand, it is surprising to me that the society and country is facing many legal problems but the Law faculty of AMU is shying away from holding seminar/symposium on burning issues? AMU is supposed to be intellectual barometer of Indian Muslims and it is silent? I don’t think that it was dream of Sir Syed whose birth anniversary we celebrate with so much enthusiasm. I suggest that Prof. Shakil Samdani organise seminars on various issues related with country and society.
CEO of Snuggwugg , Lisa Cash Hanson once said, “Leadership is the ability to guide others into a direction without force that leaves them still believing to be empowered and accomplished. ” I have seen this quality of leadership in Prof. Shakeel Samdani and so believe that he can motivate students to compete in various competitions and turn AMU law faculty into a Center of Excellence in Legal Studies.
I wish Prof. Shakeel Samdani not only a successful but meaningful and memorable tenure and believe he will push Law faculty on top and thus realise Sir Syed dream to be best.
A Urdu couplet completely announce personality of Prof. Shakeel Samdani :
Shakhsiyat ka ye tawazun tera hissa hai Faza !
Jitna saada hai tabiyat utna hee tikha hunar !!