Zee JLF 2019: Our universities are infected with indiscipline, says former AMU VC Zameer Uddin Shah

The retired Lieutenant General said he has found civilian life more difficult than the Army.

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Zee JLF 2019: Our universities are infected with indiscipline, says former AMU VC Zameer Uddin Shah

Serving as the Vice Chancellor of the historic Aligarh Muslim University was the most difficult thing he has done in life, Lt Gen Zameer Uddin Shah (Retd) has said. He also expressed support for compulsory military service as a method to raise the levels of discipline in civil society.

"Being the Vice Chancellor of the Aligarh Muslim University was the most difficult thing I've ever done," said Shah, a weathered soldier who had been part of just about every major military action for 40 years, from 1968 to 2008. He had served as the VC of AMU from 2012 to 2017. 

"The 35,000 rebellious students were almost always up to some mischief. Our universities are infected with indiscipline, not just from the students but also from the teachers. I found work on civvie (military slang for civilian) street more difficult that the Army," he said on the last day of the Zee Jaipur Literature Festival.

Lt Gen Shah (Retd) also said he strongly supports military service should be made compulsory in India. "I am a firm believer in universal military service to discipline the nation. At least the IAS, IPS and IFS officers should serve a year or two in the armed forces to understand the ethos."

He is presently promoting his book, 'The Sarkari Mussalman'. "I was accused of being the 'Sarkari Musalman' because I abided by the rules. I have been castigated by members of my own community," he said.

The book has attracted controversy as he disagrees with the findings of the SIT on the Gujarat riots. Shah, then a divisional commander in Rajasthan, and his unit were flown in to Ahmedabad in 2002 to curb the post-Godhra riots. 

He also talked about how religion is treated as a private matter in the Army. "I never got an inkling of communal feeling in the army. What to talk of bias? I always faced affirmative action. I was a Muslim officer in a Rajput regiment where I presided over mandir ceremonies. A Muslim officer faces no discrimination in the Indian Army," said Shah, who retired as the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Indian Army. 

Lt Gen Shah's younger brother, the actor Naseeruddin Shah, recently courted controversy when he said he fears for his children in a country where the life of a cow is more important than the life of a policeman. Zameer Uddin said dissidence should not be seen as disloyalty. "Unfortunately, you say something that troubles a local politician and he will use you as a punching bag. Dissidence is something a democracy must accept. There is nothing disloyal at all about what my brother says."

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