Fire Under Snowflakes
During the fifteen years of turmoil in Kashmir valley militancy had crept into every facet of life and institutions of Kashmir. The University of Kashmir, the only general university in six million Kashmiris was also one of the badly affected victims of a few years. But the deterioration which started with militancy in the academics and administration continued even when the campus was freed of this. The university had literally closed its doors to outside world and a psychological barrier with false threat perceptions was erected in the minds of the government and rest of the country, presumably for convenience. Dr. Farooq Abdullah wanted to save this sinking ship and thought of experimenting with a Vice Chancellor brought from far south of India-Mysore. This book constitutes the memoris of that Vice-Chancellor who entered Kashmir as a stranger from the point of his looks, culture, language, background and lifestyle. His journey had challenges such as his acceptance, cooperation, funds for development, threats from internal undercurrents as well as outside forces besides the stupendous task of bringing the university back on rails. It is an narration of the success story as to how, in a period of three years, the sinking ship was saved and in fact emerged as an ‘A’ grade university, ranking among the top few Universities of the country. It is a story of the skills of a scientist turned administrator who not only became a darling of students and faculty within a short time but was called the Vice-Chancellor of the masses. It narrates the strategies he used to awaken the university from a deep slumber, to extract thebest of the existing human resources and rekindle into them the aspirations of high goals and confidence to achieve them. The author claims that while he successfully reopened the gates of the university to the world of academics across the country and the world, he feels it has contributed to the opening of Kashmir to common Indian tourists. The book also tells us that this journey was never on a bed of roses and he faced the ugly undercurrents which were active making unsuccessful attempts to light the fire of hatred for an outsider. He faced all opposing forces with valour, upholding the dignity of Vice Chancellor’s chair, and opted to leave when he was at the peak of his popularity. The book makes an educative and thought provoking reading to every one who is interested in Kashmir, its people, their culture, psyche and their aspirations particularly of the youth. It gives an insight into the dynamics of conflict areas. The book is written without inhibitions and attempts to bridge the gaps in understanding Kashmir by the rest of the subcontinent.
Dr. Jalees Ahmed Khan Tareen had been a Professor of Mineraogy at the University of Mysore for over 20 years before accepting the invitation to serve as the Vice-Chancellor at the University of Kashmir, Srinagar. A well known experimental mineralogist, a designer of high pressure equipment for his research, he obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Mysore and Doctor of Science from France. As a researcher, he has published several research papers and books besides bagging national level awards. He possesses rich experience of having worked in the Universities at France, Japan, Scotland and in African countries. With his unprecedented success at the troubled University of Kashmir as Vice Chancellor he has emerged as an exceptionally courageous and a talented administrator, who could not only work in the difficult and challenging situations but also bring the desired results. He is now serving as the CEO of South Asia Foundation, India Chapter, New Delhi.
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