Mirwaiz's PhD thesis not his own, says KU prof

Aamir Bashir

New Delhi, Dec. 14 -- A former teacher at Kashmir University has alleged that his translation of a 14th century Sufi saint's treatise has been submitted verbatim as PhD thesis by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Kashmir's chief cleric and chairman of moderate separatist conglomerate Hurriyat Conference.

Mohammad Amin, who retired as a reader at KU's English department, has written to chancellor and governor NN Vohra and chief minister Omar Abdullah that Farooq's doctoral thesis - Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani's Dakhiratul Muluk: An Annotation and Translation - is a "verbatim transcript" of his research that he had co-authored with the cleric's PhD supervisor, Professor Naseem Ahmad Shah, who heads the varsity's Shah Hamadan Institute of Islamic Studies.

"Six years ago, Shah approached me with the offer of translating a Persian text 'Dakhiratul Muluk' into English," Amin has said in his letter to the CM and governor.

"The text is a religious treatise authored by famous 14th century saint Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani. Shah said he would contribute an introduction with annotations to my translation and the book would be published under our joint authorship. I translated the text in several installments but never got to take a final look at whole typescript before it was sent for publication," Amin said.

Amin said that during the KU's convocation in September 2012, he got hold of a copy of Mirwaiz's thesis, which was selected for a gold medal and widely publicised in the media.

"I discovered that barring the introduction, the rest of the thesis - virtually the whole book - was a verbatim transcript of my work," Amin writes in the letter.

Mirwaiz, however, said the allegation was a false and calculated one, motivated by vested interests.

"I completed all the formalities for my thesis, I gave my viva, I gave my exams. And suddenly this accusation, three years after I submitted the thesis. Why is this suddenly coming up now, in the backdrop of my visit to Pakistan? Someone's trying to discredit me," Mirwaiz told HT over the phone.

In September, Mirwaiz had refused to attend the convocation, where he was to be awarded a gold medal for his doctorate by President Pranab Mukherjee, citing reservations over the Indian national anthem that was set to be played at the function.

University officials say that action has not been taken against Mirwaiz because there is "pressure from higher-ups".

"The case is being looked at a higher level. There can be political ramifications over a decision to cancel the separatist leader's degree," a professor said.

KU vice-chancellor Talat Ahmad said he had not received any such letter on the issue.

"I have not received any such letter. So, I cannot comment."

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.