Former military secretary, army veteran Lt. General Syed Ata Hasnain (retired) has been appointed as the chancellor of the Central university of Kashmir. Hasnain will succeed founding chancellor and celebrated nuclear scientist Srikumar Banerjee. His appointment is for a term of five years.
Lieutenant General Syed Ata Hasnain, PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, SM, VSM (Bar) is a highly decorated retired Three-Star General of the Indian Army. He has ocean of experience when it comes to Jammu and Kashmir. He also commanded an Army corps in Jammu and Kashmir. Lt. Gen Hasnain as a Brigadier, served in Jammu and Kashmir as the commanding officer of 12 Infantry Brigade on the LoC. As a Major General, he also commanded 19 infantry Division in Baramulla, J&K, working under the overall direction of XV Corps. As General Officer Commanding (GOC) of XV corps, he chaired many meetings to address the grievances of common citizen of Kashmir and tried to bring Army closer to them. The much lauded ‘Hearts Doctrine’ was his brainchild and he thoroughly operationalized it in Kashmir. The doctrine increased the interaction between Army and civilians and focused more on people as the centre of gravity in Kashmir. He contributed immensely towards ameliorating security scenario in Kashmir. He employed hard approach in dealing with terrorists in Kashmir and used soft power in addressing the grievances of civilians. Syed Ata Hasnain was known as a different kind of soldier because of initiatives like these and providing an intellectual approach towards the conflict. He even counselled the state government in its approach as its Security Adviser. He is credited with coining the term ‘scholar warrior’ which lays emphasis on not only honing the hard warfare skills of soldiers but also emphasizes on the intellectual prowess and rigorous development thereof.
Since his retirement in 2013, Lt. Gen Hasnain is very active in pursuing intellectual activities. He is also very active in Track 2 diplomacy with Pakistan. He is also associated with prominent think tanks like Vivekananda International Foundation and Delhi Policy Group.
As a chancellor of the varsity, he would make full use of his vast experience of J&K. Being a soldier as well as a scholar, he is well suited to deal with the radical elements of Kashmir varsity. Radicalization among the university students in Kashmir is increasing and even the well-learned and educated people are also becoming radicalized. In May, a professor-turned terrorist, Mohammed Rafi Bhat, was killed in the encounter along with four other terrorists of Hizbul Mujahideen. He was an Assistant Professor in Department of Sociology at the Kashmir University. The Kashmir University has become the hub of radical elements. When the terrorist turned professor was killed in the encounter then also the students of Central University of Kashmir as well as the older University of Kashmir carried out protest march in support of Bhat. There are few students who carry out separatist activities in the the University campus and also deliver pro-separatist speeches. Separatists and radical elements are now brainwashing college going students and funding them to carry out protests and stone-pelting.
Earlier, Gopalaswami Parthasarathy was appointed as the chancellor of Central University of Jammu. He succeeded J&K Governor NN Vohra as chancellor of the University. He is a former diplomat and author. He has served as the High Commissioner of India to Pakistan from 1998-2000. He was also Consul General in Karachi from 1982-1985. G. Parthasarathy has co-authored a book with ex-Pakistan Foreign Secretary, Dr. Humayun Khan. The book, Diplomatic Divide, debates the issues that divide India and Pakistan.
As a scholar and a warrior nationalist, Syed Ata Hasnain is the suitable appointment in the Kashmir University where sentiments of separatism and radicalism have grown over the years.