In order to maintain the student faculty ratio as per Medical Council of India, a post of Professor [Biochemistry] on academic arrangement basis was advertised from SKIMS Medical College Bemina vide advertisement No 02 SKIMS MC of 2013 dated 23-09-2013 along with other available faculty positions. I applied for the said post as I was fulfilling all the criteria. I was called for an interview in the month of January 2014 along with other candidates who were interviewed by the Director and Dean, SKIMS but I was told that my external expert was not available and I will be interviewed at a later date.
Before the interviews were scheduled, Director SKIMS had asked me to see him personally. I met him in the month of Nov, 2013. He talked about my appointment on academic arrangement basis and told me that I have a chance for this opportunity which can continue up to 6 years. At the same time he said that things are not that simple and lot of hard work needs to be done till the selection process is complete.
He also mentioned that I must have earned and saved a lot of money as I had been working in Saudi Arabia since 2008 when I took voluntary retirement from SKIMS as HOD Clinical Biochemistry. It was rather surprising to hear all this from Director SKIMS, Dr Showkat Ali Zargar. After that some prominent faculty members entered his office chambers and he asked me to see him again after sometime. I met him again after about 2 weeks in his office chambers at SKIMS and was rather shocked with what followed. He bluntly told me that I will have to pay him an amount of 10 lakh rupees in cash if I was interested in the post of Professor at SKIMS Medical College Bemina. I told him that I have no money left with me as I had spent whatever I earned on the education of my children and other household needs.
He asked me to leave his office and said that he had some meeting and told me to think again and let him know.
But I didn’t meet him and was surprised to receive an interview letter. The interview was held for some candidates but I was called in the office of Principal SKIMS Medical College at Bemina, to be told that the expert is not available and since I was a candidate for a senior [Professor Position], it was mandatory to have an expert.
I left disappointed thinking about what had transpired between Director and me in last few months.
With the passage of time I started forgetting about this position.
A few days back, the post of Professor was again advertised on 15-07-2014. I didn’t apply again for the reasons mentioned above. Instead I met Director to deliberate on the issue and wanted to see if there is any change in his mindset. He told me that my previous application stands submitted and I don’t need to apply again. But before leaving, he reminded me about his demand of 10 lakh rupees for the position. I refused him decently showing my inability to pay the amount. I also reminded him of my excellent service which I had rendered at SKIMS during my youth and tougher political situation for about two decades. He didn’t give any heed to what I said and again said that things have changed nowadays.
To my surprise, I got an interview letter on 2 Aug, 2014 [available with me] to present myself for the post of Professor Biochemistry at SKIMS MC Bemina. The date was fixed for Aug, 4 [1 PM]. I was called by the administrative staff at about 10 AM that the interview has been postponed for Aug 5. In the morning of Aug, 5 I was called again by the same staff informing me that interview has been now postponed till further notice.
On 6 Aug, the same staff called me to be available for interview in the office of Director SKIMS at 10:30 AM on 7 Aug. I was a bit reluctant and asked him about the reason for this confusion. He showed his inability and said that date is now confirmed.
The interview was schedule at 10.30 AM on 7 Aug, I reached there along with other candidates. All the candidates [all retired professionals] were called one by one except me. I was called at about 1:10 PM when there was no other candidate.
There were three members of the committee including Director SKIMS (who also holds the post of Principal SKIMS MC), Dean of Medical Faculty and HOD Clinical Biochemistry SKIMS. True to my doubts, I was told by director that I am not eligible for this position in view of the terms of the advertisement. I asked him humbly that the administration should have rejected my application rather than issuing a clear-cut interview letter in my favour. I also showed him the copy of the advertisement which prescribes an experience of 3 years as Associate Professor for the said post while as I have served for 7 years as Additional Professor, 4 years as Associate Professor and 4 years as Assistant Professor in the same institute of which he is currently the Director. He had no real and logical reply to my queries and insulted me. I reminded him of the fact that the chair of Directorship is not an eternal one and one day he has to demit his office. Instead of his personal interests he should focus on the future of this prestigious Institution and future of Medical students.
He lost his cool and threw choicest invectives at me for which he is well known at SKIMS because of his arrogance. I reminded him that there are 13 faculty positions available at SKIMS and SKIMS MC for Biochemistry specialty where as only two faculty members are currently available.
I request the higher echelons of power to investigate [impartially] the functioning of Director SKIMS before he takes SKIMS and SKIMS MC to new lows. He has been involved directly or indirectly in the academic and administrative decay of the once prestigious SKIMS.
I am ready to depose before any investigating committee.
Dr M Muzaffar Mir
Former Additional Prof and HOD Clinical Biochemistry
When contacted by Kashmir Life, Director SKIMS, Dr Showkat Ali Zargar said, “how does it matter if somebody alleges.” And snapped the call.