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Prof. Tariq Mansoor is presently serving as the Vice-Chancellor, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh. Previously he has also served as Principal, J.N. Medical College, Chief Medical Superintendent, J.N. Medical College Hospital and Chairman, Department of Surgery. He is also the member of Medical Council of India since March 2015 for a period of four years. He is product of the first batch of prestigious Our Lady of Fatima Higher Secondary School, Aligarh. During his school days he has served as House Captain as well as School Captain. He did his MBBS and MS in General Surgery from Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, AMU, Aligarh. A surgeon by profession with special interest in Breast and Thyroid Diseases, Prof. Tariq Mansoor has 33 years of Teaching and 35 years of Clinical experience. He has 90 publications to his credit and has guided 49 Postgraduate Medical Students for their Thesis as Supervisor / Co-Supervisor

AMU students miss Panditji, cholawala

Aligarh: Panditji cholewala's association with Aligarh Muslim University goes back to 1987. Ever since, he has not spent a single day away from the university. He would sell cholas (chickpeas), and over time he built a unique bond with the student fraternity. As news of his death on March 27 spread, alumni as well as current students shared their grief. His real name was Murari Lal; on campus, he was fondly called "Panditji."

He started selling chickpeas for 50 paise in the 1980s. The price climbed steadily over the years, and he would sell a plate of his chickpeas to students for Rs 10, mixed with tomatoes and flavoured with condiments.

His thela (pushcart) was equipped with utensils to whip up chola, onion, chillies and tomatoes; the roof and sides of the cart were made of glass, and on it were clippings of newspaper interviews.

"Humara interview kab logi? Usko thele pe lagana hai," he would often remind journalists who had not interviewed him. Many students remember that he would never need to shout to sell his chickpeas - be just roamed the campus silently, and students would gather wherever he stopped.

When he died on March 27, one of his sons informed his old associate, Haji Shabbir, a banana seller who these days has set up a juice shop close to the Maulana Azad Library on the campus.

Shabbir told TOI, "I used to carry a basket with bananas those days. When panditji took to selling his chola from a thela, I opened a juice shop in the 1990s. Our friendship deepened with time. He did not like to eat his lunch alone, so after roaming the campus, we would sit together for lunch. He would bring out his tiffin box, and his potato or vegetables and my dal made for a good meal. Students would remark that we were the perfect example of communal harmony."

After the riots in Meerut in 1987, and even in instances of communal violence after the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992, Panditji would find a way to serve students in the hostels his spare meal.

"In times of communal strife, when people preferred not to venture out, he would move with his thela. I too would tag along, carrying bananas. He knew of some safe lanes to reach the campus. After entering the campus, there was nothing to fear," Shabbir said.

He was in the university almost every day, and students now miss him and his Rs 10 treat.

Shahzad Alam Barni, former president of the AMU students' union, shared news of Panditji's death online: "He marks an era of communal harmony. Even during communal riots in the city, he never failed to come to the university."

Osama Jalali, a former student who is now a food critic with a newspaper, said, "Panditji was special. I once forgot to take money, and stepped out of the library hungry. I told him I had no money, but he took out his bowl and mixed the chickpeas and condiments for me anyway. Sometimes, noticing that a student was still hungry after wolfing down the chickpeas, he would do a refill, for free."

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