Picture this: a world where Google knows your favorite ice cream flavor before you even do, and yet the eternal quest for knowledge continues to light up human hearts. From the humble chalkboard to the virtual classroom, the pursuit of enlightenment has withstood the test of time, much like that indestructible toaster you’ve had since the ’90s.
But let’s be real – the digital age has elevated the game. We’re no longer just learning; we’re coding and inventing tomorrow’s marvels while munching on avocado toast (because that’s what the future tastes like, right?). And guess what? Our superheroes of the modern era are not caped crusaders, but rather the institutions that mold minds into forces of innovation – the universities and higher educational havens!
Cue the spotlight on Al-Karim University – the shining star in this constellation of academia! Just like how your smartphone gets smarter every year, Al-Karim University stands out as a beacon of brilliance in a world yearning for knowledge and transformation.
The Founding of Al-Karim University
Before the inception of Al-Karim University in 2018, Dr. Ahmad Ashfaque Karim, the Founder Chairman, a visionary in his own regard, had already set his vision towards the establishment of Katihar Medical College in 1987. A seed of inspiration was sown during his college days at the tender age of 27, igniting his fervor to realize the dream of a medical college in Bihar. This dream was fueled by the recommendations put forth by the Sunil Mukherjee Committee and the Mudaliar Committee, constituted in 1977 during the tenure of the then Chief Minister of Bihar, Late Karpoori Thakur Ji. Their vision echoed the need for a medical college in Katihar or the potential shifting of Nalanda Medical College from Patna to Katihar. It was further fortified by a report published in 1986 during the era of Prime Minister Late Rajiv Gandhi Ji, which highlighted Katihar as one of the educationally backward regions in the nation.
Taking this aspiration to heart, Dr. Ahmad Ashfaque Karim undertook the remarkable endeavor of establishing Katihar Medical College at the age of 31 in 1987. Notably, the choice of Katihar as the college’s location was deliberate – a commitment to uplift one of Bihar’s most disadvantaged regions. The overarching aim was to extend a helping hand to the underprivileged, ensuring their access to quality education and healthcare.
As the Bihar Private Universities Act emerged in 2013 under the stewardship of the Government of the State of Bihar, the wheels were set in motion for the birth of Al-Karim University. The culmination of these efforts came to fruition in 2018, when the university’s establishment was granted official recognition. The impetus behind establishing the university was not confined solely to the growth of Katihar Medical College. Dr. Ahmad Ashfaque Karim envisioned a larger scope, one that encompassed a spectrum of job-oriented programs tailored to meet the specific needs of Seemanchal region’s residents, as well as the broader populace of the state and the nation.
The university’s vision echoes through every facet of its program delivery, encapsulated succinctly as, “To equip its students with not just skills but also to instill in them the human values they should carry with themselves for their own and for the welfare of society at large.”
Journey so Far
Al-Karim University, standing strong for over six years since its establishment, draws significant strength from the enduring legacy of Katihar Medical College, which has been in existence since 1987. This rich foundation has set the stage for remarkable accomplishments. Among the highlights, the university currently boasts an impressive array of 51 programs, spread across four faculties: Medicine, Engineering and Technology, Pharmacy, and Nursing. Notably, the Faculty of Medicine has made strides by introducing Ph.D. programs in eight specialized fields, enriching the landscape of research and advancement. Strong research infrastructure provides the foundation for the promotion of research and interdisciplinary collaboration.
In the face of the unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Katihar Medical College emerged as a critical pillar of support. The college played an instrumental role by extending essential resources, including medical professionals, a dedicated RT-PCR lab for COVID-19 testing, ICUs, and a specialized ward. A significant addition to the medical landscape was the establishment of a super-specialty wing encompassing Neurosurgery, Nephrology, and Cardiology, complete with the district’s first Cath Lab. This development has been instrumental in bringing accessible care to patients who previously had to travel long distances for treatment.
In the spirit of celebrating academic accomplishments, the university has successfully conducted convocations for the past two years, providing a momentous platform for the graduating students. These convocations have become a resounding success, offering friends and families the opportunity to witness and commemorate the milestones achieved by their loved ones.
Beyond academic pursuits, the institution has undertaken multifaceted endeavors to enhance the overall student experience. The college’s efforts have resulted in an expansion of program capacities. Student Leadership Programs have been introduced to foster holistic development. State-of-the-art tennis courts and basketball facilities have been crafted to encourage a spirit of healthy competition and camaraderie. Notably, a modern Blood Centre has been established, catering to a vital aspect of healthcare.
The journey forward holds promises of growth and innovation. Ambitious projects, including the construction of 12 Modular Operation Theatres, Endoscopy Suites, a Medical Simulation Lab, and a Sports Complex, are underway, underscoring the university’s commitment to comprehensive development and providing a conducive environment for both education and well-being.
Al-Karim University in a Nutshell
Al-Karim University holds steadfast to its vision, ingraining within its students not only skills but also the essential human values that they must carry with them for their personal growth and the betterment of society. This guiding principle permeates every facet of the university’s program delivery and functioning, propelling it forward and providing unwavering inspiration to confront any challenges that may arise.
In unwavering alignment with its vision, the institution instills a culture of accountability and ethics in every endeavor undertaken. Above all, there is a consistent commitment to fostering adaptability and empathy towards the ever-evolving landscape, ensuring a deep understanding of the needs of others.
The university’s motto, “rabbi zidni ilma,” drawn from the Holy Quran, encapsulates the aspiration for continuous knowledge expansion. This commitment to knowledge is evident in the diligent pursuit of relevant insights from the vast sea of global knowledge, which is then applied strategically to realize the institution’s overarching vision.
A vivid illustration of this approach lies in the university’s hiring practices. Instead of focusing solely on candidates possessing exhaustive job-specific knowledge, the emphasis is placed on individuals with a foundational grasp of the role and a keen willingness to learn. This forms the bedrock upon which staff members are nurtured and developed.
Community service stands at the core of Al-Karim University’s ethos. Evidencing this commitment, Katihar Medical College’s hospital extends dietary services, nursing care, beds, and outpatient services free of charge. Numerous surgeries are conducted without cost, except for specialized outpatient services, specialized surgeries, investigations, ICU, and procedures which are offered at affordable rates. By immersing itself in community service, the university imparts invaluable lessons to its students and stakeholders, showcasing the profound impact of active engagement or observance on the collective mindset.
Dr. Ahmad Ashfaque Karim – Founder Chairman
Dr. Ahmad Ashfaque Karim, born to Alhaaj Ahmad Karim Rahmani and Bibi Barira Khatoon, hails from Chakjado, Vaishali, Bihar. He completed his matriculation in 1975 from A.K.H.E. School, Bharthipur, and pursued I.Sc. in 1977 from Millat College, Darbhanga. Active in debates and dramas, he honed his critical thinking skills early on. During his time at Utkal University as an NSS volunteer, he received the prestigious NSS Volunteer award from the Youth Welfare Officer, Government of Odisha. Among other prestigious accolades, he has been honored with “Successful Students Achievers Award 2007” by Millat College, Darbhanga, on the eve of Golden Jubilee Year from Mr. Shakeel Ahmad Hon’ble Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Government of India; and “Institute of Objective Studies Award 2012” for contribution in the field of Education from Mr. A.M. Ahmadi Hon’ble Former Chief Justice of India.
His journey led him through significant experiences. He was the inaugural student of the Bachelor of Pharmacy program at Bihar College of Pharmacy, Patna. Serving as a Member of Senate and Syndicate at B. N. Mandal University, Madhepura, gave him insights into education’s diverse dimensions. These experiences forged connections and deepened his understanding of establishing an educational institution from scratch. He is currently serving as the Member of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha (Council of States) of the Indian Parliament, as the Chancellor of Al-Karim University, and in various organizations for the upliftment of the society at large.