‘Trust your capabilities even when odds are against you’

  • Majid Maqbool
  • Publish Date: Mar 24 2017 5:23PM
  • |
  • Updated Date: Mar 24 2017 5:49PM
‘Trust your capabilities even when odds are against you’

Professor Farukh Arjmand receiving ‘Distinguished Women Scientists Award 2016’ during the 23rd ISCB International Conference in Chennai


Dr Farukh Arjmand is currently working as Professor Chemistry in Aligarh Muslim University. She was recently conferred with the 'Distinguished Women Scientists Award 2016' by the Indian Society of Chemist and Biologist during the 23rd ISCB International Conference (ISCBC-2017) Interface of Chemical Biology in Drug Research held at Chennai.

Professor Farukh was born in November, 1964 in Srinagar. She did her schooling from Mallinson Girls School, Srinagar, and later graduated from Government Degree College for women. She went on to complete her masters and Ph.D in chemistry from Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, where she is currently based.  Professor Farukh has vast research experience of 24 years in the specialization area of bioinorganic chemistry. Her research focus is on medicinal inorganic chemistry.

She has published more than 123 research papers in several peer reviewed journals of international repute, apart from contributing more than 45 articles to conferences. She also has two patents to her credit. She has also contributed a chapter “Antitumor activity of tin complexes” to Encyclopedia of Metalloproteins (Springer, 2012).

Dr. Arjmand has successfully guided 12  Ph.D and four M. Phil scholars and also run five major research projects as PI on the design of metal-based drug candidates awarded by UGC, CSIR and DBT, Govt. of India (2001–09). She has visited several countries including China, USA and Egypt to present her research. She has also been involved in joint research collaborations with several national and international research institutes.


In an interview with Kashmir Ink, Prof Farukh Arjmand talks about her recent award, her journey from Kashmir to AMU, and how she would like female Kashmiri students to aim big and pursue a career in Science.


You were recently awarded the Distinguished Women Scientist Award 2016 in an international science conference held in Chennai. How did the selection committee come to select you for this competitive award?

To recognize scientific excellence of women scientists in the country and abroad in the area of chemical science, biological science and drug research, Indian society of Chemists and Biologists, Lucknow has instituted this award which is awarded annually. For nominations we have to furnish 1) reprints of 10 best recent publications. 2) complete list of publications. 3) Sum of the times cited/ h- index including brief bio-data of nominee. I was awarded distinguished women scientists award 2016 in 23rd ISCB International conference on 7th Feb 2017 in SRM University, Chennai. I have about 125 publications in peer reviewed journals with h-index 24 and 2200 citations to my credit. 


You have many international research publications to your credit and you’re also a guide to many researchers and PhD scholars in the chemistry department of AMU where you teach. Tell us about your journey from Kashmir to getting a faculty position in AMU where you’re presently based?

I started my primary school education from Mallionson Girls School, Srinagar and later completed Sr. Secondary school from Govt. College for women, M. A road, and also graduated from the same prestigious college. My parents introduced me to the warm hearted fraternity of AMU who as many others knew that it was a safe haven for young women and it is rightly so. I took admission as a masters’s student in the Department of Chemistry, Aligarh Muslim University. Almighty had predestined me to live in Aligarh, so I continued my higher studies of M.Phil and Ph.D from Chemistry Department. During this period I published my first research article in international journal and later on many more papers were published. Luckily I got appointed as assistant professor here in 1994. Initially I was engaged in research as I was passionate for my subject area, Medicinal inorganic chemistry, particularly the quest for cancer research. I also happened to visit some reputed institutions like TIFR, Mumbai and some institutions abroad like USTC China. I was also awarded some research projects by TWAS Italy, UGC, CSIR, New Delhi and DBT Govt. of India sponsored other projects. I loved doing good chemistry. Due to my consistent hard work and meritorious performance, I was promoted as associate professor in 2004 and later as full professor in 2009. I have guided 12 Ph.D scholars and four M.Phil researchers and presently six scholars are pursuing research under my supervision.




Was it difficult for you as a Kashmiri woman to choose and excel in a science subject and then leave home to take up a permanent faculty position in AMU? 

Coming from a family of educational background, my grandparents and my parents were very supportive of my education and meanwhile I also got married in Aligarh. Though far from home, I found a home away from home here in AMU. This charming university, Sir Syed’s “Chaman” opened several new avenues for a naive Kashmiri girl and I soon adjusted myself here and pledged to make most of it. My heart though always pined for Kashmir.


What’s your opinion about the state of science education in Kashmir? How can it be improved at college, university level in order to attract young students, especially female students, to take up research and choose science as a career? 

Higher education needs conducive research atmosphere, many more dedicated hours, and state of the art infrastructure in colleges and universities. The state of higher education in science in Kashmir is still in infancy. The need of hour is to develop new avenues for students pursuing research in science disciplines by creating many well equipped research laboratories in chemical, biological science and in medicine. Luckily there are many natural resources in Kashmir and also skilled manpower but they have meager research facilities and poor funding for R&D so they cannot utilize their full potential. And given the strife torn circumstances which we are facing in Kashmir, it becomes more difficult.


What advice will you give to young female science students and researchers in Kashmir who would want to excel in their chosen science subjects like you did?

Education can make a vast difference in a woman’s life and we should shed ignorance by imbibing knowledge and live a meaningful life. There are responsibilities assigned to each person, men and women alike, but by being strong, we can manage all. My message to all female students of Kashmir is that you are beautiful, bold and intellectual. Trust your capabilities even when odds are against you. Trust Almighty and keep making Dua for yourself. Make the best of all available resources and more importantly the best of the time you have.