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Muslim Mirror
The New Centres Mahbubul Hoque:
of Aligarh Muslim The Sir Syed of
our time


Sir Syed Ahmad Khan

A Global Phenomenon



Muslim Mirror

tion between Hindus and Muslims.

The main reason behind the establishment of this institution was the
wretched dependence of the Muslims,
which had been debasing their position day after day. Their religious
fanaticism did not let them avail the
educational facilities provided by the
government schools and colleges. It
was, therefore, deemed necessary to
make some special arrangement for
their education. According to Sir
Syed Suppose, for example, there are
two brothers, one of whom is quite
hale and hearty but the other is diseased. Thus it is the duty of all the
brothers to take care of, their ailing
brother. This was the very idea that
goaded me to establish the
College. But I am pleased to say that
both the brothers get the same education in this College.1
No doubt, Sir Syed had achieved an
impossible goal in a short span of
time. But beside education, Sir Syed's
ideas and ideals in some other fields
also hold significant position. Often
people overlook other aspects of his
giant personality. He undertook
rational social reforms also. He was
die-hard secularist not only in letters
but also in spirit. He was a nationalist
who refused to surrender before
British superiority.
He appears to have been inspired by

Sir Syed Ahmad Khan

A Global Phenomenon
(AMU founder Sir Syed Ahmed Khan was born on 17 October
1817 and celebrated at AMU and by it illustrious alumni across
the world as Sir Syed Day. Senior AMU faculty Dr. Shakeel Samdani remembers the reformer and his contributions.)
By Dr. Shakeel Samdani
Late 18th century has witnessed an
unprecedented degeneration of the
Muslim society in India. The failed
mutiny of 1857 shattered the souls
and minds of the common and elite
Muslims alike. Mu slims at the time
were educationally most backward,
economically shattered and politically
defeated. In this gloomy scenario Sir
Syed Ahmed Khan decided to take
upon himself the challenge of educating Muslims. Sir Syed decided to push
ahead his community towards over
all development by arming them with
most modern scientific education at
that time.
Sir Syed was a distinguished son of
India who transformed social and
intellectual India after the failure of
First War of Independence (1857). He
had a multifaceted personality. He
was a social reformer, an educationist,
a political ideologue, a journalist and
writer, historian, archaeologist and
above all a humanist. He crusaded
against orthodoxy and religious
dogma. He took upon himself to
cement the relations between Hindus

and Muslims. By writing "Asbab-eBaghawat-e-Hind" at a time when it

was unimaginable to utter a single
word against the British, he proved
his nationalistic approach towards
problems and controversies prevailing at that time. He was the product of
political and social changes resulted
from the collapse of 1857 mutiny.
Muslims were shattered at that time
in every respect. He appeared on that
backdrop and decided to make constructive contribution in regenerating
and rejuvenating suppressed Muslims
instead of making complaints and
Sir Syed believed that only Western
education could empower them with
the ability to survive with dignity.
Hence, he took up the task of setting
an institution for the purpose. M.A.O.
College was established in 1877 at
Aligarh which later on became
University. Sir Syed categorically stated the purpose behind the establishment of the MAO College. In a speech,
he said that, I shall feel sorry if anybody thinks that this college has been
established so as to show discrimina-

Tipu Sultan. But at the same time he

had imbibed intellect of Raja Ram
Mohan Roy who dedicated his life for
enhancing education among Hindus
and also for eradication of evil customs prevailing in the society. Whole
personality of Sir Syed reminds us
combination of Tipu, Raja Ram
Mohan Roy and Syed Ahmad
Sir Syed's contribution towards development of secularism is too large to be
recounted here. He worked hard to
bring Muslims and Christians closer.
For this purpose, he wrote commentaries on the Bible. He supported large
hearted tolerance between Hindus
and Muslims and tried to bridge the
gulf between them. It is an open secret
that till last he tried to bring unity
between Hindus and Muslims whom
he described as "the two eyes of a
beautiful bride". Sir Syed was of the
view that both Hindus and Muslims
should jointly embark upon nation
building. He said in a speech that, "we
may call ourselves Hindus or
Muslims here in India but in foreign
countries we are all known as Indian
natives. This is why the insult of a

Hindu is an insult of the Muslims and

the humiliation of a Muslim is a matter of shame for the Hindus".2 Sir
Syed's efforts for Hindu and Muslim
friendship were noticed when
Alexander Shakespeare, District
Magistrate of Bijnor was approached
by the Hindu Chowdharies that when
you leave Bijnor, kindly handover the
charge of the district to us. He said, I
have already handed over it to
Mohammed Rahmat Khan and Syed
Ahmad Khan. The Hindu Zamindars
said that we have full confidence on
Rahmat Khan and Syed Ahmad.
When he established M.A.O. College,
he kept its doors open for each and
every community. He never discriminated on the grounds of religion while
appointing the faculties and staff.
Thus, he appointed Theodore Beck as
Principal of the College despite the
fact that he was a Christian. His secularism was perfect, practical and in
motion. In fact today's politicians
should learn a lesson from him in this
regard. When Colvin, Governor of his
province visited MAO College he was
delighted to know that Hindu scholars were equally received by the
Mussalmans. Same feeling was
expressed by Hindus and Sikhs when
Sir Syed visited Punjab.
Another aspect of Sir Syed's personality should be taken into account.
Although democracy at that time of
the history was near about unknown
but Sir Syed was not only a democrat
but also introduced democratic institutions in his College. He established
a Student's Union in the College and
perhaps it was the first ever Student's
Union in India. At the time of the
establishment it was called Siddon's
Union Club but later on Sir Syed himself wished to change its name to
Siddon's Debating Club as its rules
and regulations were all based upon
the Oxford Debating Club. Students
representatives were duly elected by
students except that of first year students for Debating Club. In a routine
way, highly intellectual debates on
issues concerning Muslims were held
there. Prizes were introduced for best
speakers. Sir Syed himself was its
patron. He was the first to use the
term "Scientific temper" which later
on became a pillar of our Constitution.
He started Scientific Society in
Ghazipur to popularize Western
knowledge and to inculcate Scientific
and rational temper among the people
of the east. Subsequently the Society
was transferred from Ghazipur to
Aligarh as Sir Syed came to Aligarh.
In addition to Oriental Studies, Sir
Syed gave more importance to science-oriented education.
He was a large hearted person and his
religious views were down to earth
rational. He wrote a lengthy commentary on the Holy Quran which is considered as a rational approach to
understand and interpret Quran.
Although orthodox people objected to
certain portions yet he did not succumb to the pressure. At the same
time, he was careful not to hurt feelings of others. The syllabus of theology in M.A.O. College did not reflect
Sir Syed's views. He never forced anyone to accept what he believed.
If we take up his political views, they
are as rational and practical as his
other views. He did not support
Indian National Congress but that
was not due to any ill-feeling or
grudge. Education was his primary
concern and he did not want to desta-

Muslim Mirror
bilize it by any action. Hence, he
advised, students not to take part in
politics and concentrate only on education. Even Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru
has pointed out that, "He was deeply
committed to the national cause,
though education was his first priority and love as far as the Muslims were
concerned". Sir Syed was aware that
Muslims can be a party in nation
building only if they get quality education at par with Hindus.
The students of MAO College, which
was established by Sir Syed Ahmad
Khan, took active part in the freedom
struggle and made tremendous sacrifices in order to liberate the nation
from foreign rule. A number of them
occupied important offices which
Governorship, Chief minister-ship,
and minister-ship of the Indian Union
and the States. Thus, they did a lot to
build the country in the post
Independence period. Some of them
opted for Pakistan and left the country after partition and occupied many
important posts in Pakistan also. A
few leading names are: Maulana
Mohd. Ali, Maulana Shaukat Ali,
Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, Dr. Zakir
Hussain, Rafi Ahmad Kidwai, Hasrat
Mohani, Abdul Majeed Khwaja, Zafar
Ali Khan, Dr. Saifuddin Kitchlew,
Hafiz Mohd. Ibrahim, Raja Mahendra
Abdullah, Nisar Ahmad Sherwani,
Abdul Qayyum Ansari, Qazi Adeel
Abbasi, Abdul Aziz Ansari, Thakur
Malkhan Singh, Mirza Afzal Beig, etc.
He was a champion of Women's
rights. He pointed out evils of widowhood. He said, "the women is in need
of gentle treatment at the hands of
man because of her delicate nature
and especially the widow deserves all
human sympathies.3 At that time
widow -remarriage was a taboo in
Indian Society. He appealed to the
Muslims "to encourage Widowremarriage and earn the blessings
both in this world and the next for
their virtuous deeds".4 He pleaded for
organized charity to fight the cause of
widows. Often it is claimed that he
was against female education but the
reality is otherwise. He was fully in
favor of educating girls. But he was of
the opinion that first the task of educating boys should be taken on priority basis. A very notable feature of Sir
Syed's personality was that he was in
government service but did not deter
in pointing out flaws in government
"Asbab-ebaghawat-e-Hind" (Causes of Indian
Revolt) to highlight that the policies of
the British Government were responsible for the mutiny. Sir Syed's fearlessness and straight forwardness is
an example for our present bureaucracy which toe the line of the government on most occasions.
As has been earlier pointed out that
Sir Syed had a multifaceted personality but basically he was an educationist
and social reformer. It will be appropriate to evaluate his educational and
social aspect in detail.For taking a
glimpse of Sir Syed's educational philosophy, let me to quote him on
College boarders. He wrote a short
pamphlet entitled, "College life or
New Life" for the resident students.
Therein he says, "First and foremost of
all, mutual love and amicable conduct
towards one and another is the fountainhead of all bliss and blessings
here. All the students, lying as they
are on the lap of this Alma Mater, no
matter whether they hail from


Hindustan or the Punjab, East or West

or South, are your brothers first and
last. If you did not treat and love them
like brothers it would mean that you
infringed the first principle of being
the sons of one and the same "wise
mother".5 This was the concept of Sir
Syed in respect of brotherhood on the
campus and certainly it was the base
of what today we call "Aligarianship".
His dream of the residential life may
be understood from what he himself
said about it. He said, "Just as the students of Oxford and Cambridge have
to visit the church and attend the
prayers regularly, so also the residents of this institution would be duty
bound to visit the mosques and offer
prayers. The students would be provided with black half-sleeved gowns
and red Turkish cap. They would not
be allowed to enter the institution
without these gowns and caps.
Students would be strictly forbidden
against uttering bad or abusive
words". Sir Syed also paid attention to
such minor points which are often
ignored even today. He was against
flattery on which he said that, "of all
the ailments of heart, the most injurious is fondness for flattery".7 He was
against sitting or wandering without
any purpose. He said, "Idleness is a
word whose meaning are not rightly
comprehended by people. The real
idleness is the idleness of heart and
mind".8 He gave importance to right
attitudes. He advised students that, "a
man should be upright, truthful and
righteous even in dealing with his
enemy".9 He pointed out that for the
development, one should earmark his
own weaknesses. In this connection,
he said that, "there are two indications
of a nation's will to progress: first,
they should realize that they have fallen deep into ignominy and backwardness and second, that they should
struggle to make up leeway".10 Sir
Syed opined that the education is the
vehicle for political rights also. In a
speech, he said that, "if the government has not conceded some of our
rights to us as yet, for which we may
have grudge, higher education is such
a thing that it will secure those rights
for us". Sir Syed's education philosophy was to develop a person in all
respect for the good of the society, as
well as nation. On the purpose of the
education he said that, "by acquiring
knowledge he may become more
refined in his manners, may earn his
livelihood in a better way and may
give his thought to life hereafter".12
He was in favor of following a healthy
life style and giving up conventional,
unhygienic, unscientific traditions
and customs. He emphasized clean
clothing, nutritious food and a
hygienic mannerism. Common men
of his times had a general apathy
towards western culture and lifestyle.
Sir Syed always condemned this
unjustified attitude of his peer group.
He said, If we hate the culture and
lifestyle of different societies, however pristine they may be because of
sheer prejudice or because of age old
traditions, then what vision and hope
do we have for our own development
and progress?
Sir Syed Ahmad Khan was in strong
denial of superstitions particularly
miracles, magic and mystic. He has
said, There is nothing more damaging than a belief on superstitions like
miracles and magic for the human
mind and for the very existence of
humanity. He denied any contradiction between religion and science. He

said, Religion is the word of God and

our surroundings are the work of
God. And explanation of the existence
of work of God is science. No contradiction is possible between science
and religion as word of God cannot be
opposition of work of God. If a contradiction between religion and science
exists in a mind then it indicates
cloudy thinking and therefore one
should try to clear his thinking.
He was a strong supporter of religious
understanding. He always emphasized the importance of religious tolerance. 16 In this regard he has said,
In reality denouncing religious heads
of other sects is actually denouncing
the religious heads of ones own religion. With all the above mentioned
intentions and opinions, he embarked
upon to change society through education and established MAO College
which later on became renowned
Aligarh Muslim University.
The AMU Alumni are spread over
almost all parts of the world and at
several places branches of the Old
Boys' Associations do exist. The products of Aligarh Muslim University
have established about 500 educational institutions in different parts of the
world. The data indicates the powerful impact of the Aligarh Movement
throughout the subcontinent and far
beyond. In Pakistan the AMU Old
Boys' Association has established the
'Sir Syed University of Engineering
and Technology' at Karachi. It was
due to the earnest and untiring efforts
of the AMU Alumni Association of
London that a building in central
London where the late great Sir Syed
Ahmad Khan had once stayed during
his visit to England between 186970
had been named after the noble soul
by the British Heritage Society at 21
Mc Leans Square, St. Pancras in West
London on November 14, 1997 at a
function attended by diplomats of
India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. I
would like to quote editorial of The
Times, London on the death of Sir
Syed which reveals his greatness:
By the death recently reported from
Allahabad of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan,
India loses one who has been
described as its most prominent
Mohamaden since the death of the
great Sir Salar Jung. For nearly 50
years, and especially since the
Mutiny, Saiyid has stood as an interpreter between the Mohamadens of
India and their rulers, as well as a
between them and the British people.
He was ever ready to defend his coreligionists from literary attacks upon
them, and our own columns, as well
as the press of some of the leading
English Magazines, have borne witness to his learning and his dialectical
skill when defending his own people.
On the other hand, no man has done a
tithe of what he has done in arousing
Indian Mohamadens to a sense of
their own deficiencies, especially in
the great matter of education. Indeed
when his unwearied and lifelong
efforts in this direction are considered, as well as the extraordinary success which has attended them, he may
well be described as the apostle of
education to the Mohamadens of
India. His Institute at Aligarh, with its
own printing press and Journal, his
Anglo Oriental College at the same
place, on the model of a college of
Oxford or Cambridge, for the education of Mohamedens of the upper
classes, are splendid monuments to
his breadth of mind, his wisdom, and
his energy. This great leader of his


people was born in Delhi in 1817. His

ancestors, who claimed descent from
the Prophet, are said to have originally come from the Herat Valley, and for
several generations held high office in
the court of the Mughal Emperors of
Delhi. In 1837, after his fathers death,
the young man entered the British
service in the court of the Judge at
Delhi, and from that time until he
finally retired from the service he
remained in the judicial branch.
Shortly before the Mutiny he found
himself in Bijnor in Rohilkhand. His
courage and tact there saved the
whole of the British in the station from
massacre. It was immediately after the
Mutiny also that he threw himself
heart and soul into the cause of
Mohammaden education, and one of
his earliest steps was to establish a
translation society which should prepare suitable books, thought of which
he greatly felt. A few years later this
useful Association expanded into the
Scientific Society of Aligarh, with its
own Press, from which translations of
numerous work on history and various modern sciences have been issued
for the use of Mohammadens. One of
his most intimate friend was Sir
William Muir, but he did not hesitate
to stand up vigorously for Islam
Mohammad and his work, "A series of
Essays on Mohammad" was published in 1870 during a visit to
England for the education of his sons,
one of whom subsequently became a
Judge of the High Court of the N.W.
Provinces. His experiences in this
country he communicated in letters,
written in Urdu, to the Journal of his
Institute in Aligarh. It was after return
that he bent his mind to the great
undertaking of the Anglo Oriental
College at Aligarh, which was opened
in 1873 by Sir William Muir, while the
foundation stone of the building now
in existence was laid with much ceremony by Lord Lytton in 1877. Having
retired from the service in 1876, Syed
Ahmad was in 1878 appointed a
member of the Viceroy's Council by
Lord Lytton, the appointment being
renewed for a further period by Lord
Rippon. He has also been on the
Legislative Council of the North-West
Provinces. In 1888 he was made
K.C.S.I. For many years past Sir Syed
Ahmad's home at Aligarh has been
the goal of the pilgrimages of many of
the greatest personages in India, and
his recepting by his fellowMohammadens when he has on to the
Punjab or to Hyderabad has been
semi-regal. His last years were wholly
devoted to the prosperity of his
College and institute, and most of his
journeys have been made on their
behalf. Anglo-Indians who knew him
best are as enthusiastic in his praise as
the Indian Mohammadens. To the end
he never changed the main article of
his social faith, that education was the
one indispensable requirement of
Indian Mohammadens if they were to
maintain under the British Raj the
high position which was their due.20
Sir Syed was a staunch Muslim. He
did for the Muslims what Raja Ram
Mohan Roy did for the Hindus. He
wanted Muslims to adopt western
education and scientific outlook. But
he was never ready to compromise
with the high ideals and values of
Islam. Thus, he elaborated his educational philosophy in the following
words, "Philosophy will be in our
right hand and natural science in our
left. And the crown of, 'There is no
God but Allah' will adorn our head".



Muslim Mirror
A brief introduction of Mahbubul Hoque

Born in village Purbogool under Patharkandi of Karimganj

District of Assam on December 1, 1973.

Mahbubul Hoque: The Sir Syed of our time

By Syed Zubair Ahmad
When I heard about the unbelievable achievements
of an Aligarian,called Mahbubul Hoque , I wanted to
meet him at the earliest possible opportunity .Once
he came to Delhi to receive an award I called him and
expressed my feelings to meet. When I saw his face I
was really mesmerized. There was a real heir of Sir
Syed in look and deed. A true Aligarian- literally and
virtually. After finishing his study at Aligarh Muslim
University, Mahbubul Hoque reached Guwahati
with his old computer in 2000 and in 2008 he established a university - University of Science &
Technology, Meghalaya (USTM).
Born on December 1, 1973 in a village Purbogool, in
Karimganj district of Assam, Mahbubul Hoque did
his matriculation from Karimganj and HS (Science)
from G.C. College, Silchar. Then this young man
from one of the most backward regions of India starts
his real journey to chase his dream and reaches
Aligarh Muslim University.
He had a dream like Sir Syed and got that dream
materialized within less than ten years.
During his stay at AMU , Mahbubul Hoque used to
visit the Mazar of Sir Syed and stay there sometime
on regular basis to get inspiration from the great Sir
Syed. A resident of 17-Jubilee Hostel, VM Hall (1993
to 2000) Mahbubul Hoque did BSc, (Chemistry),
PDCA & MCA securing first class and second rank.
Although he had lucrative job offers from multinationals and IT industry including a teaching job at a
Saudi University, but he was a true disciple of Sir
Syed and wanted to spread education to complete
the unfinished mission of his spiritual father. He
went back to Assam and started a study center of
Sikkim Manipal University (SMU) with one computer and four students in the year 2001.
During extra time he used to assemble computers
which were sold in the market to save money only to
establish a computer lab which later became Central
IT College and also the 2nd largest center in India
under SMU with the enrollment of over 3000 students. The number of students kept increasing every
year. In 2002, 28 students, in 2003, 128 students, in
2004, 236 students, in 2005, 450 students, in 2006,
1300 students, in 2007, 2200 students, and in 2008,
35000 students took admission in Central IT College.
His dream of establishing an IT college was materialized. But he had the dream of Sir Syed. In those years
he kept on striving to establish a university.
Meghalaya was more suitable to materialize his
dream. On the outskirts of Gauhati he acquired the
land for the university and in 2008 Meghalaya government approved his university and he became the
founder of University of Science & Technology,
Meghalaya (USTM) and was nominated as
Chancellor of the University by the Governor of
Meghalaya, the Visitor of USTM. The USTM has been
established in 350 acres of picturesque landscape
which is situated about 85 km from the capital of

Did matriculation from Karimganj, Higher Secondary (Science) from G.C. College, Silchar, B.Sc (Hons) & MCA from
Aligarh Muslim University (A.M.U), securing first class second rank in 2000.
Started a study center of SMU with one computer and four
students in the year 2001. Which later turned into Central
IT College and the 2nd largest centre in India under SMU
with the enrolment of 3000 plus students.
Major institutions he founded:
Founded Education Research & Development Foundation (ERDF) in 2005
Founded University of Science & Technology, Meghalaya in 2008 and was nominated as Chancellor of the
University by His Excellency, the Governor of Meghalaya, the Visitor of USTM.
Founded Regional Institute of Science & Technology, 9th
Mile, affiliated to North Eastern Hill University, Shillong
& approved by All India Council of Technical Education,
New Delhi.
Founded Regional College of Higher Education, Guwahati, a professional College affiliated to North Eastern
Hill University, Shillong.
Founed two CBSE affiliated schools at Karimganj namely
Central Public School-Patharkandi & Central Public
Founded Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed Centre for Coaching &
Guidance, Guwahati.
Founded HOQUE 20 (a scheme to fully sponsor 20 brilliant poor students for IAS coaching)
Founded Centre For Educational Rehabilitation

Schemes initiated by him:

a) Prof Qoumrul Hoque Memorial Scholarship
b) Khairun Nessa Begum Womens Endowment
Meghalaya, Shillong and about 11 km from the capi- c) Dr Bhupen Hazarika Fellowship
tal of Assam, Dispur.
d) Prof Qoumrul Hoque Memorial Endowment for MicrofiThe university was approved but Mahbubul Hoque
had no money to start the academic session. He had
to take loan of Rs 10 crore from the bank for the con- Established & dedicated:
struction of the buildings to start the academic ses- 1) Prof SD Phukan Science Block 2) Gandhiji Block 3) Sir
sion so that the approval of the university could be Syed House (North & South) 4) Prof. Qoumrul Hoque Acamaintained. After establishing the university demic Complex 5) Maulana Azad Block 6) Dr BR AmbedMahbubul Hoque started two CBSE affiliated schools kar Block 7) U. Tirot Singh Boys Hostel
in Muslim dominated district of Karimganj namely Additional Responsibilities:
Central public School Pathkandi and Central Public Chief Patron of a number of professional and research bodSchool Badarpur. Once his financial problem is ies which have been set up by ERDF.
solved he plans to establish more schools in Muslim Member, Standing Committee, National Monitoring Comdominated areas so that Muslim students got admit- mittee for Minorities Education, Ministry of HRD, Govt of
ted in his university.
Mahbubul Hoque established the university and dis- Member, National Monitoring Committee for Minorities
charged his responsibility of being the true follower Education (NMCME), Ministry of HRD, Govt of India,
of Sir Syed. During those years he had to suffer a lot President, North East Forum for Technical Institutions
and he is still suffering, but not a single Aligarian (NEFTI)
from around the world came to support him or tried General Secretary, Minorities Citizen Council (MCC),
to know his pain. Like Sir Syed he has also developed Assam.
many ailments due to mental strain. But he is quite
hopeful that in near future he will overcome his Awards & Recognitions:
problems. Sir Syed got support from lots of Nawabs Awarded with the prestigious Edupreneur Award by
as well as Muslim masses.Unfortunately the Sir Syed
Engineering Watch from Dr. Shashi Tharoor, Union Minof our time is not lucky enough.
ister of State for Human Resource Development at the EnWhen the Bodoland violence left lakhs of Muslims
gineers Conclave 2013, selected by a jury of Vice
homeless Mahbubul came in new Avatar. He started
Chancellors of 5 Technical Universities of India & other
working tirelessly for the educational rehabilitation
high level officials including officials from Ministry of
of the homeless children who were living in relief
Communications & IT and Member Parliament, Govt. of
camps. More than 35,000 students were affected by
the violence of which 13,000 were school going chil- Received Maulana Abdul Jalil Choudhury Memorial
dren. Under the educational rehabilitation proAward for the year 2013 from North East India Emaratgramme, organizations and philanthropists were
invited to support those children through sponsor- Received Minority Educational Leadership Award by
ship, financial aid, adoption, establishing residential
MOMEIN, New Delhi presented by Chairman, Minority
schools for girls, establishing industrial training instiCommission, Govt of India
tute and coaching and guidance centers.
Received SMU Excellence Award when Central IT ColFor Mahbubul Hoque Life and wealth are gifted to
lege was ranked 2nd in all over India for consecutive 6
us by the Almighty for doing good deeds and to
serve the society for which we are answerable on the Felicitated by the Minority Welfare Society, CABSFORD
Day of Judgment.
Public Relations, Public Relations Society of India, Eid Ujjapan Samiti, Silchar & various other organisations for his
Being the true heir of visionary Sir Syed, Mahbubul
contribution to the field of education & social work.
Hoque says we the Aligarians can establish one university every year at our own. Cant 50000 of us
Upcoming Projects:
donate 10000 annually? Cant we establish a univer- Another eighteen CBSE affiliated Schools in Minority
sity in 500 crore? Is it impossible for us? But the probdominated rural areas in phase wise
lem is we lack vision and we are not ready to sacri- Centralised Womens Hostel with Library and Coaching
Facility for Administrative Services
fice. In my one article titled I am proud of Sir Syed
Three ITIs for women
but not a proud Aligarian I had said I do not find
pride in being Aligarian. But after meeting with Ten B.Ed Colleges
Mahbubul Hoque I can say I am not a proud College of Architecture
Aligarian but I am proud of this Aligarian.I hope Cultural Centre having Guest House facility
Alig fraternity will come forward and learn a lesson One Educational TV channel namely "Gyan Vigyan"
Centre for Innovation and Rural Development
from the life of the living Sir Syed and get benefited
Entrepreneur College, Pharmaceutical College, Physiofrom his experience. I wish that a day will come
therapy Institute
when I would say that I am proud of Sir Syed and I Five Star Hospital with Medical College.
am a proud Aligarian.

Muslim Mirror


Sir Syed Ahmad Khan

Man who brought together
modernity and Islam
By Kaleem Kawaja,

Sir Syed Ahmad Khan established the

Mohammadan Anglo-Oriental College in 1875. This
blossomed into the Aligarh Muslim University in
1921, one of the subcontinent's premier universities.
Sir Syed devoted his life improving education
among the Muslims of the subcontinent and exhorted them to acquire modern education as a means of
entering the nation's mainstream.
His life is a watershed in the history of Asia's struggle from medieval times to modernity. Maulana
Azad called Sir Syed the "morning star of an intellectual revolution in Asia" that later came to be
known as the Aligarh movement.
In the aftermath of the 1857 war of independence,
the old order had collapsed under the impact of
western industrialisation. Sir Syed realised that all
people of the subcontinent in general and Muslims
in particular must change to the new way of life as
quickly as possible.
At an early age, he published Tashkil-fi-Jaar-usSaqil in the pioneering Urdu newspaper, Syed-ulAkhbar, in 1844. In 1847, his masterpiece, Asarus
Sandeed, a book that provided a wealth of information on the historical monuments in Delhi,
appeared. A century-and-a-half later, this book still

Sir Syed

Man with a
Great Vision
Sir Syed AhmedSir Syed Ahmed, born on 17th
October, 1817, became a legend in his lifetime. He
was a versatile genius in true sense of the word. He
championed the cause of modern education at a
time when all the Indians in general and Indian
Muslims in particular considered it a sin to get
modern education through English language. It was
in this context that Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru
described Sir Syed as "an ardent reformer who
wanted to reconcile modern scientific thought with
religion by rationalistic interpretations and not by
attacking basic belief." He was anxious to push new
education. He was in no way communally separatist. Repeatedly he emphasized that religious differences should have no political and national significance.(Discovery of India).
The Great Visionary Iqbal expressed his opinion
that "the real greatness of the man (Sir Syed) consists in the fact that he was the first Indian Muslim
who felt the need of a fresh orientation of Islam and
worked for it India was passing through a very difficult period after the failure of 1857 Mutiny.
Britishers became more confident of their Raj over
the country as they had planned meticulously to
divide the Indians on the basis of their religion. But
Sir Syed cautioned people particularly Muslims
against the designs of their Masters. He declared:
"Remember that the words Hindu and Muslim are
only meant for religious distinction: otherwise all
persons who reside in this country belong to one
and the same nation."
He considered Hindus and Muslims as the two eyes
of a bride who would look miserable if one is lost or
weakened. Thus highly secular in his approach, he

provides the most comprehensive material on the

subject. In 1855, he published yet another book that
received wide critical acclaim a detailed revision
of the Ain-e-Akbari.
In 1863, while serving in Ghazipur, eastern UP, to
bring about a rapprochement between Muslims and
Christians, Sir Syed began writing his commentaries on the Bible under the title Tabyinul Kalaam,
emphasising the many similarities between Islam
and Christianity. This work brought much condemnation on Sir Syed from many quarters within the
Muslim community. But in due course, it made a
profound impact on the religious and social thinking of the Muslim community.

pleaded to Muslims to be more practical, rational

and aware of the changing society. Old values of
education had become outdated in his opinion. He
wanted Muslims to have scientific temper and modern attitude in life and for this he asked them to
learn Science and Engineering, the subjects which
unfortunately became alien to them. He founded a
school in Aligarh for this purpose, in May, 1875
with barely fifty students on role. He left his government job and settled in Aligarh to fight for the
battle against those who were deadly against the
English 'Talim. In the process, Sir Syed had to
swallow insults and decrees of some misguided
Muslims who denounced and called him an atheist,
an enemy of Islam, slave of English Masters and
what not. In one such decree (Fatwa) he was
declared the agent of Devil.
Undaunted and unconcerned with titles of atheist,
Naturi, Mulhid (atheist) etc., Sir Syed dedicated
himself still more towards the cause of education.
His voice ultimately made a dent in the Indian
social structure and Hindus and Muslims of the
country helped him in large numbers to further his
cause. It is very important to note that amongst the
first 120 people who gave valuable donations for
the construction of school building were several
Hindus like Choudhry Sher Singh, Kunwar Lekhraj
Singh, Raja Shiv Narain Singh, Raja Ghanshyam
Singh, Raja Uday Pratap Singh, Lala Phul Chand,
Lala Vasudeo Sahai and others. Their names still
decorate the old buildings of Aligarh Muslim
University. The supreme interest of Syeds life was
education in its widest sense. Sir Syed wanted to
create scientific temperament among the Muslims
of India and to make the Western knowledge of science available to them. He firmly believed that
"Acquisition of knowledge of science and technology is the only solution for the problems of
Muslims." He championed the cause of modern
education and that too through English language.
This was vehemently opposed by a large section of
Indian Muslims. As a matter of fact a Memorandum
was submitted to the British Raj, signed by more
than three thousand scholars, mostly Muslim clerics, that Indian Muslims should not be taught
English language and Firangi Knowledge (Science).
A similar situation was faced by Raja Ram Mohan


Upon his return from England, he wrote Tafsir-eQuran, which was based on the new Ilm-e-Kalaam,
with nature and reason as its postulates. In this
effort, Sir Syed drew inspiration from Shah
Waliullah, the illustrious 18th century Muslim
scholar. He was subjected to plenty of ridicule from
conservative Muslims. However, many educated
Muslims appreciated the new scientific method
suggested by him to interpret Islam.
The MAO College that Sir Syed established in
Aligarh was an intellectual and cultural centre in
tune with the progressive spirit of the times. It was
Sir Syed's Aligarh movement that prepared a generation of Muslims who played a prominent role in
the struggle for freedom. Maulana Mohammad Ali,
Maulana Shaukat Ali, Hasrat Mohani, Liaqat Ali
Khan, Khaliq-uz-Zaman, Zafar Ali Khan, Dr Zakir
Husain, Khan Ghaffar Khan, Shaikh Abdullah, Rafi
Ahmad Kidwai and many others were the products
of Aligarh Muslim University.
AMU's unique achievement is that for over a century it has provided quality higher education at low
cost in a whole lot of modern fields eg sciences,
medicine, engineering, literature to a vast multitude
of youth from socially and economically deprived
Muslim families across the breadth of India. Thus
AMU has truly uplifted the Muslim community of
Southasia and has put them on a level playing field
with others.
In relentlessly pursuing his vision under very difficult circumstances, Sir Syed had to face many struggles, both from outside the community and from
inside the community. But his clear and powerful
message is continuing to echo down the corridors of
time. Today Sir Syed's example is a beacon of hope
for India's troubled Muslim community to rejuvenate themselves.
(The writer is Executive Director, Association of Indian
Muslims of America, Washington DC. )
Rai, fifty years before Sir Syed, laid the foundation
of Hindu College for Modern Education in English.
Through Aligarh Institute Gazette, Sir Syed succeeded in agitating the minds in the traditional
Muslim society. Anyone with a weak level of commitment would have backed off in the face of strong
opposition but Sir Syed responded by bringing out
another journal 'Tehzibul Akhlaq which greatly
succeeded in infusing a new desire amongst
Muslims for acquiring modern knowledge. It also
gave a new direction to Muslim social and political
thought. Along with his search for a solution to the
communitys backwardness, he continued writing
for various causes of Islam without prejudices
against any religion. With all the odds, Sir Syed
became successful in his mission and gave a firm
foundation of Aligarh College which afterwards
became Aligarh University. This Aligarh Muslim
University produced intellectuals in large numbers
who served the country in various capacities. It is a
tribute to Sir Syed that the first graduate of Aligarh
University was the great revolutionary Raja
Mahendra Pratap Singh. No one can forget persons
like Dr. Zakir Husain and Dr. Syed Mahmood, the
products of Aligarh, who adorned the high offices
of the country. It is a real irony that after almost a
century of the beginning of the Aligarh movement,
Muslims of the country are now again unfortunately far behind, in the educational field, with their fellow countrymen. For this situation in which the
Muslims are placed, who is to be blamed? Muslim
themselves. Poet Hali has rightly said: "Khuda ne
aajtak us qaum ka halat nahin badli Na ho jisko
khayal aap apni halat ke badalne ka." (God has not
changed the condition of those who are not keen to
change themselves). If we expect the birth and
emergence of another Sir Syed to change the destiny
of Muslim education, it is not going to happen.
Personalities like Sir Syed appear only once on the
horizon of a nation. Yes, their messages are last-

ing and immortal. Cant we walk on the path

shown by them? Cant we realize the message
of Sir Syed and the spirit behind the Aligarh
movement? It is still not too late. Sir Syed is no
more but his message and mission of love and
dedication for knowledge is with us.

Dr. M. Iqtedar Husain Farooqi is the retired scientist

(Deputy Director) of National Botanical Research
Institute, Lucknow.



Iqbal, Sir Syed and the

Islamic modernism

Muslim Mirror


Modernism as defined by G. Tyrell,
one of its principal exponents is 'the
desire and effort to find a new theological synthesis, consistent with the
data of historical research' .The main
tension among the Muslim intellectual community in this twenty-first century is their seemingly contradictory
affiliation both with the Islamic 'dogmatic' beliefs and social identity, with
the modern science and technology.
The apologetic trend in Sir Sayid
Ahmed Khan's thought is responsible
for portraying Islamic modernism
objectionable to the greater Muslim
community. In the continuation of Sir
Sayid Ahmed Khan, Allama Iqbal
developed a trend of modernist
thought, which we have called as
Islamic neo-modernism. In our consideration, at this point Iqbal is neither a fanatic fundamentalist, nor a
theological conservative. Instead, it
appears that he has successfully built
a bridge between these two, which
nourished a modern scientific outlook
in Islamic milieu.
Islamic modernismIslamic modernism in the Indian Subcontinent in the 19th century is a simple continuation of the Islamic reform
movements carried out by the great
reformists such as Shah Walliullah of
Delhi and Sir Sayid Ahmed Khan. In
the pre-modernist reform movements,
emphasis was placed more towards
the positive issues of the society, in
political, moral and spiritual. The
transition from pre-modernist trend
to modernism was marked by its positive approach of Islamic reform in the
social contents of Islam. The most significant modernist thinkers like Sir
Muhammad Abduhu and Sayid Amir
Ali have approached the problem of
the relationship between faith and
reason in Islamic Philosophico-theological thinking with a new scientific
outlook which was then emerging
and vigorously claiming for recognition.
Modernist Views of Sir Sayid
Ahmed Khan:
Sir Sayid Ahmed Khan was the first
important modernist among the
Indian Muslims. Shah Waliullah had a
considerable influence on Sir Sayid
Ahmed's primary inspiration of speculative thought. He accepted Shah
Waliullah's fundamental teachings of
Ijtihad but failed to determine clearly
its limit.
Rational supernaturalism: In his
apologetic approach of 'rational
supernaturalism' Sir Sayid Ahmed
Khan said, "It is my duty to defend as
much as I can the religion of Islam,
right or wrong, and to reveal to the
people, the original bright face of
Islam" In the preface to his first important apologetic writing: A Series of
Essays on the Life of Muhammad

(1870), Sir Sayid Ahmed Khan explicitly declared that this work was especially intended for the use of those
Muhammadan youths who are pursuing their English studies. Sayid
Ahmed Khan's most prominent theory is his proposal to test the religious
truths by science. According to him,
revelation and nature both has come
from the same source, i.e., God. So,
these two must be consistent and can
be verified by one another, especially
religion by science.
Hadith: In this connection it is
notable that he has radically modified
the traditional sources of Islamic legal
frame. The great classical Hadis collections, to him, are historical reflections of the ideas and attitudes of the
first few generations of Muslims.
Ijma: As a source of Islam has neither
validity nor a new interpretation to
him. In his concept of natural morality
he discarded the supernatural elements as being superficial and he
bases his arguments on the unambiguous verses of the Quranic text,
especially the Makkan Surahs). He
seems to espouse Unitarian deism
closely related to the spirit of the
medieval Muslim Philosophers as
well as the nineteenth century scientific trends of mechanical viewpoint of
life and world. On this ground he categorically rejects the possibility of
He seems to follow the dogmatic attitude in his rationalism. To him, the
essence of religion is (scientific) truth,
not blind faith. Faith is the essence of
religion. To him, social morality is
based on natural laws which he identified with wahy. Principles of
Exegesis: He introduces his own principles of exegesis. In his principle of
exegesis he denies the principle of
nask. Nask means the nask of other
religion before Islam. He describes
angles as the 'properties' of created
things, satan as the dark passions of

man, the idea of jinn as merely an animistic folklore.

Social Reforms: In his social reforms,
Sayid Ahmed Khan apologetically
interpreted the traditional Islamic
institutions like jihad, polygamy, slavery and interest of loan (riba). He considered jihad as only valid for defence
of the Muslim community; polygamy
and slavery as being inherently prohibited in the Quran though the
Muslim jurists permitted it in their
legal theory. According to him, riba is
prohibited only if it is in the compound form. In fact, Sir Sayid Ahmed
Khan intended for social, economic
and cultural uplift of his co-religionists. He opined that the more worldly
progress we make the more glory of
Islam we will be able to cover.
Neo-modernism of Allama Iqbal:
The significance Allama Iqbal's
Islamic modernism what we shall call
as neo-modernism, is a dynamic
worldview and an activist reinterpretation of the religion of Islam in the
twentieth century perspective. To
him, man himself and his world both
are by nature free for creative movement. Human Potentiality: The most
optimistic view of Iqbal about the
'human' potentiality has come forth in
him in a very close relation of man
and God as man to be the vicegerent
of God on the world. In his neo-modernism he has significantly attempted
to overcome the shortcomings of
modern reform trends by introducing
a worldly religion in interpretation of
Islam that bases on spiritualism.
Khudi: He was well educated in the
than 'contemporary' trends of
Western Philosophical developments.
It will not be just to say that he
endeavoured for a synthesis between
speculative thoughts of the West and
the religion of Islam. Instead, he introduced his own 'thought-structure' in
his theory of ego (Khudi). To him,
man is not only free to make choice

and act accordingly; he has also the

power to create himself, his world and
the future that is yet to explore.
Omnipotence of God, man too is glorified to be co-creator if he is consciously determined to achieve the
chance by utilizing his inherent powers to dominate over the world and to
attain the divine pleasure as much as
to be.
Mysticism: Iqbal's idea of mysticism
is of immense importance. He holds
that Mysticism is a valid discipline for
the cognition of reality though its
process of operation is entirely different from that of the traditional forms
of empiricism or rationalism.
Ijtihad: Ijtihad has a key role in the
speculative neo-modernism of Sir
Muhammad Iqbal. Like any other
reformist he also advocates for the
utmost necessity of keeping the door
of ijtihad open for all the well learned
Muslim scholars for all the time. It is
the heart of ideal life of a faithful man.
In other words, ijtihad is the gateway
of Iqbal's neo-modernism within the
frame work of Quran, Habit and previous Ijma. According to him, Muslim
law can be subject to moderation from
time to time with the unalterable cores
of legal codes of Islam, which are
obviously ethical and universal in
Ijma: With Quran, Hadith and Qiyas
(legal syllogism) as the dependable
sources of Islamic knowledge, Allama
Iqbal proposes Ijma too as a valid criterion in the matters of Islam but with
a new interpretation. In his neo-modernism, ijma is referred to the parliamentary system. Social development
and pragmatic state-policies will be
realized through the parliament providing it will be constituted with satisfactory number of qualified religious
experts (Ulema).
Muslim Separatism: In his political
thinking, Iqbal preferred real
Islamization on humanitarian ground.
Whereas Sir Sayid Ahmed Khan
never seriously stood against
European capitalism and British
imperialism of the nineteenth century.
The idea of Muslim separatism in the
colonial India was first initiated by
'loyal Muhammadan' Sir Sayid
Ahmed Khan, which was strongly
promoted by Sir Muhammad Iqbal in
We know, the apological-approach of
Sir Sayyid has its roots in the unfortunate failure of "1857's Mutiny". He
just, as it seems to us, aimed at saving
the Muslim community from a total
destruction in social, political, economic and intellectual conditions.
This is the cause of popularity of his
educational scheme and political
thought in a situation of refutation of
his speculative modernism by the
larger Muslim community. Somehow,
for the part of Allama Iqbal, the
author considers a comment of W.C.
Smith as appropriate that any modern
Muslim who would talk about religion must begin where Iqbal left off;
otherwise, he is hardly worth listening to Actually, the Islamic modernism, initiated by Sir Sayid Ahmed
Khan with the honest intention to
save the Muslim community from the
colonial India, witnessed its complete
development in in Allama Iqbal
(Dr.Peer Naseer Ahamad is Assistant
Controller, Examinations, University of
Kashmir and Ajaz Lone is Research
Scholar in Iqbal Institute of Culture and
Philosophy, University of Kashmir)

Muslim Mirror



The Sir Syed

model of


By Inam Abidi Amrohvi
THE name Sir Syed Ahmad Khan
evokes considerable respect from people in India, especially Muslims on
either side of the border. A man of
vision, he thought of progressive
Muslim education on a scale rarely
attempted earlier and against formidable odds. It is important to understand what drove him to bring in
modern education as a savior of
The Prophet of Islam [PBUH] said,
There are two persons that one is
permitted to envy: The one to whom
God has given riches and who has the
courage to spend it in search for truth;
the other to whom God has given
knowledge and wisdom and who
applies it for the benefit of mankind
and shares it with his fellows. Sir
Syed belong to the second group.
The latter part of the 19th Century
saw the decline of Muslim dominance. Spain had been lost, the
Middle East was in chaos, and West
Africa was about to be conquered by
Spaniards and French. The mighty
Ottoman Empire was crumbling. The
Indian Muslims had lost their seat of
power. (1) It was under such difficult
times that Sir Syed raised the banner
of education for Muslims, one that
promises to halter the declining fortunes of the community. He thought
of education as a perfect tool for social
change, rather than romanticising
over a glorious past. This was something which life taught him a bit early.
Sir Syed was born on October 17,
1817, at Delhi. His father Muhammad
Muttaqi, paternal gradfather Syed
Hadi, and maternal grandfather
Khwaja Fariduddin, all held prominent positions in the Mughal Court.
(2) Sir Syed was taught the Quran by
his mother Azis-un-Nisa, something
unconventional at the time. It was
during these formative years that the
importance of education reached him.
He learned Persian, Arabic, Urdu,
Islamic studies, astronomy, and mathematics under different tutors. Not to
be left behind in other areas, Syed was
actively involved in Mughal courts
cultural activities. This was also the
time when Sir Syeds elder brother
Syed Muhammad Khan established
citys first printing press in Urdu
together with the journal Sayyad-ulAkbar. (2) After his fathers death,
financial difficulties forced him to discontinue his formal education. Sir
Syed took up the charge of his late
brothers journal after refusing offers
from the Mughal court. Later he was
to work for the British East India
Company. He knew very well where
the future lay.

While working for the British Sir Syed

wrote several books, including a commentary on the Bible (Tabyin-ulKalam) the first by a Muslim. (2) The
scholar in him stood out during this
The revolt of 1857, also known as the
first war of independence, was a turning point in Sir Syeds life. He was
prudent enough to realise that such ill
organised attempts to dislodge the
mighty British empire in India were
not enough. But what followed made
him politically more active for the rest
of his life.
Muslims bore the brunt of the brutal
crackdown that followed, and the gulf
Christians. Driven by the events, Sir
Syed came out with his most famous
literary work, Asbab-e-Baghawat-eHind (The causes of the Indian
revolt). It was mainly to dispel the
theory of the revolt being mainly a
Muslim conspiracy. He argued that
the British failed to recognise rights of
the natives in their own land. But he
also blamed his own community,
admonishing them for giving patronage to religious orthodoxy and a failure to keep up with modern times.
Syed was of the view that nothing in
Islamic belief and practice could
oppose reason. He even wrote an
unfinished commentary of Quran to
further his point.
In spite of the great divide that resulted between Muslims and Christians,
Sir Syed tried hard to bring the two
communities together by highlighting
areas of shared interest. He thought
that Islam and Christianity can coexist, and opposed the idea that English
practices were bad.(4) Syed was well
aware of the changing times and how
progress was eluding the Muslim
community because of its isolation.
Realising the urgent need of modern
scientific education as an enabler of
social and economic growth of Indian
Muslims, Sir Syed established a number of madrasas, and journals, including Tahzeeb al-Akhlaq (the social
reformer) that promoted his idea. The
first such school he opened was at
Moradabad in 1858, to teach modern
history. He thought it would help
Muslims to learn about other civilisations and societies, and how they
failed when they did not keep up with
changing times. Syeds idea was to
change a complete mindset through
self-analysis and criticism before
bringing in any solution. The
College he established in 1875,
against tremendous opposition from
the clergy, was the culmination of a
remarkable journey to seek a new
model of education for Muslims.

Sir Syed was

knighted by the
British government
in 1888. He died a
year later on March
27th. In a way he was
lucky that he saw in
his lifetime the seeds
of change bearing
fruits of success.
The recognition too
Perhaps inspired by the memory of
his mother, Sir Syed chose Sultan
Shah Jahan Begum as the first chancellor of the university.
With an eye on Muslim representation
in the government and civil services
Sir Syed supported the efforts of
Surendranath Banerjee and Dadabhai
Naoroji in this area. (2) He even established the Muhammadan Civil
Services Fund Association in 1883, to
encourage and help aspiring Muslim
Sir Syed was knighted by the British
government in 1888. He died a year
later on March 27th. In a way he was
lucky that he saw in his lifetime the
seeds of change bearing fruits of
success. The recognition too followed. Its not mere coincidence that
the global Muslim community today

is once again struggling with the same

old issues. Turmoil in the Arab world,
paranoia about Islam and Muslims in
the West, and a surge in Muslim
extremism, are the same obstacles that
Sir Syed Ahmad Khan started with.
That makes the methods he adopted
to counter such problems all the more
relevant today. Education, reconciliation, peace, and progress, are once
again the need of times.
The first verse of Quran revealed to
the Prophet Muhammad [PBUH] was
Iqra (Arabic for read). The holy
book itself stresses the importance of
education. Sir Syed took the lead from
the Quran and worked tirelessly to
bring Muslims into mainstream. He
believed and rightly so that the purpose of education has always been to
distinguish between right and wrong,
and to live a dignified and disciplined
life. (1)
As we celebrate another anniversary
of this great reformer, its time to
spend a few thoughts on the great
cause to which Sir Syed dedicated his
life. We need to understand and
appreciate his model of Muslim
empowerment. The original Aligarh
Movement was based on the principle of change from within and a tolerant worldly outlook. It aimed at
equipping Muslims with modern education, something which even the religion permits. This is the legacy that
Sir Syed Ahmad Khan left behind and
which holds true to this day.
If one university in Aligarh can bring
about so much change, 100 others
across the globe could do much more!



Muslim Mirror

Sir Syed Ahmed Khan

His Life And Contribution

By Azhar Mohammed
Sir Syed Ahmed Khan (1817-1898) was a great
visionary, statesman and Muslim reformer of the
19th century, the like of whom is rare. He wanted to
make the community and country progressive and
take them forward on modern lines. His supreme
interest was intellectual development of the people
through modern education. He was the first Indian
Muslim to contribute to the intellectual and institutional foundation of Muslim modernization in
Southern Asia. Interest of community and country
was dearer to him rather than anything else. He was
successful in making the Muslims understand the
importance of modern education and endeavour
their best to achieve it in order to stand on their own
legs and live a dignified life in accordance with
Islamic thoughts.
Dr. Allama Mohammed Iqbal says:
Mubtalaayay dard koi azu ho roti hai aankh
Kis qadar hamdard saray jism ki hoti hai aankh
(The eye weeps for the suffering of any and every
part of the body, How sympathetic it is to the entire
To the Muslim community Sir Syed Ahmed Khan
was and is like the eye which weeps for the suffering of any and every part of the body. The sufferings of the community worried him. He took an
oath to reform, educate and empower the Muslim
community and was successful to a great extent in
implementing it despite strong opposition from a
section of the Muslim community which hated the
British and their language. Today we can see the
products of the Aligarh Muslim University adoring
in every field of activity in India and neighbouring
countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh. They have
earned a name for the community and country,
thanks to the Aligarh movement.
Sir Syeds educational caravan reached everywhere
including Tamil Nadu from where I hail. It inspired
and encouraged people to take to modern education by establishing educational institutions.
Sir Syed was born on 17 October 1817 in Delhi. His
family was highly regarded by the Mughal
dynasty. His maternal grandfather Khwajah Farid
was a wazir (minister) in the court of Akbar Shah
II. His paternal grandfather Syed Hadi held a
mansab of the title of Jawwad Ali Khan in the
court of Alamgir II. Syed Ahmeds father, Mir
Muttaqi was also close to Akbar Shah but rejected
the position and titles offered to him due to his
interest in mysticism. Perhaps he abhorred the way
the materialistic world functioned. He died when
Syed Ahmed was about 21 years of age. Mother,

Azizunnissa Begum was, however, a strong willed

woman of clearly defined principles. She showed
extraordinary interest in the education, character
building and upbringing of her son. She was a strict
and God fearing lady.
Sir Syed received his education under the old system prevailing at that time. He learnt to read the
holy Quran under a female teacher at his home.
After this, Maulvi Hamidud Din, became his private tutor. He completed a course in Persian and
Arabic, and later took to the study of mathematics,
which was a favourite subject of the maternal side
of his family. He later took interest in medicine and
studied some well-known books on the subject. At
the age of 19 his formal education came to an end
but he continued his studies privately. He started
taking a keen interest in the literary gatherings and
cultural activities of the city. The passing away of
his father left the family in financial difficulties, and
after a limited education he had no option but to
work for his livelihood. Starting as a clerk with the
East India Company in 1938, he qualified three
years later as a sub-judge and served in the judicial
department at various places.
The supreme interest of Sir Syeds life was education in its widest sense. He wanted to create a scientific temperament among the Muslims of India and
to make the modern knowledge of Science available
to them. He championed the cause of modern education at a time when all the Indians in general and
Indian Muslims in particular considered it a sin to
get modern education and that too through English
language. He began establishing schools, at
Muradabad in 1858 and Ghazipur in 1863. A more
ambitious undertaking was the foundation of the
Scientific Society, which published translations of
many educational texts and issued a bilingual journal in Urdu and English. It was for the use of all citizens and were jointly operated by the Hindus and
Muslims. In the late 1860s there occurred some
developments that were challenges to his activities.
In 1867 he was transferred to Benares, a city on the
Ganges with great religious significance for Hindus.
At about the same time a movement started at
Benares to replace Urdu, the language spoken by
the Muslims, with Hindi. This movement and the
attempts to substitute Hindi for Urdu publications
of the Scientific Society convinced Syed that he
should do something. Thus during a visit to
England (1869-70) he prepared plans for a great
educational institution. They were "a Muslim
Cambridge." On his return he set up a committee
for the purpose and also started an influential journal, Tahzib al-Akhlaq "Social Reform" for the uplift

and reforms of the Muslims. A Muslim school was

established at Aligarh in May 1875, and after his
retirement in 1876, Sir Syed dedicated himself to
make it a college.
In January 1877 the Viceroy laid the foundation
stone of the college. In spite of opposition to Syeds
projects, the college made rapid progress. In 1886
Syed organised the All-India Mohammadan
Educational Conference, which met annually at different places to promote education and to provide
the Muslims with a common platform. Syed
advised the Muslims against joining active politics
and to concentrate instead on education. Muslims
generally followed his advice and abstained from
politics. This advice is applicable even today. We
have to concentrate our attention more on education for the uplift of the backward Muslim community. Many reports have clearly noted that the
Muslims are educationally and economically more
backward. Throughout his life Syed Ahmed Khan
showed concern with how Indian Muslims could
adapt to intellectual and political change accompanying Western rule. His first mission became reinterpretation of Muslim ideology so as to reconcile
tradition with Western education and science. He
argued in several books on Islam that the holy
Quran rested on a deep appreciation of reason and
natural law and therefore did not preclude Muslim
involvement in scientific methodology. These
themes, mixed with a call for Muslim education,
regularly appeared in his journals, the
Mohammedan Social Reformer and the Aligarh
Institute Gazette.
Syed Ahmed's ideas became institutionalized
despite criticism from theologians. In 1862 he
formed a scientific society, and 13 years later he
assisted in establishing the Mohammadan AngloOriental College, which prospered and became the
key intellectual center for Indian Muslims - The
Aligarh Muslim University. The success of the college was largely due to his leadership and a curriculum embodying both Western and Oriental studies.
Sir Syeds contributions for the betterment and
empowerment of the Muslims are great. His position in the judicial department left him time to be
active in many fields. His career as an author in
Urdu started at the age of 23. In 1847 he brought out
an important book "Monuments of the Great" on the
antiquities of Delhi. Even more important was his
pamphlet "The Causes of the Indian Revolt". His
interest in religion was also active and lifelong. He
wrote on the Life of Prophet Muhammad (Sal-am)
and devoted himself to write several volumes of a
modernist commentary on the holy Quran. In these
works he explained how the Islamic faith could go

Muslim Mirror
with progressive scientific and political ideas of his
Sir Syed was a government civil servant and s scholar. The 1857 revolt was a turning point in his life.
The following are his important works:
1) ASARUS SANADEED: It is an archaeological
masterpiece providing a wealth of information
on countless historical monuments in Delhi
from the eight hundred long Muslim rule. This
book was published in 1847.
2) ASBAB-E-BAGHAWAT-E-HIND- (The causes of Indian Revolt) This book was published in
1859 after the 1857 revolt after witnessing the
atrocities committed by the British on the inhabitants of Delhi. He saw an uncle, a cousin and an
aunt dying before his eyes. He saved his mother
but she died due to privations she had experienced. Muslims were the main targets of the
governments wrath.
an organ of the Scientific Society started in 1866.
It made the people think and use their wisdom.
4) TEHZIB-UL-AKHLAQ It succeeded in making people realise the value of modern knowledge. It also gave new directions to Muslim
social and political thoughts.
Sons (of MAO college later AMU)) shall go forth
throughout the length and breath of the land to
preach the message of free inquiry, of large-hearted
toleration and of pure morality.
1. Acquisition of knowledge of science and technology is the only solution for the problems of
2. Call me by whatever names you like. I will not
ask you for my salvation. But please take pity
of your children. Do something for them (send
them to the school), lest you should have to
repent (by not sending them)
3. We will remain humiliated and rejected if we
do not make progress (in scientific field)
4. Get rid of old and useless rituals. These rituals
hinder human progress.
5. Superstition cannot be the part of Iman (faith).
6. The first requisite for the progress of a nation is
the brotherhood and unity amongst sections
of the society.
7. Yes the main purpose of this college (MAO) is
to impart modern education to Muslims who
are suffering because of lack of it but this institution is for all, Hindus and Muslims alike.
Both of them need education.
8. We (Hindus and Muslims) eat the same crop,
drink water from the same rivers and breathe
the same air. As a matter of fact Hindus and
Muslims are the two eyes of the beautiful
bride that is Hindustan. Weakness of any one
of them will spoil the beauty of the bride (dulhan)
9. We (Hindus and Muslim) have evolved a new
language Urdu
10. I wish that youth of India should follow the
example of young men and women of
England who are religiously engaged in the
hard work of industrial development of their
country (During the stay of Sir Syed in
11. Look forward, learn modern knowledge, and
do not waste time in studies of old subjects of
no value.
12. Ijtihad (innovation, re-interpretation with the
changing times) is the need of the hour. Give
up taqlid (copying and following old values).
13. Do not show the face of Islam to others; instead
show your face as the follower of true Islam
representing character, knowledge, tolerance
and piety.
14. We should not (by remaining ignorant and illiterate) tarnish the image of our able elders.
15. All human beings are our brother and sisters.
Working for their welfare is obligatory for
16. Remember that the words Hindu and Muslim
are only meant for religious distinction: other-

wise all persons who reside in this country
belong to one and the same nation.
Sir Syed's greatest achievement was his Aligarh
Movement, which was nothing but an educational
venture. He established schools at Muradabad in
1859 and Ghazipur in 1863. He also founded a scientific society in 1864. When Sir Syed was posted at
Aligarh in 1867, he started the Muhammadan
Anglo-Oriental School in the city. During his visit to
England in 1869, he studied the British educational
system and appreciated it.
Sir Syed wanted MAO College to act as a bridge
between the old and the new systems. His famous
quote is that a true Muslims is one who must have
the holy Quran in one hand and the science in the
other. Today we can see the Aligarh Muslim
University offering different courses like Medical,
Languages etc.
Sir Syeds aim was not just to establish a college at
Aligarh but he was interested in spreading education and empowerment among the people by establishing educational institutions in every nook and
corner of the country. He, therefore, started an
organisation called All India Muslim Educational
Conferenceto achieve this goal. It motivated the
Muslims to open a number of educational institutions in India.
Although the Indian Muslim community has made
some good progress in the educational arena, still
they have to go a long way to achieve the goal that
Sir Syed visualised. Only the vision and enthusiasm
of Sir Syed can help us - Muslims to improve our
educational and economic conditions further. It
is,therefore, incumbent for us to revive the Aligarh
movement once again to make the people understand the value of modern education fully.
I take this opportunity to request the ViceChancellor, Aligarh Muslim University to start a
movement and come to the rescue of the suffering
Muslim community in India. There is no point in
blaming others. One feels that the main cause for
our backwardness is lack of education. Education
alone in the present context can empower us and
nothing else. We can create a modern Islamic society only by taking Muslims to modern professional
education like medical, engineering, teaching, management etc. No options or short cuts at all. God has
given the eyes to see and mind to analyse. We must
see what is happening around us and use our intellect to arrive at a conclusion. This is what Allah
wants us to do. There is no point in toeing an outdated concept and blaming fate for every misery.
Dr. Allama Mohammed Iqbals call should be taken
seriously and march forward. He has said beautifully in the couplet which we read and hear quite often
sometimes it echoes even in the Parliament but we
do not give serious thought to it.
Khudi ko kar buland itna ki har taqdeer say pahlay,
Khuda banday say khud poochay bata teri raza kya
(Raise your position so much that God himself may
ask you tell me what is it that you want?).
It echoes the holy Quranic strong dictate that we
should endeavour to achieve his rewards. In short
we must develop a scientific temper among the people as the holy Quran says in different verses. We
are mainly responsible for backwardness.
Sir Syed also brought out a journal Tehzibul
Akhlaq and succeeded in infusing a new desire
amongst Muslims for acquiring modern knowledge.
Sir Syed finally reached to the conclusion that lack
of education was the main cause of the backwardness of the community.
Sir Syed became successful in his mission and gave
(Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College) which
afterwards became Aligarh Muslim University by
an act of the government. It is meant for allMuslims as well as non-Muslim students. All live
and study here in a friendly and peaceful atmosphere. It has got a rich cultural heritage, which is its
special and inimitable one.
The intellectuals produced in large numbers by
Aligarh Muslim University served and continue to
serve the country in various capacities. The first


graduate of this University was the great revolutionary Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh. The late Dr.
Zakir Hussain, former President of India and Dr.
Syed Mahmood were also Aligarh educated dignitaries. The university has produced innumerable
doctors, engineers, teachers, scientists, poets, writers, journalists, etc.
The Aligarh movement launched by Sir Syed
Ahmed Khan influenced the Muslims in the country, particularly in South India. The Souvenir
brought out on the occasion of the Centenary
Celebration of Ambur Muslim Educational Society
on 4th September 2006 mentions as follows interalia: Sir Syed organised the Mohammedan (later
Muslim) Educational Conference. Its branches were
established in cities and towns to report on the educational needs of the community. This conference
used to meet annually at several important cities in
the country and carried the message of modern
education far and wide.
The 5th session of the Conference was held at
Madras in 1901 and set in a brainwave all over the
South. Like their brethren in other parts of the country the Muslims of the Madras presidency were also
antagonistic towards the English education and
therefore they were far behind their other fellow
countrymen in public service. Nawab Mohsinul
Mulk Mohsinud Dowla from Aligarh inspired the
Conference with the saga of adventure which Sir
Syed has brought into being in the North. On 16th
December 1905 the Management of the Chowk
Masjid madrasa which was in existence then was
taken over and later re-named as Madrasa-eMazharul Uloom. Janab T.Abdullah sahib visited
Aligarh, observed the educational developments
there and inspired by it prepared a plan for a
Muslim school in Ambur meant for all religions and
communities without any discrimination whatsoever. It was primarily his aim to create for young
Muslims a good institution for their educational,
cultural and social developments.
Many educational institutions came up in Tamil
Nadu as a result of the Aligarh movement. Today
by the grace of Allah there are 11 (eleven) full
fledged engineering colleges and hundreds of
Science and Arts Colleges, Higher Secondary and
Elementary Schools in difference parts of Tamil
Nadu. Many Muslim organisations like All India
Islamic Foundation, Sadaq Trust, The South India
Education Trust, The Muslim Educational
Association of Southern India, Ambur Muslim
Educational Society, Vaniyambadi Muslim
Educational Society etc. have been playing a very
important role in establishing institutions and
imparting modern education to Muslims and nonMuslims alike.
Muslims were in the forefront in the struggle for
freedom. They suffered a lot. Many Ulema (religious scholars) were hanged in Delhi and other
places. Sir Syed was worried. He was of the view
that Muslims should not be so vigorous in opposing
the British at their own cost and ignore everything
including education and government placements.
Sir Syed wanted Muslims to have friendship with
the British if they want to take their due rights. He
quoted the examples of other religious communities
benefiting from the government. While he tried his
best to convince the British that Muslims were not
against them, he persuaded the Muslims repeatedly
to befriend the British to achieve their goals. He also
wrote many books and published journals to
remove the misunderstanding between Muslims
and the British by writing booklets like "Loyal
Muhammadans of India" and "Cause of Indian
Revolt". Sir Syed asked the Muslims of his time not
to participate in politics unless and until they got
modern education. He was of the view that
Muslims could not succeed in the field of Western
politics without knowing the system. He was invited to attend the first session of the Indian National
Congress and to join the organization but he
refused to accept the offer. He gave importance to
the education of the Muslim community and succeeded in it. His institutions such as the College and
the Muslim Educational Conference continued to
influence intellectuals till this day and will continue
to do so in the years to come unhindered.


By N Jamal Ansari

Abdul Karim ParekhYear 1857 was a

milestone in the history of India when
the fall of mighty Mughal empire
gave way to the complete rule of
Britishers. It was the first war of
Independence in this year which
decided the fate of India. After the collapse of war, Britishers began victimising Muslims, as they held them
responsible for the revolt. Muslim
community as a whole became target.
On the other hand, Muslims tried to
resist the Britishers. Like Hindus, they
did not proceed to acquire western
education. Instead of facing the
future, they went in isolation. Due to
antipathy towards western education,
they lagged behind other communities. It was in such a dark period that
Sir Syed Ahmad Khan emerged on the
horizon when Muslims needed him
most as a Saviour. Official documents
also confirm the same. In the Report
of the Education Commission of 1882,
the following lines are recorded:
"Recognising the backwardness of
their community in education certain
Musalman gentlemen were determined to discover the remedy and led
by Maulvi Sayyad Ahmad Khan,
whose life has been one long devotion
to the cause of liberal education, they
formed themselves into a society with
towards the education offered by
(British) Government".
The mission of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan
under the banner of Aligarh
Movement changed the future of
Muslims. The Mohammadan AngloOriental College, conceived in 1869
and established in 1875 now stands as
Aligarh Muslim University. Few educational institutions have had such an
important role to play as this dream of
Sir Syed, who was the grand old man
of Aligarh? Sir Syed Ahmad Khan
was born in a noble family at Delhi on
October 17, 1817. His ancestors were
from Herat (Afghanistan) and migrated to India during the reign of
Emperor Akbar (1556-1605) His father
Syed Muttaqui was associated with
the Court of Emperor Akbar Shah. His
mother Aziz-un-Nisa Begum eldest
daughter of Khawaja Freeduddin was
a pious and educated lady. After the
sad demise of his father in 1838, he
decided to join government service
much against the wishes of his family.
He was appointed "Sarishtadar" in the
office of Sardar Amin in Delhi.
Alongwith discharging his duties on
different posts at different places, he
continued his literary pursuits also. In
1840 he wrote history of Mughals
from Timur to Bahadurshah Zafar
under the title "Jam-I-Jum", After the
failure of revolt of 1857, he wrote
Asbab-I-Baghawat-I-Hind which was
translated by Sir Auckland Colvin
and Col. Graham in 1873 under the


Muslim Mirror

The grand old

man of Aligarh

title Causes of the Indian Revolt,

1857-58. This was the book, which
forced Britishers to re-think and rechart their strategy in India.
Consequently the Act of 1861 was
passed and Raja Narendra Singh, Raja
Dinkar Rao and Raja Dev Narain were
taken into Council.
Aligarh Movement
When Sir Syed was posted at
Ghazipur, he founded "Scientific
Society" on July 9, 1864 as he was
deeply interested in introducing science and English education to his suppressed community. In fact the movement to educate Muslim masses was
started in the mind of Sir Syed well
after 1857 but establishment of scientific society was the firs step to
achieve this goal. On the occasion he
declared that, "I am sure that those
interested in Indias well being will
give their hearty aid to this society.
"When Sir Syed was transferred to

Aligarh, the offices of the society also

moved with him. At Aligarh, he
retired from service and settled down
to guide the community.
Before embarking on his mission he
declared: "Philosophy will be in our
right hand and Natural sciences in our
left. And the crown of There is no
God but Allah and Mohammad is His
Prophet will adorn our heads". He
was straight forward in his approach.
He suggested "Never abandon the
study of Arabic language. But when
our economic betterment and means
of leading a comfortable life were
bound up with English education, we
should pay the attention to it".
Through his journal Tahzibul-ulAkhlaq, Sir Syed started a campaign
among Muslims for the need of
English education. On May 24, 1874, a
small college was founded under the
caring hands of Maulvi Samiullah
Khan (1834-1908) with just 11 stu-

dents. The college was affiliated with

Calcutta University in 1877. In 1886,
Sir Syed founded the All India
Conference to spread the message of
Aligarh Movement.
Next phase of Aligarh Movement
started after his death on March 27,
1998. Since the eginning Sir Syed had
dreamed a University for higher education for the Muslims of India. The
Mohammadan Education Conference
held its session at Lahore in
December, 1898 and a resolution by
Mr. Theodore Morrison (1863-1936) of
MAO College was moved for the
establishment of University at
Aligarh". The resolution of the
Foundation Committee was presented to Sir Mohammad Shafi, the
Education Member of the Viceroys
Council and introduced in Viceregal
Council on August 27, 1920 which
ultimately was passed on September
9, 1920.The ceremony to inaugurate
Muslim University took place on
December 17, 1920 in Lytton Library
and Raja of Mahmudabad was
appointed first Vice-Chancellor. In
this way the dream of Sir Syed, the
grand old man of Aligarh, was fulfilled.
No other educational institution has
been the object of so-much criticism as
this dream of Sir Syed. For a proper
understanding of this institution, it is
imperative that one should be familiar
with the background of the institution
and its contribution to the development of nations social and cultural
life. Nirad, C. Chaudhri observed
that, "Aligarh remains true to the
Islamic way of life and it is wise in
remaining so. It is trying to retain the
socio-cultural distinctiveness of the
Muslims only as contributory factor in
the creation of a multicultural society
in India. It is Islamic without in anyway sacrificing modernisation".
Aligarh has produced all types of figures Rightists, Leftists, Radicals,
Leaguers. The words of Dr. Zakir
Hussain deserve attention. He said, "It
seems to me that this institution has a
great role to play in the development
of Indias national life. The way
Aligarh participates in the various
walks of life will determine the place
of Muslims in Indias national life.
The way India conducts itself towards
Aligarh will determine largely the
form which our national life will
acquire in future". Judged as a whole,
Aligarh Muslim University has faithfully mirrored the patriotic fire, the
secular outlook, the struggle of independence and the liberal humanism.
Aligarians are also trying to catch up
the vision of a strong India with a
range and references that are at once
wide and stimulating.

Muslim Mirror




Sir Saiyad Ahmad, Khan Bahadur, L.L.D, K.C.S.I.

By Afzal Usmani

"There are two kind of people came to this world, one

who work to live and the
other who live to work". Sir
Saiyad lived to work
Sir Syed Ahmad Khan
17th October 1817 Delhi
27th March 1898, Aligarh
Saiyad Muhammad Muttaqi,
Azizun Nisa Begum
Parsa Begum(Mubarak) Married :
Children :
Saiyad Hamid, Saiyad Mahmud
and Amina.
Biography :
Hayat-e-Javed (By Maulana Altaf
Husain Hali)
Hai Dileri daste-arbab-e-siyaasat ka Aasa`
Sir Saiyad was a prophet of education (Mahatma
The real greatness of the man (Sir Saiyad) consists
in the fact that he was the first Indian Muslim who
felt the need of a fresh orientation of Islam and
worked for it (Sir Allama Iqbal)
Sir Saiyad was an ardent reformer and he wanted
to reconcile modern scientific thought with religion
by rationalistic interpretations and not by attacking
basic belief. He was anxious to push new education.
He was in no way communally separatist.
Repeatedly he emphasized that religious differences should have no political and national significance.
( Jawaharlal Nehru, Founder Prime Minister of
India) Sir Saiyads vision and his laborious efforts
to meet the demands of challenging times are highly commendable. The dark post 1857 era was
indeed hopeless and only men like Raja Mohan Roy
and Sir Saiyad could penetrate through its thick veil
to visualize the Nations destinies. They rightly
believed that the past had its merits and its legacies
were valuable but it was the future that a society
was called upon to cope with. I offer my homage to
Sir Saiyad for his vision and courage that withstood
all obstructions both from the friends and the foes
(Mr. Inder Kumar Gujral, Former Prime Minister of
The Founder
Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, one of the architects of modern India was born on October 17, 1817 in Delhi and
started his career as a civil servant.
The 1857 revolt was one of the turning points of
Syed Ahmeds life. He clearly foresaw the imperative need for the Muslims to acquire proficiency in
the English language and modern sciences if the
community were to maintain its social and political
identity, particularly in Northern India.
He was one of those early pioneers who recognized
the critical role of education for the empowerment
of the poor and backward Muslim community. In
more than one ways Sir Syed was one of the greatest
social reformers and a great national builder of
modern India. He began to prepare the road map
for the formation of a Muslim University by starting
various schools. He instituted Scientific Society in
1863 to create a scientific temperament among the
Muslims and to make the Western knowledge available to Indians in their own language. The Aligarh
Institute Gazette, an organ of the Scientific Society
was started in March 1866 and succeeded in transforming the minds in the traditional Muslim
Society. Anyone with an average level of commitment would have backed off in the face of strong

opposition but Sir Syed responded by bringing out

another journal Tehzibul Akhlaq which was rightly named in English as Mohammedan Social
In 1875, Sir Syed founded the Madarsatul Uloom in
Aligarh and patterned the MAO College after
Oxford and Cambridge universities that he visited
on a trip to London in 1869. His objective was to
build a college in tune with the British education
system but without compromising its Islamic values. He wanted this College to act as a bridge
between the old and the new, the East and the West.
While he fully appreciated the need and urgency of
imparting instruction based on Western learning,
he was not oblivious to the value of Oriental learning and wanted to preserve and transmit to posterity the rich legacy of the past. Dr. Sir Mohammad
Iqbal observed that the real greatness of Sir Syed
consists in the fact that he was the first Indian
Muslim who felt the need of a fresh orientation of
Islam and worked for it--- his sensitive nature was
the first to react to modern age.
The aim of Sir Syed was not merely restricted to
establishing a college at Aligarh but at spreading a
network of Muslim managed educational institutions throughout the length and breadth of the
country. Keeping in view this, he instituted All
India Muslim Educational Conference in 1886 that
revived the spirit of Muslims at national level. The
Aligarh Movement motivated the Muslims to help
open a number of educational institutions. It was
the first of its kind of such Muslim NGO in India,
which awakened the Muslims from their deep
slumber and infused social and political awareness
among them.
He contributed much to the development of the
modern society of the subcontinent. During Sir
Syeds own life time, The Englishman, a renowned
British magazine of the 19th century remarked in a
note on November 17, 1885: Sir Syeds life strikingly illustrated one of the best phases of modern
history. He died on March 27, 1898 and lies buried
next to the main mosque at AMU.
An Architect of Modern India
History of social and educational reforms in Indian
sub-continent can not be completed without Sir
Saiyad Ahmad Khan. He is one of the great thinker,
philosopher and revolutionaries who had dedicated
his complete life for his nation and especially for his
community. Nineteenth century was a hard time for
the nation of India and especially for Muslims in the
aftermath of 1857 revolt against British colonialism.
Sir Saiyad tried and motivated Indian Muslim. In
the history of Indias transition from medievalism
to modernism, Sir Saiyad stand out prominently as
a dynamic force pitted against conservatism, superstitions, inertia and ignorance. He contributed
many of the essential elements to the development
of modern India and paved the growth of a healthy
scientific attitude of mind which is sine qua non for
advancement, both material and intellectual. Sir
Saiyad said : After the Revolt of 1857, I was grieved
neither on account of the plunder of my house nor
on account of the loss of property that I had suffered. What saddened my heart was the misery and
destruction of people. When Mr. Shakespeare
offered to me the Taluqa of Jehanabad, which originally belonged to a distinguished Saiyad family,
and yielded an annual rental of more than a lac
rupees, as a reward of my services, my heart was
deeply hurt. I said to myself, how can I accept this
jagir and become the Taluqdar while all the people
are in distress. I refused to accept it.
Sir Saiyad was born on 17th October 1817 in Delhi
in a respectable family of Saiyad Mohammad
Muttaqi & Azizun Nisa Begum . Sir Saiyad and
Maulana Qasim Nanotwi (Founder of DarulUloom, Deoband) studied together under the able
guidance of Maulana Mamlook Ali in Delhi. Sir
Saiyad studied mathematics, Geology and Medicine
from his uncle, Saiyad Zainul Abedin. He also studied Arabic literature, Tafseer-e-Quran, Hadith, and
Fiqah from Maulana Makhsusullah (s/o Maulana

Shah Rafiuddin Dahlwi ), Maulana Nawazish Ali

and Maulana Faizul Hasan Saharanpuri. In 1836 Sir
Saiyad got married to Parsa Begum (Mubarak) and
had two sons, Hamid (born in 1849) and Mahmood
(born in 1850) and a daughter Amina. His elder
brother Saiyad Muhammad started a weekly newspaper in 1837 and out of love of his younger brother
Saiyad Ahmad (also known as Saiyad in his youth),
named the newspaper Saiyadul-Akhbar . After
Saiyad Muhammads death in 1845, Sir Saiyad
Ahmad started managing Saiyadul-Akhbar.
Sir Saiyad was a great champion of Hindu-Muslim
Unity. Addressing a big gathering at Gurudaspur
on Jan. 27, 1884 He said: Hindus and Muslims ! Do
you belong to a country other than India ? Dont
you live on this soil and are you not buried under it
or cremated on its Ghats ? If you live and die on this
land, then bear in mind, that Hindus and Muslims
is but a religious word; all the Hindus, Muslims and
Christians who live in this country are one nation.
Father of Aligarh movement
This most respected and important educational centre for Indian Muslims was initially founded as
Mohammedan Anglo Oriental College (MAOC) at
Aligarh in 1875 by Sir Saiyad Ahmed Khan and subsequently raised to the status of Aligarh Muslim
University (AMU) in 1920. Aligarh Muslim
University (AMU), known more as a movement
than an academic institution is one of the most
important chapters of Indian history as far as the
sociology of Hindu-Muslim relation is concerned.
Sir Saiyad said: This is the first time in the history
of Mohammedans of India, that a college owes it
nor to the charity or love of learning of an individual, nor to the spending patronage of a monarch,
but to the combined wishes and the united efforts of
a whole community. It has its own origin in course
which the history of this county has never witnessed before. It is based on principles of toleration
and progress such as find no parallel in the annals
of the east. Sir Saiyad famous speech which he
made while foundation of MAO College was laid
down by Lord Lytton on 18th January, 1877 is the
soul of Aligarh Movement. Sir Saiyad said: from
the seed which we sow today, there may spring up
a mighty tree, whose branches, like those of the
banyan of the soil, shall in their turn strike firm
roots into the earth, and themselves send forth new
and vigorous saplings.



Muslim Mirror


Its a common misconception that Sir Saiyad and

Aligarh Movement is anti-oriental studies (Islamic
and Eastern studies) and MAO College was started
in a reactionary movement to counter the religious
school, Darul-Uloom Deoband, started by Maulana
Qasim Nanotvi (another student of Sir Saiyads
teacher Maulana Mamlook Ali Nanotvi). In fact Sir
Saiyad had a broader vision and had put forward
the need of the hour to get equipped with the modern education to improve the social and economical
conditions of Muslims of India. He never discouraged or denied the importance of religious and oriental studies. By his individual means and with the
help of Muslim Educational Conference, he always
tried to modernize the Madarasas, update their syllabus as per the need of the hour.
Sir Saiyad wrote a lot about these things in
Tahzeebul-akhlaq. Sir Saiyads educational vision
has two strong points;
Adoption of Modern education
Moral Education
From the beginning, Madarsatul-Uloom, later MAO
College was equipped with the above philosophy.
Tarbiyat of the students living in Hostels were part
of the duties of Principal and Manager of Hostels.
For Islamic and moral education, Sir Saiyad created
a position of Nazim-e-Diniyaat for MAO College
who was responsible for Islamic and moral education of the students. Dars-e-Quran was part of curriculum of the college and every morning before the
start of the class, Allama Shibli Nomani used to give
Dars-e-Quran for about half hour from 1887 to 1895
and later on the responsibility was handed over to
Maulana Abdullah Ansari, the founder Nazim-eDiniyaat. Sir Saiyad breathed his last on Sunday,
27th March 1898. The funeral took place on

Monday, 28th March 1898. The Janazah prayers

were offered in the cricket field lead by the founder
Nazim-e-Diniyaat, Maulana Abdullah Ansari (son
in law of Maulana Qasim Nanotwi and grandson of
Sir Saiyads teacher Maulana Mamlook Ali). The
burial took place in College Jama Masjid.
Maulana Altaf Hussain Haali- writer of Sir Saiyads
biography, HAYAAT-E-JAVED;
After Sir Saiyads death, it was not only by words
but also by actions that the people proved their love
and respect for his high ideals. Almost at once,
some people began to press for the foundation of
Muslim University. The movement spread all over
India and abroad and people started raising money
for Sir Saiyads finest memorial.. Even in England

students raised money for the Muslim University.

People were surprised to see the interest of
Englishmen and their efforts to collect money to fulfill the dream of Sir Saiyad to make MAO College as
Muslim University. There is an old saying that a
good friend is like a leafy tree. For when a tree is in
full bloom one has the pleasure of its shade and the
enjoyment of its fruits, and when it withers, its
wood is put to many uses. Sir Saiyad was such a
friend to the Muslims. When he was alive, he
laboured for them with his body, his words, his pen
and his money. When he died he left the memory of
his love and work imprinted on their hearts so that
they might come together and build on the foundations he has laid.

Aligarh Movement

Past, Present and

Its Future Prospects

for Muslims
By Asif Jah,
The revolt of 1857 against British
proved to be disastrous for Indian
Muslims at that time.The British chose
to believe that the Muslims were
responsible for the uprising against
them, therefore they made them the
subject of ruthless punishments and
merciless vengeance. The British had
always considered Muslim as their
number one enemy because they had
taken power from them. With the
rebellion of 1857, this feeling was
intensified and every attempt was
made to ruin and suppress the
After dislodging the Muslim rulers
from the throne, the new rulers, the
Britishers, implemented a new educational policy with drastic changes.
The policy banned Arabic, Persian
and religious education in schools and
made English not only the medium of
instruction but also the official language in 1858. This spawned a negative attitude amongst the Muslims
towards everything modern and
western, and a disinclination to make
use of the opportunities available
under the new regime.
Seeing this atmosphere of despair and
despondency, SirSyed Ahmed Khan

(181798)launched his attempts to

revive the spirit of progress within the
Muslim community of India. He was
convinced that the Muslims in their
attempt to regenerate themselves, had
failed to realize the fact that mankind
had entered a very important phase of
its existence, i.e., an era of science and
learning. He realized that progress
and prosperity for the British was
based on modern learning. Therefore,

modern education became the pivot

of his movement for regeneration of
the Indian Muslims. He tried to transform the Muslim outlook from a
medieval one to a modern one.
After deep analysis Sir Syed started
Aligarh Movement in 1864 and later
on established Muhammadan AngloOriental School (M. A. O.), Aligarh in
1875. Setup on the pattern of English
public schools, MAO was later raised

to the level of college in 1877 and university in 1920.

Sir Syeds vision is so true in present
context as well and an eye opener for
future for Muslims. So little has been
done and so much more to do, considering the vast populationof community and its backwardness in terms of
education and social structure. We
need a number of visionaries who can
put in their hard effort to bring
Muslim community at par withother
sections of the society.India will only
become a developed nation if all the
sections of the society progress equally.
Sachar committee has put forward a
lot of analysis about the Indian
Muslim with "statistical reports"
based on information from government agencies, banks, Indian Minority
Commission, different state governments and its agencies.
The major finding of Sachar is that the
rate of literacy among Muslims is very
much below than the national average. Considering the findings government is taking up several steps too
late too little though. The establishment
Universityscenters is a major step.
First Minority Affairs Minister MrA R
Antulay in UPA 1 had demanded 5
minority universities across the country, we got AMU centres in lieu of that
demand. A number of scholars and
the present Vice Chancellor of AMU
Lt. Gen. Zameer Uddin Shah believe
that government should move a step
further to establish these centres as
full-fledged Minority Universities .
AMU Alumni and like minded people
from both Hindu and Muslim communitieshave a major role to play to
take Sir Syeds vision forward. There
is need to reorganize Aligarh
Movement in present context so that
future of our generation and our
beloved country is secure.
The author is Member, Aligarh
Muslim University Court. Email:

Muslim Mirror


I am
proud of
Sir Syed
but not a
proud Aligarian
By Syed Zubair Ahmad,
On 8th December 2012, I wanted to attend Sir Syed
Dinner in New Delhi and make a story for
MuslimMirror.com. When I discussed it with one of
my colleagues he laughed at me and asked Is it a
news item you are going to cover? The dinner was
scheduled to be held on 17th October, on the birthday of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and they are going to
celebrate it on 8th December. I dropped the idea.
When I asked an office bearer of AMU old boys
body in Delhi about the long delay in holding the
Dinner, he replied: Some Saheb (an AMUOBA Delhi office bearer) was supposed to go on Haj,
thats why the Dinner was postponed for a long
time. Later I came to know that the particular
Saheb couldnt go for Haj either.
The very next day I inquired from an Alig friend
Shahab Khan Lodi if he attended the Sir Syed
Dinner last night. I dont want to attend S.S.
Dinner, a dinner where people jump over one
another for the dishes, pat came the reply. Shahab
Lodi was born and brought up in Aligarh and his
father was a professor at the university.
What happened in 2013 was even worse! The Sir
Syed Dinner was not organized because of two reasons. Due to lack of fund and some of the candidates who lost the elections of old boys association
of Delhi chapter went to court seeking a stay order
on the result of the election because of rigging in
the election.
The painful developments of last two years concerning Sir Syed Dinner show how we Aligarians
have become self-centered - just the opposite of our
Sir Syed who was synonymous to sacrifice.



Machanical Engineering Mosque

Sir Syed was a person who sacrificed his career, his
youth, his family, in fact his whole life for the betterment of Muslims. He became beggar. Fatwas of
Kufr were issued against him. But all these things
least bothered him. He carried on his mission without a pause. Finally he died in a pathetic condition
only for the future of the new generation of
Muslims. This is the story of a person whom we
Aligarians take as our ideal. There is hardly any
similarity between the great Sir Syed and his followers -we the Aligarians.
Once during my stay at AMU years ago, Kashmiri
politician Dr. Farooque Abdullah was invited as

youths in the name of terror. Recently when I again

met him he seemed to be apologetic on this issue.
Where is the vision of Sir Syed?
We always blame government for the backwardness of our community, why we dont take example
from the life of Sir Syed. We can establish our own
universities in every state provided we get ready to
sacrifice. Hamdard University, Integral University,
B.S. Abdur Rahman University and many others
were established with the efforts of some individuals. Recently a young Aigarian established a university -University of Science and Technology,
Meghalaya ,(USTM) within eight years after doing

Only one sincere and selfless Sir Syed changed the fate of
Muslim community in the sub-continent, but thousands of Aligarians who declare every year to be the successors of Sir Syed
couldnt do anything remarkable for the Muslim community
during last one century. Sir Syed established a great educational
institution at his own, but thousands of Aligarians failed to do
so altogether. The soul of visionary Sir Syed must not be resting
in peace at seeing his own products who dont want to sacrifice
and who dont have vision.
chief guest on Sir Syed Day, I was stunned by the
vision of AMU students. When Farooque Abdullah,
using his oratory talent, shouted Muslims dont
need reservation the whole Kennedy Hall was
resounding with clapping.
Once I met a very senior Alig at India Islamic
Cultural Centre in New Delhi. During the conversation he said: Why arent the police arresting me or
you? He was talking about the arrest of Muslim

Department of Chimistry

MCA from AMU. Had we Aligarians followed the

vision and sacrifice of Sir Syed, the Indian Muslim
community would not have lagged behind SC/ST
and OBCs in the field of education.
We rush to pounce on DISHES on S.S. Dinner, why
dont we show the same speed to take our rights
and share from the resources of our country? We
show our authority to impress juniors, why dont
we show the same courage before those who harass
our community?
Only one sincere and selfless Sir Syed changed the
fate of Muslim community in the sub-continent, but
thousands of Aligarians who declare every year to
be the successors of Sir Syed couldnt do anything
remarkable for the Muslim community during last
one century. Sir Syed established a great educational institution at his own, but thousands of
Aligarians failed to do so altogether. The soul of
visionary Sir Syed must not be resting in peace at
seeing his own products who dont want to sacrifice
and who dont have vision.
The time has come to get the vision of Sir Syed, rise
above from our petty selfish interest and complete
the unfinished dream of Sir Syed, otherwise the
coming generation will be ashamed of us.
There are two lessons in the life of Sir Syed vision
and sacrifice. But unfortunately the majority of
Aligarians never try to learn from the life of Sir
Syed. Thats why I say I am proud of Sir Syed but
not a proud Aligarian.




Muslim Mirror

The New Centres of

Aligarh Muslim University

A Beginning of Resurgence
Dr. Rahat Abrar
The mission of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, a symbol of
Muslim renaissance in India was not only to establish
an educational institution at Aligarh but his vision was
that this institution gains the central position among
Muslims by providing them leadership in educational
matters and all Muslim institutions are affiliated with
this. It is a great moment that the dream of Sir Syed is
going to materialize with the establishment of Aligarh
Muslim Universitys centres in Murshidabad (West
Bengal) and Malappuram (Kerala). It looks pertinent
to turn attention to the chronology of events that culminated into establishment of new centres of AMU.
On February 8, 1873 while addressing a meeting of
Committee, Sir Syeds illustrious son, Justice Syed
Mahmood submitted the plan of proposed Aligarh
Muslim University and suggested that the University
might establish schools in the University town and
Laying the foundation stone of Mohammadan AngloOriental College on January 8, 1877, Sir Syed said
before Lord Lytton that from seed which we sow
there may spring up a mighty tree whose branches,
like those of Banyan of the soil, shall in their turn strike
from roots into earth and themselves send forth new
and vigorous saplings; that this college may expand
into a University whose sons shall go throughout the
length and breadth of the land to preach the gospel of
free enquiry of large hearted toleration, and pure
While welcoming the then Governor General Lord
Rippon at MAO College in 1884, the founder of the college, Sir Syed said that the aim is to extending these
schemes to places other than Aligarh.
After the demise of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan in 1898, Sir
Syed Memorial Fund was created in different parts of
country and the effort for the establishment of a
Muslim University was sped up. All the persons associated with this movement wanted all Muslim institutions of India to be affiliated to the Muslim University.
Dr. Sir Ziauddin, while presenting the idea of the
Muslim University at Lahore session of All India
Muslim Educational Conference in 1898, discussed at
length the concept of a University and emphasized the
importance of the right of affiliating colleges. Moving
a step ahead, Maulvi Rafiuddin gave his own plan of
the proposed Muslim University in a British periodical
Nineteenth Century. He contemplated to widen its
jurisdiction to all Muslims who lived in the British
Empire and recommended affiliation of colleges all
over the globe to this proposed University.
Theodore Beck, the Principal of M. A. O. College also
advocated that such a Muslim University should have
the power to affiliate all Muslim Institutions spread all
over the country. In 1903, while addressing the annual
session of All India Muslim Educational Conference,
Sir Agha Khan delivered a very impressive speech in
favour of a Central Muslim University at the Mumbai
session. He wanted this University to be given the
power to affiliate colleges all over the country in order
to achieve the goal of establishing a Central Muslim
On April 17, 1911, a special debate was organized in
the new building of Students Union in which affiliation of all Muslim institutions was emphasized. The
same year in November, the draft constitution of the
proposed Muslim University was submitted to
London by the Government of India with the recommendation that the power of affiliation could be granted as there will be no abuse of it, if properly controlled.
The British Government was very apprehensive that in
the name of Muslim University, Muslims of India
might get united once again and the Aligarh movement might take a political turn, for the students of
Aligarh were prominently active in the freedom struggle and the Jamia Millia Islamia came into origin on
the very stairs of University Mosque.
On December 17, 1920, AMU Act came into force and
the University was permitted to establish and maintain intermediate colleges and schools but very
restricted powers of affiliating colleges and schools in
the Aligarh district were given.

In 1968, the Beg Committee proposed to the

Government of India that Aligarh Muslim University
may be granted power to establish institutions of higher education and research outside the University campus.
On October 17, 2002, Chief Minister of Madhya
Pradesh, Mr. Digvijay Singh while addressing the Sir
Syeds birth anniversary celebration announced to
provide free land for setting up of a Centre of the
Aligarh Muslim University or a similar minority educational institution in Madhya Pradesh besides allocating one crore rupees.
After the announcement of Madhya Pradesh Chief
Minister, the Gharib Nawaz Foundation invited the
Aligarh Muslim University Vice Chancellor, Mr.
Nasim Ahmad at a function organized in Bhopal on
July 21, 2003. On July 24, 2004, the Gharib Nawaz
Foundation presented a memorandum to the Union
Minister of Human Resource Development, Mr. Arjun
Singh demanding for the establishment of a centre of
Aligarh Muslim University in Bhopal. MHRD forwarded the proposal to UGC for action.
The University Grants Commission on January 28,
2005 informed Gharib Nawaz Foundation that the
Aligarh Muslim University has been asked to submit a
detailed proposal in this regard. MHRD drew the
attention of AMU to a resolution passed by the
national monitoring committee for Minorities education held on July 11-12,2006 indicating that AMU
might be permitted to open another campus.
In the meantime, the Chief Minister of West Bengal,
Shri Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee wrote a letter to the
Prime Minister, Mr. Manmohan Singh on March 30,
2007 requesting for establishment of the Aligarh
Muslim University centre in Murshidabad. MHRD
forwarded the letter to AMU and suggested that the
proposal be examined in terms of Section 12(2) of the
AMU Act. MHRD again requested the University that
the proposal be approved by the appropriate bodies of
the University before the Ministry could process the
request for obtaining necessary sanction to the visitor.
On November 21, 2007, the Education Minister of
Kerala, Mr. M. A. Baby met the Union Minister of State
for HRD, Mr. M. A. A. Fatmi and requested to establish Aligarh Muslim University campus at
Malappuram. Earlier to this, while addressing AMU
Court, the apex body of the University on January 21,
2007, the former Vice Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim
University, Mr. Saiyid Hamid suggested that the
Government should either establish new Universities
in India to meet the educational need of the minorities
or Aligarh Muslim University should be allowed to
start its campuses throughout the country.
Prof. P. K. Abdul Azis, after accepting the responsibilities of Vice Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University
on June 11, 2007, focused on the all round development of the University to fulfill Sir Syeds dreams. On
December 2, 2007 at the meeting of University Court,
Dr. Mohammad Asif Khan moved a resolution that the
University should establish Specil centers in North,
South, East and west covering different regions under
section 12(2) of AMU Act. The supreme governing
body of the University approved the resolution.
The proposal to establish five centres at Katihar
(Bihar), Pune (Maharashtra), Malappuram (Kerala),
Murshidabad (West Bengal) and Bhopal (Madhya
Pradesh) was put before the Executive Council in its
meeting on January 17, 2008 which was unanimously
approved. Later, the proposal for Katihar was changed
over to Kishanganj on request of the Chief Minister of
Bihar. The Academic Council of the University
endorsed the above resolution to establish the centres
and authorized the Vice Chancellor to take necessary
follow up actions. He was also urged to take initiative
in the context of the mandate given to AMU by the
Parliament to promote especially the educational and
cultural advancement of the Muslims of India.
Honoring the decision of the EC, AC and the
University Court of the University, the Vice
Chancellor, Prof. P. K. Abdul Azis submitted a proposal to the government of India for the establishment of
new five centres of AMU in the Muslim dominated
educationally backward and under developed regions
of India. The proposal represented the biggest and

AMU Vice Chancellor welcoming the President of India Shri Mukherjee at AMU Murshidabad Centre.

Mrs. Sonia Gandhi at the foundation stone

laying ceremony of AMU Kishanganj Centre.

Ex. AMU Vice Chancellor PK Abdul Azis and

Union Minister of state for HRD E Ahamed at
AMU Centre, Malappuram
most far-sighted initiatives of AMU in the context of
Sachar Committee and Fatmi Committee reports.
AMU Vice Chancellor also wrote a letter to the Chief
Ministers of all five states requesting them to provide
250-400 acres of land free from all encumbrances and
free of cost to the University for the establishment of
AMU Centres. The Kerala, West Bengal and Bihar governments responded positively and assured the
University of their Full Cooperation in the establishment of its Centres.
The Aligarh Muslim University had submitted a
detailed proposal to the Government of India for
establishment of AMU Centres along with an estimate
of expenditure on February 13, 2008. Responding to
AMUs proposal the Central Government allocated Rs.
25 Crore each for the establishment of Malappuram
(Kerala) and Murshidabad (Murshidabad) centres in
its 2009-2010 annual budget. The President of India in
her capacity as the Visitor of the University provisionally accorded approval for the establishment of these
centres under Section 12(2) of the University Act.
When Sir Syed Ahmad Khan established M. A. O.
College in 1877, its area was only 78 acres of land but
now it has reached to one thousand acres and with the
addition of six hundred acres of land given by the
Kerala and West Bengal governments free of cost, the
University has taken a big leap in this direction. Today
the products of Sir Syeds institution are spread over
92 countries and perhaps this is the only University of
India whose students are found in every part of the
world. Sir Syed was the first Muslim social reformer
who exhorted Muslims to gain modern education and
helped them come out of the ghettos of ignorance.
The establishment of these two centres should be considered as a glorious chapter in the history of Aligarh
Muslim University. These centres would pave way for
an educational revolution among Muslims and the
institution considered a symbol of Muslims glory
would expand its area of activity. Its centres would be
established in other states as well and when the
University would be organizing its centenary celebrations in 2020, new Muslim Universities would be taking birth from the Aligarh Muslim University.

Muslim Mirror


Mission of
Sir Syed



By Dr Shakeel Samdani,
It is a well documented history that Sir Syed Ahmad Khan and his associates
had established Mohammadan Anglo Oriental College (MAO College) the flag
bearer of the present day Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) to educationally
empower Indian Muslims. But the MAO College was not a simple educational
institution and the founder also did not ever wished it so be. MAO College was
the first residential institution on the lines of the Cambridge and Oxford
Universities and the fact itself indicate that the founder, Sir Syed had in mind
to develop it into a full-fledged university, the fact which he did not hide but
pronounced several times in his speeches and writings.
But there is another factor too associated with MAO College. Establishment of
the MAO College was not the end of Sir Syed`s mission popularly known as the
"Aligarh Movement". It was just a beginning. In his writings and speeches Sir
Syed had recorded several times for the need of moral based education. His
educational policies had included over all personality development of the students (Tarbiyat) to make them real gentlemen and worthy. Another very
important aspect often looked is that Sir Syed had wished to expand the MAO
College to all possible limits and establish more and more educational institutions because he was aware that only MAO College will not fulfil the educational needs of the Muslims in country.
After independence, Muslims began facing an unfavourable and to some extent
hostile environment and their socio-economic condition began nose-diving. In
the first decade of the independence, we lost the bus to empower us educationally though the government launched specific schemes to increase literacy and
education in country. In fact Muslims failed to take up establishment of the
educational institutions .One most important factor is that majority of them
remain busy to meet out both ends but another factor is that we are lethargic
also to think, conceive and act on any such mission. Hence the Aligarh
Movement broken down mid-way.

The Tomb of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan

Some institutions were established after taking encouragement from Sir Syed`s
Aligarh Movement. According to reliable sources AMU Alumni have established more than 300 educational institutions. These include many degree colleges, several intermediate colleges and schools in India. Recently two universities have been established. Jauhar University at Rampur and University of
Science and Technology at Meghalaya. These two universities have been established by the old boys of AMU. University of Science and Technology
Meghalaya has been established by a young and dynamic alumnus Mahbubul
Hoque in 2008. These institutions are not sufficient for the entire Muslim community of India. We need at least 3000 institutions including schools, colleges
and universities. We need more and more institutions in north India. In south
India people availed the opportunities and the capitalist class of Muslims came
forward to establish schools colleges and universities.
After a long gap the Aligarh Muslim University took up the steps to spread
education among Indian Muslims during Vice Chancellorship of Prof.PK
Abdul Azis. In his tenure, two AMU Centres were founded in Murshidabad
(W. Bengal) and Mallappuram (Kerala) which are now fully functional and providing education to the deprived section of Indian Muslims in those remote
backward areas. Present Vice Chancellor Lt. Gen. (Rtd) Zameeruddin Shah also
took up the left over project and just on 30 January another AMU Centre at
Kishanganj (Bihar) was inaugurated by UPA Chair-Person Smt. Sonia Gandhi.
In a leap, the President of India Shri Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the AMU
campus of Murshidabad on 20 February as earlier the classes were held in a
rented building. These are very encouraging steps but there is need to fathom
the efforts.
We must not forget that Sir Syed`s education policies also included service to
community and nation. His educational policy was not limited to text books
only. His real intention was to prepare a generation which may take up reforms
in society and may contribute in nation building. Aligarian education is not
complete if all these tasks are not take up. On numerous occasions Sir Syed
called upon students to devote themselves in meaningful constructive work for
the society. Present day Aligarians, students, teachers and AMU lovers all
should take the wishes of the fonder seriously and must spare some time for the
betterment of the community and progress of the nation.
In short there is dire need for re-visiting Aligarh Movement and to revive it. It
is harsh reality that the future of our generations greatly depends upon the
revival of Sir Syed`s mission. One should not forget that the Aligarh Muslim
University and the Aligarh Movement are most important tools of progress,
prosperity and empowerment and we are answerable to our next generation
.Hence, we must contribute our lot, so that we are not accused for the death of
Sir Syed`s mission.
Let us commit ourselves to devote some time in spreading the Aligarh
Movement to far flung areas and to launch "education revolution" in a massive
way. That will be the realisation of founder`s dream and wish.
The author is Faculty of Law, AMU, Aligarh, and President, Sir Syed
Awareness Forum. Email: drshakeelsamdani@gmail.com, Mob. 9412673691




Muslim Mirror

Muslim Education and Saffron

Elements of Congress:
A Letter from AMU faculty
A Below is a letter from a faculty of Aligarh Muslim University over the move of the central government to
snatch three off-campus centres from AMU. The writer who is also member of Executive Council of AMU
says the saffron elements of Congress have never been honest for the progress and development of the
Muslim community. The recent move too has come from those elements. Courtesy MuslimMirror.com
Text of the Letter
Dear Aligs and Other Well-Wishers of
AMU and Minorities
Ass Salaamu Alaikum wa Rahmah
I am extremely pained to inform you
that BJP, RSS and VHP elements in
Congress Party have not been able to
digest Some Positive Efforts by Mrs.
Gandhi and Mr. Rahul Gandhi
towards educational upliftment of
Indian Muslims through AMUs
Study Centres in Kerala, WB and
It is better to mention here that about
90% of students studying in
Professional Courses at AMUs Study
Centres in WB, Kerala etc are Muslims
whereas this %age (Muslims %age) at
AMUs main campus at Aligarh is
about 55.
There have been several occasions
when These Elements (RSS, VHP, BJP
etc) themselves and also through
some of their agents tried to create so
many obstacles in the establishment
of AMUs Study Centres. A number of
Violent Protests by BJP, RSS, VHP etc
against AMUs Study Centres in
Bihar, WB and Kerala are on record.
Such elements also filed several Writ
Petitions in different High Courts of
the Country against establishment of
our Study Centres but Alhamdulillah,
truth prevailed and Study Centres
became the REALITY to take ahead
Sir Syeds dream of education to
Muslims and other underprivileged.
Unfortunately, their modus operandi,
this time is entirely different and
highly confusing, so much so that our
Honble VC Gen. Saheb and few others alike also seem to have been fallen
prey to their (BJP, RSS, VHP Elements
in Congress) nefarious design of stabbing Muslims from back side as they
could not succeed in their attacks
against us from front. It is fully of
Sabaai and Jewish nature.
They tried to befool Muslims by
promising to provide Minority
Universities few months ago and constituted a committee also under the
chairmanship of Mr. Thorat to befool
Muslims further. And consequently,
our Honble VC Gen. Sahab
announced during formal meetings of
AC, EC etc that AMUs Study Centres
in Kerala, WB and Bihar are going to
Universities shortly. Everybody was
highly surprised by his Untimely
Formal Assertions during several
Official as well as Unofficial meetings
in Aligarh and Delhi. I argued in formal meeting of EC but he was

adamant to bring all this On

Record. However, few other members intervened positively and the
matter was postponed.
I, along with some other members of
EC, AC etc met him in his office privately to know the Genesis and
Rational of his formal announcement
to convert AMUs Study Centres into
Independent Minority Universities.
We all were shocked to listen and
know his reply. He told the delegation
Very Innocently that he (Gen Shah)
is tired of running the AMUs Study
Centres in Kerala, WB and Bihar and
so, want to handover them to Govt.
who will make them Minority
I again argued that as per Indian constitutional provision, Govt can NOT
make a Minority University, but
unfortunately, all in vain. And he kept
on asserting repeatedly that These
AMUs Study Centres will be
Minority Universities. We all
returned back hopeless, helpless and
hapless to realize only that Gen. Sahab
is under severe pressure from the
above named RSS, BJP and VHP elements in Congress/Govt to dilute the
Highly Positive Impact of AMUs
Study Centres on the education of
muslims of India.

Next day, I discussed this Very

Important and Extremely Sensitive
Matter, with some Prominent Legal
Pandits and Constitutional Experts in
Delhi and they all had the opinion
that Govt. can NOT make a Minority
University. An institution (university) can be a minority one only and
only when it is established by minority community.
Mr. Thorat committee also rejected
the idea/proposal of Govt. to establish Minority Universities last week
only. Thus, it can conveniently be concluded that it is a Well Planned conspiracy of Some Elements of BJP,
RSS, VHP etc in Congress Party who
want that Muslims remain educationally backwards so as to be backwards
in all respects.
Therefore, they are pressurizing Gen
Shah (VC) to handover all the 3
AMUs Study Centres in 3 different
states to Govt. in the name of
Independent Universities in Minority
Concentrated Region(s). (A Report in
The Hindu, May 28) Needless to mention here that Admission Policy shall
be decided by Govt. once these Study
Centres are taken over by Govt. and it
will be the same as is that of Usmania
University (AP) or Barkatullah
University (MP) and i.e. 1% or maxi-

mum 2% Muslims in different

Professional/Technical Courses in
place of present 90% at Univ.s Study
Centres. Our students and employees
both at all of our Study Centres are
also mixing with local Muslims who
are very large in number and %age.
And these Aligs are very successful
spreading/communicating Sir Syeds
Culture, Mission and Vision to this
very large Muslim population.
Govt.s Employment policy for
Muslims is 1% or maximum 2%
whereas our Study Centres, fortunately have almost 100% Muslim employees.
Dear Aligs and Others alike, these are
the main and the real reasons why
RSS, BJP, VHP elements in Congress
or in Govt. want to takeover AMUs
Study Centres.
Therefore, lets be united and fight
against the enemies jointly so as to
Education and (b) Employment.
STUDY CENTRES in WB, Bihar and
Kerala with AMU Aligarh so that the
objective(s) of Sir Syeds Mission and
Vision are conveniently attained.
Thus, I request all of you with Folded
Hands and Most Humbly to please
write to Mrs. Gandhi, and Mr.
Gandhi, HRD Minister, Minority
Affairs Minister and Prime Minister
etc NOT to play with sentiments and
generations of hapless Indian Muslim
Community which has NOT yet been
able to forget Shahadat of Babri
Masjid by BJP, RSS, VHP etc and such
Elements in Congress itself.
Regards and Duaaon Ka Talib

Dr. Mohd. Asif Khan,

B. Com. (H) 1985

Associate Professor, Commerce
Dept., AMU. Aligarh
Elected Member, Executive Council,
AMU Aligarh
National President, All India
Backwards, SC/ST and Minorities
Association, New Delhi.
Cell-09045765040, 09837045017

Muslim Mirror


Sir Syed Ahmad KhanMan with a Great Vision

By Dr. M. Iqtedar Husain Farooqi
the real greatness of the man (Sir
Syed) consists in the fact that he was
the first Indian Muslim who felt the
need of a fresh orientation of Islam
and worked for it
Sir Iqbal
Sir Syed was an ardent reformer and
he wanted to reconcile modern scientific thought with religion by rationalistic interpretations and not by attacking basic belief. He was anxious to
push new education. He was in no
Repeatedly he emphasized that religious differences should have no
political and national significance.
Pt Jawaharlal Nehru
Sir Syeds vision and his laborious
efforts to meet the demands of challenging times are highly commendable. The dark post 1857 era was
indeed hopeless and only men like
Raja Mohan Roy and Sir Syed could
penetrate through its thick veil to
visualize the Nations destinies. They
rightly believed that the past had its
merits and its legacies were valuable
but it was the future that a society was
called upon to cope with.
I offer my homage to Sir Syed for
his vision and courage that withstood
all obstructions both from the friends
and the foes
Mr. Inder Kumar Gujral,
Vision of Sir Syed
Sons (of MAO college later AMU))
shall go forth throughout the length
and breath of the land to preach the
message of free inquiry, of large hearted toleration and of pure morality
Acquisition knowledge of science
and technology is the only solution for
the problems of Muslims.
Call me by whatever names you like.
I will not ask you for my salvation.
But please take pity of your children.
Do something for them (send them to
the school), lest you should have to
repent (by not sending them)
We will remain humiliated and
rejected if we do not make progress
(in scientific field)
Get rid of old and useless rituals.
Superstition cannot be the part of
Iman (faith).
The first requisite for the progress of
a nation is the brotherhood and unity
amongst sections of the society.
Yes the main purpose of this college
(MAO) is to impart modern education
to Muslims who are suffering because
of lack of it but this institution is for
all, Hindus and Muslims alike. Both of
them need education.
We (Hindus and Muslims) eat the
same crop, drink water from the same
rivers and breath the same air. As a
matter of fact Hindus and Muslims
are the two eyes of the beautiful bride
that is Hindustan. Weakness of any

one of them will spoil the beauty of

the bride (dulhan).
We (Hindus and Muslim) have
evolved a new language Urdu.
I wish that youth of India should follow the example of young men and
women of England who are religiously engaged in the hard work of industrial development of their country
(During the stay of Sir Syed in
Look forward, learn modern knowledge, do not waste time in studies of
old subjects of no value.
Ijtihad (innovation, re-interpretation
with the changing times) is the need
of the hour. Give up taqlid (copying
and following old values).
Do not show the face of Islam to others; instead show your face as the follower of true Islam representing character, knowledge, tolerance and
We should not (by remaining ignorant and illiterate) tarnish the image
of our able elders.
All human beings are our brother
and sisters. Working for their welfare
is obligatory for Muslims.
Remember that the words Hindu
and Muslim are only meant for religious distinction: otherwise all persons who reside in this country
belong to one and the same nation.

Life of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan

Born on October 17, 1817 in Delhi.
1847-Authored the famous archaeological Masterpiece, Asarus
1864 -Instituted Scientific Society.
1866 -Aligarh Institute Gazette, an
organ of the Scientific Society.
1870 Started Tehzibul Akhlaq
for propagating modern ideas to
Muslim Community.
1875 - Established a School at Aligarh.
1877- Foundation of MAO College
laid, which became Aligarh Muslim
University in 1920
1888- He was Knighted.
1889- Received Honorary LLD from
Edinburgh University.
Died on March 27, 1898
The supreme interest of Syeds life
was education in its widest sense.
Sir Syed wanted to create scientific
temperament among the Muslims of
India and to make the Western knowledge of Science available to them. He
championed the cause of modern education at a time when all the Indians
in general and Indian Muslims in particular considered it a sin to get modern education and that too through
English language.
Through Aligarh Institute Gazette, Sir



Syed succeeded in agitating the minds

in the traditional Muslim Society.
Some of the traditionalists and orthodox Muslims opposed him to the
extent that they called him, Mulhid(
Atheist ), Kafir etc. Anyone with a
poor level of commitment would have
backed off in the face of strong opposition but Sir Syed responded by
Tehzibul Akhlaq which greatly succeeded in infusing a new desire
amongst Muslims for acquiring modern knowledge. It also gave a new
direction to Muslim social and political thought. Along with his search for
a solution to the community's backwardness, he continued writing for
various causes of Islam without prejudices against any religion.
Sir Syed finally reached to the conclusion that lack of education was the
main cause of the backwardness of the
community. With all the odds, Sir
Syed became successful in his mission
and gave a firm foundation of Aligarh
AngloOriental College) which afterwards
became Aligarh University. Sir Syed
got moral and financial support from
a cross section of the society. Amongst
the first 120 people who gave valuable
donations for the construction of
School Building were several Hindus
like Choudhary Sher Singh, Kunwar
Lekhraj Singh, Raja Shiv Narain
Singh, Raja Ghanshyam Singh, Raja
Uday Pratap Singh, Lala Phul Chand,
Lala Vasudeo Sahai and others. Their
names still decorate the old Buildings
of Aligarh Muslim University.
This Aligarh Muslim University produced intellectuals in large numbers
who served the country in various
capacities. It is a tribute to Sir Syed
that the first graduate of Aligarh
University was the great revolutionary Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh. No
one can forget persons like Dr. Zakir
Husain and Dr. Syed Mahmood, the
products of Aligarh, who adorned the
high offices of the country.
Sir Syed wanted MAO College to act
as a bridge between the old and the
new, the East and the West. While he
fully appreciated the need and
urgency of imparting instruction
based on Western learning, he was
not oblivious of the value of oriental
learning and wanted to preserve and
transmit to posterity the rich legacy of
the past. He, therefore, decided to
keep a fine balance between the two.
The College he founded was the visible embodiment of reason and
The aim of Sir Syed was not merely
restricted to establishing a college at
Aligarh but at spreading a network of
Muslim Managed educational institutions throughout the length and
breadth of the country. To this end, he
Conference motivated the Muslims to
help open a number of educational
institutions in India.
Today Muslims lag behind in all
walks of life . The main reason for
their sorry status is their backwardness in modern education. Only the
Vision of Sir Syed can help the
Muslims to come out from the present
It is high time that we realize the message of Sir Syed and the spirit behind
the Aligarh movement. Let us expand
and propagate the Aligarh Movement
for creating a modern society with a
scientific outlook.




Muslim Mirror

Young ICS who

protected AMU
By Rasheed Kidwai
April 5: A young official who had shown exceptional maturity in protecting Aligarh Muslim
University from attacks in the communally charged
post-Partition days passed away at his home in
New Delhi on Tuesday.
Govind Narain, one of the last surviving Indian
Civil Service (ICS) officers, died at 95 after a lifetime
of fostering and maintaining ties in the service of
Independent India. He helped set up Bangladeshs
Mukti Bahini as Union home secretary (1971-73),
aided a defence productions tie-up with Russia as
secretary (defence productions) in the late 60s, and
boosted neighbourly relations as adviser to the
Nepal king (1951-54).
All this after having joined an institution reviled by
Indian nationalists and lauded by the British as the
steel frame that held together their rule in India.
Jawaharlal Nehru had described the ICS, which the
Oxford-educated Narain joined in 1939, as neither
Indian, nor civil, nor a service. Subhas Chandra
Bose had quit the ICS after clearing its exams just to
please his father.
But like a host of former ICS officers, Narain soon
proved his mettle after Independence. He was only
31 when, as collector and district magistrate of
Aligarh, he faced his first big test in the tumultuous
weeks between August and December 1947.
Communal rage was simmering and the impression
that the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) had
played a role in the creation of Pakistan posed a
threat to its students and employees.
Making matters worse, vice-chancellor Zahid
Hussain resigned abruptly to take charge as

Pakistans first high commissioner to India. The

atmosphere had been so poisoned that a newspaper
quoted a local leader asking people to liberate the
university from the Muslims and rename it
Harigarh University.
According to Naved Masood, now Union secretary
for corporate affairs and himself an AMU alumnus,
Narain quickly took control of the situation. One, he
persuaded the new vice-chancellor, Nawab Ismail
Khan, not to delay the reopening of the institution
after the summer vacation.
Next, he issued a warning to the dozens of local
zamindars, who wielded tremendous influence and
often took the lead in fomenting trouble.
According to old-timers, Narain made it clear to
potential troublemakers in an emphatic, no-nonsense message rare in those troubled times that
mischief would not be tolerated.
With no additional forces available to the district
administration, Narains real success lay in using
the aura of the collectors office to convince the
local notables that they would be falling foul of the
government if they strayed out of line.
The Mathur Kayasth from Mainpuri district, Uttar
Pradesh, later rose to become Union home secretary
and defence secretary (1973-75) and, after retirement, was Karnataka governor from 1977 to 1983.
Around that time a fellow ex-ICS officer, Nirmal
Mukarji, was Union cabinet secretary the lone
Bengali to hold the post. It was a Bengali,
Satyendranath Tagore, who was the first Indian to
join the ICS. He was an author, composer and linguist and made significant contributions towards
the emancipation of women in Indian society.
Narain himself had a Bengal connection: he served
in Calcutta as the Centres liaison officer with the

Govind Narain
state government in 1964.After retirement, Narain,
who was awarded a Padma Vibhushan, the countrys second-highest civilian honour, was associated
with the Pubic Interest Legal Support and Research
Trust, Shankara Vidya Kendra, Federation of IndoGerman Society in India and an NGO, Common
Cause.His essays appeared in books such as Old
Mandarins of India and The Governor: Sage or
Saboteur.Narain is survived by two daughters. His
grandson Vikram Chandra, a well-known TV journalist, said: I know that my grandfather touched so
many lives in his many roles. But for me he was,
quite simply, the best human being I have ever
known, or am ever likely to know.

A Close Look at Aligarh Movement

By Kashif-ul-Huda
There are three myths about the
Aligarh movement: it was simply a
movement for education, Aligarh
Muslim University IS the movement,
and that the movement is long dead.
Syed Ahmed Khans concerns,
visions, and efforts for the Indian
Muslims came to be later known as
the Aligarh Movement but it was not
simply a movement to make Muslims
learn Western education or even the
establishment of a university. It was a
movement to give mission to a community that seemed to have lost its
bearing in the fast-changing world, to
prepare them for new challenges, and
give them new tools to connect back
to their religion and history.
Incredibly, Muslims of India still face
these issues and the need for Aligarh
movement is still alive.
Rarely history offers such a sharp
divide as in 1857 when medieval India
came to a close and a modern India
emerged from the ruins. Syed Ahmed
understood the new power and new
rules that will shape the future of
India. British saw Muslims as a threat
and a challenge to the British rule in
India. They held Muslims responsible
for the brutal 1857 war between

British and Indian forces. In this situation Muslim centers of learning and
culture in North India were uprooted
or abandoned. At that time Syed
Ahmad was in the employment of the
Asbab-ebaghawat-e-hind (The Causes of the
Indian Revolt) to show that events of
1857 was a result of British high-handedness in India and not a conspiracy
by the Muslim feudal elites. It was an
attempt to tell the rulers of India that
we understand that you are here to
stay but we want to be a partner in
this new system.
Modern or Western education was a
tool for Syed Ahmed Khan to make
sure that Muslims are playing their
roles in the new world that was quickly shaping up in front of them. They
had to be part of it or be swept off of
their religious and cultural bearings in
the new tide of modernism. Syed
Ahmed Khan did indeed establish a
college that eventually became
Aligarh Muslim University (AMU)
but it is wrong to think that it was his
only contribution or his sole vision.
He also started a scientific society, a
magazine for social reform, wrote
commentaries on Quran- all in his
attempt to reform the Muslim society.
Muslims rightly believe that AMU is

his greatest achievement but focus on

this university comes at a cost.
Aligarh movement has become synonymous with the AMU which meant
that the movement has stagnated for
the last few decades. Some individual
efforts have been made by AMU
alumni in establishing schools and
giving scholarships. AMU alumni
religiously observe Sir Syed Day dinner and annual mushaira but is this
the best way to remember founder of
this movement?
New AMU branches being established
Murshidabad and a few more proposed in other places can be called
extending Aligarh movement to new
geographical regions. It is a welcome
step but as long as Aligarh movement
remains attached to the AMU it cannot reach its full potential. This movement starts with education but
doesnt end there.
It is time to delink movement from the
university at Aligarh. Delinking it will
immediately open up the Aligarh
movement to people who never went
to AMU and may not have the same
passion for the University as others. It
will also mean that not all problems or
issues of AMU will be something that
this movement needs to respond to.

Aligarh movement can continue to

benefit from the intellectual capital
that comes out of AMU and can tap
into the amazingly wide-spread and
resourceful network of AMU alumni.
It will give a purpose and mission to
thousands that graduate each year
from AMU and a platform for millions of educated Muslims to contribute back to their community in a
much more organized and planned
Envision an Aligarh movement that
inspires our students to go in colonies,
small-towns, and villages and make
our young and old literate; our graduates to devote their time to find solutions to our problems; and our educated and professionals to give time and
money to invest in community projects and articulate community issues
and aspirations to people in the larger
society and to the world. This will be
a community that will have the confidence to face its challenges and come
up with resources to help chart a new
path that will make hundreds of universities and thousands of colleges in
its wake but its greatest contribution
is making of a Muslim who is equally
aware and proud of his or her Indian
and Muslim heritage.

Muslim Mirror




SIR SYED's Mission in the 21st Century

Dr. Tayyaba Abidin Qidwai

Muscat, Oman

In the present century, Muslims the world over and

specially in India are passing through a deeply troubling phase. The Babri Masjid Demolition, the 9/11
attacks, the Gujarat genocide, the London blasts,
have placed Muslims in a vulnerable position wherever they are. Where does all this hatred and suspicion leave an honest God-fearing Muslim in the
present world?
You must be wondering how all this is connected
with the Aligarh Movement and why am I bringing
up this topic here today?
Well, it so happens that about a century ago the
Muslims of India were passing through a somewhat
similar crisis. It was then that a man of stature stood
up and led them from darkness to light. His message
was simple and to the point - Follow the path of
knowledge and do so with an open mind and heart.
He said - 'Study and revere the Holy Scriptures of all
religions and let not hatred blur your vision." Syed
Ahmad Khan the leading light of Aligarh Movement
urged Muslims of India to imbibe moral values and
develop large-hearted tolerane.
I believe his vision was a panoramic vision, which
had all these characteristics
It evaluated the condition of Muslims of that time.
It is very important to have a realistic insight into
the current state of affairs or THE PRESENT stage
in every age.
His perceptions of where the world was headed in
the next hundred years- That is a foresight for an
enlightened view of THE FUTURE.
And his knowledge of history or hindsight which
gave him an intelligent grasp of The Past.
Now if we want to have a vision for Indian Muslims
in the 21st century, we have to have that same
insight, the same hindsight and the same foresight.
The condition of Indian Muslims today - The
Present. According to the latest Sachar report 94.9% of Muslims are below poverty line.
Muslims High School passed 7.2%
Muslims enrolled in colleges: 6.5%
................................ !
everybody knows those statistics by heart now !
But the trouble with Muslims all around the world
whether in majority or in minority -- is that they
are no longer proactive and productive. We need to
emphasize the role of a Creative Minority -- creative
is the one who is original in thought and original in
action. Muslims can be of real benefit to the world
only when they regain that faculty -- rather than
dreaming about regaining the Past Glory. Glory
comes not as result of poetry or "poetical" dreams,
but only through original thoughts, creative study
and analysis and positive action. In one word, it is
nothing but Proactive action. Any addition of reac-

tion to this formula mars the whole process and

sends the social groups off the course.
Most efforts for promoting Muslim education have
been in the form of making demands on the State
but without understanding the limits of the educational bureaucracy of the government.
It shows the ignorance of the Muslim Intelligentsia
that in the next 100 years after Sir Syed, they could
not come up with more Educational Institutions for
Syed Ahmad Khan started the Aligarh college to
bridge the divide between traditional Islamic and
modern education.
But, now the modern educational system operates
with the false assumption of the superiority of
Western civilisation and the inferiority of Muslim
culture. It has led to alienation of modern-educated
Muslims from their own community and to an
enormous educational dualism.
On one side you have the Seculars, the
Communists, the Leftists and Rightists and on the
other hand are a few Ulama who continue to hold
the traditional Madrasa strongholds. Each group
views the other with suspicion , with contempt ,
with disdain.
Whereas, what we need is a vision, which could
unite all these extremes together.
The call for today is the setting up of a Muslim
Educational Board to help promote both reforms in
Modern schools AND Madrasas.
Sufi shrines and Waqf Boards, with the vast sums of
money at their disposal, should set up modern
educational institutions catering to the poor among
the community.
But, in the end it is WE as torch-bearers of Sir Syed,
who should have the responsibility of educating
our children, as well as children of those who are
less fortunate than us.
A movement is needed amongst the products of
AMU spread out all over the world to co-ordinate
their efforts and not only strengthen AMU, but
plant similar saplings all over India to cater to the
increasing demands of removal of illiteracy and
poverty amongst the Muslims of India.
The second point should be our perception of where
the world is headed for today.- The Future.
We observe that throughout major periods of
human history the world seems to have excelled
only in the art of be preparing for war. It's what
humanity seems to know the best. The unlearned
lesson of the 20th century is that we've gotten far
too good at making war. The structure of our society - government, industry, the media - can gear up
for war at a moment's notice, no matter how hateful
the idea may be in the souls of ordinary men and
women. The will of the majority for peace is displaced by the will of the minority for war.
So we have to train our generation and the next for
Tolerance and let not hatred blur our vision, as Sir
Syed had said.

That again comes with education. Learning about

the life-style, religion and works of others creates an
atmosphere of mutual understanding and shows us
ways of tolerating the other point of view.
Lessons from History The Past.
What does History say about the priority Muslims
gave to Education in the past?
I will only quote the answer from Will Durant's
Story of Civilization. This American philosopher
and historian writes, "When Baghdad was
destroyed by the Mongols it had thirty-six public
libraries. Private libraries were numberless. It was a
fashion among the rich to have an ample collection
of books. A physician refused the invitation of the
Sultan of Bokhara to come and live at his court, on
the ground that he would need 400 camels to transport his library. Al-Waqidi, dying, left 600 boxes of
books, each box so heavy that two men were needed to carry it. Princes like Sahab Ibn Abbas in the
10th century might own as many books as could be
found in all the libraries of Europe combined."These
words of Will Durant, say a lot about Muslims'
thirst for knowledge at the time that Islam was at its
zenith. I believe, also, these words say a lot about
the priority Sir Syed must have given to education.
We as individuals, as a family, as a society, should
do no less.I have a healthy respect for Sir Syed, the
man.I do not denigrate him, nor do I idolise him.
I feel he was different from the others in the sense
that he was a combination of a delightful mixture of
a Thinker, a Philosopher and a Practical Man. When
you look at people, you find people on one side of
the spectrum who are Thinkers and great writers
but they don't get off the ground. Then on the other
side you just have practical people who want to do
things , but do not bother much about any theoretical basis of that work.Very very few have the excellent combination of both .It is only people who have
both these attributes AND the charisma of bringing
different people together on a common platform,
who are able to do something which History is
proud to record.

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Muslim Mirror



Sir Syed's Stick & Compass

Sir Syed Ahmad Khan with Haji Ismail

Khan of Dattawali

Shajarah-e-Nasb of Sir Syed Ahmad

Sir Syed Ahmad Khan with family and Friends

Sir Syed's Desk

Sir Syed Ross Masud


Sir Syed's Sofa Set

Mr. Syed Anwar Masood

(Great grandson)

Maqbarah of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan

Justice Syed Mahmood

(Youngest son of Sir Saiyad)

Photor Courtesy :www.aligarhmovement.com

Mr. Syed Hamid

(Eldest son of Sir Saiyad)