Aligarh Movement



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Collaboration : Key element of Aligarh Movement


Aligarh Movement




The War of Independence 1857 ended in disaster for the Muslims. The British chose to believe that the Muslims were responsible for the anti-British uprising; therefore they made them the subject of ruthless punishments and merciless vengeance. The British had always looked upon the Muslims as their adversaries because they had ousted them from power. With the rebellion of 1857, this feeling was intensified and every attempt was made to ruin and suppress the Muslims forever. Their efforts resulted in the liquidation of the Mughal rule and the Sub-continent came directly under the British crown.


After dislodging the Muslim rulers from the throne, the new rulers, the British, 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 1835. 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. This tendency, had it continued for long, would have proven disastrous for the Muslim community.


Seeing this atmosphere of despair and despondency, Sir Syed 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 knew that the realization of the very fact was the source of progress and prosperity for the British. 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.


Sir Syed's first and foremost objective was to acquaint the British with the Indian mind; his next goal was to open the minds of his countrymen to European literature, science and technology.


Therefore, in order to attain these goals, Sir Syed launched the Aligarh Movement of which Aligarh was the center. He had two immediate objectives in mind: to remove the state of misunderstanding and tension between the Muslims and the new British government, and to induce them to go after the opportunities available under the new regime without deviating in any way from the fundamentals of their faith.


Keeping education and social reform as the two planks of his program, he launched the Aligarh Movement with the following objectives:

  1. To create an atmosphere of mutual understanding between the British government and the Muslims.
  2. To persuade Muslims to learn English education.
  3. To persuade Muslims to abstain from politics of agitation.
  4. To produce an intellectual class from amongst the Muslim community.
  5. To bring a social and cultural reform amongst the Muslim community.
  6. To maintain, and as far as possible promote the political and economical importance of Muslims in the affairs of the country to the extent that was possible in a country under foreign rule.


The Aligarh Movement has no formally laid down goals but it would be reasonable to identify the above as its guiding principles.



Aligarh Movement: A Brief Chronology



Aligarh Movement: A Historical Glimpse


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