By Afzal Usmani
All India Muslim Educational Conference (AIMEC), a Non-political organization which brought Muslim rulers of remaining princely states of undivided British India, social and political leaders, intellectuals and distinguished people from all of walks of life onto one platform for educational empowerment of Muslims of India and transformed the dimensions of Aligarh Movement and fulfilled the dream of its founder, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan by converting Muhammadan Anglo Oriental College (M.A.O. College) to Aligarh Muslim University. The Conference also became championing the cause of Women’s education and gave birth to one of the oldest and biggest women’s educational institution, Women’s College of Aligarh. This non-political, All India Muslim Educational Conference which was started for educational empowerment of Muslims of India also gave birth to largest Muslim political party “Muslim League” which still has roots in all the 3 countries of British India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and India. This one time conglomerate of Muslim Intelligentsia of British India has lost its glory and living or dying quietly in a monumental and historical building “Sulatn Jahan Manzil” in Aligarh Muslim University campus. The only time we hear its name when it sends 5 representatives to Aligarh Muslim University supreme governing institution AMU Court or get a peek into its symbolic lowest possible subscribed Journal, “Conference Gazette”. Let’s have a look, what was All India Muslim Educational Conference.
The inauguration of first Session of Indian national Congress at Bombay on 28-31 December 1885 by Allan Octavian Hume was a turning point in social and political movements of British India. Indian National Congress chooses a path of confrontational politics with the rulers of British India which was against the philosophy of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, who was a strong supporter of Co operational Politics with British Empire. This lead Sir Syed to establish Mohammadan Educational Congress on 27th December, 1886 at Aligarh. By this time Sir Syed was undisputed well wisher of Muslims of India and had unquestioned secular credentials. Sir Syed’s decision not to participate in Indian National Congress surprised a lot of intellectuals of the time. But Sir Syed was very clear in his mission of Muslim upliftment and at any cost he did not wanted to see the wrath of British Empire on Muslims of India which he had himself witnessed after 1857 revolt and so he choose the path of Co operational Politics with the rulers of India. This Congress became Mohammadan Educational Conference in the annual session of 1890 at Allahabad. This organization was a key element of Aligarh Movement and played an important role in taking the Aligarh Movement across the Indian Sub-continent and the establishment of Aligarh Muslim University. It is an established fact that the foundation of AIMEC was to keep Muslims of India away from a confrontational politics of Indian National Congress against British Empire and to do so it was made very clear that AIMEC is socio-political group to promote education among the Muslims of Indian subcontinent. One of the demands of the INC was to have open competition for Civil Services. Sir Syed was convinced that Muslims of India are educationally not at par with their fellow countrymen and so can not compete in open competition with their fellow countrymen. Sir Syed and leaders of AIMEC made it very clear that AIMEC is neither against INC or other political groups of India nor intended to alienate Indian Muslims from main stream political process but to promote education among the Muslims of Indian subcontinent to bring them at par with their fellow countrymen. In the Inaugural session of Muslim Educational Conference on 27th December, 1886 at Aligarh, Sir Syed emphasized his philosophy of co operational politics with the rulers of India and put forward the need of educational empowerment for the Muslims of India. Indian National Congress leaders were not very happy with the formation of Muslim Educational Conference.
Muslim Educational Conference was concern primarily with Muslim education. It kept a vigilant eye on the spread of modern education among Muslims and passed resolutions and took steps to deal with the factors which were hindering its progress. Muslim Educational Conference became a platform for Indian Muslim Intelligentsia to mobilize Indian Muslim masses to promote education and specifically modern and western education and clear their doubts and misconception about the western and modern education. The Conference was much more than a gathering of Muslim Educationist and gave an opportunity to Aligarh Movement leaders to promote Aligarh Movement. Principal Theodore Beck and Prof. Theodore Morrison also took keen interest in Conferences activities. Sir Syed Ahmad Khan was elected as Secretary of the newly formed organization. The Conference was a powerful instrument of Intellectual awakening and general spread of knowledge amongst the Muslims of India.
The life of All India Muslim Educational Conference can be broadly divided in five phases or periods;
1. 1886-1898 : Sir Syed Period
2. 1898-1907 : Mohsinul Mulk Period
3. 1907-1917 : Sahabzadah Aftab Ahmad Khan Period
4. 1917-1947 : Nawab Sadar Yar Jang Period
5. 1947-till date : Post Independence period
The Beginning a new Conglomerate of Muslims of India:
The first session of Muslim Educational Conference (AIMEC) was held at Aligarh. This inaugural session was presided over by none other than close friend of Sir Syed and one of the strongest supporters of Aligarh Movement, Maulvi Samiullah Khan. In this session, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan was elected as Secretary of the newly formed organization. The Inaugural session at Aligarh adopted the following resolutions;
1. Establishment of “AIMEC” and to hold its annual session in different parts of the country.
2. British Government should only take care of modern and western education. Muslims will take care of Oriental studies.
3. Promote publications of journals and special attention should be paid for memorization of Quran (Hifz-e-Quran)
4. The Head Office of Muslim Educational Congress will be at Aligarh.
The second session of The Congress was held at Lucknow and was presided over by Mr. Imtiyaz Ali Khan of Kakori. The session adopted the following resolutions;
1. Scholarships will be awarded to Muslim students for higher education.
2. Local Educational Committees were formed.
The first two sessions of The Congress were focusing on education but the Third session which was held at Lahore in 1888 focused on social issues of Muslims of India. The session was presided by Sardar Muhammad Hayat Khan and the following resolutions were adopted;
1. Voice was raised against some heinous and Non-Islamic traditions among the Muslims and solutions were
discussed to curb these Non-Islamic and heinous traditions from the Muslim societies.
2. Request was made to the government for concessions and exemptions on tuition fees for poor Muslim students.
3. Oriental and religious education should be started in Government Schools.
4. An extra effort needs to put for promotion of women’s education.
The Fourth session was held at Aligarh in 1889 and was presided over by Sardar Muhammad Hayat Khan and following points were discussed;
1. A passionate appeal was made to donate Zakat Money for the education of poor Muslim students.
2. Demands were made to remove derogatory and anti-Islamic contents from History course books.
3. Proposals were made to establish separate technical institutes.
4. Special attentions were paid towards the need to develop curriculum for toddlers and kids.
The Fifth session was held at Allahabad in 1890 and once again it was presided by Sardar Muhammad Hayat Khan. The major attraction of this session was the renaming of All India Mohammadn Educational Congress to All India Muslim Educational Conference. The other focus of this session was translation of literary works of different languages into Indian languages. The marching mode of this caravan of Muslim intellectuals of India was well received by the Indian Muslims and its resolutions and proposals started showing some results. The Sixth session at Aligarh recognized appreciated the efforts of Shamsul Ulema, Allama Shibli Nomani for his writings “Al-Jizya (Security Tax for Non-Muslims in Islamic State), Al-Mamoon (Biography of Khalifa Mamoon Al-Rasheed) and Seeratun-Noman (Biography of Imam-e-Azam, Abu Hanifa) “. This session also recognized the need of women education for the overall development of Muslims of India. Some concrete steps were proposed to promote women education. Publication of “Conference Journal “was a baby of this Aligarh session. This historical session at Aligarh was presided over by Nawab Ishaq Khan, who later served as Secretary of Mohammadan Anglo Oriental College Management. The Sixth session was held at Delhi in 1892 and faced some stiff resistance from some local theologians. This session was presided over by Maulvi Hashmatullah Khan. This session was also addressed by M.A.O. College Principal, Prof. Theodore Beck and M.A.O. College Professor and well known Orientlist, Prof. Thomas Walker Arnold. The session of 1894 at Aligarh also made a passionate appeal to support the newly formed organization “Nadwatul Ulema”.
In 1896, the annual last executive session of Muslim Educational Conference in Sir Syed Ahmad Khan’s lifetime, made a proposal to start a women education section in Muslim Educational Conference was accepted and Justice Karamat Hussain was appointed as its Founding Secretary. Nawab Mohsinul Mulk, Sahabzada Aftab Ahmad Khan, Janab Sultan Ahmad and Haji Ismail Khan were asked to assist Justice Karamat Hussain. In the annual session of Muslim Educational Conference of 1898 in Lahore, a separate department of women’s education was established and Sahabzada Aftab Ahmad Khan was elected its Secretary. This started a wrath from the traditional Muslims of India but a dedicated team of Janab Ummid Ali, Ghulam-us-Saqlain and Haji Ismail Khan wrote several letters and article in Aligarh Institute Gazette and other reputed journals to defend the decision of Muslim Educational Conference to start a women’s educational movement. Justice Amir Ali presided over the annual session of AIMEC in 1899 at Calcutta and the idea to start girl’s schools is all of the state capital was accepted. It was also agreed that the Ulema will be consulted to develop the curriculum of the schools and the modern subjects of Science and Social Science will also be included the syllabus. In the session of December 1902 in Delhi under the leadership of H.H. Sir Agha Khan, young Shaikh Abdullah was appointed as Secretary to look into the women’s educational project and was asked to start the activities very aggressively. The year 1897 was a bit tough on AIMEC as could not held the annual session due to poor health complication with Sir Syed Ahmd Khan and finally Sir Syed Ahmad Khan died on 27th March 1898 and the rein of All India Muslim Educational Conference were transferred to Saiyad Mehdi Ali, Nawab Mohsinul-Mulk. By this time AIMEC had became an effective and established platform and even the opponents of Sir Syed including Justice Amir Ali, Justice Badruddin Tayabji and many more had joined the AIMEC and had started attending AIMEC sessions in different parts of the Country. The Brirish staff of MAO College including Principal Theodore beck, Prof. T. Morrison, Prof. T.W. Arnold and others started supporting the AIMEC in India and started a campaign to generate support in England too.
The Beginning of Movement for a Muslim University and Birth of Muslim League:
The death of Sir Syed was a tragic event for Aligarh Movement and its leaders but to fulfill the mission of Sir Syed, his close confident and friend and one of the strongest supporter of Aligarh Movement, Saiyad Mehdi Ali, Nawab Mohsinul Mulk was elected as Secretary of M.A.O. College Management Committee as well as Honorary Secretary of All India Muslim Educational Conference. Colleges everywhere were feeling the pinch of the government's demands for higher fees and harder examinations. At Aligarh, the number of students fell from 595 in 1895 to 323 at the time of Sir Syed's death on 27 March 1898, and by the following July had plummeted to 189; and the situation was made worse by an embezzlement scandal in 1895, and by renewed attacks from Sir Syed's old collaborators who had broken with the college in 1889. The college accounts were in disorder, and as a result of embezzlement, the suspension of grants from a number of benefactors, and the fall in income from fees, the institution was heavily in debt. .
This was a very tough time for MAO College and Aligarh Movement but after taking over the rein of Aligarh Movement, Nawab Mohsinul Mulk gave a big boost to fulfill the dream of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan to convert M.A.O. College into a Muslim University and in the first session during his Secretary ship in 1898 at Lahore, he pushed forward the proposal of Muslim University. The proposal was prepared by Prof. T. Morrison and Maulvi Badrul Hasan. This session of AIMEC also put emphasis on moral education for youth and special attention were paid to promote women’s education
The following proposals were made in the 12th session of AIMEC at Lahore, which was first session after the death of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan.
1. Proposal for a Muslim University.
2. Promotion of Women’s Education.
3. Promotion of moral education for youths
4. Establishment of Muslim Hostels at Public or Private Institutions.
This session at Lahore was presided over by Nawab Fateh Ali Khan Qazalbash. The proposals for a Muslim university were fully discussed at this session at Lahore in December 1898. About 900 people attended and the Conference showed a new spirit of enterprise. Prof. T. Morison proposed that a Muslim university should be founded, observing that it would really be no more than an expanded version of Aligarh College. Beck reminded the audience that the University would be the Indian Muslims' passport to office. Badruddin Tyabji of Bombay, Sir Syed's old political antagonist, subscribed Rs. 2,000 to the university, and, from Calcutta, Syed Amir Ali pledged his support. In December 1899, the conference moved out of upper India and met in Calcutta under the presidency of Amir Ali. The Sir Syed memorial fund started a Bengal branch. The 1901 session of the conference took place in Madras. The following year, the Aga Khan presided over the meeting in Delhi, and in 1903 the Conference was held in Bombay under Badruddin Tyabji. Badruddin Tyabji, speaking as president of the 1903 Muhammadan Educational Conference, described the plans for a university as premature. Muslims should first lay a strong foundation of local Muslim schools and colleges which, initially at least, could be affiliated to the existing government universities.49 Akbar Hydari, Tyabji's nephew, spoke out against the whole idea of a Muslim university.50 Hydari argued that for secular advancement Muslims would be better off at the existing universities. Serious theological training was adequately provided in existing madrasas. Moreover, it would be foolhardy to bring the doctrines of different Muslim sects into open rivalry at one centre. At a regional meeting of the Educational Conference in Ahmadabad in October 1904, Muhammad Ali, younger brother of Shaukat Ali, replied to Hydari in an eloquent restatement of the Beck-Morison concept of a Muslim university.52 He called upon his experience at Aligarh and Oxford to argue for 'the expansion of Aligarh'. Muhammad Ali projected a bold view of India as a 'federation of religions'; only if Muslims and Hindus were allowed to cultivate their distinctive cultural traditions could they live together amicably. Therefore both the Muslim university at Aligarh and the Hindu university at Benares, proposed earlier in the year by Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya, should be encouraged. Professing 'no concern with politics, and certainly no desire to confound it with education', Muhammad Ali none the less warned that government educational policy must respond to the wishes of the people. The idea of a Muslim university had been generated by a popular movement: 'Aligarh is the people's very own.' Wider participation, however, also meant a greater variety of ideas about the university; if Aligarh was to ask for money from such far-off places, it had to offer something in return. To scores of meetings Mohsin ul-Mulk and others held out the image of Aligarh as the best hope of the Indian Muslims, the restorer of past greatness. The university was becoming a symbol of a reviving Islam. .
The other sessions were held at, Rampur (1900, Maulvi Syed Husain Bilgirami), Lucknow (1904- Prof. T. Morrison) and Aligarh (1905- Khalifa Mohd. Hussain). The major highlights of these different sessions were promotion of Science, law and other modern education at M.A.O. College and promotion of Women’s education and establishment of Girls School at Aligarh and establishment of Fund for M.A.O. College. MAO College affairs as well as AIMEC were demanding more time and resource and it became tough for Secretary of MAO College management Nawab Mohsinul Mulk to do a balance of commitment for MAO College and AIMEC, than a staunch supporter of Aligarh Movement Sahebzadah Aftab Ahmad Khan was appointed as founding Jt. Secretary of AIMEC in the annual session of 1905 at Aligarh.
Dhaka Session of 1906 and Birth of Muslim league:
Even though the official publication of All India Muslim Education Conference “Muslim Educational Conference kay 100 Saal “ does not talk about the this session due to one or the other reasons but it is almost very clear that the 1906, Dhaka session of All India Muslim Educational Conference was the birth place for “All India Muslim League”.
In the early October 1906 All India Muslim Educational Conference leaders and few others met Viceroy of India at Shimla and discussed some of their concerns. Nawab Khwaja Salimullah of Dhaka could not join the deputation due to his cataract operation . The omission of Division of Bengal issue from the discussion or unsatisfactory response from the Viceroy made young Nawab Khwaja Salimullah unhappy and he proposed an All India Muslim Educational Conference to be held in Dhaka, capital of the then East Bengal and Assam Province in the year 1906. The conference was inaugurated on 27 December 1906 and continued till 29 December 1906 as Conference on Education. The inaugural session was chaired by Nawab Justice Sharfuddin, the newly appointed justice of Calcutta High Court. On 30 December 1906 political session of the conference took place. It was chaired by Nawab Viqar-ul-Mulk. In this session a motion to form an All India Muslim League (AIML) was proceeded. Initially a party styled as All India Muslim Confederacy was discussed. But, in the process the name All India Muslim League, proposed by Nawab Khawaja Sir Salimullah Khan Bahadur and seconded by Hakim Ajmal Khan, was resolved in the meeting. All delegates were registered as members of the proposed party led by Janab Muhsin-ul-mulk and Janab Viqarul Mulk, who were Joint Conveners. AIML was first Muslim political party in the history of India.
A total of 1955 delegates attended the event. The conference was attended by most of the Muslim zamindars, educationists, pleaders, and other leaders of the community.
AIMEC and Muslim University Movement
Sahebzadah Aftab Ahmad Khan was officially Joint Secretary of All India Muslim Educational Conference and Secretary of M.A.O. College management Committee, Nawab Mohsinul Mulk, Nawab Viqarul Mulk and Nawab Ishaq Khan remained Secretary of AIMEC during this time of 1905-1917 but their pre-occupation with MAO College affairs gave young and energetic Aftab Ahmad Khan almost absolute freedom to give AIMEC a new direction. This 12 year reign of Sahebzadah Aftab Ahmad Khan gave AIMEC a new direction and took it to a new peak and AIMEC became a reckoning force of Muslims of India. It also took interest in local issues of the place where annual session is held and attentions were paid to help and support local community to over come their social and educational problems. He also expanded the perimeter of AIMEC and its annual session was held even in Rangoon in 1909. During this time the annual sessions were held at Karachi (1907- Altaf Hussain Hali), Amritsar (1908- Sir Khawaja Salimuddin of Dhaka), Rangoon (1909- Sir. H.H. Nawab Mohd. Ali, raja of Mahmudabad), Nagpur (1910- Abdullah Yusuf Ali, Principal of Islamia College of Lahore and famous English translator of Quran), Delhi (1911 – Emadul Mulk Syed Hussain Bilgirami), Lucknow (1912- Major Syed Hasan Bilgirami), Agra (1913- Justice Shah Deen ), Rawalpindi (1914, Maulvi Rahim Bakhsh), Pune (1915, Justice Abdul Rahim), Aligarh (1916- Miyan Mohd. Shafi), Calcutta (1917, Nawab Sir Haider Nawaz Jang Bahadur Mohd Akbar Ali).
The plan for the Muslim University had by 1910 taken on the complexion and force of a national movement. The session of the All India Muslim Educational Conference at Nagpur in December, 1910 was presided by Abdullah Ibn Yusuf Ali Khan. In his address Sir Aga Khan gave the signal for a concreted, nation-wide effort to raise the necessary funds for the projected University. In moving the resolution on the University, the Aga Khan III made a stirring speech. He said, "This is a unique occasion as His Majesty the King-Emperor is coming out to India. This is a great opportunity for us and such as is never to arise again during the lifetime of the present generation, and the Muslims should on no account miss it. We must make up and make serious, earnest and sincere efforts to carry into effect the one great essential movement which above all has a large claim on our energy and resources. If we show that we are able to help ourselves and that we are earnest in our endeavors and ready to make personal sacrifices, I have no doubt whatever that our sympathetic government, which only requires proper guarantees of our earnestness, will come forward to grant us the charter. `Now or never' seems to be the inevitable situation." To make a concerted drive for the collection of funds, a Central Foundation Committee with the Sir Aga Khan III as Chairman with Maulana Shaukat Ali (1873- 1938) as his Secretary; and prominent Muslims from all walks of life as members was formed at Aligarh on January 10, 1911. The Aga Khan III accompanied by Maulana Shaukat Ali, who was still in government service and had taken a year's furlough, toured throughout the country to raise funds, visiting Calcutta, Allahabad, Lucknow, Kanpur, Lahore, Bombay and other places. Willi Frischauer in his book, The Aga Khans writes, "His campaign for the Aligarh University required a final big heave and, as Chairman of the fund raising committee, he went on a collecting tour through India's main Muslim areas: `As a mendicant', he announced, `I am now going out to beg from house to house and from street to street for the children of Indian Muslims.' It was a triumphal tour. Wherever he went, people unharnessed the horses of his carriage and pulled it themselves for miles". The response to the touching appeal of the Sir Aga Khan III was spontaneous. On his arrival at Lahore, the daily "Peace" of Punjab editorially commented and called upon the Muslims "to wake up, as the greatest personality and benefactor of Islam was in their city." The paper recalled a remark of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan prophesying the rise of a hand from the unseen world to accomplish his mission. "That personality" the paper said, "was of the Sir Aga Khan III." On that day, the "London Times" commenting upon the visit, regarded him as a great recognized leader of Muslims. Allama Shibli Nomani was with Sir Aga Khan in the delegation for fund raiser to Lahore. Shibli recited a very passionate Persian poetry to motivate the audience for fund raiser. The significant aspect of the Aga Khan's fund collection drive was not the enthusiastic welcome accorded to him, but the house to house collection drive. Qayyum A. Malick writes in his book "Prince Aga Khan" that once the Aga Khan on his way to Bombay to collect funds for the university, the Aga Khan stopped his car at the office of a person, who was known to be his bitterest critic. The man stood up bewildered and asked, "Whom do you want Sir?" "I have come for your contribution to the Muslim university fund," said the Aga Khan. The man drew up a cheque for Rs. 5000/-. After pocketing the cheque, the Aga Khan took off his hat and said, "Now as a beggar, I beg from you something for the children of Islam. Put something in the bowl of this mendicant." The man wrote another cheque for Rs. 15000/- with moist eyes, and said, "Your Highness, now it is my turn to beg. I beg of you in the name of the most merciful God to forgive me for anything that I may have said against you. I never knew you were so great." The Aga Khan said, "Don’t worry! It is my nature to forgive and forget in the cause of Islam and the Muslims." The drive received further great fillip from the announcement of a big donation of one lac rupees by Her Highness Nawab Sultan Jahan Begum of Bhopal. The Aga Khan III was so moved by her munificence that in thanking her, he spoke the following words:
Dil'e banda ra zinda kardi,
dil'e Islam ra zinda kardi,
dil'e qaum ra zinda kardi,
Khuda'i ta'ala ba tufail'e Rasul ajarash be dahad”
It means, "You put life in the heart of this servant; you put life in the heart of Islam; you put life in the heart of the nation. May God reward you for the sake of the Prophet!”. In sum, Sir Aga Khan collected twenty-six lacs of rupees by July, 1912 in the drive and his personal contribution amounted to one lac rupees.
The Major resolutions and achievement of this period were;
1. AIMEC received a generous donation from ruler of Bhopal, Begum Sultan Jahan and built its head office building at Aligarh. The building is known as “Sultan Jahan Manzil” and even today it holds the office of AIMEC.
2. Movement for Muslim University was primary attention of AIMEC. A National Campaign was in full swing to raise money for Muslim University.
3. Foundation Committee was established under the Chairmanship of Sir Agha Khan.
4. Special attentions were paid to local social and educational issues.
5. Proposal for 1% educational tax to landlords from their agricultural produces.
6. Maharaja Kashmir was requested to pay attention to the educational issues of Kashmiri Muslims. A delegation was sent to Maharaja Kashmir to pursue him to pay attention to the educational issues of Muslims of Kashmir. Arabic Teachers were appointed in Schools of Kashmir
7. Schools at Aligarh will have a Kinder Garden (KG) educational system
8. Urdu should be a medium of Instruction in educational systems in Urdu speaking areas like Punjab.
9. Committee was formed to revise schools curriculum in Bengal
10. State Governments needs to grant some financial assistance to M.A.O. College and Schools.
11. A special fund was established to support the cost of Conferences for teachers and professors.
12. A sub-Committee was formed to help Burma’s (Myanmar) educational development.
13. Special scholarship was instituted for meritorious students of Medical and Engineering Colleges.
14. Recommendations were made to have at least one Muslim Members in every state and University Text Book Committee.
15. Efforts were made to start a ‘Yateem-Khana” in Burma
16. The need of a Islamia College in every state and secondary school for Muslims in every district was realized and efforts were made to have a Islamia College in every state and a Secondary school for muslims in every district.
17. Efforts were made to bring Islamic Scholars (Ulema) into AIMEC’s fold and efforts were made to clear existing confusions from the minds of Ulema.
18. Muslim University Fund Committee was established to raise funds for Muslim University.
19. Muslim students were Encouraged to receive Medical education.
20. A state Educational Conference in Punjab was established.
21. Scholarships were instituted for technical educations for Muslim students.
22. A Movement was started to promote Madarsah of Calcutta to a Islamia College.
23. Protests were made when University of Calcutta dropped Arabic and Persian from their curriculum.
AIMEC under the umbrella of Aligarh Muslim University
In 1917, Sahabzadah Aftab Ahamd Khan was nominated into the British Council in the Ministry of Indian Affairs and he moved to England. AIMEC elected Maulana Habibur Rahman Khan Sherwani, Nawaba Sadar Yar Jang as its Joint Secretary. In 1920, when M.A.O. College became Aligarh Muslim University, at Amrawati, AIMEC made a constitutional amendment and AMU Vice-Chancellor became President of AIMEC and elected Maulana Habibur Rahman Khan Sherwani, Nawaba Sadar Yar Jang as Honorary Secretary and so he served to position till 1947. In his leadership, the first session was held in 1918 at Surat (Bombay State- now in Gujarat). The session was presided over by Sir Ibrahim Rahmatullah. The session appreciated the efforts of Bombay State Government for starting Urdu Medium Schools. A committee was formed under the leadership of Dr. Ziauddin Ahmad to promote a similar concept of Urdu Medium schools in other states. Fund was raised to establish a Muslim hostel in Surat. Proposal was adopted to start a Training College for the teachers of Arabic Schools/Madaris. The annual session of 1923 at Aligarh adopted the proposal to rename All India Mohammad Educational Conference to All India Muslim Educational Conference.
After the establishment of Aligarh Muslim University, the All India Muslim Educational Conference could not work with the same pace as it worked for the establishment of Aligarh Muslim University. At the same time division of Aligarh Movement leaders and establishment of a news University Jamia Millia Islamia took some of the resources of AIMEC. Even though the sessions of AIMEC used to held annually at Khairpur-Sindh (1919- Maulvi Rahim Bakhsh), Amrawati (1920 – H. Ibrahim Haroon Jaffer), Aligarh (1922- Miyan Fazal Hussain), Aligarh (1923- Sahabzadah Aftab Ahmad Khan), Bombay (1924-Ibrahim Rahmatullah), Aligarh (1925 – Sahabzadah Abdul Qayum), Delhi (1926- Abdul Rahim), Madras (1927 – Shaikh Abdul Qadir), Ajmer (1928- Sir Shah Sulaiman), Banaras (1930 – Sir Ross Masood), Rohtak (1931 – Sir Syed Raza Ali), Lahore (1932 – Col. Maqbool Hussain Quraishi), Meerut (1934 – Sir Shaikh Abdul Qadir), Agra (1936- Sir Ziauddin Ahmad), Rampur (1936 – H.H. Sir Agha Khan) and the 50th anniversary session of AIMEC was held at Aligarh in 1937. In 1938, the annual session was held in Patna and Maulvi Fazal Haq presided over the session. The next sessions were held at Calcutta (1939–Nawab Kamal Yar Jang), Pune (1940, Maulvi Fazal Haq), Aligarh (1943 – Nawab Zaheer Yar Jang), Jabalpur (1944 – Sir Azizul Haq). The last session of All India Muslim Educational Conference in British India was held at Agra1945 and was presided over by Nawabzadah Liyaqat Ali Khan. These session were focusing on growth of Muslim University and other social and educational issues faced by Muslims of India. During the peak of freedom of India movement, AIMEC sessions were not very regular as the major energy of masses was used in freedom movement.
On 14th &15th August 1947, British India became 2 independent countries India and Pakistan and due to Aligarh’s geographical location, of course All India Muslim Educational Conference became an organization of India. An All Pakistan Educational Conference was formed in Pakistan by Mr. Syed Altaf Ali barelvi. The detail of All Pakistan Muslim Educational Conference can be found in “History of the Conference” by Mr. Syed Altaf Ali Barelvi. The subsequent few years were very tough for the Indian sub-continent and hence even at Aligarh, it took time to bring things in order. Dr. Zakir Hussain was appointed as first Vice-Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University in independent India. The Ministry of Educational affairs started looking into affairs of Aligarh Muslim University.
In the mean time in 1949, AIMEC elected Alhaj Obaidur Rahman Khan Sherwani as its Honorary Secretary. Alhaj Obaidur Rahman Khan was son of Maulana Habibur Rahman Khan Shrwani. This started a new chapter in the history of AIMEC. After his election as Honorary Secretary, the first session was held in 1952 at Aligarh. The session was chaired by AIMEC President and Vice-Chancellor of AMU Aligarh. After the Aligarh session, the last regular session of AIMEC was held in 1955 in Madras (Chennai) under the leadership of Dr. Zakir Hussain. After 1955 session, no session of AIMEC held. After a gap of 38 years, a session of AIMEC was held in 1993 in Delhi under the Chairmanship of Prof. Rasheeduz Zafar, the then Vice-Chancellor of Jamia Hamdard. This is the last known AIMEC function.
As per Dr. Mohsin Raza, former president of AMU Students Union and a faculty at Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College at AMU Aligarh, a session of AIMEC was also held in 1969 at Aligarh. This session was presided over by Mr. Badruddin Tayyabji, the then Vice-Chancellor of AMU and president of AIMEC. Here is the narration of Dr. Mohsin Raza on 1969 session of AIMEC;
“One session that I attended was held in 1969, Late Badruddin Tayyabji attended this session. Several members assailed the inactivity of the AIMEC ,Maulana Saeedurrehman Zaini was extra loud on which Mr. Badruddin Tayyabji took an exception and got angry". In the same meeting the Sultan Jahan Manzil Hall was officially allotted without rent to the Muslim Social Uplift Society's Medical Coaching Centre.”
The official publications of AIMEC do not have any account of this session of 1969.
Till 1972, Vice-Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University used to be President of AIMEC. In 1972, AIMEC made an amendment in its constitution and elected Industrialist Mr. Mustafa Rasheed Sherwani, Founder & Chairman of Jeep Flashlight. This marked a new start in AIMEC and now AMU doe not have any association with AIMEC. In the meantime Kr. Ammar Ahmad Khan was elected as Honorary Secretary in 1958 and served till 1964, and then Prof. Anwarul Haq Haqqi was Honorary Secretary from 1964 to 1970. Once again Alhaj Obaidur Rahman Khan Sherwani got elected as Honorary Secretary and he served till his last breath in 1992 and then his son Prof. Reyazur Rahman Khan Sherwani got elected as Secretary of AIMEC and Mr. Amanullah Khan Sherwani as Joint Secretary and they are serving till date. AIMEC elected Kr. Ammar Ahmad as its President in 1992 and had served till his last breath in 2004. After his sad demise, no news about any President of AIMEC. As a principal organ of Aligarh Movement, AIMEC found 5 permanent births in AMU Court. Here is the list of MEC representative in AMU Court in the last session;
Mr. Asad Yar Khan, New Delhi, Mr. Kh. Mohd. Shahid, New Delhi, Mr. Munawwar Haziq, New Delhi, Dr. Shahid Qamar Qazi, Aligarh and Prof. Akhtarul Wasey, New Delhi.
All India Muslim Education Conference had played a key role in the establishment of Aligarh Muslim University and had always supported AMU for its progress. Even after 1920, when Aligarh Muslim University was created, AIMEC generated funds to start different courses at AMU and helped in promoting the cause of Aligarh Movement. But for one or the other reasons, AIMEC stopped playing its role in independent India. The geo political situation of Independent India is totally different than British India but this does not prevent to work for the upliftment of social and educational problems of Muslims of India. Different Muslim Social and Educational organizations got started in independent India and flourished in their respective mission like Anjuman Islam and Anjuman Khairul Islam in Maharashtra, Al-Amin in Karnataka and many more in different parts of the country and they had established schools and colleges in their respective area of operation whereas AIMEC became extinct.
To know more about Muslim Education Conference, please refer to;
1. Muslim Educational Conference kay 100 Saal By Amanullah Khan Shrwani
2. Education of Indian Muslims: a study of the All-India Muslim Educational By Akhtarul Wasey, All-India Muslim Educational Conference
3. ''Separatism among Indian Muslims” by Francis Robinson, "
4. The All India Muslim educational conference: its contributions By Abdul Rashid Khan
5. The Muslims of British India By Peter Hardy
6. Campaign for Muslim University- David Leylyveld & Gail Minault