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The Two Circles of Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar: Islam and India


The Two Circles of Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar:

Islam and India

By Kashif-ul-Huda

In 2007, I was trying to think of a good name for a news website that I wanted to setup to focus on news and issues of Indian Muslims. I was looking for a personality, an incident, or an idea that will best represent Indian Muslims. I came across this quote from Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar, “I belong to two circles of equal size, but which are not concentric. One is India, and the other is the Muslim world.” I knew my search for a name was over and I called my website Today, I want to explore both circles of Maulana Jauhar and his understanding of what it means to belong to these two circles.

To understand Maulana Jauhar, it will be helpful if we learn a bit about his personal life. He was born in Rampur in 1878 into a family of five brothers and a sister. He was the youngest. His father passed away when he was just two and so he was raised in a single parent household by his mother who is famously known as “Bi Amman.” He was educated in Aligarh Muslim University and thanks to the support of his brother Shaukat Ali, he went on to enroll in Oxford. He tried to get into Indian Civil Services (ICS) but failed. He returned to India and for a short time worked in Rampur and Baroda but this is not where his heart was and we find him in Calcutta in 1911. Here he starts his English weekly “The Comrade.” Two years later his publication moved to Delhi, the new capital of British India. There along with “The Comrade” he also started the Urdu daily “Hamdard.”

Discussing his reasons for entering journalism, he wrote in Hamdard in 1927 that “By journalism my aim is not journalism, rather to serve the country and the community. (mulk va millat).” [Hamdard, 23 Jan 1927] And we see this theme of community and country in his writings and speeches from 1911 till his death in 1931, of course there were some development and changes in his outlook but his two circles of India and Islam remained as strong as ever. At this time I would like to clarify that I am setting “Islam” as his second circle though he mentioned the “Muslim world” in his original quote.

His statement about belonging to two circles was part of one of his last speeches, as he died just a few days after that. This declaration which beautifully sums up his philosophy and still resonates with Indian Muslims of today, can be found in his writing and speeches since the beginning.

His first political act was to help in the foundation of All-India Muslim League in 1906 in Dhaka. Written in the latter part of 1906, two letters to Nawab Mushin-ul-Mulk provide a glimpse into his thinking at that time. In the first letter referring to the list of dignitaries who used to visit Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), he wrote, “this helps neither the college nor the community or you. Muslims will get some small and big employment and you will be awarded a useless and disrespectful award...” This clearly shows that though at that time, a loyal citizen of the British India, he does not care too much about being close to the government. He doesn't rank success in terms of employment for Muslims even if they are in higher positions. Nowhere in the letter does he mention freedom or independence so we don't know if he was even thinking about it along those lines. This letter shows that from the very beginning he was concerned about Muslims and that explains his involvement with the Muslim League.

In the second letter to Nawab Muhsin-ul-Mulk as a follow up to the first one, he wrote, “If we want to establish a national (qaumi) college then we have to set up another college where there will be no help taken from the government or from any British. If this is not possible, then we have to say goodbye to our national college …” An important thing to notice here is that he wanted to set up a national college, he used the term “qaumi” and not “milli.” Secondly, he wanted to be out of the control of the government.

Five years later he jumped into the field of journalism by launching an English weekly, “The Comrade.” In 1913, he moved to Delhi and along with “Comrade” started an Urdu daily “Hamdard.” In 1927 he recalled his reasons for starting “Comrade” and “Hamdard”, he wrote, “I started “Comrade” thinking it will be a way to serve the country and the community (mulk va millat) and for the same reason “Hamdard” is still being published...” [Hamdard, 23 Jan 1927]

The next big incident of his political career was when he was arrested for writing the article “The Choice of the Turks” published in The Comrade in 1914. Till this time he considered himself a loyal British citizen and a modern educated Muslim. He utilized his time under detention in Chhindwara by studying about Islam and though always a champion of “milli” causes we see him develop into a leader of the Muslims with his thinking and reasoning now grounded more in Islamic terminologies and reasons.

In 1926, he wrote, “Since I have understood religion it is my complete life.” [Hamdard, 3 Dec 1926]. in 1930 during his famous speech at the Round Table Conference, he further elaborates his religiousness, “religion to my mind, means the interpretation of life. I have a culture, a polity, an outlook on life, a complete synthesis which is Islam. Where God commands, I am a Muslim first, a Muslim second, and a Muslim last, and nothing but a Muslim.... My first duty is to my Maker, not to His Majesty the King, nor to my companion Dr. Moonje... He must be a Hindu first and I must be a Muslim first so far as that duty is concerned. But where India is concerned, where India's freedom is concerned, where the welfare of India is concerned, I am an Indian first, an Indian second, an Indian last, and nothing but an Indian.” He doesn't see being Muslim in anyway prevents him from being an Indian and that's why he always mentions community along with the country. (milli va qaumi or mulki va millat).

He always thought by serving his community he is serving his country. He saw no contradiction there. It is also true that he saw himself as part of a bigger Muslim ummah. He was not ashamed of declaring that he believes in the superiority of Islam over other religions. So in 1923 he says, “by belief and conviction I am a Muslim and consider Islam the best of all the religions. Islam's superiority is a part of my belief and thus I consider a worst sort of Muslim better than Gandhiji.” Then he adds, “I am neither convinced of Gandhiji's spiritualism nor of his kashf-o-karamat (revelation and miracle) nor do I include him in the ranks of 'auliya'. His faith is different and my faith is different... I have accepted him my political leader only and nothing else.”

And he accepted Gandhiji as his leader and made him the leader of India. Gandhiji's all-India tour after his return from South Africa was financed by the Khilafat Committee. His first national movement the “non-cooperation movement” originated in Jamiat-ulema hind and Khilafat Committee before it was finally accepted by the Congress. Naturally, Maulana was not happy when this movement was called off by Gandhiji.

But support to Gandhiji was not simply tactical, he truly believed that India needed to be free and this he thought was his religious duty as well as political. Writing in 1921 in Comrade he declares, “ I am a Muslim first and every thing else afterwards; just as I believe that Mahatma Gandhi is Hindu first and everything else afterwards. All that Islam demands from me is that I should not live in a land where I could not follow the dictates of my religion with impunity, and it is just because Swaraj (self-rule) will give me that and the present British autocracy does not that I yearn for Swaraj and regards its attainment as a religious duty.”

He was a firm believer in the message of Islam and a leader of the khilafat movement yet he believed that democracy is something that is what we should be working towards. He rebuked Saud family for establishing a kingdom in Arabia. He wrote, “Hedjaz, the Center of Muslim world cannot be governed by kings and sultans but should be under a Democratic Republican Government absolutely free from non-Muslim control.”

Though in favour of democracy, he was worried that the majority rule may mean that India will become an effective “Hindu rule” to the determinant of Muslim interest. That's why even after becoming Congress President in 1923, he defended his earlier support for separate electorate. He saw that in India, religious identity is a dominant identity and thought this will turn the electoral battle into a communal war. In his presidential address to the Congress he said, “I wanted Muslims to understand that communal conflict is inevitable during the struggle for immediate needs but it is important that in keeping the future of India in our sight, community and national interests need to be supreme and we have to be united leaving behind our conflicts.”

In one article in 1927, he asked all Indian communities to come together to form unified nationalism (mushtarka qaumiyat) so that India can gain independence from the control of others (ghair).

He always asked for the freedom of India but he was terrified by the prospect of a majority communalism. 1930 a Khilafat Committee statement read “real communalism masquerades as “nationalism” and safeguards against communalism itself are called “communalism.”

The same statement later announces that “the Khilafat Organization is for independence not for slavery; and just as it has refused to let the Muslim community remain a dependency of the British, it now refuses to make it a dependency of any other community or party. It is hungry for freedom and would not accept a mere change of masters. Let the Musalmans keep both their eyes open, and watch the situations. They can throw in their lot only with those who would recognise freedom as the birthright of India, and would at the same time recognise the birthright of the Indian Musalmans to be free and equal partners in the administration of India.”

So he is unequivocally calling for Indian Muslims to be partners in the new administration to ensure that they simply don't have a change in rulers while their condition remain the same. He however put the responsibility also on the shoulders of his community.

“With the proof of being a living community the Musalmans can compel recognition of their communal identity and respect for their legitimate rights. Without this they can be nothing but camp followers whether of an alien government or of the other Indian communities. It is they themselves that must decide, and that too by actions and not by words, whether they love freedom or slavery.”

Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar thus appears to be a mujahid of Islam, a fighter for India's freedom, a champion of democracy, even when we don't consider that he left his mark in journalism, Urdu poetry, and the fact that he was an excellent speaker. Even after 79 years since his death, his memory, however faded, continues to live on in both India and Pakistan. There is still a University under construction in Rampur named after him and as I mentioned before, a modern website had to find its name in one of his quotes.

I thank the organizers for giving me this opportunity and Afzal Usmani sahib who urgently sent me the books that I needed for this research.

Author is the editor of news website and can be contacted by email at


Aligarh Muslim University Court or A Muslim Parliament ?

Aligarh Muslim University Court or A Muslim Parliament ?

By Kaleem Kawaja

There was a time prior to independence in 1947 that the Court of Aligarh Muslim University - its top governing body -comprised of the top Muslim elite in the nation. The then British-Indian government appointed select elite Muslims from across the country to the AMU Court largely as a recognition of their contribution to AMU and to the spread of education in the Muslim community. But times have changed and with changing times more and more categories of representation and
number of members have been aded to this select body. Today there are nearly 200 members in the AMU Court representing more than half a dozen categories.

In earlier years the objective of the Court members was to provide direct or indirect financial support to AMU and to use their influence with the British-Indian government to get resources to AMU with a view to improving the educational status of the Muslim community. Many a nawabs and rajas and other distinguished and well educated Muslims were members of the AMU Court. But now a sizeable number of Muslim politicians, wannabe politicians, some of them even rabblerousers, and political maulanas vie and campaign every year to become members of the AMU Court.

Gone is the emphasis on noblese-oblige, creed of devotion to AMU's welfare and desire to contribute to maintaining AMU as a high quality educational institution, as the salient criteria for becoming members of this august body. Now it is the rough and tumble of political wrangling, canvassing, and influence peddling to get elected to the Court. Now whenever a Muslim in north India acquires some public recognition or makes a certain amount of money, no matter what his/her occupation, regardless of his/her contribution to AMU or level of education, they start aspiring to become a member of the AMU Court.

Recently on a visit to my hometown in U.P. a well to do Muslim businessman who has made good money in the leather trade, but whose educational qualifications are dismal, told me that he was campaigning to become a member of AMU Court. When I asked him why he wants to do that because he does not have much interest in education or AMU, he
told me that now the AMU Court has become a sort of parliament of Muslims, especially north Indian Muslims. Interest in education of Muslim community or AMU is not necessarily a factor.

Indeed many political parties with hardly any interest in the educational welfare of the Muslim community (eg BJP) , use their
influence to place some of their Muslim members in the AMU Court. Also some other aspiring Court members are busy in rabblerousing to become popular in the community and use it as a path. Quite a few are movie actors and TV personalities with hardly any interest in the education of Muslims or AMU.

This is not a good trend since while many Court members are distinguished individuals who are working to improve AMU and education, many other Court members do nothing to help AMU or the education of the Muslim community in any way. They only attend the twice yearly Court meetings to further their social contacts and to feel good that they have arrived at a certain social ladder. In the bi-annual Court meetings they never say a word or make any suggestions.

It is time that the leaders of the AMU and Muslim community turn the clock back, reduce the number of Court members, make the criteria for selection stringent and objective to ensure that only distinguished and dedicated Muslims with real interest in furthering AMU and education in the Muslim community are selected to this august body. Also the functioning of the AMU Court should be scrutinized to ensure that it does not function as a social or political club or parliament of Muslims, but as a constructive body working hard for the educational uplift of AMU and the Muslim community at large.


The writer a community activist in Washington DC, can be reached on

Proposed Composition of AMU EC & AMU Court

Dear Kaleem Kawaja Sahab,

I have raised the issue of re composition of AMU EC and Court on AMUNetwork on several occasions and had discussed with few seniors on and off. Here is what we have come up to make it more effective and functional AMU Court and Executive Council.

The only detail which is missing is the mechanism by which AMU Alumni can elect members of Court and EC. The detailed can be worked out. Just have a look and pass your comment and suggestions.

Proposed Composition of AMU Executive Council :



4. DEANS OF FACULTIES (3 Senior Most)

5. Senior Most Professor


6. Members Elected from AMU Court 2
(Non-AMU Employed)

7. Visitor Nominee 2

8. Elected by AMU Alumni 2


















16. AMU Staff Association (President) 1



19. Director Sir Syd Academy 1


21. AMU Alumni/Staff Served as Vice-Chancellor 5
of an University
AMU Alumni serving as Professor Emeritus


23. President/Secretary ALL INDIA MUSLIM 1



President of Muslim Personal Law Board





29. Member of Parliament 3
(2 Lok Sabha, 1 Rajya Sabha)
External members 37



Govind Narayan ICS and AMU

Govind Narayan ICS


Aligarh Muslim University

Naved Masood*

April 5, 2012

Newspapers today carry the notice that Govind Narayan of the Indian Civil Service passed away at the ripe old age of 95. A former Home and Defence Secretary in the Government of India, unknown to the media and most of his acquaintances, he had played a historic role in saving the Aligarh Muslim University from serious harm, if not utter ruin, in the traumatic post independent period of August to December 1947. His death is the proper occasion to bring certain long forgotten - relatively unknown - facts on record and let them rest in the archives of this network with the hope that some researcher in future will look deeper into the story and piece the missing links with records that will hopefully be made public without further delay in the near future.

Govind Narayan was posted as Collector and District Magistrate of Aligarh in early 1947 being the second Indian to have been sent to a preserve of the Anglo-Saxon - Syed Abu Talib Naqvi, ICS being the first. There are indications to the effect that he managed to keep his District free from the spill over of communal violence that flared up following the large-scale killings of Muslims during the religious festival at Garh Mukteswar in January 1947 though areas around the District were engulfed in its aftermath. The real test for Govind Narayan came in August 1947 when the post partition violence and the impression that the Aligarh Muslim University played a crucial role in dismemberment of the British India posed a real threat, if not to the existence of the institution, certainly to its students and employees. What aggravated the atmosphere was the resignation of Mr Zahid Hussain, the VC, on 11th August so that he could take up his assignment as the first High Commissioner of Pakistan in India! So vitiated was the situation that this scribe has himself seen a Hindi Newspaper of August 1947 (showed to him by Babu Aidal Singh, Advocate in 1975) reporting a speech delivered at an Arya Samaj gathering at Khair near Aligarh that the masses must "liberate" the University from the Muslims and name it "Harigarh University". Incidentally, during that period there was a short-lived campaign in and around Aligarh those days that the place be renamed Harigarh! This was, of course a lunatic fringe but it indicates the intensity of feelings in certain pockets and the resultant panic in the University community.

In this charged atmosphere Govind Narayn persuaded the new VC, Nawab Ismail Khan not to delay the reopening of the institution after the summer vacations and to instill a sense of security among the University community. There are indications to the effect that the political leadership of UP being more preoccupied with other matters had given no orders about safeguarding the lives and property on the University; certainly no additional forces were made available to the District Administration to maintain order. Govind Narayan used the "aura" or Iqbal of the institution of Collector and the clout that he had over the Zamindars to keep peace. In the absence of confidential records of the period being made public, we can only go by common perceptions that prevailed till the 1970s in Aligarh particularly among the senior lawyers that it was Govind Narayan who with Nawab Ismail Khan protected the University from serious harm at a time when such harm could not be ruled out. What is beyond dispute is that when he was transferred few months later to Cawnpore (that his how Kanpur was then officially spelled) there was much consternation and apprehension in the University and much 'rejoicing' among certain sections of the District but by then the Central Government was firmly committed to maintaining the institution as far as possible on pre Independence lines. It is to be hoped that when a comprehensive history of the area based on authentic contemporaneous records comes to be written the role of Govind Narayan and Nawab Ismail in saving a historical institution from serious harm would be definitively defined.

A product of the syncretic culture of Indo-Islamic lineage, Govind Narayan a Mathur Kayasth of Mainpuri was steeped in a culture of tolerance and live and let live. Nothing less was expected of a person who as a child had started his education imbibing the pearls of wisdom contained in Shaikh Sadi's "Gulistan" and "Bostan".

*Mr. Naved Masood is an AMU Alum and a senior Civil Servant in Govt. of India and he is based in New Delhi. He can be reached at

Young ICS who protected Aligarh university

Young ICS who protected Aligarh university


April 5, 2012: 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 Bangladesh’s 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 Pakistan’s 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, Narain’s real success lay in using the “aura” of the collector’s 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 Centre’s liaison officer with the state government in 1964.

After retirement, Narain, who was awarded a Padma Vibhushan, the country’s second-highest civilian honour, was associated with the Pubic Interest Legal Support and Research Trust, Shankara Vidya Kendra, Federation of Indo-German 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.”


The New Centres of Aligarh Muslim University : A Beginning of Resurgence

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 University’s 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 Mohammadan Anglo-Oriental College Fund Committee, Sir Syed’s 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 “elsewhere”.

Laying the foundation stone of Mohammadan Anglo-Oriental 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 morality”

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 University.

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 Syed’s 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 Syed’s 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 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 AMU’s 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 Syed’s 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.

Rahat Abrar

Public Relations Officer,

AMU, Aligarh-202002

Phone: 09358259107

Aligarh Movement: Past, present, and future - A discussion at MIT

Aligarh Movement: Past, present, and future

“Sir Saiyad was a prophet of education “ -- Mahatma Gandhi

Aligarh movement was led by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan to bring Indian Muslims closer to modern and scientific education. Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) is one of the fruit of that movement. What has been the contribution of Aligarh movement and AMU to India in general and Muslims in particular? 135 years later where is Aligarh movement headed?

Three people furthering the cause of Aligarh movement in their own ways will discuss the significance and importance of Aligarh movement and its future:

Ali Rizvi , Ex-President of Federation of Aligarh Alumni Associations ( and member of AMU Alumni Advisory Committee that recommended setting up AMU branches in different states.

Shaheer Khan , founder and co-moderator of AMUNetwork (, a mailing list of over 7500 AMU alumni.

Azim Khan Sherwani, Chairperson of Taeemi Caravan (, a people’s movement in the district of Bahraich (UP) to raise awareness about education.

Discussion will be moderated by Kashif-ul-Huda, editor of

When: Saturday Jan 15th, 2011. 10am-12pm.

Where: MIT Room # 56-154 ( )

Parking: available on Ames Street (77 Ames Street, Cambridge)

MBTA: Red line to Kendall Square

Contact: Kashif (858-610-8738) or


MAO College Fund Raising receipt

Dear All,
As we all know that MAO College transformed to Aligarh Muslim University in 1920.
To realize this transformation, a fund raising drive took place at All India level under the Chairmanship of Sir Sultan Shah Agha Khan. Here is a receipt of donation to the fund by Qazi Mian Mohammad Amjad Sahab of Shahpur (now District Sargodha - Pakistan).


Ali Sardar Jafri-Janey kahan gaye woh log

Ali Sardar Jafri-Janey kahan gaye woh log


1st August 2010 was 10th death anniversary of legendary progressive movement writer and poet and eminent Aligarian, (Late) Ali Sardar Jafri.
Even though Janab Ali Sardar Jafri was unable to completed his education in AMU Aligarh due to his expulsion from AMU due to his continuous support to the Indian freedom movement, he always carried the Aligarh flag with him and was one of the staunch supporter of Aligarh Movement and never gave up his association with Aligarh Movement.

It was only in 1986, when AMU honored him with Honorary D.Lit. and he attended annual convocation where President of India, H.H. Giani Zail Singh delivered the convocation address.


Ali Sardar Jafri at AMU Aligarh Convocation 1986*

Here is his lecture on another legendary Aligarian, Maulana Hasrat Mohani;

Aligarh Muslim University And Maulana Hasrat Mohani

He produced a popular TV series, Kahkashan - based on the lives of few of his best friends and poets;

Asrarul Haq Majaz

Maulana Hasrat Mohani

Josh Malihabadi

Makhdoom Mohiuddin

Jigar Muradabadi

Firaq Gorakhpuri

Here is one of his poem;
Ali Sardar Jafri - Nazm

Ghazals, Nazms, Qitaat of Ali Sardar Jafri

Note: * Picture is taken from

Nation celebrates 49th anniversary of eminent Aligarian and Baba-e-Urdu Maulvi Abdul Haq

Nation celebrates 49th anniversary of Maulvi Abdul Haq

Maulvi Abdul Haq

Today marks the 49th anniversary of Bab-e-Urdu,Maulvi Abdul Haq. He was a champion of the Urdu language who devoted his entire life for the development and implementation of Urdu in the sub-continentad. After partition he moved to Pakistan and for the rest of his life he advocated Urdu to be made the national language of Pakistan.

Abdul Haq was born on November 16, 1872 in Hapur town in Ghaziabad District in India. He developed an affinity for the Urdu, Deccani, Persian and Arabic. He did B.A. from Aligarh Muslim University in 1894 where he found company of some of the savants of that time, including, Shibli Nomani, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, Ross Masood, Mohsin-ul-Mulk, Syed Mehmud, Professor Arnold, and Babu Mukharjee.

After graduation, Abdul Haq went to Hyderabad Deccan and associated himself to learning, teaching, translating and upgrading Urdu. Abdul Haq was deeply influenced by Sir Syed's political and social views, and learnt English and scientific subjects. Like Khan, Abdul Haq saw Urdu as a major cultural and political influence on the life and identity of the Muslims of India.

He founded the Anjuman Taraqqi-i-Urdu in 1903 in Aligarh. Professor Arnold become the first president and Shibli Nomani the first secretary. Abdul Haq joined the Indian Civil Service under the British Raj, and worked as a chief translator at the Home Department in Delhi, before being appointed as the provincial inspector of schools at Aurangabad in the Central Provinces.

In the same year, he was appointed secretary of the All India Muhammadan Educational Conference, which had been founded by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan in 1886 for the promotion of education and intellectualism in Muslim society. He become Principal of Osmania College (Aurangabad) and retired in 1930.

Abdul Haq was so dedicated to his work that he did not want to marry. However, he did go through the act of getting married just to satisfy the wishes of his parents but never met his wife.

Following the establishment of the Osmania University by the Nizam Osman Ali Khan, Asif Jah VII of the Hyderabad State in 1917, Haq moved to Hyderabad State to teach and help build the university. All subjects at the university were taught in Urdu, and under Haq's influence the institution became a patron of Urdu and Persian literature and linguistic heritage.

Appointed as chairman of the department faculty of Urdu, Abdul Haq emerged as a leading literary critic and accomplished writer in the intellectual life of Hyderabad. He published numerous works of Urdu poetry, as well as treatises on linguistics, Islam, history, politics and philosophy.

Widely respected as a scholar and teacher, Abdul Haq was a scholarly critic who provided criticisms of modern Urdu works and encouraged his students to develop literary skills and appreciation of Urdu. Following his retirement in 1930, Haq worked to compile and edit a comprehensive and authoritative English-Urdu dictionary.

Haq was also a leading figure in the Anjuman-i-Himayat-i-Islam, a Muslim socio-political body of intellectuals. He also led the Anjuman Taraqqi-i-Urdu (Organisation for the Progress of Urdu), which had been founded as a group of Urdu scholars, intellectuals and students. Initially focusing on intellectual subjects and work, in 1930 Haq led the group in protest against a campaign by Indian nationalists to promote the use of Hindi as the national language of British India. Haq became a fierce critic of Indian leader Mohandas Gandhi and the Indian National Congress and joined the All India Muslim League led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

In November 1947, Abdul Haq migrated to Pakistan. In the wake of migration much of his property, especially valuable manuscripts, papers and books were lost. The ordeals of partition and the migration also adversely affected Abdul Haq's health.

He re-organised the Anjuman Taraqqi-e-Urdu in Karachi, launching journals, establishing libraries and schools, publishing a large number of books and promoting Urdu education and linguistic research. Abdul Haq's work especially helped preserve the distinct "Old Urdu" linguistic and literary traditions of Hyderabad, known as Hyderabadi Urdu.

He also used his organisation for political activism, promoting the adoption of Urdu as the lingua franca and sole official language of Pakistan. He criticised the popular movement in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) to demand the recognition of Bengali, stressing his belief that only Urdu represented Muslim heritage and should be promoted exclusively in national life.

Condemning the 1952 Language Movement agitations in East Pakistan, showed apparent dislike over the decision of the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan to make Bengali a second official language. With the help of the Anjuman and sympathetic political parties, he organised a major series of public rallies and processions in Lahore and Karachi on April 22, 1954.

He is criticised for his insistence of Urdu as the sole official language of Pakistan, a cause which served to intensify the sectional gulf within the country and led to the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971.

Despite illnesses and failing health, Abdul Haq continued to promote the active use of Urdu as a medium for all activities. He pushed for the creation of an Urdu College in Karachi, the adoption of Urdu as a medium of instruction for all subjects in educational institutions and worked to organise a national Urdu conference in 1959. Suffering from cancer, Haq died after a prolonged period of incapacitation on August 16, 1961 in Karachi.

For his achievements in the development and promotion of Urdu literature, he is officially regarded is Baba-e-Urdu. His most famous works include the English-Urdu dictionary, Chand Ham Asar, Maktoobat, Muqadimat, Tauqeedat, Qawaid-e-Urdu and Debacha Dastan Rani Ketki. The Anjuman Taraqqi-e-Urdu remains an important intellectual organisation in Pakistan. Held in high esteem amongst intellectuals, educationalists and scholars in Pakistan, Haq is praised for his work in promoting Muslim heritage and Urdu as a unifying medium for Pakistani Muslims.

In recognition of his services to Urdu literature, Pakistan Post issued a Commemorative stamp on 16 August 2004.
© SAMAA TV - 2008 Powered by Converge Technologies (Pvt) Ltd

Aligarh Muslim University and the Case of "Establishment Theory"

Aligarh Muslim University and the Case of "Establishment Theory"

By Afroz Alam

To our amazement and disbelief, the High Court of Allahabad delivered its judgment against the minority character of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU). The point, however, is not that the judgment went against the AMU, but the question is, on what ground the judiciary came out with this verdict, which outwardly snatched its status to be a minority institution? In short, a close examination of the court's judgment shows that it stands on the legally invented and judicially imagined argument that Aligarh Muslim University does not qualify for the minority status under Article 30(1) of the Constitution because it was not established by the Muslim minority but by an Act of Parliament in 1920. Does this argument really hold any weight? The answer is a big NO.

How could the judiciary turn the established historical fact upside down? Eve an ordinary person have tell that the Muhammadon Anglo Oriental College, Aligarh, founded in 1877, was the result of untiring efforts of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan for the educational empowerment of Muslims. And it was this very college, which was upgraded to the status of a University by the Parliamentary Act of 1920. The Parliamentary Act of 1920 was only a status-granting Act. Meaning thereby, the MAO College acquired legislative respectability as an Aligarh Muslim University. As well as the educational empowerment and cultural autonomy of the Muslim community were being legally established by this Act of 1920. If, by any reason, this was not so then what it really was? Was the Act of 1920 a carefully orchestrated and organized conspiracy against the aspirations of a Muslim College to be a Muslim University?

Rather than imagining that 1920 Act brought substantial change in the original minority character of AMU, it is more realistic to imagine that the Act came out to provide an effective opportunity to the Muslim minority to reduce their educational and cultural impoverishment and keep them at par with modem education. In this particular context and against the judicial enforcement of the idea of non-minority character, we can cite the hailing statement of the then Governor-General in the Legislative Council that reflects the objective behind the Act of 1920. He said: "I should like to add my congratulations to the Muslim community on the passage of this Bill. I have come here specially this morning to preside in order that I might add my good wishes and congratulations." Was this a congratulatory tone for taking away the authorship of the Muslim community from the AMU? Of course not. It was congratulation to the Muslim community on their MAO College being designated as University. Thus, had there been no MAO College, there would have been no AMU. It is logically absurd argument that the Muslim minority did not establish AMU. It is just like telling that the father of a child that he will cease to be a father after his child gets appointed to a governmental post. The judgment also implies that freedom fighters should not be credited as a force behind the Independence of India but only India's Independence Act 1947.

The High Court's judgment did nothing but restored the Azeez Basha case (AIR 1968-page 662). But two wrongs cannot make a right. Both the judgments fall sort of similar logical anomalies and primordial reasoning. The only difference between the two is the difference of time. Azeez Basha case delivered by Supreme Court in 1968 and Malay Shukla and others case by High Court in 2005. What is more flabbergasting that both the judgments failed to note the Section 5 (2)(c) of the AMU Act, which clearly states that the university has the power to "promote especially the educational and cultural advancement of the Muslims of India." This particular section of the long debated Act of 1920 in itself disproves the legal maneuvering that the University is not for the educational and cultural advancement of the Muslims.

It is also surprising to note that the Azeez Basha case approved the AMU (Amendment) Act No. 52 of 1951 and AMU (Amendment) Act of 1965, which took away the right of the Muslim minority to administer their own educational enterprise. But when the legislature rectified its own anomalies by the AMU (Amendment) Act 1981 and overtly recognized the implicit minority character of AMU, the recent judgment of the High Court made an observation that the "power to amend the statutory provisions cannot be extended to such an extent so as to create a situation whereby legislative Act, declared constitutionally valid, could be rendered unconstitutional by subsequent legislative enactment."

Our contention in this context is not the legality of the judgment but to question it on the basis of moral reasoning. It is not a paradox but an irony that when the Parliament disabled the AMU by snatching its minority character, administrative and cultural autonomy by the Acts of 1951 and 1965, the Hon'ble judiciary recognized its legality. But when the same Parliament enabled the AMU to restore its robbed features by the Act of 1981. the Hon'ble judiciary found every fault with its legality. Could it be called the deliverance of "justice" on the part of Hon'ble judiciary, which approved the disabling Acts and disapproved the enabling Act of the same Parliament? The cause of the query remains unproven. Why should Muslims stay away from the educational institution established and administered by them? Is an educationally empowered Muslim community not an asset for India? These questions are waiting to be answered.

The author is a Lecturer, Department of Political Science, AMU, Aligarh

SIR SYED's Mission in the 21st Century

SIR SYED's Mission in the 21st Century

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 tolerance.

I believe his vision was a panoramic vision, which had all these characteristics

  1. 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.

  2. His perceptions of where the world was headed in the next hundred years- That is a foresight for an enlightened view of THE FUTURE.

  3. 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 reaction 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 Muslims.

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.

Dr. Tayyaba Abidin Qidwai
AMU 1978, Muscat, Oman

Re: SIR SYED's Mission in the 21st Century

Dr. Qidwai's lucid article presents some interesting ideas but misses a critical component and deserves to be challenged on at least one statement.

We simply cannot separate Sir Syed's accomplishments from his religious beliefs. Sir Syed was a thorough 'rationalist' and a voice of reason which enabled him to cross the hurdles of rigidity that had paralyzed the religious camp into inaction and backwardness. An interesting post on this network reveals that the clerics wanted Sir Syed 'beheaded' for apostasy, which mercifully could not be put into action because India was under British rule. I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that if Sir Syed were alive in the Pakistan of today, he would have been tried under the 'blasphemy' laws and killed in the jail by overzealous religious fanatics even before a sentence was given. Therefore, defense of orthodoxy on the one hand and advocacy of Sir Syed's broad hearted world view on the other, is like mixing oil with water and makes no sense at all. Granted Sir Syed was not our religious leader, but if we don't subscribe to his enlightened and 'rationalist' interpretation of Islam, which ought to be our goal if we stand any chance of survival in the scientifically and technologically advanced 21st century, any talk of revival of Sir Syed's mission for the 21st century is futile.

Next, I would like to comment on Dr. Qidwai's statement 'But, now the modern educational system operates with the false assumption of the superiority of Western civilisation and the inferiority of Muslim culture. Without seeking a precise definition of the words 'civilization' and 'culture', I feel absolutely no shame and awkwardness in admitting that I am in absolute and total awe of the enormous contributions of the West to human civilization. In contrast, Muslims have contributed absolutely nothing for at least the last five centuries towards the advancement of anything and it can be said without the risk of exaggerating that this is about the size of the gap that separates the west from the Muslim world. The examples of the great libraries of Baghdad that Dr. Qidwai cites pertain to the same distant period when the 'rationalists' held sway and which point of view is now anathema to our religious establishment. Even the advocates of 'practicing Islam in its most pristine form' and the savage suicide bombers bent on enforcing their mission of worldwide Caliphate through the spread of murder and mayhem use western inventions like the Internet and Video cameras for publicizing their horrific actions.

Quite clearly then, modern education and western education are almost synonymous whatever one thinks of the superiority of or lack thereof of western civilization. We really should not muddle up water by proposing something which is non-existent i.e. an Islamic modern education.

Masood Haider
M.Sc (1959)
Ph.D Univ.Calif. Med.Center, S.F

New Jersey

AMU- A Minority Institution : Prof. Asmer Beg

Editor's Note:

The article was originally published in Maarif - Montly journal of Darul Musannefin Shibli Academy in June 2017 issue.
It can be accessed at;

The author is an AMU alum and faculty member in Dept. of Political Science of AMU Aligarh and can be reached at;



My Corner

March-April 1898 - Siddons Union Club - Business as usual

Meeting with University Literary Club Members

Meeting with University Literary Club Members:

By Afzal Usmani*

In 1995, I was an applicant for the post of University Literary Club (ULC) Secretaryship. Prof. Abul Kalam Qasmi was part of the selection panel. I had strong credentials but not the best so my friend Mr. Mohibul Haq became ULC Secretary. But natural I was upset but happy that at least some genuine person was selected for the coveted position. We could not do anything if some courtier of ULC President or GEC Coordinator or a stooge of a regional group have made it to the said job.

Twenty years later I was honored to have an interactive session with the ULC Team headed by Dr. Muhibul Haq, same person who was rightly appointed when I was a candidate. I am thankful to Mr. Wajahat Jeelani, Secretary ULC who invited me for the interactive session with his Team. Some of the members were known to me via social media specially young Mr. Sharjeel Usmani. His posts of social media were very interesting to read and always gave me the hope that critical thinking of Aligarh is still alive. Interestingly young Wajahat Jeelani is a nephew of one of my senior, Dr. Nadeem Zafar Jeelani who was an inspiration and model for us in Urdu Bait Bazi events during our stay in AMU. I had the honor to compete as well as Team up with Dr. Nadeem Jeelani in Bait Bazi. When Mr. Mahmudur Rahman joined as Vice-Chancellor of AMU, I was approached for his welcome speech but Technically I was not a student as I finished my B.Sc.Engineering and was waiting for M.Sc. Engineering admission so I personally recommended Dr. Nadeem Jeelani's name and he delivered welcome speech.

The interactive session was very informal and ULC Team updated me with their activities and discussed about the Literary Festivals and difficulties in organizing these kind of events in Aligarh. Once of the main difficulty is financial burden on ULC to organize these kind of events. Even I do not have some immediate recommendations but this is an ongoing issue and needs attention of University administration and Philanthropist to come up with some long term plan so ULC and organization like it can have some breathing space to organize events like Literary Festivals.

I wish them all the best for their events and hope we can be of some help to these young guns of AMU who has lots of potential.

Response : Aligarh Muslim University - Rah Gayee Rasme-Azaa(n)......

Response : Aligarh Muslim University - Rah Gayee Rasme-Azaa(n)......

By Afzal Usmani*

I read the article "Aligarh Muslim University - Rah Gayee Rasme-Azaa(n) by Mr. Murshid Kamal with a deep interest that it might be a critical analysis on Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) and its role in realizing the dreams of Sir Syed. After finishing it I realized that the skewed article has an integral element of jealousy or hatred towards AMU. A critical analysis and monitoring the progress of any institution or movement is always helpful to redefine the course to bring it back on the right path. There is no denial that AMU failed in realizing the true dream of Sir Syed but it will be an injustice to the institution to negate its contributions in totality. The skewed article by the respected author needs its own critical analysis.

Difference of opinion and forming a group based on common opinion is an integral part of human nature. It was there in every part of history. Even during Sir Syed's own lifetime different groups were in existence which agreed with his mission but disagreed with his mode of operations. When Sir Syed himself launched the candidature of Joint Secretary for life for his son Sir Syed Mahmud, there was a very strong opposition and a lot of his own loyalist not only turned away from him but formed a strong forced to oppose his move tooth to nail. There is no denial that Sir Syed Mahmud was one of most deserving candidate but his selection/election as Life-Joint Secretary who will take over after Sir Syed had side effects too. Even after Sir Syed Mahmud took over the rein of MAO College after the death of his illustrious father, the opposing force made all possible efforts to dethrone him and finally they were successful and almost after one year of his accession they made him to resign and elected Nawab Mohsinul Mulk as Secretary of M.A.O. College Board of Trustees. But at the same time the different forces worked together to realize the dream of Sir Syed and his Mohammadan Educational Congress /Conference gave birth to Muslim League and also inspired many to imitate Aligarh model and finally transformed M.A.O. College into Aligarh Muslim University. Even during the fragile period of Aligarh Movement, it was a beacon of inspiration for millions. In 1907 under Press Act, 2 arrests were made by British Raj, one in Western India, Gopal Krishn Gokhle and the other one was eminent Aligarian, Maulana Hasrat Mohani who was based in Aligarh and running his journal/newpaper Urdu-e-Mualla.

Pre-independence growth and productivity and viability of Aligarh Muslim University is unmatched and even post independent contributions in some of the fields are unmatched. AMU graduates had demonstrated their strength in different walks of life. Credentials of Dr. Obaid Siddiqui, Dr. Syed Zahoor Qasim and Prof. Mahdi Hasan are unmatched in their respective fields. Prof. Asad Ahmad (Canada), Prof. Shamim Jairajpuri, Dr. Israr Ahmad, Dr. Shahid Jameel and many more have proven their credentials in different discipline of Science. AMU Economics Department has produced economist like Dr. Abdul Qayum (USA), Mohammad Yunis Qazi, one of the founder of Planning Commission of India, Hamza Alavi (Pakistan), Dr. Abu Salim (Africa), Abdul Hasib and Ahmad Raza (Reserve Bank), Dr. Ahsan Rashid (Pakistan), Dr. Mahfooz Ahmad and Dr. Nejatullah Siddiqi (Islamic Economist). Dr. Hashim Kidwai, Prof. S.A.H. Haqqi, Prof. Mohammad Habib, Prof. Khaliq Ahmad Nizami, Prof. Irfan Habib and Prof. Shireen Moosavi (all History), Dr. Shanul Haq Haqqi and Prof. Masood Hussain Khan (Linguistic), Prof. Masoodul Hasan, Prof. Asloob Ansari (English), Prof. Mohammad Shafi (Geography) etc are very respectable names in their domain. Prof. Rasheed Ahmad Siddiqui, Prof. Ale Ahmad Suroor, Mushtaq Ahmad Yusufi and Prof. Nazir Ahmad does not need an introduction in their respective turf. So far highest literary award of India "Jaanpeeth" is awarded 4 times to Urdu and 3 of them are from AMU fraternity, Qurratul Ain Haider, Ali Sardar Jafrin and Shaharyar. Even in Bollywood AMU has a significant presence like Khawaja Ahmad Abbas, Jan NIsar Akhtar, Javed Akhtar, Shaharyar, Muzaffar Ali, Naseeruddin Shah, Saeed Jafri etc. Olympian Zafar Iqbal has preserved his name in Field Hockey too.

AMU has been rated as #2 among all Indian universities so only an ignorant can say that Aligarh Muslim University failed in its mission of Sir Syed even in modern times. No one will disagree that the pace of the progress is of course different in different era and its is slowest in the current era which has many political reasons and should be discuss at length. The respected author of the skewed article is of course from Jamia Millia Islamia which I have always considered as an extension of Aligarh Muslim University. Till 1988, Jamia Millia Islamia was officially a College and popularly known as Jamia College and it was even smaller than Shibli National PG College of Azamgarh. In last few decade Jamia Millia Islamia's growth is phenomenal. People who were at the helm of the affairs of Jamia fully benefited from its geographical location of Delhi. At the same time, there is a strong force in political corridors of Delhi to resurrect an alternative of Aligarh Muslim University and Jamia Millia Islamia New Delhi is a perfect surrogate.

Here is the original article published in a Urdu Newspaper;

Why we need Minority Character for Institution established by Minorities

Why we need Minority Character:

For Institution established by Minorities

By Afzal Usmani*

“Nothing is more disgraceful for a nation than to throw into the oblivion its historical heritage and the works of its ancestors”

(Sir Syed Ahmad, Khan Bahadur, Founder of Aligarh Muslim University)

A question always bothered me that if we cannot have a reservation for Muslims in Aligarh Muslim University, Jamia Millia Islamia or Jamia Hamdard or any other institution who are Minority Institutions or claiming for Minority Character, then why go for so many trouble, protests, memorandums and Court cases etc. Then remembered the above words of wisdom from none other than Sir Syed.

As per Wikipedia, the Indian Independence Act 1947 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that partitioned British India into the two new independent dominions of India and Pakistan. The Act received the royal assent on 18 July 1947, and Pakistan came into being on 15 August at the same time as Indian independence. However, due to Mountbatten's need to be in New Delhi for the transfer of power, Pakistan celebrated its formation a day ahead on 14 August 1947 to enable the viceroy Lord Mountbatten to attend both events.

Based on the above definition Is it correct to say that India (or Pakistan) came into existence by an Act of Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom so all the freedom struggle and the sacrifices should be ignored and forgotten? Every sensible person will disagree with this and will out right reject the notion and will not accept this even for a moment.

This is exactly true for Institutions like Aligarh Muslim University, Jamia Millia Islamia or even for Jamia Hamdard and many other institutions of their likes which have a claim to be Minority Institutions and came into existence after the efforts, sacrifices of many individuals and groups of people. Just imagine if Aligarh Muslim University did not have Minority character, how many of us even knew who the founder of Aligarh Muslim University is. Let’s say the Alumni may knew this but rest of world for sure forgotten the fact that Sir Syed, Sir Syed Mahmud, Nawab Mohsinul Mulk, Nawab Viqarul Mulk, Nawab Ishaq Khan, Nawab Muhhamd Ali, Raja Mahmudabad, Sahbzada Aftab Ahmad Khan, Begum Sultan Jahan, Sir Sultan Shah Agha Khan, Nizam of Hyderabad Mir Osman Ali Khan and many others played a key role in the establishment as well as survival of the institution till India became an independent country and created University Grant Commission and which took over the rein of all Universities including Aligarh Muslim University.

People may outright reject the notion that the contributions and sacrifices of above mentioned people could have been intact even if Aligarh Muslim University was not a Minority Institution. For them I will just furnish 2 simple examples, University of Lucknow and Osmania University in Hyderabad. By the way I have personally asked the alumni of these 2 Universities and they even did not knew even a single name who played any role in the establishment of these Universities.

Let’s begin with Osmania University which is situated in Hyderabad. Most of the people are aware that Osmania University is named after its founder, Nawab Osman Ali Khan, the seventh Nizam of Hyderabad who rather through a farman or Royal Charter, brought the University into existence in 1918. But most of the people including the University’s official website does not even mentions the people’s name who worked tirelessly to make it happened like Sir Muhammad Akbar Nazar Ali Hydari, Sir Ross Masud and Nawab Muhammad Habibur Rahman Khan Sherwani. Sir Muhammad Akbar Nazar Ali Hydari, also served as the Prime Minister of Hyderabad State from 18 March 1937 to September 1941 during the reign of Mir Osman Ali Khan. Sir Ross Masud was grandson of Sir Syed and in 1916 he joined the Government of the Nizam of Hyderabad as the Director of Public Instruction in Hyderabad and was later promoted as Secretary Education Department of the same government, a position that he retained till 1928 when he took over as Vice Chancellor of the Aligarh Muslim University. Nawab Muhammad Habibur Rahman Khan Sherwani was Sadrus-Sudur and served as Founding Vice-Chancellor of Osmania University.

How many people know about the contributions of these people. When I pose the question, I mean even among the alumni and staff members of this University. Osmania University was conceptualized as a complete Urdu medium University and now Urdu is even disappeared from its logo too. Now lets have a look at University of Lucknow which is a state University and is situated in Lucknow Uttar Pradesh.

As per University of Lucknow’s official website, the idea of starting a University at Lucknow was first mooted by Raja Sir Mohammad Ali Mohammad Khan, Khan Bahadur, K.C.I.E. of Mahmudabad, who contributed an article to the columns of "The Pioneer'' urging the foundation of a University at Lucknow in 1919. It was the time when Sir Harcourt Butler, K.C.S.I., K.C.I.E, was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of the United Provinces and his well-known interest in all matters under his jurisdiction, specially in the field of education, gave fresh life and vigour to the proposal of a University in Lucknow. The first step to bring the University into being was taken when a General Committee of educationists and persons interested in university education appointed for the purpose. On January 26, 1920, their proceedings were considered and discussed, and the reports of the sub-committees were, subject to certain amendments, confirmed. At the close of the Conference donations of one lakh each from the Raja of Mahmudabad Sir Mohammad Ali Mohammad Khan and Nawab of Jahangirabad, Mohammad Ishaq Khan were announced.

Once again, how many people know about the contributions of these people? When I pose the question, I mean even among the alumni and staff members of this University.

Let’s analyze the same about Aligarh Muslim University and Jamia Millia Islamia. If not all, most of the alumni as well staff are at least aware about the founder and the main people around him and their major contributions and role played in the establishment of the institutions. If you do a poll, I am sure majority of the Alumni as well staff members of Osmania University as well University of Lucknow will show their ignorance about their founders. The same poll will show totally opposite results for Aligarh Muslim University and Jamia Millia Islamia. And for sure the poll results are only due to their Minority Character which keep them reminding about the sacrifices and contributions made by the individuals and groups of people who cared about their future even before their existence.

"Khaaka Nigaari (Brief Life Sketch) - Naqoosh - Aligarh Shakhsiyat."

Khaaka Nigaari (Brief Life Sketch) - Naqoosh - Aligarh Shakhsiyat

By Afzal Usmani*

"Khaaka Nigaari" (Brief Life Sketch) is a a very important branch of Urdu writings. Same is true for other languages too but we are talking about Urdu here. On and off we see a lot of Khaakey ( Brief Life Sketch ) of people associated with Aligarh Movement on e-forums and in different Urdu Magazine. The very recent skewed Khaka (life sketch) of (Late) Prof. Khaliq Ahmad Nizami in "Mashaaheer-e-Aligarh" issue of Tahzibul Akhlaq prompted me to publish famous khaakey (Brief Life Sketch) of people associated with Aligarh Movement for those who are keen in writing and publishing Khaakey (Brief Life Sketch) on internet or in magazines and journals.

"Namwaraan-e-Aligarh", a series published by Idarah Fikr-o-Nazar, AMU Aligarh contains Khaakey (Brief Life Sketch) of most of the people associated with Aligarh Movement. But real justice was not done with a lot of people and most of articles from the series needs to be revisited/re-written. Hope Prof. Abul Kalam Qasmi (Editor - Fikr-o-Nazar) will take some initiative in this direction.

While writing Khaakey (Brief Life Sketch) in English for in Karwaan-e-Aligarh and Aligarian series, I started reading Naqoosh - Shkhsiyat Number. Thanks to my senior Mr. Naved Masood Sahab to point me to this piece of treasure. It took me 2 years to get hold of a copy of this treasure. I called most of the publishers/book sellers to get me a copy of Naqoosh - Shkhsiyat Number. They failed to do so. In 2007/08 accidentally I reached Kutub Khana Aziziya, next to Jama Masjid in Delhi. While surfing their shelf I could not find anything of my interest. The person sitting on the front desk ask me if I am looking anything specific. I just told him that I am looking something on "Shakhsiyaat". He immediately told me that he has "Shakhsiyaat Number of Naqoosh" but it will be costly. I was speechless. I asked him to show me first. When he brought the book, I was sure as is the same which I was looking for couple of years. It was hand stitched/bind and wrapped in newspaper cover. Pages were very brittle. In nutshell looked like junk. Maybe he bought it from a "Kabaadi". He charged me a handsome amount which was almost 300 times the original price but it was worth every penny.

Coming back to the main objective of this long introduction. I am going to share the brief life sketch of luminaries associated with Aligarh Movement so that people can read. Specially people who writes life sketch on different forums and magazines and journals. And of course the the series will begin with our beloved Sir Syed R.A. Here is brief life sketch of Sir Syed, written by Shaikh Ismayeel Panipati for Naqoosh- Shakhsiyat Number which was published from Lahore.

Sir Syed Ahmad Khan - Shaikh Ismayeel Panipati

Kutub Khana

Kutub Khana

Today I finished listening BBC Radio series "Kutub Khana - ".

Kutub Khana was a hunt for the treasure of knowledge and wisdom. Mr. Raza Ali Abidi traveled all over the Indian subcontinent in search of books and libraries and discovered some well preserved and some ignored collections. Here he narrates many amazing stories about the books left by our fore-fathers. Here you will hear several foremost scholars talking about this valuable treasure.

I was amazed by the efforts put forward by Mr. Raza Ali Abidi to find these hidden treasures from the width and depth of the Indian subcontinent. The series is a bit old as it was broadcasted on BBC in late 70s or early 80s and of course I was a kid at that time and had no interest in series like "Kutub Khana".

For the first time I heard about this series when I was in Aligarh and my cosine Mr. Abdul Mabood Usmani, a research scholar in Urdu talked about this series and recommended me to read the book "Kutub Khana" by Mr. Raza Ali Abidi. It was amazing to read too but there is no comparison of reading and listening in the voice of Mr. Raza Ali Abidi. He is a legend and an institution in himself. It was interesting to listen to this series and I was amazed by the efforts put by Raza Ali Abidi Sahab to document about the hidden treasure of subcontinent.

Mr. Abidi said it very correctly; now even our well established and well to do people including academicians does not have a decent Kutub Khana (Library) in their homes. When we built our home, we specifically make sure to have "Bawarchi Khana (Kitchen), Mahman Khana (Drawing Room), Zanan Khana " , but do not even consider to have a "Kutub Khana (Library)". Hope this series may help us to ponder upon the subject.

I was a bit disappointed also that Mr. Raza Ali Abidi could not make it to 2 of my favorite place, Aligarh and Azamgarh to cover Maulana Azad Library and Darul Musannefin Shibli Academy Library ( ). These 2 library got a mention in the series but at least I was expecting more from the series.

When the series was produced, I am not sure about the status of personal library of (Late) Prof. Khaliq Ahmad Nizami Sahab but when I paid my first visit to him in October/November 1992 to invite him as a Chief Guest for one of the evening of "SHAHEEN-92", his personal library was very impressive. SHAHEEN-92 was a week long literary and cultural festival organised by Literary & Cultural Society of Allama Iqbal Hall. I also paid a visit to the said library in January 2009 and was a bit disappointed at the condition of the library. I wish his heirs should have taken the same care of the library. When it comes to personal libraries in Aligarh, I have not not visited much of it but pleased to share that on every trip to Aligarh, I vist Ibn Sina Academy library. This is amazing work by Prof. H.S. Zillur Rahman and his son and heir Dr. S. Ziaur Rahman. The library and the museum has no match of its kind at least in the way they have built it from the scratch with personal efforts and resources. Hope we can put good use of their efforts and can help them to survive.

Afzal Usmani
Austin TX

My Trip to India 2011

Afzal Usmani

My Trip to India 2011

Dear All,

Since 2000 I am living outside of India but I always put my feet on Indian soil on every calendar year. But my recent trip in Aug-Oct 2011 was one of the most meaningful trip I ever had. It was so eventful and fruitful that I was planning to extend it but could not do it due to my professional commitment in my adopted homeland. I came back to US on 15th October and direcly landed in San Francisco area to attend annual Aligarh Educational Endowment Fund fundraiser, Sir Syed Day and International Mushaira. After staying for 2 days in California I arrived to my adopted home in Austin Texas on 17th October 2011. I am thankful to all the hospitality extended by my friends in Aligarh, Delhi and in San Francisco to make this trip a memorable trip. Even though the trip gave me some hard time due to some health issues of my Ammi but thanks to Allah S.W.T. and my respected senior in Delhi to came to my rescue and Alhamdolillah she is doing fine now.

Insha-Allah I am going to write in brief about the different events which took place during the trip. Of course this is not to glamorize my trip but to put forward my experiences and to learn from your comments and suggestions.

Part - IV

Visit to Fatehpur Girls Inter College, Fatehpur Mau (UP)

Part - III

Visit to Aligarh Bachchon Ka Ghar (Aligarh Childrens Home)- Aligarh

Part - II

Death of Prof. Abdul Majid Siddiqi and meeting with Dr. Shahid Jameel

Part - I

Meeting with Dr. Mohsin Raza : Founder of Sultan Jahan Coaching Center

Visit to Fatehpur Girls Inter College, Fatehpur Mau (UP)

Visit to Fatehpur Girls Inter College, Fatehpur Mau (UP)

Azamgarh-Mau (old Azamgarh) in eastern Uttar Pradesh (also known as Poorvanchal) which has a significant Muslim population and rich tradition of establishment of Islamic institutions (madrasah). The region has long list of Madaris, some of them are very famous and some of them are very little known but almost each small town in these two districts has a small or big madrasah in it and some of them have more than one. Madarsatul Islah, Baitul Uloom (Sarai Mir), Aljamiatul-Ashrafia, Ahyaul Uloom (Mubarak Pur), Jamiatul Falah, Jamiatur Rashad, and so on. These districts have some modern education institutions and the oldest one is Shibli National P.G. College in Azamgarh City.

Fatehpur Talratoay is far east village of Mau bordering with Ibrahim Patti, birth place of former Prime Minister of India, Mr. Chadar Shekhar. Among the Muslim community of Poorvanchal UP, this village is also known as Fatehpur-Dhilai as Dhilai Firozpur is a sister village around 3 kilometer on the east side of Fatehpur on main Gorakhpur-Ballia Highway. Fatehpur-Dhilai is always known as educated village in Muslim community of Poorvanchal UP. In fact, primary school of Fatehpur is the place from where (Late) Mr. Chadar Shekhar, former Prime Minister of India completed his primary education.

Contrary to other Azamgarh-Mau villages, Fatehpur-Dhilai does not have much trend to go to Middle East to earn money. Residents of Fatehpur always preferred education and jobs related to education. In fact, quite a high number of their natives were teacher in Bombay. However, the recent developments in Bombay had made it tough for them to get a job in either Municipal Schools or even private schools. In 1972, a dedicated team of Fatehpur natives mostly based in Bombay (now Mumbai) established Fatehpur Educational Society and Fatehpur Girls Intermediate College to impart modern education to the girls of the area. Mohammad Nayeem Usmani and Mohammad Shamim Usmani headed the team. They were teachers in Bombay Urdu medium schools. Mr. Nayeem Usmani retired as Principal of Anjuman Islam High School and Mr. Shamim Usmani retired as Principal of Muhammadiyah High School. Mohammiyah High School is my alma mater and I did my S.S.C. (High School) from the same in 1988. They received overwhelming support from the natives of Fatehpur-Dhilai who were in either Bombay or other parts of the country. The other prominent people who lend their support were (Late) Mahfooz Usmani, Mujtaba Usmani, Hasan Raza Azmi, Hunney Miyan and many more. Even the residents of Fatehpur also extended their support. FatehPur Girls Intermediate College is in Fatehpur. The College is Registered and affiliated by the State Government of UP.

Fatehpur Girls Inter College is a well performing in its class. One of its students Miss Antima secured Highest Mark in her UP board examination. Miss Rahat Bano and Miss Smita Tiwari represented the College at UP state level and UP State at National level in sports. Average result of high echool is 90% and of XII. 95 %. On the basis of over all performance in acadmic as well in sports, college Principal Mrs. Malti Sharma awarded with Presidential Award in 2009. The College is also biggest Centre to Conduct Bombay Art Examation in Poorvanchal.

I am a native of Fatehpur but did not have much chance to live there as I grew up in Bombay and then moved to Aligarh for my education and finally ended up in US to earn my living. However, always paid a visit to Fatehpur every year either in summer or winter vacations. I have known this Inter College from my childhood as most of my cosine sisters completed their education from the Inter College. Death of Founders slowed down the pace of progress of the College and migration of families to big cities like Gorakhpur, Kanpur, Lucknow, Delhi and Bombay affected the strength of Muslims in the College and also started losing supports from native of Fatehpur. However, the new Team of Management under the leadership of Er. Zafar Usmani and Dr. Naseem Usmani have taken some concrete steps to bring back the College on its pace of progress.

On personal invitation of Dr. Naseem Usmani, Secretary Fatehpur Educational Society, I paid a visit to the College on 28th and 29th September 2011. The condition of the College was not up to my expectation but the pace of the progress was beyond my expectation and imagination. Very recently they established a computer lab fully equipped with Internet. Making some infrastructural changes for the security of the College. They were adding boundary walls for sports grounds to maintain the privacy of the girls while playing in the field. Aligarh Education Endowment Fund (AEEF) supported 8 students on the basis of Merit cum means and I personally met with them and their families. It was also very exciting to talk to them. Mostly I talked about the glorious past of the region (Azamgarh and its surroundings). How Sir Syed Ahmad Khan changed the face of the community by his Aligarh Movement. How Allama Shibli Nomani inspired by Sir Syed and his mission started National School and its growth to one of the biggest minority institution of the region. I also talked about the struggle for women's education and establishment of Women's College of Aligarh Muslim University and the role of Begum Waheed Jahan, wife of Shaikh Abdullah in the establishment of Women's College at Aligarh. I also mentioned the role of Begum Sultan Jahan in women's education. Shabana Azmi, one of eminent figure of the region and his community service acts for the region. The students listened to me very quietly. I do not know whether it was very boring or they were really pondering over it. Anyway, it was a great pleasure and honor for me to talk to the students. Hope and pray that time permits me to make more visits like this which is best way to read and understand the minds of our future generation.

FGIC Main Gate

Newly constructed Main Gate of Fatehpur Girls Inter College




Afzal Usmani with members of Management Committee of Fatehpur Educational Society

FGIC Computer Lab



Afzal Usmani talking students of FGIC





Mrs. Afsari Begum (Principal FGIC) and Dr. Naseem Usmani, Secretary of Fatehpur Educational Society with AEEF Scholarship recipient

Death of Prof. Abdul Majid Siddiqi on 28th August 2011

Death of Prof. Abdul Majid Siddiqi and meeting with Dr. Shahid Jameel

Being a student of Non-Life Sciences, I never had the opportunity to know and meet Prof. Abdul Majid Siddiqi Sahab. It was only after my friend Dr. Athar Habib Siddiqi wrote a small article on his life and contributions for , I came to know about him. Since then I had a desire to see him in person during my visit to Aligarh but I was very unfortunate in this regard and only saw him when he stopped breathing so could not even ask for his blessings and dua. I received the sad news from my friend Dr. Athar Habib Siddiqi who recently moved to Hyderabad. I inquired about the residence of Prof. Siddiqi and paid a visit to his house and paid my tributes to the (Late) Prof. Siddiqi. Only person I knew at the place was his son Dr. Shahid Jameel. I knew and interacted Dr. Shahid Jameel for several years but for one or the other reasons, could not met him so far. It was my first meeting with him and that too at a very sad and tough moment of his life. (Late) Prof. Abdul Majid Siddiqi Sahab was fortunate enough to have a son like Dr. Shahid Jameel. I had a long due desire to talk to Dr. Shahid Jamil on different issues related to community in general and our beloved Alma Mater in particular. Of course it was not the right time to talk to him during this tough time. I am aware about few of charitable works where Dr. Shahid Jameel is actively involve. Hope and pray to get a chance to see him again and get enough time to discuss the pertaining issues and come up with some concrete steps to work together.

Janaza was after Asar prayer at Muslim University Graveyard. A large number of family members, friends and well wishers of (Late) Prof. Siddiqi were present for tadfeen and to pay their tributes. Few faces and names which I remember were Prof. Reyazur Rahman Khan Sherwani, Prof. Hashim Rizvi, Dr. Asim Rizvi, Prof. Fasih Ahmad Siddiqi, Dr. Rahat Abrar, Mr. Abdul Qadeer, Mr. Zeeshan Ahmad and Dr. Suhail Sabir (all from Aligarh), Mr. Zafar Iqbal (Former Indian Captain and Coach for national Hockey team), his brother Shamim Ahmad (K.S.A.) and Prof. Tariq Rizvi (US).

(Late) Prof. Abdul Majid Siddiqi was fortunate enough to have students like Dr. Fazal Khan, Dr. Aftab Ansari, Dr. Shahid Siddiqi and many more of their likes who organized a commemoration function in his memory in Washington DC area in US and released a book where they expressed their feelings and paid their gratitude to their beloved teacher. Through a friend I received a soft copy of the book. It was nostalgic to read the accounts of his students and family members and their love and respect forProf. Siddiqi. Hope this will become a tradition among us to pay the respect to our beloved teachers.

To know more about Prof. Abdul Majid Siddiqi, please visit;

Dr. Shahid Jameel also writes his blog and you can read it at;

Visit to Aligarh Bachchon Ka Ghar (Aligarh Childrens Home)- Aligarh

Visit to Aligarh Bachchon Ka Ghar (Aligarh Childrens Home)

Br. Amanullah Sahab is a well known community activist in Aligarh since more than a quarter of century. His operations are spread in different parts of the country but he had a lot of focus in Aligarh. I know him from my student life as he is President/Chairman of Student Islamic Trust, which distributes IDB Scholarship (sponsored by Islamic Development Bank of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia), to muslim students across India.

During my recent visit to Aligarh, he invited me to visit one of his very dear Project Aligarh Bachon Ka Ghar (ABKG) (Aligarh Childrens Home) which is based in the outskirts of Aligarh Muslim University Campus. This is a non Profit Charity and Residential Institution imparting Education to Orphans. I paid a visit to the facility on 17th September 2011 at 4:00 PM. I thought to be an informal visit to see the facility and the setup of ABKG. But to my surprise they had organized a small function and I was asked to talk to the kids. When the event unfolded, the students of ABKG amazed me. Their manners, discipline, promptness and ambitions took me to a surprise. They were well versed in communicating in English and asked very interesting and good questions.

I do not know whether my talk motivated them or not, but their performance was a great lesson and motivation for me. I was glad that I accepted the invitation of ABKG and paid a visit to this growing center of future of our community.

Mr. Afzal Usmani visit ABKG

Mr. Afzal Usmani visit ABKG 0

Mr. Afzal Usmani visit ABKG 1

Mr. Afzal Usmani visit ABKG 2

Mr. Afzal Usmani visit ABKG 3

Here is some brief information about ABKG;

Aligarh Bachchon Ka Ghar (Aligarh Childrens Home)

(A non Profit Charity and Residential Institution imparting Education to Orphans)

Established as a model orphanage and registered as a Trust in 1998 to extend total support and comprehensive welfare of orphans and destitute children in distress.

 No. of Children: 120 orphans fully adopted and 380 destitute children partially sponsored in the session 2010-11
 Providing them opportunities for imparting modern education in our own as well as other English Medium Public
Schools and also providing them Islamic orientation with and without board and lodge facilities. Founder:

 Janab Amanullah Khan with 7 Members of Board of Trustees.
 10 Staff members holding various responsibilities.
 Academic Session: April to March.

 Adopt Orphans/destitute children for total and partial supports.
 Gradually increase the number of beneficiaries from present 120 to 500 in the hostel and from 380 to 1000 as
day boarders.
 Provide games/sports/athletics and physical fitness programs.
 Educate them in moral values for Islamic character/personality development.
 Provide help after completion of school education for higher studies.

Achievements till 2010:
 14,000 sq. mtr. land purchased at Qasimpur Road, Aligarh.
 10,000 sq. ft. ground floor Hostel construction completed and 1st floor construction is going on.
 Standard size football ground fully functional. Other grounds under-way.
 Double Storied Mosque measuring in 2 floors =8000 sq. ft. completed.
 120 children including 10 girls fully adopted getting total support
 380 more downtrodden children admitted in different schools with partial financial support.
 Five million rupees budget spent on our activities every year.

To know more about ABKG, please contact at;


My meeting with Dr. Mohsin Raza

My meeting with Dr. Mohsin Raza

Founder of Sultan Jahan Coaching Center

From the very inception of Aligarh Movement, there are people who were passionate about our Alma Mater and concerned about the community. We are glad that we still have the some people among us whose passion and love for Alma Mater and concern for the community can not be questioned. You may disagree with them over the mechanism which they follows but can not question their integrity and love and passion to help community One such person is Dr. Mohsin Raza, one of the founder of Sultan Jahan Coaching Center.

Dr. Mohsin Raza is an AMU alum and also served as a faculty in the University and then moved to Oman. Now after retirement from his job in Oman, he is back to his favorite place, Aligarh. Dr. Raza had served as President of AMU Student's Union. I came to know about him through AMUNetwork and Dr. Shaheer Khan intruduced me to this wonderful person. Since many years I was interacting him via email, phone but never got the opportunity to meet him in person. When I reached Aligarh on 22nd August 2011 and updated my status on facebook about my presence in Aligarh. I received first phone call from Dr. Raza. We decided to meet. Even though, it was Ramazan and summer was still in its peak form in Aligarh, I paid a visit to his residence in Ek-Minar Masjid area. Of course it was a great pleasure to spend quality time with him and had a fruitful discussion from AMU affairs to Alumni affairs, his plans for Senior Citizen Emergency Response Project and of course his dream project Sultan Jahan Coaching Center.

Next day, we paid a visit to Sultan Jahan Coaching Center and Sultan Jahan Manzil. I knew Sultan Jahan Coaching Center since my student days. In 1989-90, when I was in class XII, there were only 2 known Coaching Centers for Medical and Engineering competitions, one was Quality Coaching run by Dr. R.N. Singh somewhere on Ramghat Road and the other one was Sultan Jahan Coaching Center run by Muslim Socail Uplift Society (MSUS) of India at Sultan Jahan Manzil in Shamshad Market. I did not attended any one of them but most of my friends from hostel attended Sultan Jahan Coaching. There was some other attraction to it which I am skipping for now. Sultan Jahan Coaching Center has come so far and now became a self sustained project of MSUS of India. Dr. Mohsin Raza is one of the key figure in its formation and growth. The efforts of other people should also be acknowledged and it will be injustice if I do not mention the name of Prof. A.R. Kidwai , Dr. Asim and Dr. Amirullah Khan, who played key role and became instrumental to take MSUS and Sulatn Jahan Coaching Center to next level. They developed their own facility and started a lot of other projects and activities to help the community. I do not find any website of All India Muslim Social Uplift Society to shed more light on their activities. It will be a wonderful idea if they come up with a website to let us know about their activities and how we can help them to take it to the next level.

During my stay in Aligarh, I met Dr. Raza few more times and every time, his passion and zeal to help the community was very much visible. I pray him to be more focus on his goals and will always be a pleasure to spend quality time with him as well as work with him for the betterment of community.

Pictures speaks a thousand word and here are those few thousand words which I listened with my own eyes and captured in my camera during my visit to Sultan Jahan Manzil and Coaching Center of All India Muslim Social Uplift Society.










L:R: Dr. Mohsin Raza, ?????, Afzal Usmani

My Trip to India 2012

Dear All,

Vacations are mostly good as long as you do not join your work which is most hated part of the vacation.

Insha-Allah I am going to write in brief about the different events which took place during the trip. Of course this is not to glamorize my trip but to put forward my experiences and to learn from your comments and suggestions.

Part - I

Meeting with office Bearers of AMU Alumni Association of Maharashtra

Meeting with office Bearers of AMU Alumni Association of Maharashtra

Meeting with office Bearers of AMU Alumni Association of Maharashtra

By Afzal Usmani*

During my recent visit to Mumbai, where I spend my childhood and adolescent, I met few wonderful and energetic Aligarians who really believes in Aligarh spirit and are ready to revive Aligarh Movement in Mumbai. When I was there it was Bombay and got renamed the same year I left it to join AMU Aligarh. I never thought for a moment that I am leaving Bombay or Mumbai forever. During my stay at Aligarh I used to visit almost every year during vacations but became a dream to visit Bombay when I moved to US. Just after I moved to US, my parent moved to Aligarh and it became my adopted home and every visit to India ended up in Aligarh and could not visited Bombay from 2001 till 2010. My visit in 2010 was very personal so spend time with family and few very very old friends. This time in December 2012 I planned to spend sometime with Aligarh fraternity but some hick ups due to train reservation forced me to cut 2 more days from Mumbai stay which left me no choice to put behind all of my plans of Mumbai. But due to the affection showered by AMU Alumni Association of Maharashtra, I manged to spend an evening with them on 10th December 2012 in Shivaji Nagar Govindi, southeast suburb of Mumbai.

I was following the activities of AMU Alumni Association of Maharashtra for a while and their enthusiasm is worth appreciating.

It is very common in US to include people who does not even hold a degree/diploma from AMU into Aligarh Alumni Associations. Some of the AMU Alumni Association put some restriction to become its President, you need to hold a degree/diploma from AMU, others even do not have this restriction too. This concept is new to the AMU Alumni Associations in India and I am glad that AMU Old Boys Association of Maharashtra took lead and implemented this into their By-Laws. AMU Alumni Associations across the globe needs to open their arms to include people who have "Aligarh Spirit" and want to contribute to promote "Aligarh Movement".

Aligarh gathering can not end without good food and nostalgic memories of Aligarh, few jokes, reminder of special characters of their time.

I am thankful to the office Bearers of AMU Alumni Association of Maharashtra for a wonderful evening.

My visit to Aligarh Modern School, Aligarh(UP) India

By Afzal Usmani

My visit to Aligarh Modern School, Aligarh(UP) India

It was really a pleasure as well as honor to spend couple of hours on 26th July 2010 at Aligarh Modern School(AMS), Aligarh. I knew Aligarh Modern School since its inception in late 80s when it was started next to Medical College in Doharrah Maafi village.

Dr. Asim Rizvi, Manager AMS took me to the school and introduced to the students and staff. It has been a long time for me to be in a school and to interact with so many kids who will be future leaders and flag bearers of Aligarh educational movement. While interacting with the students, Dr. Asim Rizvi asked several random questions and I was amazed with their answers. At the age of 10, I did not have any clue about my future and never thought to be an Engineer or Doctor but now things are changed. The kids were at least thinking to become something. One of the kids who was hardy 10 years old expressed his desire to be a Cricketer and when we inquired about his performance in cricket, he was good at it. One little girl wanted to be a "Painter" and expressed the desire to spread the message of peace through her paintings. We had a special interactive session with Class X students too. Their desire to know more about higher education and coming to America/Europe for higher education was very encouraging. They asked many questions regarding the American Way of life and conditions of Muslims in United States.

At the end, it was very inspiring to listen to the Tarana-e-Aligarh Modern School and which was not same as Tarana-e-Aligarh but was realy inspiring and motivating. I personally requested Dr. Asim Rizvi to send me the transcript of Tarana-e-Aligarh Modern School. While departing from the School, I made a promise to pay more visits to the school in future and also promised to make sure when our fellow alumni go to Aligarh, we can arrange their visit to the school too.






Tarana-e-Aligarh Modern School

The Silence of Aligarh Intellectualism ???

The Silence of Aligarh Intellectualism ???

Dear all,

This question is haunting me for many years and the recent email from Dr. Sajjad prompted me to reassert the concern. From last 2 decades I am following AMU affairs, first as a student and now as Alumni.

Either it was Shila Nyas and Save Babri Masjid Movement in AMU campus from 1989-92 or a police firing in AMU Campus in 1993 or "SAVE AMU" convention in Delhi in 1994 or protest of JN Medical College Students in Delhi against the assault on members of JDO by the henchmen of the then VC of AMU or protest against the illegally arrested student Dr. Mohammad Mobin from AMU campus in September 2000 or Solidarity Protest against the Batla House Encounter in 2008 or First World Alumni Summit in 2008, AMU intellectuals/Academia are always quite. The only time you see them or read them when either they are opposing a Vice-Chancellor or supporting a Vice-Chancellor or demanding for their rights and benefits as faculty members. They have all the rights to do all of these but they have some other responsibilities being as a member of Indian Community or Muslim Community or as AMU community.

A gathering more than 3000 well educated Muslims within a radius of 5 kilometers of AMU Jama Masjid is the biggest intellectual assets of Muslims of India and supposed to be a nerve center of Muslims of India. If you are attending any event either Quranic Seminar organized by Idarah Ulum Al-Quran, or Allama Iqbal Day by University Polytechnic or some lecture by well know academicians/politicians in Kennedy Hall or Arts Faculty Lounge, the participation is really low and the intellectual participation are even lower.

Apart from socio-political participation of intellectualism, even in the research its diminishing. Barring few, most of the intellects are busy in either supporting or opposing the Vice-Chancellor.

While reading "Naqoosh - Shakhsiyaat Number (published from Lahore Pakistan in 1956)" I found that a lot of names from Aligarh younger generation intellectuals were mentioned and most of them including Prof. Mukhtaruddin Ahmad, Prof. Nazir Ahmad and Prof. Asloob Ansari were in their early 30s in 1956. Even long before his retirement, Prof. Shaharyar's poetry was included in the syllabus of graduation in many Universities including University of Bombay(Mumbai).

Now, no more Mohd. Shafi on the editorial board of National Geography or Dr. Obaid Siddiqi to be a fellow of National Academy of Science. No more Prof. A.R. Kidwai who can take over the rein of UPSC or Prof. Hashim Kidwai who can join the rank of Member of Parliament to take the cause of the community to the Rajya Sabah.

Aligarh Movement was the leader of Muslims of South East Asia and played a key role to shape up the future of millions and now the nerve center of Aligarh Movement has no role to play to shape up the future of its followers.

Afzal Usmani
Austin TX

Committee of Deans Submitted the Report Regarding Grievances of Students

Dear Br. Irfan Khan,
Secretary, AMU Students' Struggle Committee.

Good to see your email. I personally always support any peaceful, democratic protest to demand fundamental rights of citizens in general and here students in particular. The ugly incidents in last week of October followed by a sine-die (converted to winter vacation even before winter) is definitely not good for AMU community. There have been a series of emails in support of AMU Students or AMU Administration or to oppose both. Even I wrote a very strong email on the subject. Let me reiterate few things and comment on few of your comments and express few of my suggestions which I am keep writing to AMU Administration for years personally as well as via AMUNetwork.

1. When Mr. Adil Hossain started writing on AMUNetwork long before this October, I personally talked to him over the phone to get a first hand assessment from him. Here I am quoting a very strong observation of Mr. Adil Hossain, "Any small incident in campus can trigger a turmoil".

I knew and very strongly felt the frustration of Student community but this event which took place outside of campus and the aftermath was uncalled for such a massive agitation. The agitation could have been started prior to this incident or sometime after this to demand all the genuine demands including Students Union Election. The timing of the agitation made us think that you were waiting for something to happen to launch the agitation.

Mr. Adil Hossain's comment came true and I started believing that even we do not respect a dead body and can play politics over dead people. Does AMU Students Struggle Committee ever try to find out what happened to the family of Late Shahnawaz, how can his be helped and how to fill the wounds of the family of the deceased. Maybe you have tried but at least I am not aware of your findings.

In 1996, Mr. Nadeem Alam was killed in a police firing near VC lodge and a section of students wanted to carry the dead body to different Halls of residence to charge-up the students to launch a massive agitation against the then Vice-Chancellor Mr.Mahmudur Rahman, but due to sensible intervention of some senior students/Teachers , the situation was averted and the body was moved to Late Nadeem's native place Azamgarh to be buried.

Immediately after the opening the AMU campus, all those who wanted to carry the dead body of Late Nadeem to Hall-to-Hall to ignite the situation and to launch a campaign against the Vice-Chancellor Mr. Mahmoodur Rahman were in the lap of then then Vice-Chancellor Mr. Mahmudur Rahman and got appointed as Proctorial Monitors and later Adhoc Office Beares of AMU Students Union and ruled over the campus as long as Mr. Rahman was Vice-Chancellor and all those who opposed to politics over a dead body of fellow students were kicked out of the University.

I pray to Allah the same should not be repeated this time in AMU campus.

2. By no means, Electric Heater was allowed in the past and should be never allowed as University has to pay the electric bills. I agree that the enforcement of the Heater Ban was not very strong and was at different levels in different Hostels.

It is a common myth that Pandit Nehru, the then Prime Minister of India made AMU Electricity free but this is not at all true. If its true, we will love to see any document in this regard.

But AMU Administration needs to make sure or allow the use of Air Cooler,Computer, Cell phone is the residential Halls and necessary power outlets needs to be enabled.

This does not make any sense to ban the use of above articles in AMU Campus.

Proper Cafeteria/Canteen needs to be open till mid-night or at least till 11:30 pm as AMU is a University Campus, not a School Campus.

3. Jammers in MA Library should be a must. Not only in MA Library, it should be place in all libraries, like Engineering College Library (Book Bank), JNMC Library, Abdullah College Library and if possible, all Reading Rooms of Halls of residence.

4. Visiting Fathers/elders/brothers/friends should be allowed for couple of days with proper permission from Warden. If they have plans to stay for a longer period, Old Boys Lodge could be one of the option None of us wants our mother/sisters to stay in Boys Hostel and same is true for father/brother in Girls Hostel.

5. This is the last but most important point;

Some form of evaluation should be considered for AMU Teaching/Technical Staff otherwise the situation in AMU will never improve. I know this will be toughest task for any Vice-Chancellor, but someone has to bite the bullet.

6. AMU Court, Executive Council has to be restructured.

7. Tradition of Introduction (Not ragging) has to be revived. Some Orientation Program can be arranged in the beginning.

8. Literary/Cultural/Sports Activities needs to be promoted. These activities gives a fresh air and kills a lot of frustration from the students community.

I will keep writing as something else comes to my mind. I will request others also to share their thoughts which can improve the overall condition of AMU Campus.

Launch of by Er. Zakir Ali Khan

Launch of by Er. Zakir Ali Khan

On the occasion of Sir Syed Day Celebrations-2009 in Long Island New York , a new website ( ) on Sir Syed and his mission "Aligarh Movement" was launched by a true Aligarian and one of the flag bearer of Aligarh Movement, Er. Mohammad Zakir Ali Khan . Er. Mohammad Zakir Ali Khan was there to attend the auspicious occasion of 192nd birth anniversary of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan and the annual celebration of Sir Syed Day by Aligarh Alumni Association of New York Tr-State and receive annual "Sir Syed Lifetime achievement" conferred on him by Aligarh Alumni Association of New York Tri-State. The proceddings started with a brief introduction of the website and its its developer, Mr. Afzal Usmani by Dr. Shaheer Khan. He emphasized the need of a website where introductory information and Sir Syed, Aligarh movement and prominent Aligarians is easily accessible. Dr. Khan said that this new website will fill the vaccumm and will inspire others to work in this direction. After his brief comments, he requested Er. Muhammad Zakir Ali Khan to inaugurate the website by clicking the mouse on the link of the website. While inaugurating the website, Er. Mohammad Zakir Ali Khan , who is a Co-Founder of Sir Syed University of Engineering & Technology, Karachi, expressed the need of a such website which can fulfill the void in cyberspace to carry on the mission of Sir Syed and Aligarh Movement. This is an era of information Technology and people look for information on internet because its easy and accessible from anywhere on a click of a button. He congratulated Mr. Afzal Usmani, the brain behind this website and his team and extended his support to make this website as a reference portal for all the information of Aligarh Movement to carry on mission of Sir Syed. Prof. Waseem Barelvi, famous Urdu poet also spoke on the occasion. He appreciated the efforts of Afzal Usmani for making the material on Sir Syed, his associates, and Aligarh movement available at one place.

Prof. Waseem Barelvi, Mr.Meraj Faizabadi Tahir Faraz, Mr. Manzar Bhopali (Urdu Poets from India), Saleem Kausar, Abbas Tabish (Urdu Poets from Pakistan), Zamin Jafri (Urdu Poet from Canada) and Humaira Rahman (Urdu Poetess from NY) were also prent on the occasion. Former President of The Federation of Aligarh Alumni Association (FAAA) Mr. Muzaffar Habib, Treasurer Mr. Riazuddin Alvi and member of Board of Trustees of FAAA, Mr. Ahsan Fazli, President of AMUAA, NY, Mrs. Anis Khan, and many other distinguished guests were also present.

While addressing the function via teleconference, Afzal Usmani expressed his gratitude to all those who helped him to make this website a reality and he also expressed his happiness over the inauguration of the website by Er. Zakir Ali Khan, to whom he considers among the best who are living on this planet to carry on the mission of Sir Syed and his Aligarh Movement. He dedicate the website to the greatest educational and social reformer of modern time, Sir Syed Ahmad Khanand who is dear to all Aligarian and followers of Aligarh Movement. He also requested everyone to share any information which they consider will be relevant for the website. He promised to publish them with due acknowledgments. Dr. Shaheer Khan proposed vote of Thanks and presented the first day cover of Indian postal stamp on legendary Aligarian Asrarul Haq "Majaz" to Zakir Ali Khan. The distinguished apprecited the gift and said it will be a wonderful addition to his library.

Er. Mohammd Zakir Ali Khan Inaugurating the website

(Sitting)L-R: Prof. Waseem Bareilvi, Er. Zakir Ali Khan, Mr. Meraj Faizabadi
(Standing)L-R: Mr. Riaz Alvi, Mr. Muzaffar Habib, Mr. Manzar Bhopali, Dr. Shaheer Khan and Mr. Ahsan Fazli

Er. Mohammd Zakir Ali Khan writing his comments and good wishesfor the website

MZAK Message
Inaugural Message from Er. Zakir Ali Khan

AMU elegance and ethos at peril

AMU elegance and ethos at peril

Syed M. Naseem*

The atmosphere at the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) has been vitiated over the last several months by controversies on the issue of the Vice-Chancellor's use or abuse of power and gross disruptive behavior by few students who possibly are motivated by Aligarh mafia (a nexus of students, staff, and goons of Aligarh). Clashes, abusing, fighting, dharnas, strikes etc has become a common affair at AMU these days. University has become a political field, for irresponsible students, pathetic retired teachers, and spent politicians of regional political parties. Persistent interference of student leaders in AMU management should be blamed for deteriorating law and order situation and conditions at AMU. A real power struggle is on the move and is on horizon.

Appointment of incompetent teachers along with recruitment of exemplary-hard-working teachers in administration and management, and the poor intake quality of the students lead to a proportionate rise in indiscipline and a depressing slide down in the university reputation. Uninterrupted and serious disturbances in the campus created an image in the country that AMU is one of the institutions always a center of unrest or chaos.

A brief description of disruptive activities of AMU student’s leaders under various VCs administration is as follows:

Under severe pressure from the University staff and students, Vice Chancellor Prof. Naseem Farooqui (Oct. 15, 1990 to Nov. 15, 1994) called general election without any valid union constitution. The outcome of the election was disastrous. Prof. Naseem Farooqui, himself became the prisoner of the students. University staff started playing students against vice chancellor and vice versa. The office bearers of the union virtually took control of the university, especially, admission and examination. They humiliated and beaten teachers publicly and vice chancellor could not come to their help.

Based on the recommendation of the Electoral College, Mr. Mahmoodur Rahman reconstituted the student's union on August 28, 1997. He gave very stern warning to students for immediate dismissal of the union, for interference in the university affairs.

Mr. Mohammad Hamid Ansari sahib time was also a very turbulent period because of so-called leaders of AMU students. Many incidents happened and were all published in various National and local newspapers. Hamid Ansari sahib decided not to renew the Union partly due to lack of approved Union constitution and he also realized that the Union might not serve the purpose for which it was established. Student leader’s aspirant for Union leadership did not shy away from their continuous demands for the restoration of union. Many serious mishaps happened during his tenure at AMU.

Revolver fight in Shamshad Market, couple of students injured, followed by murderous attack on Mr. Saeed-ur-Rahman, Proctor AMU, one proctorial staff injured by bullet, city police raided AMU hostels and confiscated guns and other lethal armaments. A student was kidnapped and kept in Sir Syed Hall; ransom money was demanded from the parents. University Engineer also received a threatening letter in which a large sum was demanded. Prof. Jafri, former Pro Vice Chancellor was dragged from the Arts faculty and a senior professor in Engineering College was publicly beaten by student leaders on the University Road. On gunpoint students asked teacher to improve their grade in Psychology Department. A heinous murder was committed on the university road; robbery and theft by students were frequent. Student leaders (commonly known as Admission Mafia) were very active at AMU campus. Professor Aziz Khan, controller of the Admission and examination was beaten by those hooligans. Semester examination was postponed because of the student's demand. Hooligans destroyed University properties. Unauthorized people were back in the hostels. One provost was willing to pay 5, 000 rupees to anybody who could take out those miscreants from Sulaiman Hall or any Hall of the residence. Proctor, Saeed-ur-Rahman resigned due to fast deteriorating law and order situation at campus and replaced by Proctor Ajmal Khan.

Vice Chancellor Mr. Naseem Ahmad sahib also decided not to hold the election in his first year of his office, mostly because of total lack of interest among majority of students who want to concentrate on their studies rather than get involved in union politics. However he stumbled to the pressure and called for election (November 10, 06). Mr. Nafees, from his own district of Azamgarh was elected President, he was a well known ruffian, who publicly snubbed and detained, the whole AMU administration in a room for several hours demanding leniency of attendance requirement for his friend in F/O Management. Unfortunately, Naseem Ahmad sahib succumbed and ceded to his demand and command. Once again, Students Union through Mr. Nafees started abusing the AMU administration including VC, who was made powerless by the students union. Finally student’s mafia gave him and his wife looming death, he escaped to Delhi and resigned a week before his actual retirement.

Current Vice Chancellor Prof. Aziz is now the victim of AMUSU leaders. He will pay dearly for his mistake to concede to the demands for the Union election. This resulted in the occupation of student's union by detrimental group of students, and the Union platform became a source of agitation and unrest. Evidently uncompromising students are back on scene and will continue their dharna and disruption of AMU functioning till admission is completed. I hope the university administration this time will take stern action to bring peace in the campus and to put the university back to normalcy for 80% students who are career-oriented and serious in their studies.

*Syed M. Naseem is an AMU alum based in Washington DC USA and can be reached at

Response - Part I 1990-94 - Afzal Usmani

Response - Part I : AMU elegance and ethos at peril

Response - Part I 1990-94

AMU elegance and ethos at peril

Afzal Usmani

Janab Syed Naseem Sahab,


First of all we are thankful for a brief over view of AMU campus for last 20 years. Interestingly this is the period when either I was in the campus or have been associated with it very closely.

My intention is not to contradict your observation, but to complement it so that we can have the actual and complete information.

On 15th October 1990, when Prof. M.N Farooqui joined as Vice-Chancellor of AMU Aligarh, an elected AMU Students Union was already existing with Mr. Hafiz Mohd Usman, Mr. Khalid Masood and Mr. Ayub Shabab as President, Vice-President and Honorary Secretary respectively. As per the charter of AMU Students Union, a fresh union election was conducted in 1991 and Mr. S.M. Anwar Hussain, Mr. S.M. Haider Asad and Mr. Fakhrey Ahmad Shobi were elected as President, Vice-President and Secretary respectively. Similarly another election was held just after 1 year in Jan/Feb 1992 and Mr. HM Azam Beg, Mr. Hasan Aziz Amir and Mr. Syed Abrar Ahmad "Cheeku" were elected as President, Vice-President and Secretary respectively.

During this period, for unknown reasons Prof. M.N. Farooqi and his administration tried to run a parallel Students Union by patronizing those candidates who had lost AMUSU election for President and VP , viz. Mr. Khalid Masood and Mr. Azam Mir Khan. In Jan/Feb 1993, after completing 1 year of term, the elected Students Union was dissolved and Prof. Farooqi installed an Ad hoc Students Union with Mr. Hafiz Irshad Ahmad as the President.

The Ad hoc Union declared the election in April 1993. However, just2-3 days before voting, a very unfortunate incident took place in Shamshad Market and police opened fire and one student, who was very well known to me, Mr. Jaunaid Shamshad died. Another student and my batch mate Meraj Fakhri was injured. Due to this unfortunate incident University was shut down and hence the elections postponed. However, the ad hoc Students Union under the President ship of Mr. Hafiz Irshad Ahmad continued to function for almost a year after that and upon Hafiz Irshad Ahmad's election to UP Assembly from Gopalpur, Azamgarh and his deputy Kr. Arif Ali Khan's sentence to jail, the Ad hoc AMU Students Union was dissolved and another Adhoc Union was appointed to conduct the election. This lead to the last election of Prof. M.N. Farooqi's tenure and Mr. Khalid Masood finally won President ship in his 3rd bid for President AMUSU. Mr. Merajuddin Ahmad was elected VP and Mr. Mohd Aslam was Secretary of AMUSU.

In total, Prof. Farooqi ordered 4 general elections in 4 years, and installed 2 Ad hoc Students Union.

I do not think he was under any pressure to have ordered 4 general elections in 4 years and also installed 2 Ad hoc Students Union.

In fact it was due to Prof. M.N. Farooqui’s decision to suspend President of AMUSU Mr. HM Azam Beg just days before the First International Sir Syed Day in 1992, that the campus was again embroiled in controversies and restlessness. That resulted in the disruption of the entire Celebration and finally the Sir Syed Day dinner of Cricket Pavilion was cancelled by the VC and was organized in respective Halls of residence. Although the suspension of President AMUSU, Mr. Beg was revoked a day or two before Sir Syed Day, it was by now too late and the First International Sir Syed Day, which was incidentally also the 175th Birth Anniversary of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, fell victim to AMU Campus Politics. The main reason of suspension of President of AMUSU was make his deputy as President on the behest of one his main figure of AMU Administration.

The turmoil in AMU campus during Prof. Farooqui's tenure was started when his first PVC (a number of PVCs served under Prof. Farooqui), an AMU alum and IIT Delhi faculty Prof. S.M. Yahya resigned from his position, just after completing one year in May 1992. In his resignation letter, Prof. Yahya clearly complained about a group of students lead by Mr. Merajuddin Ahmad who misbehaved with him. Prof. Farooqi could not take any action against those as they were patronized by a senior faculty who was a key aspirant of the position of Pro-Vice Chancellor. On June 1st 1992, when AMU Students Union was giving a farewell to Prof. S.M. Yahya, the same group of students lead by Mr. Merajuddin Ahmad attacked Students Union Hall, opened fire, beat up president and his few supporters and once again misbehaved with Prof. S.M. Yahya. It was well known that who opened fire and who misbehaved with AMUSU President and outgoing PVC Prof. Yahya, but no action was taken against the culprit.

When the same Students Union reached to AMU Vice-Chancellors office to ask to take action against those culprits, Prof. Farooqi's parallel Students Union group lead by Mr. Khalid Masood came with firearms in their hands to save Prof. Farooqi. Of course due to firearms, general students present with AMUSU were scared and only two brave students, Mr. Faheem Ahmad Khan "Rabbu" and Zubair Ahmad Khan saved President AMUSU and left the scene. Prof. Farooqi openly thanked Mr. Khalid Masood to save his life.

We fail to understand, how the elected Students Union which was only protesting could have posed a danger to the life of Prof Farooqi. The remaining 2 1/2 years, he was completely in the clutches of Mr. Khalid Masood and paid the debt which he owed to him for his 1st June 1992 act. This was a well know fact in the campus during that time that Mr. Khalid Masood is patronized by AMU VC, Mr. Merajuddin Ahmaed who openly misbehaved with Prof. S.M. Yahya was patronized by Pro-Vice Chancellor and Mr. Azam Mir Khan was patronized by Mrs. Najma Akhtar, Controller of Examination and Admission.

Finally when Prof. Farooqi resigned in Nov 1994. His last order was even more amazing/ surprising.

Prof. Farooqi removed Prof. Abul Hasan Siddiqi as Pro-Vice Chancellor, appointed Prof. Shamim Ahmad (popularly known as Prof. Khwaja Shamim) as PVC. Removed Mrs. Najma Akhtar from the position of Controller of Admission and Examination and appointed Prof. Humayun Murad as Controller of Admission and Examination.

Strangely though, he appointed Mrs. Najma Akhtar as Director of Academic Program (DAP), a position held by Prof. Farid Ghani during Prof. Farooqi's entire tenure. This position of DAP was almost a parallel position to PVC. DAP was a member of EC, Court and EC.

Here is a million dollar question;
How can Prof. Farooqi justify the appointment of a Non-Academic person as a Director of Academic Program of a Central University?

Do we think AMU Students Union was behind this?

"You reap what you sow"
I will give time to readers to go through it and correct me, wherever I may be wrong.

I will write about the tenure of Mr. Mahmoodur Rahman, Mr. Hamid Ansari, Mr. Naseem Ahmad and Prof. P.K. Abdul Azis and their association with AMU Students Union's affair in next phases.

Closer Look: Aligarh Movement

Closer Look: 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 Khan’s 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 British. He wrote “Asbab-e-baghawat-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.

Scientific Society Stone

Foundation stone of the Scientific Society. Society was set up in 1864 in Ghazipur

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 in Mallapuram and 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 doesn’t 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 way.

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.


Closer Look is a monthly column by editor Kashif-ul-Huda. For publication permissions please contact

Jernaili Sadak - Audio Travelogue of Sher Shah Suri Road (G.T.Road)

A tale of a great historic road linking Peshawar with Calcutta. This is a popular radio programme presented from the Urdu Service of the BBC, London in 1985-86 compiled by Raza Ali Abidi

Why to celebrate Sir Syed Day ?

Dear Aligs,

17th October, the annual festivity seasons for Aligs around the world is on the corner. Most of us are in a process to celebrate it in one or the other form. Some of us agree with these celebrations and others don't. I agree with both the sides. Even though I am a strong beliver to enjoy this festivity but with the following questions in my mind;

  1. Do we ever try to reason the reasons of this festivity ?
  2. What is the be the best way to pay our tributes to the grand old man of our community ?
  3. Do we ever think, what would have been the reaction of Sir Syed, if he sees the festivities on his birth anniversary around the globe ?
  4. Even though Islam is against the birth or death anniversaries, why we celebrate Sir Syed Day even though majority of the participants in the celebrations are Muslims or followers of Islam ?
  5. Does the lavish Dinner, Awards, Mushairas and other social and cultural activities will please Sir Syed or his mission ?

May be some of us might be thinking that either I am a cynical or hypocrite, but trust me, I do not mind what ever you think about me. Even I don't not have the answers to the above question. Just wanted to know what others feels about my feelings and anxiety or does they feel the same way.

AMU Student Win a Place at the World's Richest and Largest Business Planning Competition

AMU Student Win a Place at the World's Richest and Largest Business Planning Competition


Left to right: Manoj Krishnapillai, Shams Qamar Usmani, Sonu Bubna, Dr Frank Cave and Juan C. Reyes.

A team of Common wealth fellow at Lancaster Environment Centre and Lancaster post-graduate students has won entry to the Rice University Business Plan Competition, the most prestigious of its kind in the world. Forty teams, selected from over 300 entries from around the world, compete for more than $800,000 in cash and prizes. The final takes place at Rice University in Houston, USA, on 15th - 17th April 2010. The competition is judged by venture capital managers, angel investors and other members of the entrepreneurial community. More important than the winners' cash prize of $325,000 is the opportunity to network and receive mentoring from successful entrepreneurs. The team has also been supported by an International Travel Award towards the expenses of participation generously provided by AAI Global Equity one of the competition's major sponsors.

The plan put forward by the Lancaster team describes a company, 'Gaea Naturals Limited', that uses an innovative approach to industrial waste water recycling with minimal consumption of energy to help a variety of industries meet sustainability and regulatory obligations, save costs and reduce carbon footprint. The team combines the entrepreneurial vision and abilities of three members of the full-time MBA class, Manoj Krishnapillai, Sonu Bubna and Juan C. Reyes, with the technical knowledge from the Lancaster Environment Centre, brought by PhD student Shams Qamar Usmani. Shams Qamar Usmani is Ph.D. student of Aligarh Muslim University Aligarh India and at present a Common wealth Fellow at Environment Centre in Lancaster University UK.

Dr Frank Cave of IEED, the team's mentor, said "This is the second time a collaboration between technical graduates and entrepreneurial management students has won a place at the Rice Competition, demonstrating the power of such partnerships. The team have received the encouragement and active support of Chris Saunders, Director of the Full-time MBA and his team in the Management School and of Dr Mark Bacon and Dr Kirk Semple of the Lancaster Environment Centre. We are all very proud of them and wish them success in Houston."


N.M. Corner