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."