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

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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;

Sir Syed Bi-Centenary


Hamiduddin Farahi


ZH Chowdhury

Satish Chandra