By Afzal Usmani
Born: 9th December, 1837 Etawah (UP)
Died: 16th October, 1907, Shimla (H.P.)
Father’s Name: Saiyad Mir Zaamin Ali,
Biography: Hayat-e-Mohsin (By Mr. Amin Zuberi : 1934)
Secretary of MAO College Board: 1899-1907
Very few friendships have been as stable and strong as that of Sir Saiyad Ahmed Khan and Mohsin-ul-Mulk. Such a high level of respect for difference of opinion was possible in those days only. Saiyad Mehdi Ali, popularly known as Nawab Mohsin-ul-Mulk, was one of the strongest supporters of Sir Saiyad’s mission and Aligarh Movement. He was born in Etawah(UP) and received the best of early education in and around Etawah. He was given a thorough basic education, both in Persian and Arabic. During his posting as Tahsildar in Etawah, he met Sir Saiyad Ahmad Khan. This meeting resulted in a long lasting companionship and Nawab Mohsinul Mulk became a staunch supporter of Sir Saiyad’s vision and Mission. He became member of the Scientific Society from its starting dates in 1864. He wrote passionate articles in Tahzeebul Akhlaq to support Sir Saiyad’s vision and spread his mission and became a spokesperson of Sir Saiyad’s social thoughts and Aligarh Movement. Regarding Sir Saiyad Ahmad Khan’s visit to England, Nawab Mohsinul Mulk wrote a letter to Honorable Haji Ismail Khan: “Saiyad Ahmad Khan went to England to see with his own eyes the nation which is respected all over the world, and to see the people in their own homes and in their own country. Whatever he observed, he made known to his own people when he returned. When people go to Britain from this country, they usually go for the sights, the theaters, the parks and the museums. But this great friend of Islamic faith went there and sat down in a library to write the Khutbat-e-Ahmadiya and to visit colleges and Universities. He went there for the sake of his people, he stayed there for the sake of his people and he came back for the sake of his people.”
When Sir Saiyad formed THE COMMITTEE OF THE SUPPORTERS OF THE ADVANCEMENT OF MUSLIM EDUCATION, Nawab Mohsinul Mulk was on his side and started collecting donations for the cause of the newly formed committee.
In 1867, he sat for the Provincial Civil Service examination and topped the list of successful candidates. He was appointed as Deputy Collector in U. P. In 1874, Mehdi Ali proceeded to Hyderabad and for his meritorious services, he was conferred the titles of Munir Nawaz Jang and Nawab Mohsin-ud-Daula by the Nizam of Hyderabad.
In 1893, he retired from Hyderabad and came to Aligarh and offered his services to Sir Saiyad Ahmad Khan to assist him in spreading the message of Aligarh Movement. Upon the death of Sir Saiyad, he was appointed as the Secretary of the Muslim Educational Conference in 1899. Towards the beginning of 20th century, the Hindi-Urdu controversy arose in the United Provinces. Mohsin-ul-Mulk took up the pen in defense of Urdu in collaboration with the Urdu Defense Association.
Nawab Mohsinul Mulk authored following books;
1. Mazaameen-e-Tahzeebul Akhlaq (Collection of his articles published in Tahzeebul Akhlaq)
3. Kitabul Muhabbat-o-Shauq Makaateeb
4. Musalmano(n) ki Tahzeeb
Nawab Mohsin-ul-Mulk, being a farsighted and politically conscious leader, carried on correspondence with the private secretary of the Viceroy to give his point-of-view on the necessity of separate representation for the Muslims in all legislatures and local bodies. He presided the 9th session of Muslim Educational Conference which was held in Aligarh in 1894 and proposed a resolution to help and support Nadwatul-Uloom, the newly formed religious school in Lucknow. His impressive Presidential remarks soften the hearts of modern educationist to support the cause of Nadwatul-Uloom.
After Sir Saiyad’s death in 1898, he became Secretary of the MAO College management and took Sir Saiyad’s burden on his own shoulders and is regarded with as much respect as his forerunner. He continued the mission of Sir Saiyad; at the same time he gave some special attention to bring religious and oriental stream scholars closer to AMO College so that the students can benefited from the scholars to have a proper understanding of religion also. He appointed a committee under the Chairmanship of Maulana Habibur Rahman Khan Sherwani to improve the religious studies courses in MAO College. Maulana Shibli Nomani was also a member of that committee. He played a key role in renewing Allama Shibli Nomani’s relationship with Aligarh and in result Allama Shibli again re-attached himself with Aligarh.
On 30th December, 1906 in Dacca, a muslim political organization was formed and Nawab Mohsinul Mulk, along with Nawab Viqar-ul-Mulk, became Secretary of Muslim League and were asked to draft the constitution of the Muslim League. On 16th October, 1907, he died in Shimla (HP).
The Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) honored him by naming a Hall of residence after him. The foundation stone of the Hall was laid by the then Vice Chancellor, Mr. Badruddin Tyabji on November 4, 1963. It started with an initial strength of 400 and is now one of the largest residential Halls both in size and strength, having 900 students and six different hostels: Allama Shibli Hostel (Previously this was Sir Ziauddin Hostel), Ameen Hostel, Majaz Hostel, Maulana Hali Hostel, Maulana Mohd. Ali Johar Hostel, and Saifi Hostel.