By Afzal Usmani
Born: 1863, England
Died: February, 1936 England
Professor of English at MAO College: 1889 to 1899
Principal of MAO College: 29th October, 1899 to 1st March, 1905)
Founder Secretary Old Boys Association: 1890-1899
Finance Secretary MAO College
Visitor: MAO College
President Muslim Educational Conference
Member-Secretary of Secretary of State’s Council: 1906-1916
Books: The Industrial Organization of an Indian Province
Prof. Theodore Morison, a graduate of University of Cambridge, founder of Proctorial System of MAO College, founder Secretary of Old Boys Association, guardian and guide of Sir Ross Masood and Principal of M.A.O. College was born in 1863 in England. After completing his education from University of Cambridge, he joined department of education. He was appointed as educational advisor to young rulers of Chattarpur (Bundel-Khand) and Charkhari (Hamirpur) and moved to India.
Association with MAO College and Aligarh Movement:
In the year of 1889, he was appointed as a Professor of English at MAO College. He was very kind and full of love for his students. At the same time he was much disciplined and never tolerated any indiscipline in college campus. He served as a professor in college till 1999. He served almost 10 years as a Professor of English at MAO College. He was having great respect for Sir Syed and Sir Syed also loved him. Prof. Morison was very popular among the students. In 1999 he went to England for vacation and resigned from his teaching job of MAO College. This was a big loss for MAO College. On 2nd September, 1899 Principal Theodore Beck died in Shimla and MAO College offered the job of Principal to Prof. Theodore Morison which he accepted and joined the new job on 29th October 1899.
The 5 year tenure of Prof. Morison as MAO College Principal was among distinctive period of MAO College. He paid much attention to the educational upliftment of MAO College. He paid special attention to the discipline of MAO College and established Proctorial System at MAO College. Hostel life of MAO College became disciplined and peaceful. He took keen interests in discipline and hygiene of student’s community. The college discipline was in good shape during his tenure as Principal. He was very affectionate to his students but never compromised on discipline issues. He established Proctorial system in the college and appointed Mir Wilayat Hussain as Proctor. He enforced student’s 24-hour time table. He equally enforced discipline among his staff and never tolerated indiscipline in their teachings and schedules. His disciplined approach paid and the college results were improved and student strength started growing. In 1899 when he joined as principal, student strength were 465 but 1903 it became 713. At the same time the performance of the students were also on the rise. From 1900 to 1904, the rate of success in B.A. examinations was between 71% and 79%. Principal Morison paid attention to other activities of students and promoted The Siddons’ Club. To improve Arabic conversation and communication, he established “Lahjatul-Adab”. He also established “Anjuman Urdu-e-Moalla” to promote writing and oratory skills among college students.
Principal Morison also paid attention to the religious studies. He created a position of Dean of Theology. He promoted the Darse-Quran program which used to be given by Allama Shibli in the Strachey Hall and asked Nazim-e-Diniyat, Maulana Abdullah Ansari to continue. He made Namaaz (Salat) compulsory for Muslim students and asked Prayer Monitors to keep record of the students coming for prayers. He also requested staff and member of Trustees present in College to follow the same to set an example. Principal Morison also paid attention towards sports. He had a keen interest in riding so paid key role to establish The MAO College Riding Club in 1893. Due to his interest in riding, he was also known as “Sipaahi Morison”.
Principal Morison was a big advocate of teacher taught relationship and promoted the relationship event if the student or staff member is no more in the College. He also started an Employment Bureau to help the students to get a job. He used to keep student records with his personal remarks so that upon the request of the government he can furnish the record to help the students. H e always used his influence t help MAO College students for a better placement in the jobs.
Principal Morison was also appointed as Finance Secretary of MAO College. He helped a lot to improve the financial condition of the college. He started new techniques so receive donations for College. He was himself a big financial contributor for the college. He kept a clean financial records allowed regular audit for a better financial management. He tried to control the college expenses as per its budget. But at the same time he never ignored the well being of College staff. He gave proper increment in the pay and grades to the college staff. Even being as a European, he never did any kind of discrimination among his European and Non-European staff. He was also elected as President of Muhammadan Educational Conference in December, 1904 at Aligarh. In 1905 he took early retirement from MAO College and moved back to England. Even then he was a part of Aligarh Movement and always took keen interest in helping MAO College and Aligarh Movement. He made several visit to MAO College from England and proved his belief of teacher taught relationship. For his contributions and key role and active participation in Aligarh Movement, MAO College board of Trustees elected him as a Visitor MAO College.
After 1920, when MAO College became Aligarh Muslim University, Principal Morison was honored by naming one of the hostel and road as “Morison Court” and “Morison Road” respectively.
As per the Aligarh Muslim University Calendar, 1937, p. 303 Appendix, the Morison medal was given to the student of MA History, standing first. It was endowed by the staff of MAO College in honour of its Principal T. Morison. It was Silver Medal, Gold Bordered. The MA Library has got the calendars of 1921-25, 1937, 1948, rest are perhaps missing.