I loved watching WildLens by Abrar. Why don’t you try

Author: Dr. Mohsin Aziz

I was searching for some good travel vlogs on internet when I came across Moto vlog WildLens by Abrar. The headline intrigued me and I thought what’s the harm in checking it. Once I started watching it, I got hooked. Its a travel vlog of Abrar who is Pakistani by origin but lives and works in Germany. He decided to travel to Pakistan on his BMW G310GS Bike all the way from Germany.

Its difficult to pin one thing that I liked about this moto vlog series. There are several reasons for liking it. For one, its in Urdu which is my mother tongue so definitely I enjoyed it more. Abrar’s narration is sprinkled with Punjabi which makes it more enjoyable. Also his demeanor makes watching it more enjoyable. Whatever the situation, problem with the motorcycle, visa denied at border, entry denied at border, Abrar is always smiling. Above all the superb drone videography and excellent editing makes the whole experience exceptionally good. Covered in 52 episodes, the journey will take you through several countries and 61 important stops. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the series from Frankfort in Germany to Nankana Saheb in Pakistan. The countries covered en-route are Germany, Austria, Slovania, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Iran and Pakistan. Though the whole series is good but once he enters Turkey the series goes to another level. It can easily be a Netflix series. I enjoyed watching it and to you I would suggest-Go watch it.

The link to the first vlog is

Surely! To Allah we belong

This is my 50th post and I wanted to write something else but with the gloomy scenario around, I decided to share a few verses from the Quran which may give some perspective to us in these testing times. These verses talk about the calamities befalling on human beings, their preferred reaction and the resulting favours of the Lord of the Universe on such people

And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to As-Sabirin (the patient ones), (Al Quran 2:155). Who, when afflicted with calamity, say: “Truly! To Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return.” (Al Quran 2:156). They are those on whom are the Salawat (blessings) (i.e. who are blessed and will be forgiven) from their Lord, and (they are those who) receive His Mercy, and it is they who are the guided-ones (Al Quran 2:157)

O Allah, Make it Easy

Author: Dr. Mohsin Aziz

Today got the news of 7th death from back home due to corona. Its like a flash flood which is taking everything with it. Medical system is overwhelmed. Doctors and paramedical staff are overworked. People are under stress. The hardest hit are the children who have to endure online teaching. They miss their friends and their school.

One gets the news that so and so is ill and within two three days the news comes that he or she is no more. These are difficult times. We all are in it togethers. Please take very good care of yourself and your near and dear ones by following all the possible guidelines without getting paranoid. It is true that in the long run everybody is dead and there is no untimely death. Everybody dies on his or her appointed time and place only. Still it hurts when seemingly healthy and young go away just like that. Also there is lot of conflicting information floating around which further leads to stress and more confusion.

A possible way to deal with all the negative news floating around is to reduce our time in front of the idiot box. Let us invest our time in learning something new. Let us get ourselves engaged in some healthy activity and let us talk to each other about something else for a change.

Let us pray that humanity comes out of this quagmire soon and life can return to normal. A life where we can visit each other, a life where kids can enjoy their day in the park, a day when we can sit and eat together, a day when we are not suspicious of everybody around, a day when we can talk and laugh together.

O Lord of the Universe make it easy for us, Ameen.

Maulana Wahiduddin Khan (1925-2021)

Author: Dr. Mohsin Aziz

Noted Islamic Scholar Maulana Wahiduddin Khan died of Covid related illness on 21 April 2021 at a Delhi Hospital at the age of 96, Inna Nillahe Wa Inna Illaihe Rajioun (Indeed to Allah we belong and to Him shall we return). He was born on 1 January 1925 in Azamgarh district.

Maulana was a prolific writer. He wrote more than 200 books on Islam, Prophet, Spirituality, Quran etc. Among his notable works is a two volume commentary of Quran, Tazkirul Quran, in Urdu. Besides he also did a translation of Quran in contemporary English. He was editor of monthly Urdu Magazine Al Risala since 1976 which consisted primarily his own articles. His book “Islam: Creator of the Modern Age” is considered a classic on the subject.

Maulana Wahiduddin was one of the earlies among Indian Muslim Scholars to counsel Indian Muslims to surrender claim to Babri Masjid and was a regular presence in many interfaith dialogues.

He was recipient of many National and International awards including Demiurgus Peace International Award, India’s third highest Civilian Awards, Padma Bhushan(2000),  National Citizens’ Award, Rajiv Gandhi National Sadbhavna Award(2009) and last but not least Padma Vibhushan, India’s second highest civilian award in 2021.

Personally I heard a lot about him from my father (Professor Ishtiyaq Ahmad Zilli). He was senior to my father at Madrasatul Islah (Sarimeer, Azamgarh) and for a brief period was his roommate as well at the Madrasah. At Madrasah, while others slept on beds, Maulana preferred sleeping on floor (as told by my father).

Maulana is survived by two sons – Dr. Zafrul Islam Khan and Saniyasnain Khan. Dr. Zafrul Islam Khan is a senior journalist who edits fortnighty Milli Gazette and is former Chairman of Delhi Minority Commission while Saniyasnain Khan runs Goodword Books which publishes Islamic books for kids. Saniyasnain Khan is author of more than 100 books.

His death is indeed a great loss for humanity. May Allah increase his station in hereafter and forgive his shortcomings, Ameen.

Book Introduction: Discovering AMU, Volume 1,2 (Atif Hanif)

Author: Dr. Mohsin Aziz

Recently Aligarh Muslim University celebrated Centenary of its existence. The establishment of the Aligarh Muslim University was culmination of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan’s dream. It was untiring hard work of Sir Syed and his colleagues and later his successors that the small school that Sir Syed started in 1875 at Aligarh metamorphosed into a modern University by the name of Aligarh Muslim University in the year 1920. The centenary was celebrated with lot of vigor and a plethora of activates at the University. Inauguration of the Centenary Gate at the University and the address of the Prime Minister at the Annual Sir Syed Day along with the launching of a stamp on Sir Syed by the Prime Minister were the highlights.

Alumni of the University also celebrated the occasion by various means all over the Globe. Besides other activities, a number of books and articles were also published to commemorate the occasion. One such attempt to pay tribute to the University and celebrate the occasion is a two volume book by Atif Hanif. Atif is a brand and marketing professional from Lucknow. He was my class fellow at Aligarh during MBA (1997-1999) and a very dear friend.

Front and back dust cover of Volume 1
Front and back dust cover of Volume 2

The theme of the two volume book as mentioned on the cover page is “Centenary chapters revealing 100+ years of legacy“. The idea of the book is to capture the 360 degree view of the University in the past 100 years with the help of photographs in the coffee table book mould. The book contains valuable collection of photographs submitted by Alumni from all over the world. There is calligraphy, paintings, maps, letters etc. covering varied aspects of the rich and proud history of the Aligarh Muslim University and Aligarh Movement. The book is without doubt a welcome addition to the growing literature on the University.

Details about the Book Book

Author: Atif Hanif

Weight: 2730 Grams

Hardcover: 584 Pages

Volumes: 2

Language: English

Dimensions: 29.7 cm x 21 cm

Price: 2000 INR

ISBN: 978-81-947980-4-0

Publisher: Xtraordinary Life Media Pvt. Ltd.

The book can be ordered online at: http://www.xtraordinary.life

Justice Sir Shah Mohammad Sulaiman

Author: Dr. Mohsin Aziz

(Residential Halls of Aligarh Muslim University Series/ Blog 2)

Sulaiman Hall is one of the oldest Halls of resident of Aligarh Muslim University comprising of seven hostels – Kashmir House, Bhopal House, Agha Khan Hostel, Qidwai Hostel, Hasrat Mohani Hostel, Jai Kishan Das Hostel and Mahmoodabad House. It is named after Sir Shah Sulaiman, Eminent Judge and twice Vice Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University. The hall was established in 1945 during the Vice Chancellorship of Sir Dr. Ziauddin (amu.ac.in).

Shah Muhammad Sulaiman was born on February 3, 1886 at Jaunpur. His father, Maulvi Mohammad Usman, was a member of Bar at Jaunpur. He was good at studies and got first division in Matriculation examination followed by a first division at Intermediate examination from Muir College. In 1906, he completed his B.A. from Allahabad University where he stood first. Later he did B.Sc. and stood first. The first position earned him the United Province State Scholarship to study at Cambridge. He completed Tripos in Mathematics from Cambridge in 1909. Simultaneously he completed his Tripos in Law in 1910. Later he qualified for Doctor of Law from University of Dublin. He was called to the Bar from the Middle Temple but Shah Sulaiman decided to return and came back to India in 1911 (Pathak, S., n.d.).

Initially he practiced law at Jaunpur but soon moved to Allahabad High Court to practice law. Allahabad High Court at that time had brilliant lawyers such as Pandit Motilal Nehru, Pandit Sunder Lal, Tej Bahadur Sapru, B.E. O’Conor etc. Shah Sulaiman found fertile ground at Allahabad High Court to express his intellect and very soon made a name for himself in the august company of lawyers practicing there (Pathak, S., n.d.). Starting as Criminal Lawyer, he soon started taking civil cases, and very soon his incisive observations started turning heads. His reputation started to grow and he caught the attention of Chief Justices such as Sir Henry Richards and Sir Grimwood Mears. He was soon offered officiating assignment on the bench. He again moved back to practice but his talent made sure that very soon he was elevated to the Bench as Puisne Judge in 1923. The occasion was recorded by Allahabad Law Journal Reporter in the following words ‘Dr. Sulaiman’s career in the High Court has been one of uniform brilliance and it must be a great sacrifice on his part to accept the Judgeship of the High Court. In doing so, he has upheld the best traditions of the Bar which require that a successful advocate is bound, in point of moral obligation to the State, to serve on the Bench when called upon by His Majesty the King to do so. As an officiating Judge, on two occasions, he made himself universally popular among all sections of the Bar by his courtesy, patience, and evident desire to do justice‘ (Pathak, S., n.d.).

As a Judge he came into his own and very soon made a name for himself. As Sir Tej Sapru would recollect that “Nature had endowed him with gifts of an extraordinary character. Possessed of a penetrative intellect, a mind which could dissect and analyse things as very few other minds could, a power of expression and exposition, he did not take much time on the Bench before he made everyone feel that we had got a Judge of unusual ability and unusual gifts. . . He earned the respect of everyone for his depth of learning, for his sweep of mind and for the promptness of his decisions.”

In 1929 he was knighted by the King-Emperor while he was Puisne Judge at Allahabad. The same year, C. V. Raman was also knighted for his contribution to Physics (The London Gazette, 1929). He acted as Chief Justice in the absence of Sir Grimwood Mears, and thereafter served as a member of the Peshawar Enquiry Committee constituted for enquiring into the riots in Peshawar in 1930.

Upon the retirement of Sir Grimwood Mears as Chief Justice, Sir Shah Sulaiman was appointed as Chief Justice on March 16, 1932. With a reputation whose brilliance was already acknowledged throughout India, it was no surprise when in May, 1937, it was announced that Sir Shah Sulaiman had been appointed a Judge of the Federal Court of India, there was rejoicing everywhere. The new Court was constituted under the Government of India Act, 1935 and for the first time under British rule a focal point was created within the country to which important and grave questions of law proceeded from the High Courts and which, moreover, was vested with original jurisdiction in matters of constitutional importance in disputes between the Central Government and a Province or between one Province and another. When the news of his appointment was announced, there was great rejoicing at Allahabad High Court, and in a reference before a Full Court shortly after the announcement tributes were paid and congratulations showered upon him. When the time approached for him to leave for Delhi, there was a fond but sad farewell. Sir Shah Sulaiman assumed office as Judge of the Federal Court on October 1, 1937. The oath of allegiance was administered by the then Viceroy (Gadbois, G.H.Jr., n.d.).

At the Federal Court of India, Sir Shah Sulaiman immediately showed his brilliance which further enhanced his reputation. The opinion which he delivered in his first case at Federal Court has been described by eminent British lawyer, J. H. Morgan, K. C. in the following words “Now I have just been reading the judgments of the Federal Court at Delhi in that important case. One of those judgments stands out conspicuous and pre-eminent and may well prove to be locus classicus of the law on the subject. It is a judgment worthy of the highest traditions of the House of Lords as an Appellate Tribunal and of the Privy Council itself. I refer to the brilliant judgment of Mr. Justice Sulaiman. In depth of thought, in breadth of view, in its powers alike of analysis and of synthesis, in grace of style and felicity of expression it is one of the most masterly judgments that I have ever had the good fortune to read. Everyone in India interested in future development of the Constitution should study it.”

Similarly, his ruling in what was known as the Communist Conspiracy case in 1933 needs to be read today for certain important lessons. Sir Shah Sulaiman had categorically asserted that, severe punishment on account of political offences or beliefs, defeats the very objective. Today, even calling yourself a ‘comrade’ or reading and referring to Lenin is an offence that can put you behind bars – and even deny you bail.

Besides, his command of law, the other areas of interest were Urdu, Persian, Mathematics and Physics. Interest in Mathematics came to him from his family. One of the most distinguished ancestor of Sir Shah Suliman was Mulla Mahmoud Jaunpuri. Mulla Mahmoud Jaunpuri is the author of highly acclaimed 17th century book on mathematics and astronomy ‘Shams e Bazigha” written in Arabic language (Habib, Irfan, S., 2020). He had a refined taste of Urdu and Persian and wrote a tabsera (Critical note or comment) on Shauq Lucknowi’s Doosra Rukh in Masnawi Alam e Khayal (Sulaiman, S., 1913). He was an ardent admirer of classical Masters of Urdu Poetry Mohammad Ibrahim Zauq who wrote under the nom de plume of ‘Zauq’ and Meer Taqi Meer who wrote under the nom de plume of ‘Meer’. Sir Shah edited and published the poetry of Zauq. He also edited and published the poetry of Meer Taqi Meer by the name of “Intekhab e Masnawiyat e Meer”. He himself wrote the introduction to “Intekhab e Masnawiyat e Meer”. The introduction shows his grasp and mastery over Urdu and Urdu Poetry (Ahmad, A., 1986).

Despite his busy schedule at Allahabad High Court, he always found time for Mathematics and Physics. During his stay at Allahabad, one of his friends was eminent physicist Meghanand Saha who was at Allahabad University at that time. It was during this period that Albert Einstein proposed the Theory of Relativity which settled some unanswered questions from Sir Isaac Newtons time related to gravity. Sir Shah did not completely agree with Einstein and developed his own theory which while departing from Newtons theory also showed calculations to explain the divergence noticed upon application of Einstein’s theory. Sir Shah Sulaiman’s theory with its Mathematical calculations was published in Science and Culture which was published by Meghanand Saha (Habib, S, I., 2020). The theory developed by Sir Shah Sulaiman received widespread recognition in the scientific world including from famous physicists at Harvard University (Pathak, S., n.d.). Even today, his mathematical calculations are available at National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Harvard University Websites.

He was always involved with matters of education. He was a member of the Court of the Aligarh University and of the Allahabad for many years. He was a regular participant in the Executive Council of Allahabad University. In 1928, he presided over the All India Mohammedan Educational Conference at Ajmer. He also presided over the All India Adult Educational Conference at Delhi. Sir Shah Sulaiman was also the President of the Anglo-Arabic College of Delhi for a number of years.

However, his biggest contribution to education was at Aligarh Muslim University. Sir Shah Sulaiman acted as Vice Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University at various occasions (Pathak, S., n.d.). He became Honorary Vice Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University in 1929 (amu.ac.in). He was asked to become Honorary Vice Chancellor after the Chancellor of the University asked the then Vice Chancellor, Nawab Muzammilullah Khan, to resign (Naveed, M.). It was to pave the way to implement the recommendations of the Rahimatoola Committee. He was given the Honorary post as a compromise candidate in which Mr. Mohammad Ali Jinnah was also involved (Masood, N). His knowledge of the law helped the University immensely as he was instrumental in getting relevant Statutes and Ordinances framed for the University. He initiated and effected reorganization of various academic and administrative aspects of the University (Pathak, S., n.d.). At that time he was Judge at The Federal Court of India at Delhi and managed the affairs of the University from there. He used to travel to Aligarh twice a week from Delhi. It is noteworthy that he always incurred personal expenses for the purpose and never claimed salary or travel allowance from the University. Later Sir Sulaiman again became Vice Chancellor of the University in 1938 and continued till his death in 1941. He was buried at Nizamuddin Dargah near Amir Khusrow. Had he not died young, he would in all probability became the first Chief Justice of Independent India. During his tenure he gave considerable importance to girls education and Girls intermediate college was upgraded to degree college. He also introduced Urdu as an independent subject in B.A.

His death was noticed widely and obituaries were written all over the world from New York Times (New York Times, 1941) to Nature Magazine. Noble Laureate, C. V. Raman wrote in the Nature Magazine “As chief justice of the High Court at Allahabad for several years and as vice-chancellor of the Aligarh Muslim University over a considerable period, Sir Shah Sulaiman was a well-known public figure in India. During the last few years of his life he held the distinguished position of one of the three judges of the newly established Federal Court at Delhi. The news of his death early this year at the age of fifty-five came as an unpleasant surprise to his many friends and admirers, and elicited numerous well-merited tributes to his personality and career” (Raman, C. V., 1941).

Justice Pathak described his life aptly when he noted at the time of his death that “Within the years given to him, he achieved a versatile excellence and an intellectual brilliance which dazzled the generation in which he lived. Like a meteor blazing its luminous course across the heavens, he left a trail of glory behind‘ (Pathak, S., n.d.).

For references and more details, please see:

Ahmad, Akhlaq (1986) Sir Shah Sulaiman. Fikr o Nazar, Vol. 23, pp. 231-242

Amu.ac.in. Available at: https://www.amu.ac.in/amuhalls.jsp?did=10091. Accessed on 13 November 2020

Bhattacharya, A. (2019) Legacy of a Polymath. Frontline, July 19. Available at: https://frontline.thehindu.com/the-nation/article28260092.ece. Accessed on 12 October 2020.

Business Recorder (2006) Sir Shah Sulaiman, brilliant judge, , educationist and scientist. 13 March. Available at: https://fp.brecorder.com/2006/03/20060313397214/. Accessed on 18 September 2020.

Gadbois, George, H. Jr (n.d.) The Federal Court of India: 1937-50. The Indian Law Institute, pp. 253-315. Available at: http://14.139.60.114:8080/jspui/bitstream/123456789/15105/1/022_The%20Federal%20Court%20of%20India_1937-1950%20%28253-315%29.pdf. Accessed on 14 November 2020.

Habib, S. I. (2020) Judging political offence: How this visionary handled it in 1931. The Quint, 3 July. Available at: https://www.thequint.com/voices/opinion/chief-justice-sir-shah-sulaiman-allahabad-high-court-legal-system-judiciary-science-math. Accessed on 25 September 2020.

London Gazette (1929) Supplement to The London Gazette, 3 June, 3667, p. A2. Available at: https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/33501/supplement/3667/data.pdf. Accessed on 23 October 2020.

Naveed, Masood (2020) Aligarh Muslim University: Vice Chancellors (1920-79). Available at Indpedia at: http://indpaedia.com/ind/index.php/Aligarh_Muslim_University:Vice_Chancellors(1920-79)#.28VI.29_Sir_Shah_Mohammed_Sulaiman_.2830th_April_1938_to_13th_March_1941.29. Accessed on 15 November 2020.

New York Times (1941) Sir Shah M. Sulaiman. 13 March, New York Times. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/1941/03/13/archives/sir-shah-m-sulaiman.html. Accessed on 19 October 2020.

Pathak, S. (n.d.) Sir Shah Muhammad Sulaiman. Available at: http://www.allahabadhighcourt.in/event/SirShahMSulaimanRSPathak.pdf. Accessed on 21 October 2020.

Raman, C.V. (1941) Sir Shah Mohammad Sulaiman . Nature, pp. 336-337. Available at: https://www.nature.com/articles/148336a0. Accessed on 12 October 2020.

Sahai, V. (2016) Glorious history, splendid past. Times of India, 13 March. Available at: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/allahabad/Glorious-history-splendid-journey/articleshow/51384342.cms. Accessed on 12 October 2020.

Sulaiman, S. (1913). Doosrey rukh pe tabsera In Alam e Khayal, Maulana Ahmad Ali Shauq Lucknawi, Munro Publishing Company, Lucknow.

Anjuman-i-Islam Mumbai

Author: Dr. Mohsin Aziz

Anjuman-i-Islam, Mumbai, is perhaps the oldest and largest Muslim Institution working in the field of modern education in India. It was founded in 1874 (a year before Sir Syed established Madrasatul Uloom in 1875 at Aligarh) by a small group of highly educated and wealthy Muslims from the then Bombay led by Badruddin Tayabji. The group gathered at Badruddin Tayabji’s house and the blueprint was prepared. The gathering included the three founders of Anjuman-i-Islam: Badruddin Tayabji, Camruddin Tayabji and Philanthropist Nakhuda Mohammed Ali Roghay. Besides these social worker Munshi Ghulam Mohammed and few others were also present. The group decided to start a school. Munshi Ghulam Mohammed had already travelled to North Indian cities such as Delhi and Lahore where Muslims had already established schools named Anjuman, hence the inspiration to name it Anjuman I Islam. Money was also collected for the purpose on the occasion. Out of the total collection of 36000 Indian rupees, Nakhuda Mohammad Ali Roghay donated 10000 rupees while Badruddin Tayabji donated 7500 rupees to start a school for Muslim (Anjuman-i-Islam, 2013). In todays terms, these were substantial donations. Of the three founders, Badruddin Tayabji is most well known. He was the first Indian Judge of the Bombay High Court and third president of the Indian National Congress (Anjuman-i-Islam, 2020; Wajihuddin, M., 2019). Camruddin Tayabji is the elder brother of Badruddin Tayabji was the first Indian Solicitor. Mohammad Ali Roghay was one of the leading merchants of Bombay at that time. He was trading partner of Sir Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy and made his fortune in country trade with China. He owned a number of ships, hence the title Nakhuda, which in Urdu means Captain of ship or seafaring master (Ranganathan, M., 2019).

Anjuman’s journey started in February 1874 with one school which had three teachers and 120 students. As the number of students arose, a permanent building was required. The foundation of the present day main building was laid by the then Bombay Governor, Lord Reay, on 31 May 1890. The building was completed and inaugurated on 27 February 1893 by the then Governor of Bombay, George Harris (Wajihuddin, 2019).

An important milestone in the story of Anjuman-i-Islam was the establishment of Karimi library. It was established in 1898 by Kazi Abdul Karim Pulbandari who was owner of various publishing houses such as Karimi Press and Matba Fat-hul Karim in Mumbai. He gave a house valued 25000 Indian rupees that time in Mumbai as Waqf for the upkeep of the library (Nadvi, H., 1959).

Later it was one of the grandsons of Badruddin Tayabji, Saif Tayabji, who contributed to the development of Anjuman-i-Islam. He became member of committee of Anjuman-i-Islam in 1935 and became secretary in 1936 (Qureshi, A., 1958). Saif Tayabji was a Mathematician and a Judge. He was also a Member of Parliament. He strongly felt that lack of English education had hurt Muslims badly. He suggested that Muslims should ask for technical and commercial education rather then study humanities. He felt that by studying humanities Muslims would only join the ranks of educated unemployed (Guha, R., 2007). He was also the moving spirit behind the establishment of Urdu Research Institute in 1946 (Qureshi, A., 1958).

Today Anjuman runs educational institutions all over Maharashtra and has presence at places such as Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, New Panvel, Matheran, Pune, Panchgani, Solapur and Raigad (aiarkp, 2020).

The latest expansion of Anjuman-i-Islam has come up in Panvel, Mumbai. A new technical campus has come up  over 10.50 acres with more than 2.36 lakh square feet of built up area. The cost of the technical campus at 75 crore Indian rupees was donated by Abdul Razzak Kalsekar (Ummid, 2015, Anjuman-i-Islam Kalsekar, 2020).

Anjuman has been lucky to have dedicated staff. However, the enrolment in Urdu medium schools is dropping by the day. There are cases where individual teachers have gone beyond the call of duty to work for increasing the enrolment in Urdu medium schools to stop the closure of the school (Shaikh,A.,2019). However, there seems to be realisation among middle class Muslims families that Urdu may be important for cultural reasons but not for market and jobs as it is not embedded with the economic opportunities. In many cases, even those involved in the management of Urdu medium schools send their wards to English medium schools (Shaban, A., 2014). This is not confined to Mumbai or Maharashtra but happening all over the country (Shah, R., 2019). There have been instances where the enrolment in Urdu medium schools has increased as the Bombay Municipal Corporation has taken a number of steps (Sigh, D., 2018). However, the long term trend does not look positive for Urdu medium schools. Already a number of Urdu of medium schools in Maharashtra are semi Urdu. Semi Urdu schools teach Mathematics and Sciences in English while other subjects are taught in Urdu It is about time that the management at Anjuman-i-Islam think long and hard about the fate of Urdu schools. Strategy should be made to convert Urdu medium schools run by the Anjuman-i-Islam to English medium before the market forces compel it to take the decision in a hurry. However, it should be ensured that there is proper and adequate provision for the teaching of Urdu as a language.

For references and further reading, please see:

Anjuman I Islam. Available at: http://.anjumanislam.org/about/us. Accessed on 24 October 2020.

Anjuman-i-Islam (2013) Anjuman-i-Islam Mumbai – Reaching out, Touching Lives. Corporate Brochure, Mumbai.

Anjuman-i-Islam Kalsekar (2020) Available at: http://aiarkp.org/about-us/anjuman-i-islam. Accessed on 26 October 2020.

Dalvi, A. S. (2011) Bambai ke qadeem kutub khaney aur karimi library. Vol. /60, No. 3—4, pp. 4-15

Guha, Ramachandra (2007) India after Gandhi, pp. 370-71. London: Pan Macmillan Limited.

Nadvi, Hamidullah (1959) Karimi Library. Nawa e Adab. January, Vol. 1, No.1, pp. 73-79

NRInews24x7 (2015, October 10) India’s largest Muslim educational organization, Anjuman-I-Islam Mumbai. Available at: ttps://nrinews24x7.com/indias-largest-muslim-educational-organization-anjuman-i-islam-mumbai/. Accessed on 24 October 2020.

Qureshi, Abdulrazzaq (1958) Saifuddin Tayabji Marhoom. Nawa e Adab, January. Vol. 9, No. 1 , pp. 4-4 (dal).

Ranganathan, Murali (2019) Mohammad Ali Roghay – Life and times of a Bombay Country Trader, In Kidambi, Prashant et. al. (2019) Bombay before Mumbai. Penguin Random House India

Shaban, Abdus (2014) Urdu medium schools in Maharashtra – An Assessment of their Infrastructure and Possibility of Developing them in Model Schools. Tata Institute of Social Sciences. Available at: https://mdd.maharashtra.gov.in/Site/Upload/Pdf/Combined_Urdu_medium_Schools_report.pdf. Accessed on 30 October 2020

Shah, Rajiv (2019) Muslim elite ‘promote’ English, regional languages: Just 0.8% enroll in Urdu schools. Counterview, 15 October. Available at: https://www.counterview.net/2019/10/muslim-elite-promote-english-regional.html. Accessed on 30 October 2020.

Shaikh, Aftab (2019) Hero teacher Shaheen Shah saves Anjuman-i-Islam’s Primary Urdu School in Nagpada from closure by raising its strength from 50 to 200, Mumbai Mirror India Times, June 27. Available at: https://mumbaimirror.indiatimes.com/mumbai/civic/hero-teacher-strives-and-spends-to-keep-school-afloat/articleshow/69966626.cms#:~:text=Senior%2Dmost%20teacher%20Shaheen%20Shah,has%20enrolled%2060%20new%20students.&text=The%20lure%3A%20the%20brand%2C%20school,draw%20even%20a%20single%20admission. Accessed on 30 October 2020.

Singh, Dipti (2018) Enrolment in BMC-run Urdu, Hindi medium schools goes up. Indian Express, 31 July. Available at: https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/enrolment-in-bmc-run-urdu-hindi-medium-schools-goes-up-5283919/. Accessed on 30 October 2020.

Ummid (2015) Philanthropist Abdul Razzak Kalsekar dies at 84. August 11. Available at: https://www.ummid.com/news/2015/August/11.08.2015/abdur-razak-kalsekar-dead.html. Accessed on 29 October 2020

Wajihuddin, Mohammad (2019) Anjuman has shaped minds for 145 years, to recall glorious past on founders day. The Times of India, February 17. Available at: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/anjuman-has-shaped-minds-for-145-yrs-to-recall-glorious-past-on-founders-day/articleshow/68029013.cms. Accessed on 18 October 2020

Appendix:

(List of Educational Institutions run by Anjuman-i-Islam)

List of Pre Primary Schools

– Anjuman Islam’s Allana English Pre-Primary School, C.S.T.

– Anjuman Islam’s Akbar Peerbhoy English Nursery, C.S.T.

– Anjuman Islam’s Ahmed Sailor Pre-Primary School, Nagpada, Mumbai

– Anjuman Islam’s Abdus Sattar Shuaib Pre-Primary School, Maulana Shaukat Ali Road, Mumbai

– Anjuman Islam’s Begum Sharifa Kalsekar Girls’ English Pre- Primary School, Belasis Road, Mumbai

– Anjuman Islam’s Saif Tyabji Girls’ Pre- Primary School., Belasis Road, Mumbai

– Anjuman Islam’s Khalifa Ziauddin Girls’ Pre-Primary School , Mahim.

– Anjuman Islam’s Allana Urdu Pre-Primary School, Kurla

– Anjuman Islam’s Allana English Pre-Primary School, Kurla

– Anjuman Islam’s Fazilabai Abdul Sattar Oomer Pre-Primary School

Anjuman Islam’s Pre- Primary School, English Medium, Versova

– Anjuman – I – Islam’s Zubeida Talib Urdu Pre-Primary School


– Anjuman Islam’s Abdul Azim Khatkhatay English Pre-Primary School, Vashi, Mumbai

– Anjuman Islam’s Ahmed Peermohammed English Medium Pre-Primary School, Pune

– Anjuman Islam’s Noor Nursery Urdu School, Pune

List of primary schools

– Anjuman-I-Islam’s Ahmed Sailor Primary School, Nagpada

– Anjuman-I-Islam Abdus Sattar Shuaib Primary School, Maulana Shaukat Ali Road, Mumbai

– Anjuman-I-Islam’s Saif Tyabji Girls’ Primary & Pre-Primary School

– Anjuman-I-Islam’s Khalifa Ziauddin Girls’ Primary School – Mahim

– Anjuman-I-Islam’s Urdu Primary School, Kurla

– Anjuman-I-Islam’s Fazilabai Abdus Sattar Oomer primary School Urdu Medium, Andheri (W), Mumbai

– Anjuman – I – Islam’s Zubeida Talib Urdu Primary School, Navi Mumbai
– Anjuman-I-Islam Vm & Dm Pm Urdu Primary School, Pune

– Anjuman-I-Islam’s Allana English Primary School

– Anjuman-I-Islam’s Begum Sharifa Kalsekar Girls’ Primary English School

– Anjuman-I-Islam’s Allana English Primary School, Kurla

– Anjuman-I-Islam’s Primary School, English Medium

– Anjuman-I-Islam’s Abdul Azim Khatkhatay English Primary School

– Anjuman-I-Islam’s Ahmed Peermohammed English Medium Primary School

– Anjuman-I-Islam Public School, Panchgani

List of secondary schools

– Anjuman –I- Islam’s Badruddin Tayabji Urdu High School, CST

– Anjuman –I- Islam’s Ahmad Sailor High School

Anjuman –I- Islam’s Jan Mohd. Cassum High School of Commerce Maulana Shaukat Ali Road, Mumbai

– Anjuman-I-Islam J.M.C Night High School, Maulana Shaukat Ali Rd, Two Tanks, Mumbai

– Anjuman-Islam’s Abdus Sattar Shuaib School, Maulana Shaukat Ali Rd., Mumbai

Anjuman-I-Islam’s M.H.Saboo Siddik Tech.High School And Jr. College, Mumbai

Anjuman-I-Islam’s Saif Tyabji Girls’ High School, J.B.B.Marg, Mumbai

Anjuman-I-Islam’s Dr.M.I.Jamkhanawala Girls’ High School, Bandra West,Mumbai

Anjuman-I-Islam’s Kurla Boys High School, Kurla West, Mumbai
Mumbai

– Anjuman-I –Islam’s Allana Girls’ High School, C.S.T. Rd, Mumbai

Anjuman-I-Islam’s Begum Jamila Haji Abdul Haq High School For Girl’s, Versova, Mumbai

Anjuman – I – Islam’s Mustafa Faikh Urdu High School, Vashi, Navi Mumbai.

Anjuman -I- Islam, Peermohamed High School , Pune

Anjuman-I-Islam Public School, Panchgani

Anjuman-I-Islam Allana English High School, Mumbai

Anjuman-I-Islam Begum Sharifa Kalsekar English High School, Mumbai

Anjuman-I-Islam Allana English High School Kurla, Mumbai

Anjuman-I-Islam High School (English Medium), Versova, Mumbai

Anjuman-I-Islam Abdul Azim Khatkhatay English Secondary School

Anjuman-I-Islam Ahmed Peermohammed English Medium High School

List of Junior Colleges

Anjuman-I-Islam’s Akbar Peerbhoy College Of Commerce & Economics. Maulana Shaukat Ali Road, Mumbai

Anjuman-I-Islam’s M.H.Saboo Siddik Tech.High School And Jr.College, Mumbai

Anjuman-I-Islam’s Saif Tyabji Girls’ High School & Junior College of Arts & Science, J.B.B. Marg, Mumbai

Anjuman –I-Islam’s M.H.Jr. College Of Education For Women. Lady Jamshedji Road, Mumbai

Anjuman-I-Islam’s Dr.M.I Jamkhanawala Girls’ Jr.CollegeOf Sc. & Com.,Bandra West,Mumbai

Anjuman-I-Islam Junior College of Science & Commerce, CST, Mumbai

Anjuman-I-Islam Begum Jamila Haji Abdul Haq College of Home Science (Jr. College), Versova, Mumbai

Anjuman-I-Islam Allana Jr. College of Commerce, Science & Arts, Kurla, Mumbai

Anjuman-I-Islam Mustafa Fakih Jr. College of Commerce & Science, Vashi, Mumbai

Anjuman-I-Islam Peermohamed Jr. College of Arts and Commerce, Pune

List of Degree Colleges

Anjuman-i-Islam’s Akbar Peerbhoy College of Commerce and Economics, Maulana Shaukat Ali Road, Mumbai

Anjuman-I-Islam’s Dr. M.Ishaq Jamkhanawala Tibbia Unani Medical College & Haji A.R. Kalsekar Tibbia Hospital

Anjuman-i-Islam’s Complex, Andheri [W], Mumbai

Anjuman-i-Islam’s College of Hotel & Tourism Mgt. Studies & Research, CST, Mumbai

Anjuman-i-Islam’s Allana Institute of Mgt. Studies & A.K. Hafizka Institute of Hotel Mgt. & Catering Technology, CST, Mumbai

Anjuman-i-Islam’s M. H. Saboo Siddik College of Engineering, Byculla, Mumbai

Anjuman-i-Islam’s Akbar Peerbhoy College of Education, (B.Ed.), Vashi, Mumbai

Anjuman-i-Islam’s Allana Institute of Management Studies, CST, Mumbai

Anjuman-i-Islam’s Begum Jamila Haji Abdul Haq College of Home Science, CST, Mumbai

Anjuman-i-Islam’s Kalsekar Technical Campus – School of Architecture, New Panvel

Anjuman-i-Islam’s Technical Campus – School of Engineering & Technology, New Panvel

Anjuman-i-Islam’s Kalsekar Technical Campus – School of Pharmacy, New Panvel

Anjuman-i-Islam’s College of Hospitality Mgt. Studies (Affiliated to Yashwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open University Nasik) -YCMOU, CST, Mumbai

Anjuman-i-Islam’s M.H.Saboo Siddik Polytecnic, Byculla, Mumbai

Anjuman-i-Islam’s Akbar Peerbhoy Girls Polytechnic, CST, Mumbai

Anjuman-i-Islam’s Polytechnic for Girls ,Pune

Anjuman-i-Islam’s Abdul Razzak Kalsekar Polytechnic, New Panvel

Other Institutes

Anjuman-i-Islam’s M. H. Saboo Siddik Industrial Training Institute, Byculla, Mumbai

Anjuman-i-Islam’s M.H.S.S. Polytechnic Extension Centre, Solapur

Anjuman-i-Islam’s Homai Peerbhoy Computer Centre, CST, Mumbai

Anjuman-i-Islam’s Computer Training Center, C.S.T., Mumbai

Anjuman-i-Islam’s M.H.S.S. Computer Center for Hardware & Networking, Byculla, Mumbai

Anjuman-i-Islam’s A.E. Kalsekar Hospital, Andheri, Mumbai

Anjuman-i-Islam’s Urdu Research Institute, CST, Mumbai

Anjuman-i-Islam’s Adabi Printing Press, Byculla, Mumbai

Anjuman-i-Islam’s Karimi Library, CST, Mumbai

List of Hostels

Anjuman-I-Islam Sobani Hostel, CST, Mumbai

Anjuman-I-Islam Akbar Peerbhoy Girls Hostel, Andheri, Mumbai

List of Orphanages

Anjuman-I-Islam A.D. Bawla Female Orphanage, Versova, Mumbai

Anjuman-I-Islam Vali Mohd. & Dost Mohd. Peer Mohd. Girls Orphanage, Pune

Anjuman-I-Islam Boys Orphanage, Mumbra, Mumbai

List of Shara Units

Anjuman-I-Islam Sahara Mahim Unit (Center for Distress Women & Families), Mahim, Mumbai

Anjuman-I-Islam Sahara Mumbra Unit (Center for Distress Women & Families), Mumbra, Mumbai

Sir Syed Excellence Award 2020

Author: Dr. Mohsin Aziz

The Sir Syed Excellence Award 2020 has been announced by the Aligarh Muslim University. The award in the National Category has been given to Anjuman-i-Islam, Mumbai, while in the International Category the award has been conferred on Dr. Gail Minault. The national category award carries a citation and an amount of one lakh India rupees while in the international category it carries a citation and two lakh Indian rupees . The awards was conferred on the recipients during the online Sir Syed Day commemorative function on October 17, 2020 (AMU, 2020)

Professor Minault is a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania (1972) and has taught at The University of Texas since 1972. At present she is Professor Emeritus at the Department of History, The University of Texas at Austin. Her field of research is 19th and 20th century history of India especially focusing on religion, politics, intellectual and social history and women’s movement. She is author of highly acclaimed books such as:

  • The Khilafat Movement: Religious Symbolism and Political Mobilization in India (1982)
  • Secluded Scholars: Women’s Education and Muslim Reform in Colonial India (1997)
  • Gender, Language and Learning: Essays in Indo-Muslim Cultural History (2009).

Besides she has edited the following books:

  • The Extended Family: Women and Political Participation in India and Pakistan (1981)
  • Separate Worlds: Studies of Purdah in South Asia (1982)
  • Abul Kalan Azad: A Religious and Intellectual Biography (1988)

She has also translated “Voices of Silence (1986). Professor Gail said that she is “greatly surprised, humbled, and honored to be offered this prize” (The University of Texas at Austin, 2020). During her address in the virtual program conducted to confer the award, she discussed her research on the Khilafat Movement and how important it was for her to find out what the Ali Brothers, Abdul Bari Firangi Mahali, and Maulana Azad were writing, thinking, and saying (AMU, 2020).

Anjuman-i-Islam is a Mumbai based educational conglomerate. It was started by a group of visionary Muslims led by Badruddin Tayabji in 1874. The organisation is the biggest Muslim educational conglomerate of institutions in India providing quality education in varied areas of specialisation. Today the social organisation runs more than 100 educational institutions in the state of Maharashtra, particularly Mumbai. The institutions run by Anjum-i-Islam range from pre-primary schools to Post Graduate courses and caters to around one lakh and ten thousand students. It has provided yeoman service to the nation in the field of education (AMU, 2020). The award was given to Anjuman for “Anjuman-Islam’s exemplary efforts for propagating education among Muslims and other marginalized sections of society” (Wajihuddin, M., 2020). The award was received by Dr. Zahirul Islam Kazi on behalf of Anjuman-I-Islam. While receiving the award he said that “Anjuman Islam follows the teachings of Sir Syed in providing he marginalised sections with the quality education (AMU, 2020).

Congratulations to both Professor Gail Minault and Anjuman-i-Islam for the award. The contribution of Anjuman is immense and deserves a separate blog and hopefully my next blog will be on the history and contribution of Anjuman to the cause of education.

For references and further reading, please see:

AMU (2020) https://www.amu.ac.in/about3.jsp?did=1960. Accessed on 24 October 2020.

The University of Texas at Austin (2020, October 22) Professor Gail Minault Receives Sir Syed Excellence Award. Availabel at: https://liberalarts.utexas.edu/southasia/news/professor-gail-minault-receives-sir-syed-excellence-award. Accessed on 24 October 2020.

Wajihuddin, Mohammad (2020) Anjuman education trust bags national award from AMU. The Times of India, October 10. Available at: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/anjuman-education-trust-bags-national-award-from-amu/articleshow/78588037.cms. Accessed on 24 October 2020.

Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, KCSI

Author: Dr. Mohsin Aziz

(Residential Halls of Aligarh Muslim University Series/ Blog 1)

Soorat se ayaan jalaley shahi

chahrey par faroghey subhey gahi

wo mulk pe jaan deney wala

wo qaum ki naaw kheney wala

(Allama Shibli Nomani)

As promised in my previous blog, this is the first in series of blogs on the personalities on whom halls of residence at Aligarh Muslim University have been named. The list includes the luminaries of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. It is a veritable who’s who list. But none among them can match the towering personality and lasting impact of Baba e Qaum, Sir Syed Baba. He is lovingly called by this name by Aligarians (Alumni of Aligarh Muslim University). Two halls of residences in University are named after the founder of the University: Sir Syed Hall North and Sir Syed Hall South. These halls of residence contain many heritage buildings associated with the history of Aligarh Muslim University, many of them designed by Sir Syed himself and built under his supervision. Some of the heritage buildings in the Sir Syed Hall compound include Victoria Gate, Jama Masjid, Strachey Hall, Beck Manzil, Asman Manzil, Sami Manzil, etc.

Syed Ahmed Taqvi bin Syed Muhammad Muttaqi, popularly known as Sir Syed, was born on 17 October 1817 at Delhi. His family was in service of Mughal Court for several generations (Bhatnagar, 1969) and his early education of Quran and Science was in the court itself. After the death of his father in 1838, the income from the Mughal Court reduced significantly. to support his family, Sir Syed started his career in 1838 with East India Company and after some training started working as Sadr Amin (Hali, A. H., 1939, p. 42). In 1839, he was called to Agra by Sir Robert Hamilton and made Naib Munshi in Agra Collectorate (Hali, A. H., 1939, p. 43). During his stay in Agra he prepared and passed the competitive exam for post of Munsif and got his diploma (Hali, 1939, p. 44). The material which he prepared for his competitive exam was published by him with his brother as co author to help others to prepare for the post of Munsif by the name of Intekhabul Akhween. It become quite popular and many people cleared the exam of Munsif with the help of the book (Hali, 1939, p.44). During this period he wrote three more books. The first was Jala ul Quloob bi Zikril Mahboob on the life of the Prophet Mohammad ﷺ . The second book was Tuhfah e Hasan and third book was Tasheel fi Jarre Saqeel which was translation of Ibn Sina’s book. It was published in 1844 (Hali, A. H., 1939, p. 45). During this period he was awarded the title of Jawwadud Dawla and Arif Jung in 1942 during a ceremony at the Court (Hali, A. H., 1939, p. 45, Bhatnagar, 1969). After the death of his brother, Sir Syed was transferred to Delhi where he continued to publish the newspaper, Sayed al Akhbar, which his brother started. The newspaper had its own printing press. It was here in 1847 that his book on the historical monuments of Delhi, Asarus Sanadid (Remnant signs of Ancient Heroes ) was published. It was a unique book in the sense that no such book was written on similar lines before. It contained the details of pre 1857 Delhi and its monuments, buildings and people. The book contained detailed drawings and measurements of the monument. It was translated into French in 1861 by Garcin de Tassy and based on the French translation, the Royal Asiatic Society made Sir Syed its honorary fellow on 4 July 1964 (Hali, 1939, p. 50). A highlight of Asarus Sanadid is the four statements of praise (taqreez) which are contained in the book. One of them is written by Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib (Naim, 2010). The hard work that Sir Syed put in collecting relevant information for Asarus Sanadid was an indicator of things to come. It was evident that if Sir Syed started a project he would give it all and would go to any length to get quality. To read the inscriptions on Qutub Minar, he would sit in a basket and the basket would be suspended on scaffolding high enough to read the inscriptions thus putting his life in danger (Hali, A. H., 1939, pp. 47-48). This quality of Sir Syed stood him in good stead in later life.

On 3 January 1855, Sir Syed was transferred to Bijnor as Sadr Amin (Hali, A. H., 1939, p. 52). During his posting at Bijnor Sir Syed published an annotated edition of Ain e Akbari. He included a number of pictures which were missing in the Ain Akbari.

In April 1858 he was transferred to Moradabad as Sadrus Sudur (Hali, A. H., 1939, p. 70). In 1859, the British Government constituted a commission to try those involved in the 1857 War of Independence. Sir Syed was made part of the commission in Moradabad. His presence ensured that the work of the commission was done with Justice (Hali, A. H., 1939, p. 71) and not with a feeling of taking revenge. Same year i.e. 1859 he established a Madrasa for teaching Persian at Moradabad (Hali, A. H., 1939, p. 73). In 1860 there was severe famine in the area in and around Moradabad. The responsibility to arrange relief was given to Sir Syed by the Collector of Moradabad, Sir John Strachey. Sir Syed worked tirelessly to provide relief regardless of religion or social status. He personally supervised the relief efforts and even used to wash clothes of people who were sick (Hali, A. H., 1939, pp. 91-92). Sir Syed also ensured that orphans were given for adoption according to their religion to either Hindu families or Muslim families and not to the Christian Missionaries which were working there under the patronage and with the support of the British Government. It was one of his conditions to accept the responsibility of managing the relief efforts which was accepted by Sir John Strachey (Hali, A. H., 1939, p. 93). Sir Syed ensured that none of the orphans was given to the Missionaries. Very soon Sir John Strachey was transferred and replaced by Mr. Power. He was inclined towards the Missionaries and ensured despite protest from Sir Syed that the orphans which were given to Hindu and Muslim families were taken back and given to Christian Missionaries by force. Even the four or five orphans who were living at Sir Syed’s house were not sparred. This incident shook him to the core and decided that very soon he will establish an orphanage for Indians were both Hindu and Muslim orphans will be taken care of and the funding will come from common people through donations. However, he very soon realised orphanage is no long term solution and unless there is education among Indians they situation can not be changed (Hali, A. H., 1939, pp. 91-94).

On 12 May 1862, Sir Syed was transferred to Ghazipur (Hali, A. H., 1939, p. 105). He established a school at Ghazipur in 1863 (Hali, 1939, pp.107-108). By that time Sir Syed was of firm belief that modern ideas, particularly scientific ideas, can not be propagated unless they are available in vernacular languages. To achieve the said goal, he published an appeal “Iltimas ba khidmat saaknaaney hindustaan dar baab e taraqi taalim ahley hind” (Appeal to the residents of Hindustan regarding development of education of Indians) and distributed it in 1863 (Hali, A. H., 1939, p. 106). He appealed to the people to make a society for translating old Indian books and modern scientific books in English language into Urdu language to inculcate scientific temperament. The appeal worked and Scientific Society was formed at Ghazipur in 1864. Sir Syed was elected its honorary secretary. The Duke of Argyll accepted to be appointed its patron. Lt. Governor Edmont Drummond (Lt. Governor of North Western Provinces) and Lt. Governor Sir Donald Friell McLeod (Lt. Governor of Punjab) were appointed Vice Patrons (Hali, A. H., 1939, p. 106). The scientific society was later shifted to Aligarh when Sir Syed was transferred to Aligarh. The society proved to be a milestone and an important pillar in the Aligarh Movement. Membership was open to all. Out of 109 people who accepted the membership 28 were British, 34 Hindu and 47 Muslims (Usmani, A., 2009).

In 1864, Sir Syed was transferred to Aligarh from Ghazipur (Hali, A. H., 1939, p. 108).. At Aligarh, on 10th May 1866, on the urging of Sir Syed, Aligarh British Indian Association was formed at Aligarh (Hali, A.H., 1939, p. 111). By 1867, he was promoted and became Judge at a Small Causes Court. In 1868, Sir Syed wrote a book “Risalae Ahkaam Ta’am Ahle Kitab“. In this book, Sir Syed used Quranic Verses and Hadith to argue that Muslims can eat with Christian and there is nothing in religion which stops them from doing so. It was quite provocative thought in that environment but according to Sir Syed himself people slowly accepted the argument and it became quite common for Muslims to share their dinning table with Britishers after some time (Hali, A.H., 1939, pp. 127-129).

It was the first war of Independence in 1857 and the subsequent suppression of Muslims by the British that shook him to the core and caused him to ponder over the fate of the community. At that time, he was posted at Bijnor and firsthand witnessed the calamity that was brought upon Indian Muslims as revenge for First War of Independence by the British. Although there was participation of every community in the War of Independence, greater blame was put on Muslims and hence the revenge. Sir Syed was so much affected by the large scale destruction and near complete annihilation of Muslim Elite (Shurafa) and was was so pained that he even thought of migrating to Egypt. However, he decided to stay and do something for the uplifting the community. In his own words, it would have been namardi (cowardice) and bemurawwati (disregardful or delinquent ) to leave the community in such a dire situation and find safe haven for himself. He decided to stay back and help his community in those trying times (Hali, A. H., 1939, p. 70). In 1859 he was promoted to the position of Sadrus Sudoor and transferred to Moradabad (Hali, 1939, p. 70). During his posting in Moradabad, he published Tarikh e Sarkashi Bijnor (History of the uprising of Bijnor,). Same year he wrote Asbab e Baghawat e Hind (The Causes of the Indian Mutiny) and submitted it to the British government. Given the times and circumstances, it was a daring and forceful critique of the British, their policies towards Indians particularly Muslims and their heavy handed handling of the revolt.

Meanwhile in 1861, Sir William Muir’s book “The Life of Mohammad” was published in 1861 from England. The book was full of Christian bias against Muslims and Islam as was noted by contemporary scholars. When Sir Syed read the book, he was saddened and wanted to write a rebuttal. He started collecting material for the same. In the meantime he got an opportunity to travel to England. His son Syed Mahmood got scholarship for higher education in England. Sir Syed decided to accompany him to England. The reasons why Sir Syed wanted to travel to England were manifold. Apparently he was going there to see the development of Science and Technology and firsthand learn about the reasons of Britain’s development. The idea was to learn and apply the same for the benefit of Indians so that they can also prosper. Another underlying desire for this journey was to collect references from the British libraries for his rebuttal of Muir’s book. Sir Syed believed that he can get relevant material in British Museum Library and India Office Library (Hali, A.H., 1939, p. 118). Before this opportunity arose, Sir Syed had already started writing rebuttal of Muir’s book. However, he faced paucity of reference material in India. The opportunity to travel to England was too enticing to be missed as Sir Syed and he immediately started his preparation for the all important journey. It is interesting to note that the recommendation of scholarship to Syed Mahmood was given by Sir William Muir himself in his capacity of Lt. Governor of North Western Province. It is also interesting to note that Sir Syed called on Sir William Muir before embarking on his journey to England. On 1 April 1869, Sir Syed left for England. For Sir Syed the journey was so important that to raise money for the same he mortgaged his house at 14 % per annum and borrowed money from his friends so as to meet the expenses of his trip (Naim, C.M., 2011). Besides mortgaging his house Sir Syed sold his personal library for which had so painstakingly collected books (Hali, A. H.,1939, p. 132). Sir Syed’s stay in England lasted for 17 long months. During this time, he was able to meet a lot of dignitaries of British high society. He was invited to many meetings in England. Besides he visited several colleges and Universities. He also extensively used the library of British Museum to collect reference material for his book. He wrote a series of articles in Urdu and got them published in England itself by getting them translated to English. During his stay in England he was awarded the C.S.I. on 6 August 1869 by the Duke of Argyll (Hali, A. H., 1839, p 137). During his stay in England, Sir Syed attended several meetings of Royal Asiatic Society and was present in the last reading of Charles Dickens at the Society. He was also was given membership of Athenaeum Club. It was a huge honour as at that time there was a waiting list of more than 3000 people, some of whom were waiting for 12 years to get its prestigious membership. Sir Syed stayed in England for 17 months and left England for India on 4 September 1870 (Hali, A.H., 1939, pp. 139-144).

Once back in India, the first thing Sir Syed did was to start Tehzibul Akhlaq. The first volume of Tehzibul Akhlaq came out of press o 24 December 1870. Sir Syed was major contributor of articles to Tehzibul Akhlaq in its first inning of six year as can be gauged from the fact that out 226 articles during that period, Sir Syed alone contributed 112 article. These articles covered a variety of topics ranging from religion, education, morality, philosophy etc. (Hali, A. H., 1939, pp. 148-150). Sir Syed’s articles in Tehzibul Akhlaq besides their inherent message were examples of Concinnous (Insha Pardazi) writings of the highest order. According to Allama Shibli, It was because of Sir Syed that Urdu language became capable of expressing a wide variety of topics in the realm of politics, morality and philosophy (Nomani, S., 1898).

To further achieve his goal of uplifting the Muslim community, he started Madrasatul Uloom Musalmanan-e-Hind at Aligarh. The Madrasa opened its doors to students on 24 May 1875 to coincide with the 56th birthday of Queen Victoria (Hali, A. H.,1939, p. 168). Two years down the line it became Mohammadan Anglo Oriental College at Aligarh on 8 January 1887. This was perhaps the first concrete and thought out response of the Muslims of India to the challenges amidst the hostile environment facing them in the later half of the 18th century after the first war of independence 1857.

This inaugural function of the establishment of the College was presided by the then Viceroy and Governor General of India, Lord Lytton, in the presence of Sir Syed and other dignitaries. Lord Lytton laid the foundation stone of the college. The address presented by Sir Syed to the Lord Lytton said that “from the seed we sow today, there may spring a mighty tree, whose branches like those of banyan of the soil, shall in their turn strike firm roots into the earth, and themselves send forth new and vigorous sapling: that this college may expand in a University whose sons shall go forth throughout the length and breadth of the land to preach the gospel of free enquiry, of large hearted toleration and of pure morality ”.

Despite the negative comments and personal attacks against him, Sir Syed had complete faith in what he was doing. Addressing Sir John Strachey during the foundation laying ceremony of the central building of the then college, he said “The central hall of our college buildings, which is to receive your name, and on the basement of which we are now assembled to greet you, will become one day the scene of intellectual contests of youthful ambition and educational honours” (Bhatnagar, 1969). The major problem that was faced by the College committee was to raise enough funds to run the College. Different methods were used for the purpose. Committees were formed which went to different districts to raise funds. Sir Syed even started a lottery for an amount of 30,000 rupees. After distributing the winning amount, 20,000 rupees was saved and used for the development of the College. In response to the criticism for the methodology used to collect funds, he argued that while one does many wrongs for his own personal benefit, what is the harm in one wrong for the benefit of the community? (Hali, A. H., 1939, pp. 176-177). Another innovative method which was adopted by him to raise funds for the College was to draw paintings with message and send them to rich people. The method worked and many new avenues of funding were opened (Hali, A. H.,1939, pp. 182-183).

Despite the paucity of funds, Sir Syed did not compromise when it came to the construction of buildings. While the other members of the College Committee wanted to save money, Sir Syed was of the view that the buildings of College should be grand. He believed that grand buildings will create a positive impact and would last for a long time. It is a fact that “Today it is not even possible to visualize the state of mind of Indian Muslims after the failure of the first war of Indian Independence in 1857. In the life of any community, the road from power to slavery is extremely painful. It is not easy to visualize and start something grand in such an environment. It required vision, indomitable courage and perseverance. These characteristics are very difficult to find in an environment of defeat and helplessness. After seeing Jama Masjid, Strachey Hall and Victoria Gate, who can say that these were built by a community who had just lost everything? This extraordinary effort was a reflection of yearning to regain the lost glory. It was a symbolic indication of trying to move from the present darkness to a bright future and also a pointer to future possibilities. When the political power was lost, Sir Syed laid the foundation of Kingdom of Knowledge and Enlightenment. It was not just an institution where degrees were awarded to get government jobs but it fulfilled many cultural and psychological needs of the besieged Muslim community” (Zilli, I.A., 2018).

1n 1876 Sir Syed took premature retirement after serving in various capacities in the British government to focus on his educational movement at Aligarh. His pension was fixed at 400 rupees per month (Kidwai, S., 2010, pl. 39). While at Aligarh in 1877 he started writing the tafsir of the Quran by the name of “tafsir al quran wa huwa al huda wal furqan“. He continued working on it till he breathed his last in 1898. He was able to complete 7 volumes which cover 16 para (parts). According to Sir Syed there are Muslims who need philosophical proof and logic for everything and his tafsir was an attempt to convince them with logic and it was not for those who already have belief and conviction. However, since its publication it has drawn criticism and negativity from majority of Ulema. As a result even the positive aspects in the tafsir have not been discussed by and large (Azmi, A. A., 2020). What is disheartening is that many have questioned his intention. His intention towards Islam and Prophet ﷺ was clear when he sold his library and mortgaged his house so as to travel to England to write a rejoinder to Sir William Muir’s book and defend the honour of the Prophet ﷺ.

While at Aligarh he was made member of Viceregal Legislative Council at the recommendation of Lord Lytton which was later continued on the the recommendation of Lord Ripon (Hali, 1939, p. 206). It was here that he was honoured with Knight Commander of the Order of the Star of India (KCSI) in 1888 through his membership to the Imperial Legislative Council (The London Gazette, 3 January 1888, p. 14). He was also chosen fellow of Calcutta University and Allahabad University by the Viceroy in the years 1876 and 1887 respectively. The 1889 he received an LL.D. honoris causa from The University of Edinburgh on the recommendation of Sir William Muir (Naim, C.M., 2010). Once at Aligarh, he immersed himself into the College project completely. On 27 March 1888 he left this world (Hali, A. H., 1939, pp. 266-67) leaving behind an unmatched legacy and a void that would be impossible to fill. It was almost 22 years after his death that Sir Syed’s dream of establishing a University for the Muslims of India was fulfilled when on 9 September 1920 through a bill passed in the Imperial Legislative Assembly and Mohammadan Anglo Oriental College was converted into a University (Noorani, A. G., 2016).

Sir Syed was a multi faceted personality. Besides being an Urdu writer par excellence, he was educationist, religious scholar, mufassir e Quran, social reformer, historian, judge, community organizer, philosopher and philanthrope all rolled into one. Whatever field he picked up he worked tirelessly and achieved excellence. One of his fiercest critic, Akbar Allahabadi, acknowledged the same at the time of Sir Syed’s death in the following words

hamari baten hi baten hain syed kaam karta tha

na bhulo farq jo hai kahney waley karney waley main

kahey jo chahey koi main to kahta hoon ki ae akbar

khuda bakhshey bohot si khoobiyan theen marney waley main

For more information and references, please see:

Azmi, Altaf Ahmad (2020) Tafsir al quran (Sir Syed): Ek Muta’ala. Maarif (April), Vol. 205, No. 4, pp. 245-253.

Bhatnagar, Shyam Krishna (1969) History of The M.A.O. College Aligarh. Sir Syed Bicentenary Celebrations Aligarh Muslim University. Caxton Press: Delhi.

Faruqi, Shamsur Rehman. (n.d.) From Antiquary to Social Revolutionary: Syed Ahmad Khan and the Colonial Experience. Available at: http://www.columbia.edu/itc/mealac/pritchett/00fwp/srf/srf_sirsayyid.pdf. Accessed on 11 October 2020

Hali, Altaf Hussain (1939) Hayat e Jawed. Anjuman Taraqqi Urdu (New Edition). Delhi.

Khursheed, Anwar (2019) Sir Syed Ahmad Khan’s Legacy Goes Beyond Securing Minority Rights. 17 October. The Quint. Available at: https://www.thequint.com/voices/opinion/muslim-rights-sir-syed-ahmad-khan-constitution-of-india-amu. Accessed on 11 October 2020.

Kidwai, Shafey (2010) Cementing ethics with modernism – An appraisal of Sir Sayyed Ahmad Khan’s Writings. Gyan Publishing House: Delhi.

Naim, Choudhri Mohammed (2010) Syed Ahmad and His Two Books Called ‘Asar-al-Sanadid’. Modern Asian Studies (pp. 1-40). Cambridge University Press

Naim, Choudhri Mohammed(2011) A Musafir to London. Outlook. 17 October. Available at: https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/a-musafir-to-london/278673. Accessed on 9 October 2020.

Noorani, Abdul Ghafoor Majeed (2016). History of Aligarh Muslim University. Frontline (13 May). Available at: https://frontline.thehindu.com/the-nation/history-of-aligarh-muslim-university/article8523802.ece. Accessed on 14 October 2020.

Shibli Nomani (1898, May) Sir Syed Marhoom aur Urdu Literature. Mohammadan Anglo Oriental College Magazine and Aligarh Institute Gazette. Vol. 6, No. 5., pp. 205-214.

Siddiqui, Mohammad Asim (2015) Man who knew tomorrow. 16 October. The Hindu. Available at: https://www.thehindu.com/books/books-authors/sir-syed-ahmad-khan-man-who-knew-tomorrow/article7770311.ece. Accessed on 11 October 2020.

The London Gazette (1888). Issue 25722, p. 14. Available at: https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/25772/page/14. Accessed on 15 October 2020.

Usmani, Afzal (2009). A history of the Scientific Society. Two Cricles. Available at: https://twocircles.net/2009aug25/history_scientific_society.html. Accessed on 16 October 2020.

Zilli, Ishtiyaq Ahmad (2018). Excerpts from speech given while excepting the Sir Syed Excellence Award 2018 on behalf of Darul Musanneffin Shibli Academy at Aligarh Muslim University. Available at: https://mohsinazizblog.org/2019/10/20/sir-syed-excellence-award-2019-2/. Accessed on 14 October 2020.

Residential Halls of Aligarh Muslim University

One of the distinguishing feature of AMU is its residential character and the University is known for its halls of residences. Each Hall is divided into several hostels. Any body who has studied at Aligarh Muslim University can not forget the hostel time. The residential nature of accommodation allows students to live in a diverse environment and greatly helps in the building and grooming their personality. Each Hall maintains a common room with facilities for indoor games, a reading room, library, sports club and a literary society thus providing ample opportunity for students to hone their extracurricular activities along with opportunity for studies. Those who have gone through this experience know that a large part of their AMU nostalgia and memory is somehow or otherwise related to their hostel life. On the occasion of Sir Syed Day I plan to start a series of short blogs on the various personalities on whom the Halls of residences and hostels within them have been named at Aligarh Muslim University. I request the readers of this blog to please forward me if they have access to any article in English, Urdu and Hindi about the said people. Mostly information is available for those on whom Halls have been named. However, there are many hostel names about which I am totally clueless. I shall be highly grateful to the readers if they can guide and help me in this endeavour. It is time consuming as there are about 80 hostels in AMU which are named after some or other personality. From my memory I am listing the Halls of residences and the hostels within. There are many names which I am missing. I need your help to complete my list.

Abdullah Hall

Hamid Manzil Hostel

Aftab Hall

Morrison Court

Aftab Hostel

Mumtaz House

Mac Donnell Hostel

Allama Iqbal Hall Boarding House for Senior Secondary School (Boys)

Begum Azizun Nisa Hall

Mohammad Habib Hall

Chakraverti Hostel

Umruddin Hostel

Haider Khan Hostel

Hadi Hassan Hall

Mohsinul Mulk Hall

Amin Hostel

Saifi Hostel

Hali Hostel

Shibli Hostel

MMA Hostel

Majaz Hostel

Nadim Tarin Hall

Indira Gandhi Hall

NRSC Hall

Ross Masood Hall

Nawab Ismail Khan Hostel

Sadar Yar Jung Hostel

Abdul Majeed Khowaja Hostel

Habibur Rehman Hostel

Saronijin Naidu Hall

Abrar Hostel

Hameeduddin Hostel

Jalil Hostel

Moinul Haq Hostel

Sir Syed Hall (North)

Osmania (North and South)

Central (Lower and Upper)

SME (Lower and Upper)

SMN (A and B)

Sir Syed Hall (South)

East Wing Hostel

West Wing Hostel

Nazir Ahmad Hostel

Sir Shah Sulaiman Hall

Agha Khan Hostel

Hasrat Mohani Hostel

Kashmir House

Jaikishan Das Hostel

Bhopal House

Mahmoodabad House

Qidwai Hostel

Viqarul Mulk Hall

Jubilee Hostel

Marris Hostel

Muzammil Hostel

Nasrullah Hostel

Sir Ziauddin Hall

Bhim Rao Ambedkar Hall

A Block Hostel (Upper and Lower)

B Block Hostel (Upper and Lower)

Begum Sultan Jahan Hall

Bibi Fatima Hall

New Hall

Thanking you all once again in advance for your valuable help.