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.