This Sir Syed Day, let’s pledge to carry forward his legacy

By Abdul Momin

Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, a great social reformer, philosopher, educationist, and champion of Hindu-Muslim unity, was born on 17th October. The date is marked as Sir Syed Day. Students and Alumni of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) observe this day around the globe with great enthusiasm.

Undoubtedly, the day has great significance for the students and alumni of AMU, as the founder of their beloved institution, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan blessed this world on the day.

The greatness of a person is determined by his contribution to the society. Sir Syed Ahmad Khan’s contributions to the Muslim community and to the nation are well known. His message and the mission of the Aligarh Movement is now extremely clear and evident. Be it Aligarh Muslim University or its alumni around the globe; they are the ambassadors of Sir Syed’s vision and mission. The responsibility now rests with “Aligs” around the globe to emulate Sir Syed. Amidst the current plight of Indian Muslims, keeping alive the spirit of Aligarh Movement and Sir Syed’s mission becomes more crucial than ever. As we commemorate Sir Syed Day, let us all revisit Sir Syed’s approach and methods and take a pledge to carry on the Aligarh Movement in a constructive way.

The Plight of Indian Muslims after 1857 revolt and the mission of Sir Syed

Go back to the days of freedom struggle and specifically to the days of 1857’s revolt, the emergence of Sir Syed in Indian History can be traced from this period. The revolt of 1857 did not result in favour of Indians. For Indian Muslims, it was nearly a catastrophe. They experienced atrocities, humiliation, mental torture by British troops, and had a state of restlessness and cluelessness as they do now. Britishers thought that the Muslims are responsible for Anti-British uprising in India, so they were continuously making attempts to disregard and dehumanise the Indian Muslims. There were serious attempts from the Britishers’ end to weaken the Indian Muslims socially, politically, psychologically, and economically. As a result, Muslims were underrepresented in Govt. offices. G. Ali Khan quoted, there was “scarcely any Government office … in which a Muhammadan can hope for any post above the rank of poster, messenger, filler of inkpots and menders of pens”.

The oppressive and harsh attitude of Britishers resulted in socio and economic backwardness of Indian Muslims. Although the rule of Britishers over India was unjust at any cost, and both Muslims and Hindus opposed it, but at a greater level, the Britishers targeted Muslims and favoured the Hindus in several ways. This biasness and hatred of Britishers for a community created such a terrible condition that even survival was nearly impossible for the majority of Indian Muslims.

Sir Syed was deeply troubled by the consequences of 1857’s revolt, which led to Indian Muslims being more vulnerable than ever. He himself was the victim of this tragedy, her mother passed away just shortly after, and his house was looted and some of his cousin brothers were killed by British’s troops during the tragedy.

Shan Muhammed Saheb stated that “Sir Syed Ahmad Khan felt agitated so much so that he passed numerous restless nights”.

The consequences of the revolt led Sir Syed to stand up for Indian Muslims. In 1859, he wrote Asbab-i-Bagabat-e-Hind (an essay by Sir Syed on the causes of 1857’s revolt). With this, he successfully managed to explain the Britishers what caused the revolt to break out against them in India. Consequently, British’s Parliament considered all the major recommendations of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan and, they also agreed to enact the Indian Council Act 1861 which provided, for the first time, inclusion of three Indian members to the legislative council of Calcutta and also their perception for Indian Muslims got changed. Sir Syed better understood that Indian Muslims are way behind to their fellow citizens and there are several reasons to it; one of them is ignorance. For the mainstreaming of Indian Muslims, it was necessary to aware them about the modern sciences, English language, socio-political, and metaphysical issues. To cater this, he started periodicals such as “The Aligarh Institute Gazette”, and Tahzibul Akhlaq, or the Muslim Social Reformer. He also established Scientific Society in 1863 which used to translate the major work in the field of sciences and arts into Urdu language so that Muslims could read them easily. In 1875, he founded Mohammadan Anglo-Oriental College, now Aligarh Muslim University, which is his most significant educational contribution to the community and the nation.

The institution is home to students from India as well as outside the India. The role of this institution in developing the community is immense. Its alumni are everywhere in the world. The mission of Sir Syed was not only to established MAO college at Aligarh, but he was aspired to establish a network of Muslim Managed educational institutions throughout the country. In spite of the passage of time, Sir Syed’s mission and thoughts remain relevant. The Alig community around the world should now carry forward his mission.

Sir Syed Day celebration should aim to revitalize the Aligarh Movement:
A man is remembered after his death for his good deeds. Are not Sir Syed’s deeds enough? Of course, they are. In all honesty, he deserved an honour for his good work. However, paying tribute to a great man should only be in terms of noble and generous acts. The occasion should be seen as an opportunity to recall and propagate his message and mission through organising seminars, conferences, discussions on his thoughts, ideas and mission, and most importantly commitment to take at least one social initiative for the betterment of the community each year. The aim should be to take the Aligarh Movement to the last mile by ensuring access to education to every child of the community.

Observing Sir Syed Day in a ritualistic manner would not benefit anyone. Possibly, it will minimize the impact of mission of Sir Syed on its own people by reducing the seriousness of new generations becoming “alig” each year. Ergo, the day should be celebrated with the objective to replicate Sir Syed’s dialogue techniques with the State, to revive the intellectual and academic spirit in the community, to promote his thoughts, and to keep the Aligarh Movement progressing by following his commitment and eagerness to uplift the Muslim community and to serve the nation.

********

Also read-

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Stories

Book review: AMU’s role in making Muslim mindset and its impact on India’s...

0
Book: Aligarh Muslim University: The Making of modern Indian Muslims Author: Mohammad Wajeehuddin Page:  216. Published by Harper Collins Reviewed by Khushboo Khan The book's title,...

What prominent persons said about Sir Syed

0
By Dr. M.I.H. Farooqi While the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) has been in the eye of storm following the resurgence of right wing elements in...

Remembering Sir Syed Ahmad Khan on his birth

0
By Saba Harun Syed Ahmad Taqvi bin Syed Muhammad Muttaqi, also known as Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, who led the foundation of the Mohammadan Anglo...

Sir Syed – A quest for dignity

0
By Hasan Ghias Sir Syed’s prismatic persona refracts the story of a single life into multiple hues of a rainbow arching above a horizon that...

EU’s foreign policy chief regrets resumption of attack on Gaza, urges Israel to respect laws of war

LONDON : The EU's foreign policy chief on Saturday expressed "regret" over the resumption of Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip, emphasizing Tel Aviv's...

As BJP leads in 3 states, INDIA bloc schedules meet to strategize for LS polls

New Delhi : Leaders of the opposition INDIA bloc will meet at Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge’s residence in Delhi on December 6 to chalk...

Student’s kin threaten Bihar school for ordering removal of hijabs inside classrooms

Sheikhpura : A government school in Bihar has received threats from family members of female students who were asked by teachers to take off...

Thousands across Europe protest Israel, demand cease-fire in Gaza

PARIS/MADRID/VIENNA/ROME : Thousands took to the streets in European capitals Saturday to protest Israeli attacks and demand a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip. Demonstrators once...

BSP MP Danish Ali challenges Ethics Committee’s “Cash-for-Query” report, calls for deletion of “unwarranted remarks”

BSP MP Danish Ali has raised objections to the upcoming report of the Lok Sabha Ethics Committee, which recommends the expulsion of Trinamool Congress...

Israeli columnist Ari Shavit predicts the fall of Israel very soon

By Latheef Farook Today Israel  is badly in need of an exit  strategy to get out of Gaza. However  not only Israel even  United States...

Muslim woman moves HC after Delhi cops ‘forcibly’ detain her without veil

New Delhi : The Delhi High Court has sought the stand of the city police on a petition by a ‘purdahnashin’ (veiled) Muslim woman...

Gaza ‘again most dangerous’ place to be child: UNICEF

WASHINGTON : The Gaza Strip is the "most dangerous place" in the world to be a child, a UN official said on Friday. "Today, Gaza...

73 Palestinian journalists killed by Israeli army in Gaza since Oct. 7: Gaza authorities

GAZA CITY, Palestine : The death toll of Palestinian journalists by the Israeli army since Oct. 7 has risen to 73, authorities in Gaza...

Delhi HC refuses to entertain pleas seeking Uniform Civil Code

New Delhi : The Delhi High Court Friday refused to entertain a batch of petitions seeking a Uniform Civil Code (UCC), saying the Supreme Court...

Unravelling the disinformation machine: How the Hamas-Israel war became a tool for pre-election fear-mongering?

By Mohd Ziyaullah Khan, Nagpur Overview  In the realm of contemporary politics, the utilisation of disinformation has become a potent tool for shaping narratives, influencing public...

Delhi Police gives NOC for holding ‘Muslim Mahapanchayat’ at Ramlila

New Delhi : The city police told the Delhi High Court on Friday they have granted permission to Mission Save Constitution, an organisation that...

Bihar teeming with illegal madrasas, mosques, says Union min, JDU hits back

Patna : Union Minister Giriraj Singh on Friday claimed that Bihar was teeming with “illegal” madrasas and mosques which posed a grave threat to...

Kolkata cops summon 12 BJP MLAs over ‘disrespect’ to National Anthem

Kolkata : Kolkata Police on Friday issued summons to 12 BJP MLAs for questioning in connection with complaints filed against them for disrespecting the National...

Israel has arrested 3,390 Palestinians in West Bank since Oct. 7: NGOs

RAMALLAH, Palestine : Israeli forces have detained 3,390 Palestinians in raids across the occupied West Bank since Oct. 7, including 260 during humanitarian pauses,...