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Role Of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan

Sir Syed Ahmed Khan (1817-1898) was a great visionary, statesman and Muslim reformer of the 19th century, the like of whom is rare. He wanted to make the community and country progressive and take them forward on modern lines. His supreme interest was intellectual development of the people through modern education. He was the first Indian Muslim to contribute to the intellectual and institutional foundation of Muslim modernization in Southern Asia. Interest of community and country was dearer to him rather than anything else. He was successful in making the Muslims understand the importance of modern education and endeavour their best to achieve it in order to stand on their own legs and live a dignified life in accordance with Islamic thoughts.

Born into Mughal nobility, Sir Syed earned a reputation as a distinguished scholar while working as a jurist for the British East India Company. During the Indian Rebellion of 1857 he remained loyal to the British and was noted for his actions in saving European lives. After the rebellion he penned the booklet Asbab-e-Bhaghawath-e-Hind (The Causes of the Indian Mutiny) a daring critique, at the time, of British policies that he blamed for causing the revolt. Believing that the future of Muslims was threatened by the rigidity of their orthodox outlook, Sir Syed began promoting Western-style scientific education by founding modern schools and journals and organizing Muslim intellectuals. Towards this goal, Sir Syed founded the Muhammedan AngloOriental College in 1875 with the aim of promoting social and economic development of Indian Muslims.

One of the most influential Muslim politicians of his time, Sir Syed was suspicious of the Indian independence movement and called upon Muslims to loyally serve the British Raj. He denounced nationalist organisations such as the Indian National Congress, instead forming organisations to promote Muslim unity and proBritish attitudes and activities. Sir Syed promoted the adoption of Urdu as the language of all Indian Muslims, and mentored a rising generation of Muslim politicians and intellectuals

To the Muslim community Sir Syed Ahmed Khan was and is like the eye which weeps for the suffering of any and every part of the body. The sufferings of the community worried him. He took an oath to reform, educate and empower the Muslim community and was successful to a great extent in implementing it despite strong opposition from a section of the Muslim community which hated the British and their language. Today we can see the products of the Aligarh Muslim University adoring in every field of activity in India and neighboring countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh. They have earned a name for the community and country, thanks to the Aligarh movement.

EDUCATION
Sir Syed received his education under the old system prevailing at that time. He learnt to read the holy Quran under a female teacher at his home. After this, Maulvi Hamidud Din, became his private tutor. He completed a course in Persian and Arabic, and later took to the study of mathematics, which was a favourite subject of the maternal side of his family. He later took interest in medicine and studied some well-known books on the subject. At the age of 19 his formal education came to an end but he continued his studies privately. He started taking a keen interest in the literary gatherings and cultural activities of the city. The passing away of his father left the family in financial difficulties, and after a limited education he had no option but to work for his livelihood. Starting as a clerk with the East India Company in 1938, he qualified three years later as a sub-judge and served in the judicial department at various places.

The supreme interest of Sir Syeds life was education in its widest sense. He wanted to create a scientific temperament among the Muslims of India and to make the modern knowledge of Science available to them. He championed the cause of modern education at a time when all the Indians in general and Indian Muslims in particular considered it a sin to get modern education and that too through English language. He began establishing schools, at Muradabad in 1858 and Ghazipur in 1863. On April 1, 1869, Sir Syed travelled to England, where he was awarded the Order of the Star of India from the British government on August 6. During visit to England he prepared plans for a great educational institution. They were "a Muslim Cambridge." On his return he set up a committee for the purpose and also started an influential journal, Tahzib al-Akhlaq "Social Reform" for the uplift and reforms of the Muslims. A Muslim school was established at Aligarh in May 1875, and after his retirement in 1876, Sir Syed dedicated himself to make it a college.

VISION

CONTRIBUTION
Sir Syeds contributions for the betterment and empowerment of the Muslims are great. His position in the judicial department left him time to be active in many fields. His career as an author in Urdu started at the age of 23. In 1847 he brought out an important book "Monuments of the Great" on the antiquities of Delhi. Even more important was his pamphlet "The Causes of the Indian Revolt". His interest in religion was also active and lifelong. He wrote on the Life of Prophet Muhammad (Salam) and devoted himself to write several volumes of a modernist commentary on the holy Quran. In these works he explained how the Islamic faith could go with progressive scientific and political ideas of his time.

LITERARY WORKS
Sir Syed was a government civil servant and s scholar. The 1857 revolt was a turning point in his life. The following are his important works: 1) ASARUS SANADEED: It is an archaeological masterpiece providing a wealth of information on countless historical monuments in Delhi from the eight hundred long Muslim rule. This book was published in 1847. 2) ASBAB-E-BAGHAWAT-E-HIND- (The causes of Indian Revolt) This book was published in 1859 after the 1857 revolt after witnessing the atrocities committed by the British on the inhabitants of Delhi. He saw an uncle, a cousin and an aunt dying before his eyes. He saved his mother but she died due to privations she had experienced. Muslims were the main targets of the governments wrath. 3) THE ALIGARH INSTITUTE GAZETTE - It was an organ of the Scientific Society started in 1866. It made the people think and use their wisdom. 4) TEHZIB-UL-AKHLAQ It succeeded in making people realise the value of modern knowledge. It also gave new directions to Muslim social and political thoughts.

GOLDEN SAYINGS
1)
2.

3.

4. 5. 6.

Sons (of MAO college later AMU)) shall go forth throughout the length and breath of the land to preach the message of free inquiry, of large-hearted toleration and of pure morality. Acquisition of knowledge of science and technology is the only solution for the problems of Muslims. Call me by whatever names you like. I will not ask you for my salvation. But please take pity of your children. Do something for them (send them to the school), lest you should have to repent (by not sending them) We will remain humiliated and rejected if we do not make progress (in scientific field) Get rid of old and useless rituals (customs). These rituals hinder human progress. Superstition (rigid) cannot be the part of Iman (faith).

GOLDEN SAYINGS
6.
The first requisite for the progress of a nation is the brotherhood and unity amongst sections of the society. 7. Yes the main purpose of this college (MAO) is to impart modern education to Muslims who are suffering because of lack of it but this institution is for all, Hindus and Muslims alike. Both of them need education. 8. We (Hindus and Muslims) eat the same crop, drink water from the same rivers and breathe the same air. As a matter of fact Hindus and Muslims are the two eyes of the beautiful bride that is Hindustan. Weakness of any one of them will spoil the beauty of the bride (dulhan)

9. We (Hindus and Muslim) have evolved a new language Urdu


10. I wish that youth of India should follow the example of young men and women of England who are religiously engaged in the hard work of industrial development of their country (During the stay of Sir Syed in England).

ACHIEVEMENTS
Sir Syed's greatest achievement was his Aligarh Movement, which was nothing but an educational venture. He established schools at Muradabad in 1859 and Ghazipur in 1863. He also founded a scientific society in 1864. When Sir Syed was posted at Aligarh in 1867, he started the Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental School in the city. During his visit to England in 1869, he studied the British educational system and appreciated it. Sir Syed wanted MAO College to act as a bridge between the old and the new systems. His famous quote is that a true Muslims is one who must have the holy Quran in one hand and the science in the other. Today we can see the Aligarh Muslim University offering different courses like Medical, Engineering, Science, Arts, Management, Languages etc.

ACHIEVEMENTS
Sir Syeds aim was not just to establish a college at Aligarh but he was interested in spreading education and empowerment among the people by establishing educational institutions in every nook and corner of the country. He, therefore, started an organisation called All India Muslim Educational Conferenceto achieve this goal. It motivated the Muslims to open a number of educational institutions in India. Although the Indian Muslim community has made some good progress in the educational arena, still they have to go a long way to achieve the goal that Sir Syed visualised. Only the vision and enthusiasm of Sir Syed can help us - Muslims to improve our educational and economic conditions further. It is,therefore, incumbent for us to revive the Aligarh movement once again to make the people understand the value of modern education fully.

RATIONAL (balanced) APPROACH


Muslims were in the forefront in the struggle for freedom. They suffered a lot. Many Ulema (religious scholars) were hanged in Delhi and other places. Sir Syed was worried. He was of the view that Muslims should not be so vigorous in opposing the British at their own cost and ignore everything including education and government placements. Sir Syed wanted Muslims to have friendship with the British if they want to take their due rights. He quoted the examples of other religious communities benefiting from the government. While he tried his best to convince the British that Muslims were not against them, he persuaded the Muslims repeatedly to befriend the British to achieve their goals.

CONCLUSION
1) Dr. Allama Iqbal: The real greatness of the man (Sir Syed) consists in the fact that he was the first Indian Muslim who felt the need of a fresh orientation of Islam and worked for it 2) Pandit Jawaharlal Nehruji: Sir Syed was an ardent reformer and he wanted to reconcile modern scientific thought with religion by rationalistic interpretations and not by attacking basic belief. He was anxious to push new education. He was in no way communally separatist. Repeatedly he emphasized that religious differences should have no political and national significance. 3) Mr. Inder Kumar Gujral Sir Syeds vision and his laborious efforts to meet the demands of challenging times are highly commendable. The dark post 1857 era was indeed hopeless and only men.

Death
I offer my homage to Sir Syed for his vision and courage that withstood all obstructions both from the friends and the foes. This great visionary and reformer, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, whose relevance is felt even today and who will always remain green in our memory inspiring wise thoughts and absolute principles in the right Islamic thinking passed away after a brief illness on 27th March 1898 and was buried the next day in the compound of the mosque in the College. May his soul continue to live in peace.