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Aligarh Movement | Sir Syed Ahmed Khan | Educational Services | Political, Social and Religious Services | Impacts of Aligarh Movement
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The Muslim community of India produced a great leader in the darkest hour of its life namely Sir Syed Ahmed Khan. Sir Syed took the condition of Muslims in India very seriously and struggled laboriously to develop and regain the economic, social and educational level of the Muslims of Indian. He was a great Muslims scholar and reformer. He struggled so hard to bring Muslims out of the darkness of illiteracy and hazardous policies of British government. Sir Syed deeply observed the prejudice behavior of Hindus towards Muslims and evil intentions to tarnish Islamic culture.
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Sir Syed Ahmed Khan belongs to the pious Muslims family and was born in Dehli on 17 October 1817. He got his early education from his Grandfather Khawaja Farid-ud-din who had served Moghal Court as Prime Minister for the period of 8 years. Sir Syed got education of Quran, Arabic and Persian literature along with medical, mathematics and history.
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In 1838 he joined government job because of the death of his father. The spontaneous deaths of his father and grandfather brought financial crises to his family. Initially he was appointed as Clerk but later because of his education and intellect, he was promoted to Munsif (Sub-judge) in 1841. After years of service he was promoted to Chief Judge and while his stay in Dehli he wrote a book Asar-us-Sanadid (about famous building within and around Dehli). After his transfer to Bijnaur in 1855 he wrote another book Ain-i-Akbari in which he complied the history of Muslim-Rule in India. During his service in Bijnaur the war of 1857 broke out which brought trouble for British people. Sir Syed risked his own life in order to secure numerous British people and also pleaded rebels to leave the places unmolested. Against such loyalty and unconditional help Sir Syed was offered an estate which however he refused to accept. Commencement of Aligarh Movement: The Muslims were considered solely responsible for the War of Independence (1857) despite of the fact that all other nations including Hindus were equally responsible for this war. However, the British government took hostile actions against Muslim community, they withdrawn their jobs and imposed permanent ban for future appointment on government positions, the properties of Muslims were confiscated along with the social and economic values. The Muslims who at a time had ruled the India where now turned into least esteemed community. The British government replaced the Persian with English as official language which causes further downturn of Muslims since they believe the learning of English is against Islamic Principles. Sir Syed was really concerned with all this scenario of Muslim-slump and he eagerly wanted to elevate the economic and social level of Indian Muslims. For this purpose he took number of practical steps which are collectively known as Aligarh Movement. Educational Reforms: The Aligarh Movement of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan was based on two primary objectives; the revival of Muslims with advanced education and civilizing good relationship of the Muslims with British Government. For this foresightedness he faced abundant criticism from orthodox Muslims however this didn’t deter him from his mission. He believed that acquiring modern education and learning English is the only way left for the Muslims to fight against Hindus’ prejudicial behavior since Hindus were developing in educational and political fields only because of modern education. Sir Syed elucidated that acquiring modern education and learning English is no way against the Islamic principles and then he took practical steps to pursue his mission. In 1859 he established a school in Muradabad where the Persian and English language was taught. In 1863 another school was established in Ghazipur. Little later in 1864 he established a Scientific Society in Ghazipur which was aimed to translate modern studies in Persian and Urdu language for better understanding of Muslims. In 1966 this Scientific Society published a journal called “Aligarh Institute Gazette” which was both in Urdu and English language just to show the British government a good gesture and sentiment of goodwill for better relationship between Muslims and British Government. In 1869 the son of Sir Syed “Syed Mahmud” got scholarship from British government to get education in England. He along with his son went to England where he deeply analyzed the educational system of England. There he decided to establish a university in India with the same standards and educational level of Oxford and Cambridge University. Thus after getting back in 1870 he established an institute “Anjuman-e-Taraqi-e-Mualaman-e-Hind” for the same purpose. After the struggle of numerous years finally in 1874 “M.A.O High School” was established at Aligarh which was the monumental achievement of Sir Syed in respect of Educational Reforms for Muslims in India. Later based on the laborious struggle of Sir Syed in 1977 this school upgraded to the status of “M.A.O College” by Lord Lytton. Sir Syed always desired to get this college the status of University but this couldn’t happen in his life; however after his death in 1920 this college became “Aligarh Muslim University” Political Strategy: The foresightedness of the Sir Syed Ahmed Khan helped Muslims in designing their political strategy. Sir Syed advised Muslims of India to stay away from the political activities temporarily because they have had no modern and political education at that time. The Hindus had established “Congress” and had very sharp political knowledge which could be helpful for them in crushing the Muslims very easily. He forbade the Muslims to join Congress since he knew that Hindus will never be of the same interests as that of Muslims. He put stress on acquiring modern and political education before getting into politics. Muslim-British Relations: After the War of Independence the relationship of Muslims and British Government was in deadly tarnished. Sir Syed knew the only way of revival of Muslims was to maintain the relationship with British Government and wining their trust. In this respect he wrote a magazine “Rasala-e-Asbab-e-Baghawat-e-Hind. In which he explained that not only the Muslims were responsible for the War of Independence but also Hindus and other nations involved and this was backed by ill-measured government policies. In 1986 he formed British Indian Association at Aligarh with the objective of expressing grievances of Indian-Muslims before British Government. In this course he wrote “Loyal Muhammadans of India” a detailed article accounted for the services which were rendered by loyal Muslims to British Government. Religious Services: During that period the Muslims were facing prejudice behavior and were not allowed to practice their Islamic principles freely. Meanwhile the Christian Missionaries were trying so hard to demolish the Islamic culture and civilization. In this course “William Muir” wrote a book “Life of Mohammad” in which he tried to damage the personality of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). However, when Sir Syed was in England he struggled to gather the content to respond Muir for his evil writing. There he met “John Davenport” who had written a book “An Apology for Muhammad and Muhammadans”. Sir Syed translated and got this book published at his own expense in a response to Muir. He felt it isn’t enough so wrote an essay on the life of Prophet (PBUH) “Khutbat-e-Ahmadiya”. He also wrote a commentary on Bible to pinpoint the similarities between Muslims and Christians which got tremendous criticism. Social Reforms: Sir Syed Ahmed Khan always disliked conservative Muslims because he knew the social crises of Muslims can only be coped up by modern socialization. For this he wrote a magazine “Tehzeeb-e-Ikhlaq” in which he criticized the conservative way of living and advised Indian Muslims to adopt modern trends and society. He also established Orphan Houses where the orphan Muslim children were given shelter and basic necessities because Sir Syed did not want them to go to Christian Missionaries. Sir Syed also struggled for the revival and sustainment of Urdu language which was the prime language of Muslims. In this regard he established “Anjumane-Taraki-e-Urdu”. He wrote another magazine “Ahkam-e-Ta’am-e-Ahle-Kitab” in which he discussed the Islamic principles of etiquettes of drinking and dining. He also elaborated that it is allowed in Islam to have meal with Christians on the same table. Two-National Concept: Initially Sir Syed Ahmed Khan was a nationalist and he considered both the Hindus and Muslims as one nation. However the prejudice behavior of Hindus compelled him to have the second thought. In 1867 Urdu-Hindi Controversy changed the way he thinks, when Hindus initiated campaign to replace the Urdu with Hindi as official language. At that time Sir Syed realized that Hindus and Muslims can never live as one nation, they have different interest along with distinct culture, beliefs, tradition, literature and civilization. Thus in 1868, he pronounced the concept of “Two-Nation” which states that Hindus and Muslims are two different nations and this became the basis of the Pakistan Movement. Impacts of Aligarh Movement: The Aligarh movement awakened the Muslims and helped them regaining their lost value and social status. This movement encouraged the Muslims to fight for their economic and political rights to flourish their Islamic Civilization. This movement broadly helped Muslims reviving their social, economical, political, cultural and religious value in the sub-continent. Educational reforms opened new ways for Muslims to progress in economic and political spectrum. Sir Syed died in 27 th March 1898 and his Aligarh Movement led the foundation for Pakistan Movement which resulted in Separate homeland for Muslims in 1947. Posted by Bilal M Mirza at 12:08:00 PM Reactions:
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