Aligarh Educational Movement and Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and Muslim EDucation
Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, one of the greatest Muslim educationist, writers and reformers, was born in Delhi in 1817. Sir Syed’s major work was igniting a flame of hope in the hearts of Muslims and helping them to come out of sadness and despair that prevailed in them after the war of 1857.
Sir Syed Ahmed khan firstly promoted Hindu-Muslim unity but soon he realized that though living together for thousands of years these nations cannot be united. After carefully analysing the behaviour of Britishers and Hindus against Muslims, Sir Syed Ahmed khan ignited the hope and tried his best to remove the despair prevailing in the heart of the Muslims after the war of 1857. Sir Syed Ahmed khan raised the voice for the independence of the Muslims.
Sir Syed’s belief’s about education:
Sir Syed believed that only education can eliminate the current despair and sadness among the Muslims by helping Muslims to struggle for their own rights. Therefore, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan made enormous efforts to educate the Muslims.
Foundation of Muhammadan Anglo Oriental college, Aligarh:
In 1875 he founded the Muhammadan Anglo Oriental College at Aligarh aimed at creating a union of traditional learning and modern sciences. It was raised to the status of the Muslim University in 1920.
Foundation of Muhammadan Education Congress:
In 1886 he founded the "Muhammadan Education Congress', but later named it 'Conference' (to avoid confusion with the Indian National Congress), to carry the message of Aligarh to all parts of the country and remained its Secretary till 1897 .
Sir Syed Ahmed khan was a champion of a progressive and dynamic approach to education. He was the first Muslim leader who professed that the Muslims of India were a separate nation and must not be live under the force of Hindus in a United India.
All India Muslim Educational Conference:
All India Muslim Educational Conference is a non-political organization which gathered various organizations and people from different walk of life with the aim to empower the education of Muslims in India. This conference helped Sir Syed Ahmed khan in the transformation of MAO College to Aligarh Muslim University. One of the major contributions of all India Muslim Educational Conference is to consider the rights of women and promoting women to educate themselves. This conference empowered the rights of women by founding a college which was the biggest women’s educational institution called: Women’s College of Aligarh. For educational empowerment and protection of the rights of the Muslims of the subcontinent, it also gave birth to Muslim political party that was called Muslim league which is still functional in Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan.
History or background:
Indian national congress launched the inaugural ceremony on December 28th 1885 and this was a turning point in social and political movements of the subcontinent. Indian national congress was founded to serve as a medium for structuring Indian goals. But Sir Syed Ahmed khan completely criticized the formation of the congress because the Indian national congress was founded by the Britishers only for the fulfilment of their own aims and objectives. The first president of the Congress was Hume, who was a Britisher. Sir Syed believed that if the Muslims would be in conflict with the Britishers then they would be punished. The base of this fear was the punishment Muslims faced after the war of 1857. Sir Syed advocated Muslims as separate entity just ten years after the Hindi-Urdu controversy. Therefore, asked Muslim to advance them in the sphere of education and avoid the involvement in the politics. To support this idea, Sir Syed gathered educational elites at a platform and established Mohammadan Educational Congress on 27th December 1886 in Aligarh. Sir Syed wanted Muslims to stay away from the confrontational politics and he carried forward the need of educational empowerment for the Muslims of South east Asia. Sir Syed’s ideology of not participating in politics, surprised many intellectuals but he worked in raising the education level and economic status of disadvantaged Muslims of the time so that they can compete with their fellow citizens. Sir Syed did not want to see the anger of the British Empire on Muslims of India which he had himself witnessed after the 1857 revolt which led him to choose the medium of Co operational Politics with the rulers of India.
Inaugural session of Muslim educational conference:
The inaugural session of Muslim Educational Conference was held on 27th December, 1886 at Aligarh. The purpose to organize the Muslim Educational Conference was educating the Muslims. This conference introduced the modern notion of education among Muslims and passed multiple resolutions and took gigantic steps to remove the hurdles in the process of educating the Muslims. This conference provided a platform to the Muslim intellectuals to assemble Indian Muslims to promote modern education and wash out the doubts and misconceptions about modern education. The conference provided the opportunity to the Muslim Educationist to gather and work for the Muslim education and gave an opportunity for leaders of Aligarh Movement to promote the Aligarh Movement. Principal Theodore Beck and Prof. Theodore Morrison also took keen interest in Conferences activities. Sir Syed Ahmad Khan was elected as Secretary of this newly formed organization. This conference was a potent and eminent tool of intellectual development amongst the Muslim of Subcontinent.
Periods in the life of all India Muslim educational conference:
The significant phases of all India Muslim educational conference are as follows:
1. 1886-1898 : Sir Syed Period
2. 1898-1907 : Mohsinul Mulk Period
3. 1907-1917 : Sahabzadah Aftab Ahmad Khan Period
4. 1917-1947 : Nawab Sadar Yar Jang Period
5. 1947-till date : Post Independence period
Thus, All India Muhammadan educational conference was the step taken by Sir Syed to enhance the Muslim education and help the Muslims to understand the importance of education in their life. Sir Syed’s effort not only encouraged the Muslims to educate themselves religiously but also assisted them to enhance their knowledge of scientific education. This effort of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan helped the Muslims of South Asia to augment the positive self concept and ignite the hope in them to strive for achieving their own state.