The Last Message of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan For the Students of Aligarh Muslim University
Oh, My Dear Children,
You Have reached the particular stage and remember one thing that when I undertook the task, there was criticism all-around against me.
Abuses were hurled upon me, Life has become so difficult for me that I aged before my age. I lost my hair, my eyesight, but not my vision. My vision never dimmed. My determination never failed. I built this institution for you and I am sure, you will carry the light of this institution far and wide till darkness disappears from all around
Sir Syed Ahmed Khan Bahadur, (also Sayyid Ahmad Khan) October 17, 1817 – March 27, 1898), commonly known as Sir Syed, was an Indian educator and politician, and an Islamic reformer and modernist.
Sir Syed was a pioneer of modern education for the Muslim community in India by founding the Muhammedan Anglo-Oriental College, which later developed into the Aligarh Muslim University. His works gave rise to a new generation of Muslim intellectuals and politicians who composed the Aligarh movement to secure the political future of the Muslims in India. 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. Sir Syed was pained by the decimation of his community in the aftermath of the 1857 revolt envisioned modern scientific education to be the only ray of hope for restoring the lost glory of a people until recently ruled by its Nawabs, Mansabdars, Taluqdars and Jagirdars pledging allegiance to an ailing, geriatric, Poet – Emperor in the Red Fort. Breaking away from the Fort which had conferred upon him the title of Jawaduddaula, Sir Sayed Ahmad Khan served the British East India Company as a Judicial Clerk and built a rapport with the Raj officials. He was born and brought up in Delhi under the strong influence of his mother’s values of piety, honesty and compassion. On his many postings under the Raj, he closely observed his country and its people in many cities of India like Banaras, Ghazipur, Bulandshahar and Aligarh.
He was the pioneer figure whose life has been penned by one of his great companion named Altaf Husain Hali by his masterpiece work in a kind of literature book Hayat-e- jawaid which is the biography of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan in which there is the existence of the evidence of his noble works ranging from reforming the society, bringing the scientific world in the nation’s mind, wisdom with knowledge, patience with reverence, and understanding the religion of Islam in the light of core education to enlighten the world with his works and what he did is a kind of commendable job a nation and the generation can witness by the educational institution Aligarh Muslim University.
The university which is still educating millions of mind from the ocean of different corner of the nation and overseas, Sir Syed has rightly said once “ The coming age will not be the age of bullets and guns it will be the age of pen and books” Sir Syed has a greater concept of reforming the Indian society by the dent of education with scientific lustre to compete for the world of technologies and modern science, he has been the man of noble and intellectual class which gives thumbs up to his works and devotion in the 20th century, his action towards the nation was with the literary concept in the form of words and dialogue through which he gave shape to tolerance and the method of learning with doing the best kind of job in the best manner to bring the revolution in the reformation of educating India.
Sir Syed has been the light of hope and guide to towards the scientific world of the nation where they lack a hero whom they can follow and give their submission of faith and progress and the same thing happened in the 21st century, irrespective of this Sir Syed Ahmad Khan is to be remembered by the people of India as a person who wanted education to be taken away from political dogma and by the worldwide Alig community as someone who never cared about religious, nationalist or cast based differences when it came to improving the quality of education. Why the first graduate produced by the MAO College was Ishwari Prasad and Theodore Beck – immortalised by the Beck Manzil in AMU is its most celebrated Principal? Sir Walter Raleigh who established the English Department was among the many European teachers invited from England to impart the best practices of teaching and learning in various disciplines. This established the visionary action of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan.
The first departments of studies at AMU were the Departments of Arabic, Urdu, Law and Sanskrit amongst others. He was the visionary of an era which never thought about the hatred and agony to be flourished in the heart and the soul of Muslims and Hindu community, ” The Hindus and the Muslims are like two eyes of the beautiful bride, India” as he advocated the peace between the two communities, said Sir Syed. Sir Syed has always been the face of peace and tolerance to the extent of involving youth and generation towards modern education, and developing nation towards scaling the height of quality education and tolerance. “The first requisite for the progress of a nation is the brotherhood and unity amongst sections of the society,” said Sir Syed. Through it assembled the roots of his staunchest beliefs and love towards love and peace for the different communities of the nation.
The relevance of Sir Syed in the new millennium can be brought into light by his spectacular works and devotion towards modern India putting it in the hub of modern education and science and technology in the 21st century. He has been the lightening candle of the dark age for the nation which was taken astray from the root direction of education, science, and technology, which would lead them towards progressing tomorrow and onward life, education and scientific world has been the core field of his concern in his life and he with all his sinews brought it to the practice amongst the people of the country, and today the utmost respected, speaking evidence is the institution called Aligarh Muslim University, which has its standing in the field of science education and the modern education in a row to which the nation has been proud of, the new millennium has the firmest standing figure within the ideology and notions of Sir Syed in the 20th century where he understood and preach the ideas into actions and brought up much literary and scientific work respectively, for instance, “ Sir Syed’s Scientific Society- 1864-1865, Urdu, By-Laws Scientific Society, 1864″.
When the nation was struggling for life, freedom, space of liberalism, democracy, federation, peace but no education, Sir Syed was probably the only dignitary who knew without education these words would be the word in the brain but never in practice, so he scrutinized and studied the mindset of the nation and the dark age towards which the nation was scaling with effective pace, then he comes t quote “Sons (of MAO college later AMU) shall go forth throughout the lengthened breadth of the land to preach the message of free inquiry, of large-hearted toleration and pure morality”.
This gives the nation a true spirit to walk in the light of education, peace, love, tolerance, brotherhood and last not the least development of the nation with the single motto education with effective and efficient use of nations resources through which the walls of the country would be filled with an adequate amount of knowledge and power of youth to manage things to work for future progress. The world which now notices issues and concern over the development of the holistic figure of the globe with all-round development Sir Syed was committed to a statement “All the creatures of God have equal rights. No man is entitled to allow one particular race of men to obtain the good things of this world and to bar the rest from participating in them, and the government must observe this divine law in all its integrity.” As Aristotle rightly said, “inequality is the mother of all the revolution in the world” to the same tone Sir Syed has always stood firm to inequality of any form in nature, equality is the beauty of peace and development, where equality lacks, the peace is broken with havoc distraction begins with turmoil results out in the human life.
Sir Syed and his ideology had been the strongest and splendid want of the new millennium to this world which is rejoicing in the age of 21st century without an alarm of the havoc disaster through the ill human practices they observe. The Founder of the Aligarh Muslim University knew in advance the relevance of modern, scientific and English education while adhering to the primary goodness of being a Muslim with personal beliefs of purity, integrity and justice. He exhorted the students to uphold the Quran in one hand and the knowledge of natural sciences in another to be complete human beings.
The people should be equipped with justice and no cobwebs of dreary divisions of discussion and politics which have taken the brain cells with devastations and heinous distraction, there Sir Syed arose with a candle of light with the beautiful rays of education to which he says “Acquisition of knowledge of science and technology is the only solution for the problems of Muslims.”
To the same relevance which the nation is seeking and preaching now has been halted with big no in the days of Sir Syed, where he understood the development exists in one and only one theory, the theory of education with a scientific approach to gift the nation a progressing environment, This is the age of rocket science and hub of technologies, which Sir Syed had dreamt about a century ago, the phenomenal achievement and his works are the hauling evidence of the relevance of Sir Syed in the new millennium, Sir Syed has always had an angry approval to regionalism, sexism or sectarianism. Which the world is facing with huge mass now, he has foreseen the future, due to which he pushed him towards the lighter part of education which is only the solution to carve these black spot from the society’s beautiful picture made with all the creed, colour, love, religions, brotherhood and indeed the true nationalism towards the nation. Where this new era is witnessing, the addressing of the greatest part of poverty and insufficient immunization towards its citizens, Sir Syed was a social engineer to check out the lacunae all around the development of the nation to which he admits “ Ignorance is the mother of poverty” Sir Syed has been the figure of holistic knowledge with a custodian of brighter wisdom to enrich the nation minds with the legacy of his intellectualism, Sir Syed has also played a role of advocacy, when the two nations theory was coined.
He has been the soul of peace between the nation with his legendary method called literary and dialogue to which he bestowed dividing the nation will not ensure growth but deprival of human resource and human skill, National progress is the total of the individual’s labour, honour, honesty and sympathy. Similarly, the national downfall is the cumulative result of the individual’s laziness, dishonour, dishonesty, selfishness and other weaknesses of character. He has got immense wit to acknowledge the shortcoming in the progressive nature of a healthy society to which the recent scenario lacks to admit and reconcile. Discussion and arguments are critically important for democracy and public reasoning.
The state matter of the specific region which made chaos in the time of two nations with the single belt, Sir Syed was the foremost soul to reconsider their belief in the origin of the single nation India. Sir Syed did not cease here, he took his struggle to a new height where he substitutes illiteracy with the ethnic policy of making the person’s life filled with modern education by issuing journals, handwritten literature to count some i.e. Aligarh Gazette, Tehjeeb-ul-akhlaq etc, through the constant vigorous efforts and work towards making the Indian society full equipped with science and the broader concept of education, which brought the flying colour results in which the first piece of land was donated by a fellow to establish the MAO college, which gives assurance of Sir Syed’s mentality and character to which the fabric of brotherhood between the two communities remained firm and still. Sir Syed’s contributions to 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 (PBUH) 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. He has admitted and demonstrated the religion of Islam with a very sheer point of deep concern in the part of taking the scientific world a step ahead.
In which the most parts of the Muslim community hated language and that of even learning Science in the English Language to which he says “Superstition cannot be the part of Iman (faith).” He has been the firm speaker of truth and justifying justice with all his powerful wits, for which the nation and the community are witnessing a blessed and successful institution, which is on its way to spread wisdom and shelter to the talented birds in its nest.
Sir Syed has no doubt bestowed the zone where the nations are breeding its beautiful species in the form of excellence in the different field of specialized education and overseas where his name has taken the wider concept of education and modernization of young minds with the variety of different culture and tradition in the order.
Sir Syed has been the emblem of peace, love, tolerance, patience, wisdom, knowledge, and utmost a true nationalist to take the nation into the new horizon of success where the beauty speaks its language with the beholder. Sir Syed has given a vital role of his life in the platform of making the nation a hub of modern education and updated knowledge, to the context he says “Get rid of old and useless rituals. These rituals hinder human progress. “Look forward, learn modern knowledge, and do not waste time in studies of old subjects of no value.”
He was the man of scientific approach and his action shows many specializations of modern education by the virtue of his works in the 20th century, where the nation has witnessed some of the masterpiece achievements. Some of which 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’s entire life has speculation of modern education and the relevance of his nature towards the new millennium. Which has the greater aspect to admit, when we dreamt of education, he brought it into action, when science was not a cup of tea for our generation he made it happen in a twinkling of an eye, Sir Syed is the name which injects, passion, dream, a new rejoiced life, a life equipped with enormous success and devotion towards nation-building and living your dream.
Sir Syed was praised by some of the highly praised intellectual class dignitaries, to name a few are the followings,
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’’
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.’’
Mr Inder Kumar Gujralji
‘’Sir Syed’s 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 like Raja Mohan Roy and Sir Syed could penetrate through its thick veil to visualize the Nation’s destinies. They rightly believed that the past had its merits and its legacies were valuable but it was the future that society was called upon to cope with. 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 direction of Islamic knowledge. Sir Syed passed away after a brief illness on 27th March 1898 and was buried the next day in the compound of the mosque called the Jama Masjid at the Sir Syed South Hall in the College. May his soul continue to live in peace.
Thus the relevance of Sir Syed has countless bounty and obligations in the new millennium of the modern world with countless scientific reasons. The truth of the above lines rests in the last message by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan
“It is the categorical verdict of all the nations and great seers of the world that national progress depends on education and training (of the people).”