THE ALIG

The Newsletter of Aligarh Muslim University Alumni Association

Northern California

 

Volume 1 Issue 1 October 1998

 

726 Marlin Ave., #2, Foster City, CA 94404, USA
Email: amualumni@hotmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 17, 1817-March 27, 1898

 

"It is no honor for any body to be proud of his ancestors and have no virtue to his own credit"

 

 

INSIDE THIS ISSUE

 

AMU Alumni Association of Northern California…………………………………………...3

Alumni News Briefs………………………………………………………………………....4

News From Aligarh……………………………………………………………………….…5

Obituaries……………………………………………………………………………………6

Letters……………………………………………………………………………………….7

AMU Alumni Associations………………………………………………………………….7

Sir Syed And His Legacy……………………………………………………………………8

Hasrat Mohani: A Revolutionary Politician………………………………………………….9

International AMU Alumni Directory……………………………………………………...10

…………………………………………………………………

 

AMU Alumni Association of Northern California

Patron: Abdus Salam Qureishi

President: Nihal N. Khan

Secretary: Akram Khan

Treasurer: Izhar A. Khan

Introduction:

The Aligarh Muslim University Alumni Association was founded in 1996 as a nonprofit organization to promote cultural values, social traditions and literary legacy of our Alma Mater. Another objective is to do fund raising to help poor students in Aligarh and elsewhere in achieving their educational goals. The AMU Alumni Association organizes social activities, community enrichment programs, and mushairas. Our association also honors outstanding individuals with appropriate achievement awards.

Aims And Objectives

1. Preparation of AMU Alumni directory with email addresses.

2. Coordination between various AMU Alumni Associations here in North America and elsewhere.

3. Arrange annual Sir Syed Day Dinner.

4. Gather information of interest from AMU and pass it on to Alumni.

5. Provide assistance to any newly arrived AMU students and their families.

6. Award Scholarships to deserving students at AMU.

7. Provide information and material support to our Alma Mater in the form of books, references, equipment, etc. to the library and departments.

Provide assistance & counseling to the elderly and the disabled people of the community.

SIR SYED DAY: The Annual Sir Syed Day dinner and Mushaira are organized to celebrate the birthday of the founder.

THE ALIG: This newsletter is the voice of the Association and it is intended to establish a communication link among the members of the association as well as other alumni associations in various parts of the country and around the globe.

SIR SYED SCHOLARSHIP: The Association offers fellowships to meritorious and needy students at the Aligarh Muslim University. Special scholarships tailored to the specific needs of the sponsors are also being established.

SYED AHMAD KHAN AWARDS: These awards honor selected Aligarians residing in North America for distinguished achievements in their field.

CERTIFICATES OF HONOR: Awarded to visiting intellectuals.

Sir Syed Day’98 And International Mushaira Commemorating Sir Syed's Centenary

Aligarh Muslim University Alumni Association (AMUAA) of Northern California is celebrating Sir Syed Day in the Bay Area on Saturday, November 7, 1998 at 6:00 PM.

On this occasion the annual International Mushaira will also be held. Featured guest poets from the sub-continent include Baikal Utsahi, Irfan Siddiqui, Mansoor Usmani, Nawaz Deobandi and Pirzada Qasim. Several renowned poets of California will also participate in this Mushaira.

This grand event will be held at the beautiful auditorium of The Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California, 1433 Madison Street, Oakland, CA. Please join us in celebrating this exciting event and enjoy an evening of International Mushaira and traditional Dinner. Advance Ticket purchase is requested.

For More Information please contact: Seema Siddiqi (408) 296-5226, Asim Salim (510) 252-9892,

Shaheer Khan (650) 574-5814, Shahla Khan (925) 736-4566.

email: amualumni@hotmail.com

AMU Alumni Association Hosts Reception For Indian Muslim Educators

On April 19th, 1998, the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) Alumni Association of Northern California gave a warm reception to Mr. Saiyed Hamid. Mr. Hamid, former vice-chancellor of AMU and former secretary to the Govt. of India has dedicated his life to the educational upliftment of the underprivileged Indian Muslim Community. During the past fifteen years he has lead several successful educational projects in India under the umbrella of the New Delhi based trust for the promotion of higher education among Muslims. Office bearers of the trust visited US as part of a world tour seeking support for the establishment of Sir Syed University of Science, Technology and Management, in a suburb of New Delhi. Sir Syed University has been a top priority for the trust for the past two years and has gathered a world wide support from the Indian Muslims.

Mr. Amanullah Khan, secretary general of the trust updated the audience on the project plan while Mr. Hamid urged the AMU Alumni to establish a seamless link with the university project in providing the latest technology and management skills. He said that initially the trust planned to start the university in 1998 which is also Sir Syed Ahmad Khan’s death centenary, but was delayed due to the election year in the country. However, based on the support and encouragement the trust has received from the Indian Muslims in the US, Mr. Hamid restated his promise to start some departments of the university in 1998.

Mr. Hamid thanked the former students of AMU for honoring him and supporting his project. He expressed his happiness for their achievements in a foreign land, and said that AMU is proud of them.

Welcoming the delegation and the gathering were Shaheer Khan and Akram Khan, both active members of the AMU Alumni Association. They assured the distinguished guests of their full support towards the establishment of this much needed university of global standards.

The program ended with a chorus of Tarana-e-Aligarh.

AMU Alumni Association Hosts Reception To Prof. Nisar A. Khan

AMU Alumni Association of Northern California hosted a reception to Prof. Nisar A. Khan who was visiting San Francisco Bay Area. Prof. Nisar Khan has retired from the post of Professor in the department of Mathematics at Zakir Husain College of Engineering and Technology after a distinguished teaching career spanning over three decades. Association also presented a certificate of honor to Prof. Khan in recognition of his excellent services to AMU. Dr. Abdullah, founder of AMU Alumni Association of Washington presided over this function.

For Submitting Articles, Suggestions, Opinions, News Items

Please contact:

AMU Alumni Association of Northern California

726 Marlin Ave., #2

Foster City, CA 94404, USA

Tel/Fax: (650) 574-5814

Email: amualumni@hotmail.com

 

For Advertisement, Please Contact:

Akram Khan

(408) 296-5226

akram_khan@hotmail.com

 

Alumni News Briefs

 

A Convention on the Indian Muslims celebrating Sir Syed's Centenary

Report by: Razi Raziuddin

Aligarh Alumni Association, Washington, DC

A two-day convention on the Indian Muslims was jointly organized by the Aligarh Alumni Association of Washington, DC and American Federation of Muslims from India (AFMI), at the 100th death anniversary of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, in greater Washington metropolitan area, on October 17-18, 1998.

The convention was followed by a elegant Sir Syed Day Dinner and the traditional Sir Syed Day Mushaira.

The primary theme of the convention was The "Overall Development Of Indian Muslims In Socio-Economic And Educational Areas" and the follow-up themes were the "Challenges And Strategies For The Indian Muslims For The New Millennium".

Leading educator and social activist Mr. Syed Hamid, ex-vice-chancellor Aligarh Muslim University was the guest of honor and the lead speaker for the occasion. Other guests were Mr. Roshan Baig, Minister of Home and Waqf affairs, Karnataka State; Mr. Waseem Ahmad, ex-Member of Parliament (Janata), Dr. Islam Siddiqui, assistant deputy administrator US Dept. of Agriculture, and many other leading Muslim professionals of Indian origin.

Majority of speakers talked about the legacy of Sir Syed and his colleagues in liberating Muslims from their age-old traditions and backwardness but also put emphasis on rekindling the spirit of that period so as to cope with the needs of the present times. These luminaries strongly felt that the movement's message is waning away and it is high time to revitalize Sir Syed's movement so as to groom the Indian Muslims educationally, economically and socially to meet the challenges of the next century. A wide range of ideas and proposals were spelt out ranging from establishment of centers of higher learning to aiding the Muslim masses at the very gross level.

The convention and the dinner was well attended by many delegates and guests from various states of USA. Certain awards were also given, on the occasion, by AFMI, to community leaders.

Later on, the night was literally robbed by the exuberant Aligarh Mushaira, which was well attended by a crowd of over 900 people. Popular and prominent poets from India and Pakistan displayed their best and the night became fragrant with the melody of Aligarh Tarana and the beautiful "ghazals" of Peerzada Qasim, Irfan Siddiqui, Nawaz Deobandi and Mansoor Usmani.

Sir Syed Day'98 In Sydney, Australia

AMU Alumni of Australia is pleased to announce the celebration of Sir Syed Day on Saturday, October 17, 1998 at 6 PM. This grand event will be held at East Hills Boys Technology High School, Lucas Road, Panania, NSW 2213, Australia. Please join us in celebrating this exciting event, meet new and old friends and AMU well-wishers. The evening will feature a debate competition for year 8 to year 12 school students, a drawing competition for children from age 4 to 10 years, fancy dress parade and most exclusive Sham-e-Ghazal.

We will appreciate if you take an active role in AMU Alumni activities. The AMU Alumni of Australia has instituted a scholarship project in the name of Sir Syed Scholarship, which is awarded to bright, needy students of AMU. Contribution to this great cause is appreciated.

For further information on Sir Syed Day celebration and Sir Syed Scholarship please contact:

Nadeem Siddiqi

nadeem@materials.unsw.edu.au

Aligarh Muslim University Alumni Association Revived In New York

Former students of the Aligarh Muslim University in Aligarh, India, held a meeting in New York City last month and decided to revive the Aligarh Alumni Association of Metro New York, a release said.

Presided over by Dr. M.A. Bari, the senior-most person present, the meeting was convened to discuss the need for establishing a literary, cultural, nonpolitical and nonprofit organization.

The meeting decided to call a general body meeting for May 17 and assigned Muzaffar A. Habib as General Secretary and Qasim S. Khan as treasurer for the interim period.

Other members of an ad hoc committee listed in the press release are Ahsan Z. Fazli, Anis Khan, Asad Ur Rahman, Athan Shamsi, M.A. Bari, Masood Haider, Riazuddin Alvi and Soofia K. Hussain.

The association's program this year will include a celebration of Sir Syed Day on October 31, 1998.

Sir Syed Ahmad Khan International Award

The Sir Syed Ahmad Khan Centenary Committee (Pakistan) is pleased to announce the establishment of the Sir Syed Ahmad Khan International Award. The aim of instituting this award is to create an awakening about the importance of the contribution of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan in the Renaissance of the Muslims of South Asia.

While it is true that genuine writers and researchers do not undertake their works for the express purpose of obtaining awards or monetary gain, but the fact remains that such awards are a recognition of their work, an acknowledgment of their contribution. Awards are incentives which motivate individuals to undertake further research and make ever-new intellectual efforts.

The First Sir Syed Ahmad Khan International Award of US $ 10,000 will be given to the most outstanding book (written after 1947) on Sir Syed’s life and achievements. The Award may be given to an author/ researcher or an institution for life long work on Sir Syed or the Aligarh Movement in Urdu or any other International language.

The Inaugural Award will be announced at on the next Birth anniversary of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan on 17th October, 1998.

Future Awards

1. For future awards, following the inaugural award, all books published during the calendar year preceding the year of award will be eligible.

2. Books written in Urdu, English, other international languages, and all Pakistani languages will be considered. For every language there will be separate Panel of Judges.

3. The amount for Books for future awards will be announced well in advance.

4. Research articles published in journals and papers read in conferences will also be eligible for special awards.

Contact:

Z. A. Nizami

Chancellor,

Sir Syed University Of Engineering and Technology,

University Road, Gulshan-e-Iqbal,

Karachi-75300, Pakistan.

Tel: (92-92) 4988006/4988000-2/474583

Fax: (92-21) 4982398, 4988006

Email: nizami@ssuet.edu.pk

Web: http://www.ssuet.edu

President,

Aligarh Muslim University old Boys' Association (AMUOBA) of Pakistan, M.R. Kiyani Road,

Karachi, Pakistan.

Tel: 92-21-510 004

 

NEWS FROM ALIGARH

Rains Hamper Sir Syed Day Celebrations In Aligarh

Aligarh: October 17, 1998: Untimely rain played havoc on what could have been the grandest ever celebrations of Sir Syed Day at A.M.U. The prime minister of Mauritius was the chief guest.

The function was scheduled to be held at athletic grounds. For many years it was being felt that Kennedy Hall was too small to handle the strength that turns out. Arrangements were also made for the traditional community dinner at the cricket pavilions. However rain played spoilsport and the function had to be held at the Kennedy hall. The dinners were held in the halls of residence.

Commemorative Function Finishes Without Chief Guest

To the dismay of the crowds that had gathered at Kennedy hall since 8:00 in the morning, they had to be content with hearing the Vice Chancellor. Those who were expecting Mr. Navin Chandra Ramgolam were told that he would arrive at 1:10, to attend a special convocation. The convocation had entry by invitation only. The students were however able to see the convocation live on the local cable TV network.

D.Litt. Degree Conferred On Mauritian Prime Minister

In a special convocation held at Kennedy hall, Mr. Ramgolam was awarded a D.Litt. (Honors Causa). The Convocation which was held at 2:00 PM (local time), was televised on local cable TV network.

The prime minister expressed his gratefulness by saying that the would cherish this day in his life. He hailed AMU for it's role in the development of culture and Urdu in Mauritius. He said that Aligarians were playing important roles in the multifaceted, all-around development of Mauritius.

The faculty toppers of 1997 (which numbered 150) were also honored on the occasion.

Moulana Azad Library World's Eighth Wonder Says Mauritian Prime Minister

The prime minister was mesmerized by the world famous library and its priced possessions which include rare centuries old manuscripts. He was overwhelmed to see a 1400 year old manuscript of 'The Holy Quran'.

The couple arrived at Aligarh around 1:00 PM, paid a visit to Sir Syed's Tomb. The AMU students Union felicitated the prime minister. They left the university at 5:00 PM.

Computer Center Wears A New Look

So the transition has finally taken place. The good old 186's that made the foundation lab look more like a museum than anything else are gone. Replaced by nothing less than Pentium's.

We hear that the lab has already been inaugurated. It is however yet to be opened for public.

Help us out! Mail, call or email us some thing about your association, an upcoming event, an update, an opinion, a story.- personal or otherwise. We’d love to hear from you. Blow your own horn! It sure makes our lives easier. We can be reached by email: amualumni@hotmail.com

OBITUARIES

Prof. Mohammed Shahabuddin Ahmad

Professor M.S. Ahmad (Dept. of Chemistry) a truly outstanding person in many ways, passed away in Aligarh on Tuesday, October 20, 1998. He was laid to rest in Aligarh. Prof. Ahmad received his B.Sc. (Hons.) and M.Sc. degrees from Aligarh Muslim University and Ph.D. from university of Manchester., UK.

Dr. Wajih Nizami

Dr. Wajih Nizami, Professor of Zoology passed away on Tuesday October 13, 1998 after a massive heart attack. He was only 47 years old. His father Prof. K. A. Nizami left us only 11 months ago.

Prof. K. A. Nizami

Professor Khaliq Ahmad Nizami, former vice-chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University died in Aligarh on Thursday, December 4th, 1997. He was laid to rest in Aligarh. A large number of students, teachers and friends attended the burial services. He was the elder brother of Z. A. Nizami, Chancellor of Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology, Karachi, Pakistan

Prof. Nizami's family, his colleagues and students will miss his countless academic and personal contributions. Aligarh has lost one of its most devoted sons.

Professor K. A. Nizami was the eminent historian of the middle ages. He has written extensively about various aspects of Islam and Mysticism. He was the first Muslim scholar who has interpreted the meaning of Mysticism in relation to social vales with reference to its importance in the life of common people.

K.A. Nizami was born on 25th December 1925. He was appointed Lecturer in the department of History at Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) in 1947, promoted to the post of Reader in 1953 and of Professor in 1963. He was also the coordinator of the Center of Advanced Study in History at AMU in 1963. During 1972-73 he was the Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University and vice-chancellor in 1974. He also served as ambassador of India in Syria during 1975-77.

Professor Nizami had an extraordinary faith in Sir Syed. He established Sir Syed Academy in Aligarh and introduced the process of yearly lectures on Sir Syed. He authored several books on Sir Syed both in English and Urdu which were well received by the readers. Prof. Nizami's books in the field of History also enjoyed fame and appreciation at the international level. He has authored more than 40 books and about 200 articles published in Urdu, English, Persian, and Arabic.

Among his books on various topics, the following are especially noteworthy:

Life and Times of Shaikh Nizamuddin Auliya

Life and Times of Shaikh Naseeruddin Chiragh Delhvi

Life and Times of Shaikh Fariduddin Ganj-i Shakar

Akbar and religion

Moulana Azad and the thirty pages of his India wins Freedom

Moulana Azad Album

Religion and politics in India during the thirteenth Century

Syed Ahmad Khan, in Builders of modern India

Sir Syed speaks to you

Sir Syed ek ta'arruf

Sir syed aur unkay rufaqa

Scientific Society

Armaghan-i-Aligarh

Sir syed Album

Sir Syed aur Aligarh Tahrik

SirSyed on Education, Society and Economy

Sir syed Ki Fikr aur Asr-e Jadid Ke Taqaz-e

Makatib Rasheed Ahmad siddiqui

Ek dard angez kahani Sir Syed KiZabani

History of the Aligarh Muslim University

Secular Tradition at Aligarh Muslim University

Aligarh Ki Elmi Khidmat

Tarikh-i Mashaikh-i Chisht

Salatin-i Delhi Ke Mazhabi Rujhanat,

Mystic Ideology and its impact

Mystic Teachers and their Influence

 

LETTERS

 

New Alumni Association

We are thinking of establishing a regional AMU alumni association in the four states of Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and West Virginia. If anyone is interested please get in touch with me:

With regards,

Abdul Wase,

Email: Artist6069@AOL.Com

Alumni

My name is Yusuf, and I live in Lahore, Pakistan. My father, grand father and great grand father studied at Aligarh. My father was there in 1946 (Law), grand father in 1921 (Law) and great grand father in 1890's and I am told he passed his 12 th grade exam from Aligarh.

I have always wanted to visit Aligarh, which may be possible in the near future. Moreover, I wonder if the University maintains records of students dating back to the end of the last century, and whether the University has pictures of the various sessions that have graduated every year.

I would be very grateful if you could help with this, or direct me to some one who could help me.

Regards

Wazir Zada Yousaf

sadozai@lhr.comsats.net.pk

Information About Admission

I will be highly glad if you kindly provide me the university prospectus/admission procedure to get my son admitted into Comp. science & Eng. dept. in under graduate course since we are not finding concern address regarding admission in the webpage.

Thanks and best regards,

 

Salahuddin Chowdhury

Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Email: tajknit@bangla.net

Information About Admission Procedure

I'm a science student from Mumbai studying in the first year junior science college. I'm interested in pursuing my studies at Aligarh Muslim University in computer science. So I would like to know about the courses offered by AMU for the same, also I would like to know whether AMU has diploma course for computer science and the requirements for the same.

Imtiyaz Jatu

Email: ansari@bom3.vsnl.net.in

 

AMU ALUMNI ASSOCIATIONS

Australia

Sydney:

Dr. Nadeem Siddiqui (Member Executive Committee)

Tel: 61-2-9385 5142 (BH)

61-2-9750 0697 (AH)

Fax: 61-2-9385 5956

Email: nadeem@materials.unsw.edu.au

Canada

Toronto:

Mr. M. Ishaq Tonki (Member Executive Committee)

46 Alton Tower Circle

Scarborough, Ontario, M1V 5A1

Email: aligarh@bigfoot.com

Web: http://www.tor.shaw.wave.ca/~aligarh/index.html

India

Kanpur:

AMU Old Boys' Association,

68, Cantonment,Kanpur-India.

Tel:+91-512-318193,450457,450331

Fax:+91-512-450029,363114

E-mail:kings@lw1.vsnl.net.in

Pakistan

Karachi:

Prof. Z.A. Nizami, President,

Mr. Mohammad Zakir Ali Khan, Hon. Gen. Secretary

Aligarh Muslim University old Boys' Association (AMUOBA) of Pakistan,

M.R. Kiyani Road, Karachi, Pakistan.

Tel: 92-21-510-004

Fax: 92-21-568-6779

Email: nizami@ssuet.edu.pk

Saudi Arabia

Riyadh:

Mr. Suhail Ahmad

Email: suhailam@yahoo.com (Contact Person)

USA

Chicago:

Dr. Muzaffar Farooqui, President

AMUAA of Greater Chicago

34 Wildwood Dr. South

Prospect Heights, IL 60070

Tel: (847) 541-3336

New York:

Mr. Muzaffar A. Habeeb, Seretary

Tel: (718) 334-7497

San Francisco:

AMU Alumni Association of Northern California

726 Marlin Ave., #2

Foster Ciry, CA 94404

Email: amualumni@hotmail.com

Web: http://members.tripod.com/~AMU_Alumni/index.html

Washington, DC:

Dr. Zaheer Usmani, President

Mr. Yazdani Siddiqui, Chairman of the Board

The Aligarh Alumni Association, Washington, DC

P.O. Box 1877, Ellicott City, MD 21043-0012

Tel: (301) 552-4859

Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky & West Virginia:

Dr. Abdul Wase (Contact Person)

Email: Artist6069@AOL.Com

Sir Syed And His Legacy

By Razi Raziuddin

Aligarh Alumni Association, Washington, DC

ABOUT THE AUTOHR

Dr. Raziuddin is a Scientist at National Cancer Institute-NIH, Frederick campus, Maryland and is a member of Aligarh Alumni Association of Washington, DC. He obtained his M.Sc. (Biochemistry) from A.M.U. in 1974 and Ph.D. from B.H.U. in 1980.

Is chaman kay naghma pairaon ki azadi to dekh

shaher jo ujdha padha tha uski aabaadi to dekh

POET Iqbal thus paid homage to Sir Syed Ahmad Khan. His is the most towering and revered personality, within the Muslim world of the Indian sub-continent, during these 150 years. Syed Ahmad Khan, the reformer, the educator and the visionary, initiated and established movements and institutions and a climate of rational thought processes which helped create a profound resurgence in the otherwise a static community. It changed the direction and the destiny of the Muslims of the Indian sub-continent for ever.

Sir Syed was an ardent reformer and he very much wanted to reconcile modern scientific thought with Islam. He was convinced that this down and out anti-western and conservative community can come out of their present mode only through learning modern education and openness. His aim was wide and high. He wanted to lead the Indian, particularly Muslim, mind out of the obscurantism of the medieval into the new light of the modern age through western education and to evolve a new culture by blending the best elements of the Western and Hindustani cultures.

This was to be done not by attacking any basic belief but by a rationalistic interpretation of the faith, customs and traditions. His educational and social activities attracted the best minds of his time, namely; Islamist Shibli Nomani, poet Hali, scholar Dr. Nazir Ahmad and activist Nawab Mohsin-ul-Mulk.

Sir Syed started a campaign popularly known as "The Aligarh Movement" to propagate social reform and intellectual resurgence. Through his weeklies, The Aligarh Institute Gazette and Tahzeeb-ul-Akhlaq, he ventured and sought "a synthesis of the best in the Oriental and Occidental learning, a symbiosis of the material and moral values and a fusion of the tradition with experiment. The purpose, also was to create an awareness in man by which he may distinguish between good and bad, become more refined in his manners, preach the gospel of free inquiry, of large hearted tolerance and pure morality"

In this, his English school at Ghazipur (1864), Persian school at Moradabad (1869), Scientific Society at Aligarh (1863) and finally the M.A.O. college (1875), which later on became the Aligarh Muslim University, became instruments for the realization of his schemes of social reform and intellectual resurgence.

Hasrat Mohani: A Revolutionary Politician

By Prof. Sharif al Mujahid

ALL said and done, Maulana Hasrat Mohani was a revolutionary par excellence. His was a life of labor, tears and toil - a veritable saga of incessant struggle, awesome tribulations and poignant suffering. Perhaps, no other freedom fighter had gone through such terrible vicissitudes as he did in the cause of Indian freedom.

Born in a middle class Sadaat family, in a small town (Mohaan), situated between Lucknow and Kanpur, in 1880, and named as Syed Fazlul Hasan, Hasrat Mohani, as he later came to be known after his nom de plume, graduated from the M.A.O. College, Aligarh, in 1903. He belonged to the radical wing of Aligarh's first generation, which, while justifying Sir Syed for his loyalist plank in his own time, now desired the Muslims to take the political path and make their due contribution to the onward march of both the community and country.

He, therefore, shunned the comforts, perks and prestige that went with a cozy government job for a person of his accomplishments at the turn of the century, and opted for uncertain, stormy politics. He joined the Congress in 1904, and aligned himself with the extremist wing, headed by the fire- eating Bal Gangadhar Tilak. The Moderates, headed by Gokhale and Pherozshah Mehta, had little attraction for Hasrat, a born rebel that he was. With the split of the Congress and the ascendancy of the Moderates at Surat in 1907, he along with Tilak abandoned the Congress.

Interestingly, Hasrat was among the earliest Muslims to boycott British goods and opt for indigenous cloth. Such was his steadfastness to the Swadeshi cause that once, being a guest at some one's home in winter, he preferred to spend the night shivering all the while rather than using a foreign-made blanket. Not only he, but even his redoubtable wife, who cast off the veil to share the burdens of her intrepid husband, went in for Swadeshi. Hasrat also opened a store at Aligarh to promote the Swadeshi cause, and preached it in his monthly, Urdu-i-Mu'alla.

Hasrat's first test came in 1908 when he published an extremely critical article on the "British policy in Egypt" in his journal. It was a translation from an Arabic article, and the Maulana, who took his vocation as an editor seriously, refused to divulge the name of the author. Upon this he was charged with sedition, and sentenced to two years' rigorous imprisonment along with a fine of Rs 500. And in default of its payment, the Maulana's precious library was auctioned off for a paltry sum of Rs 60 only. Despite efforts, the Maulana could not get any legal aid since lawyers in those days were awry of taking up cases involving sedition. Rigorous imprisonment for him meant grinding one maund (over 36 kilos) of wheat every day. In Hasrat's own words.

Hai mashq-i-sukhan jari, chakki ki mushaqqat bhi

Ek turfa tamasha hai Hasrat ki tabiyyat bhi

The Maulana was, perhaps, the first Muslim to undergo rigorous imprisonment for his political views.

Hasrat was jailed three more times during the 1910s and 1920s. At one time, he was transferred from one place to another six times within a short span of two years. His father died while he was in jail, and he was not informed. His only daughter's wedding took place during his incarceration at Ahmedabad in 1915. Letters from family and friends were not allowed, nor anyone permitted to see political prisoners during those days.

By 1913 Hasrat was able to inject a streak of radicalism into Muslim politics. During the aftermath of the Kanpur Machhli Bazaar Mosque affair, he along with the Ali Brothers, Maulana Azad Subhani, Maulana Abdul Bari Farangimahli, Maulana Zafar Ali Khan and others addressed mammoth meetings and was hailed as Syedul Ahrar and Raisul Ahrar.

When elected President of the Khilafat Conference in 1923, Maulana Shaukat Ali tried hard to induce Hasrat to travel at least Second Class with Bi Amma (the Ali brothers' mother) and others at the expense of the Khilafat Conference, but Hasrat refused pointblank and travelled Third as usual, at his own expense. While going on Haj, which he did some eighteen times, he would invariably stay at the Haji Camp, instead of at some friend's place, although he had admirers galore at Bombay and Karachi. And a jute bag would be his constant companion during all his travels.

Not only was the Maulana's role unique in terms of toils and tribulations he had joyously gone through in the cause of Indian freedom and of press freedom, in terms of envisioning the future political dispensation of India and of the building up of a new cosmos, his contribution was also highly significant. He was the first political leader to propose, at the Ahmedabad Congress session in 1921, to define its creed of Swaraj as "Complete independence, free from all foreign control by all possible and proper means." Though rejected by the Subjects Committee of the Congress at the instance of Gandhi, he moved it in the open session. Because of Gandhi's opposition, no one dared second his amendment to the Congress creed. Whereupon Begum Hasrat boldly stood up in that huge gathering and seconded it without much ado.

Gandhi vehemently opposed Hasrat's proposal. The proposal, he said "in all confidence", showed "lack of responsibility"; it raised "a false issue"; it was akin to "throwing a bombshell in midst of the Indian atmosphere", and, above all, it was "a step which will redound not to your credit, not to your advantage, but which may cause you irreparable injury". "Let us", argued Gandhi, "not go into waters whose depth we do not know, and this proposition of Mr Hasrat Mohani leads you into depths unfathomable. "The Indian Annual Register, 1922, 1:65-66) Gandhi, says Subhas Chandra Bose, stood adamant against so revolutionary a definition, adding: "The proposition was, however, to be brought up over and over again at subsequent Congress sessions till it was accepted at the Lahore Congress in 1929, the mover on that occasion being none other than the Mahatma himself."

Undeterred by his discomfiture at the Ahmedabad Congress, the Maulana included his proposal in his presidential address to the All India Muslim League in January 1922. He suggested that complete independence should be announced from Jan 1, 1922, that India be declared a Republic, that it be named as the United States of India. If, Martial Law be imposed then guerrilla warfare should be launched against the British government. The presidential address was confiscated and Hasrat prosecuted under Sections 121 and 124 of the Penal Code. The jury went for the defendant, but the Session Judge convicted the Maulana. He was sentenced to two years' rigorous imprisonment and put in a condemned cell. However, on a reference to the High Court, Justice Crump found that the Maulana was not "guilty of instigating and therefore abetting the waging of war". Since the learned judge found no incitement to violence in the Maulana's presidential address, the earlier sentence was set aside and the Maulana set free.

Interestingly, it was at the instance of the Maulana that the All India Muslim League adopted "full independence" as its creed at Lucknow (1937). The word, "complete," had been dropped because, in view of its being variously defined as Dominion Status, Purna Swaraj, etc., as the Maulana explained, its interpretation had made the word meaningless. He made a reference to Gandhi's opposition to his resolution at the Ahmedabad Congress, but felt happy that this had enabled him to move it at the League session and get it adopted unanimously.

In subsequent years, the Maulana was in the forefront for the rights of the Muslims in the Indian dominion. He was the lone member of the Indian Constituent Assembly who refused to sign the Indian Constitution. And when he left for his heavenly abode on May 13, 1951, his death was widely mourned.

(Note: The above material is adopted from an article published in Dawn.)

Announcements And Acknowledgments

For our next issue to be published in January 1999, we would like to invite articles from Aligs all over the world to express their thoughts on Sir Syed’s Centenary.

THE ALIG is extremely thankful to all the members of the association for their help in successful launching of this first issue of the newsletter and a special thanks to those who have contributed with their articles and news reports. We are also thankful to Dr. Abdullah (Washington, DC) for his constant support, enthusiasm, suggestions and encouragement.

"I have always preferred truthfulness to worldly wealth and honor and the pleasure of God to the appreciation and praise of people" Sir Syed

International Directory of AMU Alumni

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