Sunday 18 March 2018

The Aligarh Movement 1858-1902 - English Essay

The Aligarh Movement 1858-1902

The War of Independence 1857 ended in a disaster for the Muslims. The
British believed that the Muslims were responsible for the war of 1857 and
therefore, they were subjected to ruthless punishment and merciless
revenge. The British had always looked upon the Muslims as their enemies
because they had ousted them from power. With the war of 1857 this
feeling was intensified and every attempt was made to ruin and suppress
the Muslims forever. Thus the Mughal rule came to an end and the sub
continent went directly under the British crown.
Sir Syed Ahmad Khan made modern education the way to
After the Muslim rule, the new rulers, the British, implemented a new
educational policy with drastic changes. The policy restricted Arabic,
Persian and religious education in schools and made English as the only
medium of instruction as well as the official language in 1835. A wrong
attitude of everything modern and Western, and disinclination to make use
of the opportunities opening under the new regime was created among the
Muslims. This tendency, had it continued long, would have proved
disastrous for the Muslim community. Such were the days of despair and
despondency when Sir Syed appeared on the horizon of Muslim India to
rescue them. Sir Syed had the conviction that regeneration of the Indian
Muslims had not at all visualized that mankind had entered a very important
phase of its existence, i.e. an era of science and learning which was the
source of progress and prosperity for the British.

Therefore, modern education became the pivot of his movement
for the regeneration of the Indian Muslims, which brought a complete
orientation in their lives. He tried to transform Muslim minds from medieval
outlook to a modern one. Hall and Shibli were also associated with the
Aligarh Movement. Sir Syed’s first and foremost objective was to modernize
the Muslims following the Western cultural values that could create friendly atmosphere for the
two communities. He motivated his community to learn the Western
philosophy and English literature to get along with the ruling people.
Therefore, in order to fulfil this desire he started the Aligarh movement. He
had two immediate objectives in view:

1) To remove the state of tension between the Muslims and the British
government, and
2) To induce them to get jobs and other facilities under the new government.
To him, this was the only way for the Muslims to prosper. The ideas of Sir
Syed may be summed up as following:

1. To create an atmosphere of mutual understanding between the.
British government and the Muslims
2. To motivate the Muslims to learn Western education
3. To persuade Muslims to abstain from agitational politics.

Fortunately, Syed Ahmad Khan was able to attract a number of sincere
friends who shared his views and helped him. Among them were well-known
figures like Nawab Mohsin ul Mulk, Nawab Viqar ul Mulk, Hall, Shibli, Nazir
Ahmad, Chiragh Ah, Mohammad Hayat, and Zakaullah. All these
personalities advocated the cause set by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan. Some
English professors like Bech, Morison, Raleigh and Arnold also contributed
greatly in building up the Aligarh college into a first rate institution.

Syed Ahmad launched his educational movement by setting up Guishan
School at Muradabad - 1859; Victoria School at Gazipur ¡n 1863; Scientific
Society for the translation of English works in the native language, Urdu, at
Aligarh In 1864; Aligarh Institute Gazette imparting information on history -
ancient and modern, science of agriculture, natural sciences, physical
sciences and Advanced Mathematics ¡n 1866; Committee Striving for the
Educational Progress of Muslims - 1870; Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental
School (MAO) at Aligarh in 1875 at the pattern of English public schools and
later raised to the level of college in 1877 and university in 1920;
Mohammedan Educational Conference (1 886), which met every year to take
stock of the educational problems of the Muslims and to persuade them to
get modern education and abstain from politics; it later became a political
mouthpiece of the Indian Muslims and the forerunner of the All India Muslim

Besides his prominent role in the educational uplift of the Muslims,
Syed Ahmad Khan’s writings played important role in popularising the ideals
for which the Aligarh stood. His Risala Asbab-i-Baghawat-i-Hind in 1858; and
other writings as Loyal Mohammedans of India; Tabyin-ul-Kalam and
Khutbat-i-Ahmadiya rooted out the misunderstandings about Islamic
teachings and helped create a cordial relation between the British
Government and the Indian Muslims and also helped to remove the
misunderstanding about Islam and Christianity.

It was this platform from where Syed Ah mad Khan strongly forbade the
Muslims to join the Hindu dominated political party, the Indian National
Congress. He regretted the Urdu-Hindi controversy initiated by Hindus and
predicted that both the nations could no longer live together. He stood for
reserved seats for Muslims and also promoted the idea that Hindus and
Muslims are two distinct nations, which led to the Two Nation theory.

Syed Ahmad Khan’s Aligarh Movement played a significant role to bring
about an intellectual revolution among the Indian Muslims. Thus Aligarh
Movement succeeded in achieving its major objectives and boosted up the
depressed Muslim community to the real status of nation.

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