Aligarh Movement and Sir Syed Ahmed Khan

What is the Aligarh movement?

Aligarh movement means a movement that was inspired by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, his colleagues and Muslim students of M.A.O College (later Aligarh University). The students of Aligarh College fired by the spirit of Muslim nationalism spread throughout the country and became the torchbearer of the Two-Nation Theory. Thus, the quest of the Muslims for their national identity took the shape of a movement that resulted in the renaissance of the Muslims in the 19th century. This movement revolutionized the economic, social, and political status of Muslims. However, Sir Syed was the chief architect of this movement. He worked day and night for the revival of Muslim glory. After the failure of the War of Independence in 1857, the Muslims became the victims of the wrath of the British rulers and they were subjected to an unprecedented systematic process of suppression and elimination. On the other hand, the British rulers favoured the Hindus by granting them important government jobs in plenty. Thus the tide was turned on the Muslim community within a short span of time witnessing a steep fall from the high pedestal of the ruling class to a politically neglected and economically depressed minority.

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After the war of Independence of 1857 A.D., The British took over the whole of India. They left no stone unturned in suppressing and oppressing the Muslims. For this purpose, they threw out Persian from the offices; abolished the posts of Qazis from the Courts of law; Confiscated the educational trusts and the movable and immovable properties of the academies etc.

Aligarh Movement and Sir Syyid Ahmed Khan

 In this way, they succeeded in paralyzing the Muslims in economic, political and cultural fields. In those days, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan was a civil servant. He was for sighted Muslims with a keen sense of honour. I could not see the miserable plight of the Muslims. After a prolonged and careful thought he concluded that unless the Muslims acquired the knowledge of the modern sciences, they could not get rid of their miserable plight and keep pace with the truth. Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and his colleagues believed that Muslims must study and learn the western sciences in English. At the same time, they also thought it necessary for the Muslims to maintain their Islamic identity. For this purpose, they thought it pertinent to establish a first-rate educational institution. Aligarh College was the outcome of his untiring efforts which he intended to run on the pattern of the Oxford and Cambridge Universities.


Background of the Aligarh Movement

Arrival of British

As a background, we have to understand that after 1857 Muslims were passing through a very difficult period, a period of degeneration and decay but the roots of this decay can be traced back to the earlier period. In fact, the decay of the Muslims started with the degeneration of the Mughal Empire and in that context, Europeans started coming to India. The British were the last of them and ultimately they controlled most of India. It was at the beginning of the 17th century that in 1608 that the first British ship belonging to the East India Company led by Captain Hawkins landed on the western coast of India, Surat was the name of the place.


Domination of East India Company

The objective was to start a trade to and from India. When the first batch of the British traders landed as the representatives of the East India Company. They had to compete with the other Europeans who were there in this region. Then in 1613 Captain Hawkins and others who succeeded him were able to get formal permission for starting trade from there to Mughal Emperor Jahangir and in this way a group regularly traded here, but ultimately they were able to establish their rule. East India Company ruled India until 1858 and from 1858 the British Crown directly ruled India

Policies of British

The policies of the East India Company were discriminatory towards Muslims and after the British Crown took over India that is when it replaced the East India Company in 1858 there was more discrimination towards Muslims, in fact, there was hostility because the British thought that the Muslims were mainly responsible for the uprising that aroused against the British colonial authority in 1857. After this incident, they adopted a deliberate policy of discrimination towards Muslims. It was in this context that SS and some of his colleagues came forward to enable the Muslims to deal with the situation.


Causes behind the Aligarh Movement

The main motives behind the Aligarh Movement were as follows:

British Hostility

When the British became the rulers of India in 1856, Muslims got Shattered into pieces. In 1857, Muslims took part in Independence War in the hope of reviving the Mughal empire. As a matter of fact, it could not be avoided that it was a mutiny, not a war in which Muslims took part.

After the failure of the war of independence of 1857 A.D., the British could not be sent back with battles and wars. 

As a result, the British held Muslims responsible for this mutiny and adopted a cruel policy against Muslims. They confiscated Muslim properties and Withdrew their jobs. Muslims were suppressed by the British and Hindus. Those were the dark days for Muslims. They were suffering at the hands of the British and Hindus.

At the same time, it was necessary to clarify the position of the Muslims to the British rulers, who had serious misgivings about the mindset of the Muslims of the SubContinent. Aligarh Movement looks it upon itself to do the job.

To aggravate the situation the British replaced Persian, which was the language of Muslims, which was an official language

Un educated Muslims 

Cut off from modern science as they were the Muslims of the Sub-Continent regained backward and had to suffer hardship. Only those, who had modern education, were considered eligible for civil service. The miserable financial plight of the Muslims forced them to realize that they needed to learn modern sciences. They were treated as literate though they were qualified from religious institutions.

The Muslim advocates of modern education too were dissatisfied with the educational system of the public (Government) schools, for it was repugnant to their cultural values. Therefore, they thought it indispensable for the Muslims to manage their education themselves. The Aligarh movement fulfilled this obligation to a great extent.

Sir Syed Ahmed Khan had observed that the present condition of the Muslims was mostly because of their own extremist and conservative attitudes.

Sir Syed always felt aggrieved over the deplorable social and economic condition of the Muslims of India. 

Hindu Ascendancy

The Hindus had slammed to dominate the South Asian politics and economy to become the future master of the Sub-continent. Therefore, it was necessary to equip the Muslims with modern sciences to enable them to compete with the so-called future masters of South Asia.


Objectives of the Aligarh movement

Basic objective

Sir Syed's first and foremost objective was to acquaint the British with the Indian mind; his next goal was to open the minds of his countrymen to European literature, science and technology. Therefore, in order to attain these goals, Sir Syed launched the Aligarh Movement of which Aligarh was the centre.

Immediate objectives

a) First: To remove the state of misunderstanding and tension between the Muslims and the new British government, and

b) Second: To induce them to go after the opportunities available under the new regime without deviating in any way from the fundamentals of their faith. Keeping education and social reform as the two planks of his program, he launched the Aligarh Movement with the following objectives:

Core objectives

a) To create an atmosphere of mutual understanding between the British government and the Muslims.

b) To persuade Muslims to learn English education.

c) To persuade Muslims to abstain from politics of agitation.

d) To produce an intellectual class from amongst the Muslim community.

e) To bring social and cultural reform to the Muslim community.

f) To maintain, and as far as possible promote the political and economical importance of Muslims in the affairs of the country to the extent that was possible in India.


Services of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan/Aligarh Movement

After the Battle of Freedom of 1857, the economic, political and social conditions of Indian Muslims became very precarious because they were the victim of revenge and punishment by both British and Hindus. Sir Syed was extremely unhappy about the position of Muslims in the sub-continent. Since the days of the Mughal decline, the social and economical status of Muslims had declined sharply and the role of Muslims in the war independence had left further declines as the British took measures to ensure that their control was unchallenged. Sir Syed Ahmed felt that the poor status of Muslims was due to they were treated as second class citizens by the British and Hindus and they had to take some responsibilities themselves. Most Muslims thought that the British were no more than just invaders and they had nothing to do with them. Sir Syed Ahmed believed that Muslims had to accept that the British were their rulers and could only improve if they have a positive approach toward them. They needed to accept the British idea. Sir Syed wanted to see Muslims united and prospering in their social, religious and economical fortune. He made this his life’s ambition and founded the Aligarh movement 

Aligarh Movement is, in fact, the name of the continuous struggle of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan that he launched for the betterment of Muslims. This movement performed the educational, social, religious and literary services for the Muslims, so Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and Aligarh Movement are the two names of one and the same thing. 


Educational Services

Sir Syed was a prophet of education “ (Mahatma Gandhi)

Sir Syed Ahmed Khan opened educational institutions for Muslims so that new paths of progress might open for them, for they had become literally backward. The British introduced English as an official language in place of Persian. Hindus by getting an English education got jobs but Muslims remained behind terrified. Sir Syed made it clear that it was quite wrong to think that English education would keep them away from religion. Our religion did not forbid learning the English language and Western sciences. Sir Syed begin to promote western-style scientific education so that it would gradually enhance the mental and physical skills of Muslims. He established various scientific schools and modern madrassas for the education of Muslims. Following are some of the educational reforms and establishment done by sir Syed Ahmed khan through his Aligarh movement:

Modern Schools

In 1859, Syed established Gulshan School at Muradabad. It is a kind of modern madrassa and was one of the first religious schools to impart scientific education. In this modern school, the English language along with eastern languages was also taught to Muslims. In 1863 he established another modern school named Victoria school in Ghazipur.

Scientific Society

On 9th January 1864 Scientific Society was founded at the residence of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan in Ghazipur. The key element of his dream movement, social collaboration was intact and a large number of his Indians and British friends were present on the occasion. The welcome address was delivered by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan and the requested Mr G.F.I. Graham, Assistant Superintendent of Police, Ghazipur to make introductory remarks. In his introductory remarks, Mr Graham emphasized the need of the society and passionately appealed to everyone to support the newly formed Scientific Society. He proposed the name of Mr B. Spate, District Collector of Ghazipur to preside over the meeting. In the meeting, Sir Syed presented the by-laws of the society which were unanimously approved by the attendees. Sir Syed announced the name of 109 people who had accepted the membership of the newly formed society. It’s worth mentioning here that the concept of Society was accepted by everyone irrespective of religion and colour and creed. Out of 109, 28 members were British, 34 Hindus and 47 were Muslims. 

Elections were held for Directing Council, Executive Council and other office-bearers. Sir Syed Ahmad Khan and Mr G.F.I. Graham was elected as Secretaries of the newly established Scientific Society. Mr.B. Spate delivered the presidential address and the meeting ended with a vote of thanks.

Aims and Objectives of Scientific Society

a) The name of the society will be Scientific Society

b) Translation of educational & technical literature from English and European languages to Indian languages

c) Society will not have any business with religious books

d) Publication of rarely available books by Indian writers

Aligarh Institute Gazette

In the society meeting which was held on 15th September 1864 in Aligarh, Sir Syed proposed the idea of a building for the Society named as“Institute”, which will also have a Reading Room, Library, Laboratory, Museum and Lecture Hall. A piece of land was bought in Aligarh between his residence and the Criminal Court of Aligarh. The foundation stone was laid down on 20th November, by Hon’ble E. Drummond, Lieutenant. Governor of North West Province (N.W.P.) The Institute building was completed by 1866 and was inaugurated by Mr F. Williams, Commissioner of Meerut on 14th February 1866.  This institute launched its journal Aligarh Institute Gazette in the same year. A joint mouthpiece of the Scientific Society and the Institute the journal came into weekly circulation on 30 March 1866. Part of the Gazette's contents was printed in Urdu alone, part in English, and a portion also in both languages. The editorial team was comprised of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan as Honorary Editor, Munshi Mohammad Yaar Khan as Editor, Munshi Chaukhan Lal as a translator, Babu Durga Prashad as a translator and Shaikh Fida Ali as Librarian and distribution in charge. Aligarh Institute Gazette played a key role to mobilize the people and conveying the message of Society.

MAO High School

The Muslims wanted to have their own institutions for the education of the Muslims. For this purpose, Muhammadan College Fund Committee was established. In May 1875 Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental High School was established in Aligarh(At that time Sir Syed was transferred to Aligarh from Ghazipur). In a short time, it became an important educational institution for Muslims. The reason for it was the availability of the boarding facilities for the students along with the modern and religious education. 

 The foundation stone of Mohammadan Anglo-Oriental School was laid down by Maulvi Sami Ullah Khan, the Secretary of the College Fund Committee and by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan himself. It was also called Mito circle School. Primarily the School had two main sections: The primary section was in Zahoor Ward and the students who passed through this section were sent to Minto Circle. Since the founder of the school was highly educated and enlightened with moderate views, the admissions were open to all the communities irrespective of their caste, religion, or doctrines. The School was upgraded to College after two years and turned to be in Aligarh University in 1920. The Aligarh University created graduates for the Muslims who fought the war for freedom from the British and the Hindus simultaneously.

Muhammadan Educational Conference

Even after the creation of M.A.O. College Aligarh, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan was dissatisfied with the progress of Muslims in the field of education. Therefore in 1886, he decided to lay the foundation of the All India Mohammedan Educational Congress as the forum of Muslim intelligentsia to develop awareness for education among the Muslims. Later on, the name of the Congress was changed to Conference.

 The first meeting of the Conference was held at the campus of M.A.O College, Aligarh on December 27, 1886. At this conference, 161 Muslim delegates from all parts of India decided to create opportunities for Muslims to get higher education. From then onwards the meetings of the All India Mohammedan Educational Conference used to take place on annual basis quite successfully. 

Advantages of Muhammadan educational conference

a) Anjuman-e-Tarraqqi-e-Urdu was one of the association's developments from the platform of the All India Mohammedan Educational Conference

b) A number of wonderful articles including Musalmanon ki Guzashta Taleem, Al Jazia, Kutab Khana Sikanderia, Haqooq-uz-Zimmiyeen and Musalmanon ki Taraqqi-o-Tanazzuli Ke Asbab were published under the auspices of the Conference.

c) The 13th session of the Conference, held at Culcutta, was presided by Syed Amir Ali was historic as it brought together, for the first time, the important leaders of Bengal and Northern India. 

d) The Conference also provided opportunities for the Muslims to share their talent and ideas. People like Shibli Nomani, Altaf Husain Hali, Mohsin-ul-Mulk, Mian Muhammad Shafi, Sheikh Abdul Qadir and Deputy Nazir Ahmad were among the prominent Muslim personalities of the time, who were regular delegates of the annual meetings.

Establishment of All India Muslim League

Apparently, the All India Mohammedan Educational Conference was a non-political organization. Yet anything delivered from its platform was considered a unified demand of the Muslims of the sub-continent. Sir Syed himself delivered his anti-Congress speech from the platform of the Conference. After his death, at this forum, the Muslims started discussing political problems they faced from time to time. It was also in the annual session of The All India Mohammedan Educational Conference that the All India Muslim League was launched as the first full-fledged political party of the Muslims of South Asia in 1906.


Political Services

In the political arena, Sir Syed carved numerous successes; he eradicated misunderstandings between the Muslims and the British infused due to the past particular incidents. Awakening among the Muslims about the political ups and downs and co-existence in the presence of other nations in India was another contribution of Sir Syed. He motivated the Muslims to absorb the modern education of the West because this was the very motive of the Western expansion in the world. He visualized the bright future of the Muslims if they engaged themselves in Western learning. 

Sir Syed won the British confidence and cordial relationship by saving their lives during the War of Independence. He utilized this relationship for the betterment of the Muslims. It was a subtle situation because the government had put the War crimes on the Muslim shoulders and assaulted every aspect of life: “These events were a trauma for the Muslims; the methods used by them shocked the civilized world. The detestation of Delhi as a centre of Muslim culture was horrendous; Bahadur Shah Zafar…was exiled to Rangoon; Lt. Hodson shot three Mughal princes and later 24 princes were tried and executed; a vast ocean of blood there was; Some Muslims were shot dead and their dead bodies were thrown into the river Jamna”. All Muslims were ousted from land, property and employment which made them third-class citizens of India. This created revengeful sentiments among the Muslims who detested the British, their culture and civilization. Sir Syed was of the view that the British were a civilized, educated, wise and disciplined nation and occupied India with the new war strategy and munitions that could not be matched by the locals and particularly by the Muslims. Therefore at this juncture, the Muslims should mould themselves according to the pace of time to avoid more disasters. 

Sir Syed rendered meritorious political services in order to defend the rights of the Muslims. His services were as under: 

Causes of Indian Revolt

After the war of independence of 1857, the British Government wanted to punish the Muslims by declaring them the real accused of the rebellion. After exiling bahadur shah Zafar to Rangoon 24 princes were killed in Delhi this brings hatred among the Muslims of India for British Samraj and due to this a very disturbing situation was created in the subcontinent. So to eradicate these misunderstandings between the British government and Muslims of India Sir Syed Ahmed Khan in his magazine “Causes of Indian Revolt (1857)”  made it clear that Hindus, Muslims and the English were equally responsible for that revolt. This magazine was published in 1859.  

He enlisted the following factors which led to the war of independence:

a) Misunderstanding of the people about rulers

b) Maladministration by the army

c) Government’s unawareness of the conditions and grievances of the people. 

d) Promulgation of regulations that were contrary to the wishes of people

Sir Syed also published Loyal Mohammedans of India.  In this pamphlet, he defended Muslims and listed the name of those Muslims who remained Loyal to the British during the uprising.  These Pamphlets were circulated freely among the British officials in India and the copies were also sent to England where it was studied carefully. Many British thought that he was blaming them for the uprising but others were sympathetic and accepted the truth in his words. He also cleared the misunderstanding that Muslims called the British “Nadarath”, He told that this was no insult but the word came from the Arabic word “Nasir” which means helpers.

Muslim As A Nation

The Urdu-Hindi controversy of 1867 unfolded many unsaid stories for the Muslims of India who were expecting to live in amity with the Hindus and other communities in the long run. Even the Muslims with moderate views were convinced at last that Hindus and Muslims could not be friends with each other as they have different religions, rituals, cultures and even languages.

The Hindus started a movement against Urdu in Banaras and demanded to replace it with Hindi in Devnagiri Script while the official language prior to this was Urdu with Persian Script and it was in practice even in the High Court. The headquarters of the movement was Allahabad. Madan Mohan Malavia and Babu Shiva Prasad were at the forefront of opposing the Urdu language while Sir Syed Ahmad advocated for the Muslims and favoured Urdu. The only reason for this staunch Hindu antagonism against Urdu was that it was in Persian script near the Arabic, the language of the religion.

The direct conclusion of the controversy was that the Muslims like Sir Syed Ahmad Khan who had been strong believers in the Hindu-Muslim unity and had very modest views about other communities were ultimately induced that the Muslims were a separate nation. After the Urdu-Hindi controversy, there was a sudden change in Sir Syed's views: his education and reformist policies became Muslim-specific and he fought for the status of Urdu. 

His biographer, Hali, wrote,

"One day as Sir Syed was discussing educational affairs of Muslims with Mr Shakespeare, commissioner of Banaras then Shakespeare said: "I never have heard you talking specifically about Muslims. Before this, you used to talk about the welfare of the common Indians".

Sir Syed then told him,

"Now I am convinced that the two communities Muslims and Hindus will not put their hearts into any venture together. This is nothing it is just the beginning, in the coming times an ever-increasing hatred and animosity appear on the horizon simply because of those who are regarded as educated. Those who will be around will witness it.", (Hali, 1993).

Sir Syed used the word ‘nation’ for the Muslims. Some writers criticize that he declared Hindus and Muslims one nation. But as a matter of fact, he advocated the Hindu-Muslim unity that meant ‘the working relationship’ between the two nations as once he said: “Hindus and Muslims should try to be of one mind in matters which affected their progress.”

Separate Electorate

In 1885 Indian National Congress was established. Soon after the establishment of the Indian National Congress, Sir Syed came to realize that it was a purely Hindu Organization. Consequently, he asked the Muslims to desist from taking part in order to protect the political rights of the Muslim Community. He highlighted his views in this regard in a speech in 1883 by saying,

“The system of representation by-election means the representation means the  representation of views and interests of the majority of the population.”He favoured a separate electorate for the Muslims in 1883 saying that the majority would override the interests of the minority."

The United Patriotic Association was a political organisation founded by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, the founder of the Aligarh Muslim University and Raja Shiv Prasad Singh of Benaras in 1888. Opposed to the Indian National Congress, the group aimed to develop close ties between the Muslim community and the British Raj the main idea behind the establishment of the United Patriotic Association by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan in 1888 is as follows:

1. To show British allegiance to Muslims

2. To oppose Congress

Mohammadan Defence Association

In December 1893, Sir Syed founded the Association. Its main purpose was to protect the political, religious and social rights of the Muslims. It advocates the emotions of Muslims.


Literacy Services of Syed Ahmed Khan

Prolific Writer

Sir Syed himself was a prolific writer. Luckily he was by a group of intellectuals, essayists, critics and poets. The Muslims followed the Aligarh movement and they achieved their objectives. Sir Syed Ahmed Khan was not only a prominent educationalist but also a capable author. His writings include the following:

Khutabat-e-Ahmadia: In 1869 Sir Syed Ahmed Khan wrote “Khutaba-e-Ahmadia to defend the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) in reply to ‘A More’s Book’. Sir William Muir’s “Life of Mahomet” made some wild allegations against the Prophet Mohammad (saw). Syed Ahmad was greatly disturbed and pained and prepared to write a detailed response in the form of the book “Khutubat-i-Ahmadiya”. He planned to collect research material in England during his trip to England. Syed Ahmad had to endure many financial difficulties for the translation and publication of the book in England. He later expanded upon these ideas in the form of “Tasanif-i-Ahmadiya”. MaulanaMoudoodi declared this book as the first major scholarly work on the life of the Prophet. 

Tabbain-ul-Kalam: He wrote a commentary on Bible called ‘Tabbain-ul-Kalam’. The British resented being called Nadarath but Sir Syed clarified that Nadarath came from an Arabic word meaning helper. Tabyin-ul-kalam which was according to the Commentary on Bible. In it, he also pointed out the similarities between Islam and Christianity. He wrote a book and through this book, he proved that Muslims could eat with Christians. 

RisalaTehzib-ul-Ikhlaq: In 1960 Sir Syed Ahmed Khan published a pamphlet called ‘ RisalaTehzib-ul-Ikhlaq’ in which he described the social problems of the Muslims and he tried to eliminate the prejudice among the Muslims towards the non-muslims. In it, he also criticized the conservative attitude of the Muslims and emphasized the need to study.

Sir Syed wrote many books including Jame-Jama, Al Duawalistajaba etc which is very important for the Muslims of that time.

Asar-us-Sanadeed: For the social welfare of the Muslims he wrote ‘Asar-us-Sanadeed’.In 1847, Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan (1817-1898) published an Urdu text, listing and describing all notable monuments of Delhi entitled Asar-ul-Sanadid. His work so impressed British scholars in Delhi that he was invited to join the Asiatic Society and write a second, improved edition for translation into English. Unfortunately, the translation was never written. Sir Sayyid was one of many local Indian scholars producing architectural and archaeological histories of the Subcontinent in the nineteenth century.

Rasala-i-Asbab-e-Baghawat-i-Hind: Just after the mutiny of 1857 Syed Ahmed Khan wrote AsbabBaghawat e Hind in which he pointed out the weakness of the British government. When the house of the common discussed the pamphlet Mr Sale Breadon, the foreign Secretary, vehemently opposed it and asked the government to imprison such a revolutionary writer. But Parliament did not support him. On the contrary, most of the British Papers of Syed Ahmed advised the government to act upon the valuable recommendations made by him. In 1873 the pamphlet into English. Colonel graham appeared as the cause of the Indian revolt.

TarikhSarkashi-e-Bijnaur: No single event in the history of modern India excites the imagination more than the Revolt of 1857. The controversy still continues: was it a mutiny, a rebellion, or a war of independence. The events of 1857, directly or indirectly, had not only shaken the very foundations of British rule and ultimately resulted in an independent India, but also shattered the unity between Muslims and Hindus. The events of the Revolt have been described in detail by Syed Ahmad in his Tarikh-i-Sarkashi-i- (Zila'''') Bijnore or the History of 1857 Revolt and its causes (Asbab-e-Baghawat-e Hind or The Causes of Indian revolt)

The following books were translated: Ain-Akbari, Tuzok-e-Jhangri and Tarikh-e-Sarkashi Bajnor.


Religious Services

Sir Syed’s religious thoughts and beliefs are strongly criticized by some people. As a matter of fact, he stood for a rational approach to religion. He believed that there could be no contradiction between the work of God and the word of God. To him, religion was not static based upon some fixed dogmas. He did not believe in traditional institutions attributed to religion. That is why he was charged with the words ‘Kafir’ or heathen. He wrote an exegesis of the Holy QURAN. He preached his religious thought through his essays. He did memorable religious work during his stay in England. Sir Syed after going through the book ‘Life of Muhammad” which was published by a British Sir William criticized Prophet Muhammad and the teachings of Islam. He wrote several essays in which he gave conclusive and incontrovertible arguments in refutation to each and every objection to Islam made by an English author. Thus his services for the cause of Islam show that he was a true Muslim and had unshakeable faith in Islam. 


Effects of the Aligarh Movement

Aligarh movement was a genuine and valuable service rendered by sir Syed Ahmed Khan and his colleague for the renaissance of the Muslim subcontinent, which not only generated the Muslim consciousness but also built the momentum for the creation of Pakistan. Aligarh Movement trained the Muslims on how to deal with the prevailing new circumstances. It guided the Muslims in every field of life.

English-Muslim Reconciliation

Due to Aligarh Movement, the feelings of hatred against the English started diminishing from the hearts of the Muslims. The English started coming closer to the Muslims. It brought forward a group of students who were very conscious of what was happening in India and outside India. This educated class that developed in the sub-continent was instrumental in promoting Muslim identity and also advocating the Muslim demands to the govt and to others because on the one hand this educated class could be communicated with the rulers because they knew the language and modern knowledge philosophy and the thinking that had developed there.

Protection of Rights

Aligarh Movement created an awareness of the protection of rights among Muslims. Sir Syed spent the whole of his life improving the educational, social, economic and political affairs of the Muslims. Aligarh College was the biggest educational institution for Muslims. Its educated persons presented the problems of the masses before the government that considered from favourably. In 1906 the demand for a separate electorate forwarded through the Simla Deputation was accepted.

Supply of Political Leadership

The Muslims got education from Aligarh Movement and made themselves capable to face Hindus and the English. Muslim League was established by the educated political leadership that also owed to Aligarh Movement. Political awareness was created among the masses by Aligarh Movement. In fact, the struggle for the establishment originated from this movement.

Concept of Separate Nation

Aligarh Movement made the Muslims realise that they were a separate nation having a glorious past, and also made it clear that Hindus and Muslims were two nations and could not unite together. Moreover, Hindus were not well-wishers of Muslims. This two-nation theory was made the basis of the Pakistan Movement by Allama Iqbal and Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah who got a separate homeland for Muslims.

Acquisition of Western Education

The Aligarh Movement was the drive for modern Muslim education and made a weighty and lasting contribution to the political emancipation of Indian Muslims. Muslims were afraid of western education but they could not make progress without it. As the source of modern sciences was the English language so it was necessary for them to learn it. Therefore arrangements of western sciences side by side with Islamic education were made in Aligarh College that motivating a large number of Muslims to get an education. Aligarh Movement also persuaded other affluent Muslims to start educational institutions, and in a short time, the Muslims became prominent in the fields of English and modern education. It also brought together like-minded Muslims to pursue the goals and ideals of the promotion of education and improvement of Muslims all over India. We can say that the AligarhMovement played a pivotal role in generating the Muslims who were facing a serious psychological depression and economic setback after 1857.

Economic Progress

Aligarh Movement attracted the Muslims to education and made them enabled to improve their economic conditions. By getting a share in government jobs, the Muslims rose to higher positions, and in this way, the economic condition of the Muslims improved a lot.

Muslim Unity

Aligarh Movement created a sense of Muslim nationality. A Muslim wherever he lives in the world is a member of the Muslim ‘Nation’. In 1919 the educated youth of Aligarh College launched the Khilafat Movement for the Muslims of Turkey. They created a sense of unity among the Muslims. Hence feelings of union, relationship and brotherhood were developed among them.

The Revival and Regeneration of the Muslims

The contribution and significance of the Aligarh Movement to the revival and regeneration of the Muslims of the Sub-Continent are commendable. Aligarh developed as the most important centre of intellectual development for the Muslims of South Asia and its students who studied at Aligarh College came from all over India from different parts of India; they were coming from Punjab, Bengal Frontier and were also from South India. In a way, it had become a focal point for the Muslims of South Asia for their education.

In addition to this, there were a lot of intellectual activities going on for example publication of different books and the activities of the Scientific Society and through these activities there was a lot of intellectual stimulation was provided by the Aligarh Movement.

Finally, Aligarh Movement was a religiopolitical movement that contributed a lot to the regeneration and revival of the Muslims of the Sub-Continent. Sir Syed and his colleagues by their combined efforts tried to equip the Muslims community of the Sub-Continent with modern knowledge and the English language. Sir Syed Ahmed Khan was a visionary leader and he envisioned that without acquiring modern knowledge the Muslims cannot compete with the Hindus. That’s why he advised the Muslims to acquire modern language to regain their lost glory in the Sub-Continent.

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