THE FOUNDER- SIR SYED AHMAD KHAN
Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, one of the
architects of modern India was born on October 17, 1817 at Delhi.
He was one of those early pioneers who
recognized the critical role of education for the empowerment of the
poor and backward Muslim community. In more than one ways Sir Syed was
one of the greatest social reformers and a great national builder of
modern India. He began to prepare the road map for the formation of a
Muslim University by starting various schools. He instituted Scientific
Society in 1863 to create a scientific temperament among the Muslims and
to make the Western knowledge available to Indians in their own
language. The Aligarh Institute Gazette, an organ of the Scientific
Society was started in March 1866 and succeeded in transforming the
minds in the traditional Muslim Society. Anyone with an average level of
commitment would have backed off in the face of strong opposition but
Sir Syed responded by bringing out another journal 'Tehzibul Akhlaq'
which was rightly named in English as ‘Mohammedan Social Reformer.
In 1875, Sir Syed founded the
Madarsatul Uloom in Aligarh and patterned the MAO College after Oxford
and Cambridge universities that he visited on a trip to London in 1869.
His objective was to build a college in tune with the British education
system but without compromising its Islamic values. He wanted this
College to act as a bridge between the old and the new, the East and the
The aim of Sir Syed was not merely
restricted to establishing a college at Aligarh but at spreading a
network of Muslim managed educational institutions throughout the length
and breadth of the country. Keeping in view this, he instituted All
India Muslim Educational Conference in 1886 that revived the spirit of
Muslims at national level. It was the first of its kind of such Muslim
NGO in India, which awakened the Muslims from their deep slumber and
infused social and political awareness among them.
He contributed much to the development
of the modern society of the subcontinent. During Sir Syed's own life
time, 'The Englishman', a renowned British magazine of the 19th
century remarked in a note on November 17, 1885: 'Sir Syed’s life
"strikingly illustrated one of the best phases of modern history". He
died on March 27, 1898 and lies buried next to the main Mosque at AMU.