Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) occupies a unique position
in universities and institution of higher learning in the country. It was
established in 1920, and evolved out of the Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College
(MAO College) which was set up in 1877 by the great visionary and social
reformer, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan. The forty-five years between 1875 and 1920 saw
increased interaction between Indian Academic society and European Civilization
and culture. It ushered the introduction of modern sciences and also modern
sports in the college. Hockey, Football, Cricket and Tennis were the earliest
games brought in by the Europeans. Riding was already a well-established Indian
sports which was incorporated in the residential life of the college. AMU since
its inception has a rich tradition of sport culture.
Horse Riding became popular in the M.A.O College because it
was not only a favorite past time of students, many of whom came from
aristocratic families. Principals of colleges would take rounds on horse-back.
The foundation of the M.U. Riding Club was laid by Nawab
Mohd. Ismail Khan Sherwani when he presented four horses. Among others who
gifted in the initial days were the Nawab of Chattari, Nawab Faiyyaz Ali Khan
of Pahasu and the Estate of Bhikampur. Mr. J.H. Toe, Sir Ross Masood, Janab
Agha Khan and Nawab Muzammil-ullah Khan also helped financially.
The Aligarh Muslim University Riding Club became a distinct
feature for the pride and glory for the University. The Army like discipline
and the rich traditions of the Riding Club are well known. The special powers
of the Captain of the club, in all matters of discipline and proper
functioning, have always been upheld.