The Annual Picnic: The Aligarh Alumni Association (AAA)-DC held its annual picnic on Saturday, July 13th, 2019, at Urbana District Park, Frederick, Maryland. Each year, the association’s “picnic in the park” event brings together local community members in a casual setting, providing them with a unique opportunity to connect over food and celebrate old friendships while developing new ones. Despite hot weather, over 50 people participated in this year’s annual event. Attendees enjoyed a variety of food items and drinks, including the hot barbecued chickens, patties, and homemade baked & ethnic food items. The children played games, enjoyed running around the field, while cooling down with a delicious, refreshing scoop of ice cream from Jalloh’s Ice Cream Truck. At the end of the event, Mr. Wazir Qadri, the association’s treasurer and the organizer of the picnic, thanked the attendees and volunteers for making this event a success. (Contributed by Dr. Mohsin Khan, secretary AAA-DC)
The 11th Annual Mushaira-Kavi Sammelan:
The AAA-DC in collaboration with the Global Organization of the People of Indian Origin-Metro Washington (GOPIO-Metro
) and several other area community organizations is hosting a joint Mushaira and Kavi Sammelan to commemorate the independence of the Indian subcontinent from colonial rule. The function, coordinated by Dr. Zafar Iqbal, will be held on Sunday, August 25, 2019, from 2-5 pm at Arlington Central Library, Virginia.
This annual event is designed to provide a platform where people drawn from diverse backgrounds–political, religious, regional–can come together and celebrate the syncretic culture and pluralistic ethos of the subcontinent. The program also introduces to the community the new and emerging poets and writers from the Metropolitan-Washington area. This year, some prominent Urdu and Hindi poets will recite their poetry and two recently published books, authored by Mr. Rakesh Khandelwal and Mr. Gulshan Madhur, will be unveiled. (Extracted from the announcement flier)
Federation of the AAA meeting at Atlanta: After a gap of some years, the AAA-DC this year rejoined the Federation of Aligarh Alumni Associations (FAAA). A relatively large delegation of nine members and four individuals who were involved in enactment of a play attended the convention at Atlanta, held from July 26 to July 28, 2019. The play, Tribute to Sir Syed, which the AAA-DC had earlier staged at the Sir Syed bicentennial celebrations in 2017 at the Turkish center, Lanham, Maryland. was very much appreciated by the audience.
The following brief account of the FAAA meeting is provided by Dr. Razi Raziuddin, the current president of the AAA-DC, and reflects his personal impressions:
“I attended 2019 Convention after a long break, met many old and new friends. It was a lively, very spirited, and engaging two-day gathering, covering a variety of cultural and literary programs, social and educational talks that involved the participation of musicians and artists.
Some interesting and potentially useful information was presented about several pilot projects being initiated by a few individual members. These included: (1) empowerment of female students through guidance at Abdullah Women’s College, Aligarh, (2) implementation of American-style educational initiative at primary-secondary school levels, and (3) launching of global literary initiative. The success of these initiatives, however, cannot be predicted at this time.
The most inspiring presentation in my view that raised our spirits and electrified the audience was a speech delivered by Mr. Ravish Kumar, the NDTV’s Hindi anchor and the chief guest. His straightforward, unvarnished speaking style and commentary on the current political climate in India had the effect of reassuring many of us and restoring some faith in the ultimate decency and goodness of the Indian nation. Finally, I recited a Nazm (Ye mera Naya Hindostaan) with clear political overtones, designed to convey to M. Ravish Kumar the anguish and feeling of alienation some of the expatriates feel in the US.”
In his Power-Point presentation, Dr. Raziuddin illustrated the failure of Muslim institutions and individuals, 150 years following the debut of Sir Syed’s mission, to make any significant headway in advancing it. He lamented that while there was much focus on cultural identity and politics, no major institution of professional excellence has been founded on the lines of AMU. He considered it a collective failure of the community. (Full text of the presentation is attached here
Dr. Abdullah’s Talk: In his presentation, Dr. Abdullah, one of the founding members of the FAAA, traced the history of the genesis of the AAA-DC. He reminded the audience that it was founded on May 24, 1975, which by happy coincident was also the centennial anniversary of the founding in 1875 of Madarsatul Uloom by Sir Syed at Aligarh.
Dr. Abdullah emphasized that the AAA-DC is the oldest, the only continuously functioning Association of the Aligarh Alumni in North America, which planted the seeds of the Aligarh movement in the soil of this continent. Incidentally, it was also the first Association to adopt and popularize the name Aligarh Alumni, replacing the old nomenclature “Aligarh Old Boys,” which had undesirable gender connotations. The name has since been adopted by many Associations across the USA, Middle East, and Australia.The AAA-DC is also proud to have established the yearly Mushaira tradition in the USA and have launched an ambitious scholarship program as early as 1975. The latter has benefitted many needy students and has served as a model for many similar programs established by various Alumni Associations in North America and the Middle east. (AAA-DC profile, presented by Dr. Abdullah is here