Aligarh Alumni Association PO Box 1877, Ellicott City MD 21041


December 2014

Iqbal Memorial Lecture: With the year 2014 ending and the New Year and holiday season approaching, the Aligarh Alumni Association (AAA) is in a quiescent phase. Efforts, however, have been concentrated on lining up a prominent keynote speaker to address the Iqbal Memorial Lecture and Dinner in April 2015. The event was originally scheduled for November 22, 2014, but had to be postponed because of the illness of the keynote speaker. The AAA has now identified a new distinguished speaker for the occasion; the name, date and location will be announced shortly.
Passing of Mrs. Jamila Siddiqi: The AMU Community was saddened last week to learn about the passing of Mrs. Jamila Siddiqi at Aligarh, who was personally known to many of our members. She was heavily involved in charitable work and the promotion of education among disadvantaged women. We pray that God will shower her with his blessings.
Condemnation of the Terrorist Attack: The AMU has strongly condemned the barbaric massacre of innocent school children at Army Public School, Peshawar, by the Taliban. The Vice Chancellor, Lt General Zameeruddin Shah and the entire university community sent their deepest condolences to the families of the martyred children.
Human Rights Symposium: Several faculty members from AMU delivered special lectures in a one-day Symposium on Human Rights, their Preservation and Violation, jointly organized by Al-Barkat Institute of Education and the People’s Union for Civil Liberties, at Aligarh.
Difficulties Faced by Muslims in Acquiring Education: Delivering the keynote address at Development and Main-streaming of the Minority (Muslim) Communities in India, Dr. Arvind Mayaram, Secretary, Ministry of Minority Affairs, asserted that challenges of growth assumed greater complexity when dealing with the minority communities. Some of the reasons were the lack of opportunities to access quality education, low enrollment at secondary and higher educational institutions and high dropout rates, especially of girl students. These factors, combined with poverty and financial backwardness, have exacerbated the problem. He hoped that AMU would continue to provide intellectual leadership to the community to help it achieve full partnership with others and in making India a truly prosperous and modern nation.
Mercer University Delegation Visits AMU: A five-member delegation from Mercer University, Atlanta, visited the AMU. The visit was facilitated by the Aligarh Alumni Association of Atlanta and Mr. Hasan Kamal, a distinguished AMU alumnus, who accompanied the visiting group. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Mercer and Aligarh Muslim University to promote cooperation and undertake scholarly ties (Source: AMU News; Courtesy: Dr. Raziuddin).
Glimpses into the Past History of Aligarh
Those Leisurely Travel Days! The eighty-mile journey from Delhi to Aligarh used to be very arduous. Until the road was paved between Aligarh and Delhi after 1850, the final stage of the journey was covered by palanquins. They were carried by four, six or twelve men, according to the weight of the traveler and the state of the road. The journey was usually made during night, each palanquin having a torch-bearer and a mounted orderly by its side. The luggage was carried by bhangi-wallas, who carried two tin boxes slung to either end of a long bamboo pole which they balanced across their shoulders.

In comparison, the journey from Calcutta to Allahabad was less grueling as it was made partly by palanquin and partly by budgerow river boat. The latter was the most comfortable form of travel. The boats were sometime towed by men on the river bank. Gliding past sandbanks and tree-fringed shores by day, and resting under the stars by night, the days slipped pleasantly away. From the 1830s, the budgerows were towed by small steamers which shortened the travel time from six to one month.

Often, the progress was slow when moving against the stream, but life was most enjoyable and peaceful. It was one continual picnic from morning till night. For the whole month, we were on board, we all spent the whole day on deck under an awning, reading, working or writing letters. We had our meals on deck and in the evenings when we moored to the bank, we all went on shore for a walk and retired on the deck to spend the evening in pleasant conversation before going to bed. (Adapted from: The twilight of the Moghuls, Percival Spear (1951), The University Press, Cambridge.)

The AAA would like to extend its best wishes to the community for the holiday season and the coming new year.

Syed Amir (Editor)                                                               Khurshid Usmani (Web)

Fazal Khan (President)                                                        Tariq Farooqi (Chairman)

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