Aligarh Alumni Association PO Box 1877, Ellicott City MD 21041


December 2017

The 43rd Annual International Mushaira: The Aligarh Alumni Association, Washington DC (AAA) held its highly acclaimed and eagerly awaited annual Mushaira on Saturday, November 18, 2017, at the auditorium of Gaithersburg High School, Gaithersburg, MD. The function had assumed extra significance this year, since it marked the bicentenary of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, the founder of the Mohammadan Anglo-Oriental (MAO) College, later the Aligarh Muslim University. A constellation of prominent poets drawn from both overseas and the US participated in the Mushaira. Among them, Minu Bakhshi, Aruba Anwar, Ahmad Salman, Abbas Tabish, Tahir Faraz, Salman Gilani, Pirzada Qasim came from overseas, while Sabiha Saba and Ali Minai came from New York and Ohio, respectively. Some well-recognized local poets, Abdullah Abdullah, Razi Raziuddin and Qamar Kazmi, also presented their poetry. In addition to the seasoned literary figures, the audience was introduced to two fresh faces. Mohammed Jaweed and Farheen Abdullah; both received much encouragement and praise. Mohammed Jaweed entertained the audience with his humorous poetry, while Farheen Abdullah’s poetry had mystical overtones. In all, the poets kept the audience in thrall for more than three hours. 

The Mushaira was presided over by the veteran poet and academician, Professor Pirzada Qasim, and compered by Dr. Abdullah Abdullah who showcased his usual talents in managing the time well and conducting the Mushaira with humor and witticism. The traditional post-Mushaira midnight dinner for poets and volunteers was hosted by Dr. Rafat and Afreen Husain at their residence. 

The Scholarship Program: The AAA has now finalized the selection of 272 AMU students for its 2018 merit-cum-means scholarships. The number represents an increase of 8 scholarships over the previous year. The Association has awarded over 2,800 AMU scholarships since 1976, and helped educate doctors, tabibs (Unani Medicine Doctors), dentists, nurses, scientists, engineers, computer scientists, lawyers, economists, teachers, and IT professionals. 

Through its Feeder Program, the AAA supported 25 units of schools and coaching centers for over 700 students in Grades 5th – 12th in various Indian cities. Over 5,000 students have benefitted from this program since its inception in 2008. Furthermore, the Association disseminated information and encouraged and helped thousands of students to apply for Indian scholarships. The total expense to support the three scholarship programs was approximately $49,000 ($27k for AMU Scholarship, $22k for Feeder, and $200 for Indian Scholarships (Contributed by Dr. Aftab Ansari).

Twenty-seventeen has been a remarkably productive year for the AAA. The Association can take pride in successfully staging a series of literary, artistic, entertainment and public service programs. Furthermore, it has forged strong cooperative ties with other ethnic organizations in the area, to promote cultural and ethnic harmony in the South-Asian community. 

Finally, the AAA owes a great debt to its many dedicated volunteers who helped translate many plans into reality.

Community News
Passing of a Literary Icon: The Aligarh community world-wide mourned the passing of Mr. Mukhtar Masood early this year at Lahore. He was an illustrious alumnus, a distinguished civil servant and an iconic literary figure whose deep love for his alma mater permeated all his writings. He migrated to Pakistan soon after independence and was selected for Pakistan Superior Services in 1949. As an author, he developed an individual writing style. His first book, Awaz-e-Dost, is based on his reminisces of his student days at Aligarh, the growth of the Pakistan movement and the teachers he most admired. The book became an instant success and a sensation in the literary world. His two subsequent books, Safar-e-Naseeb and Loh-e-Ayyam were similarly very popular. In Loh-e-Ayyam, he narrated in gripping details the progression of the Iranian revolution which he watched first hand as the secretary general of the regional development corporation, based in Tehran.

Editor’s Note: Many of us have only scant awareness of the pivotal role once played by Saeed ul-Mulk Nawab Sir Hafiz Muhammad Ahmad Said Khan of Chhatari in the political life of India in the first half of the twentieth century. He was a great patron of MAO College and later the AMU, and served as its chancellor during the latter part of his life. Nawab Chhatari had the distinction of being the only Muslim to have served as the acting-Governor of UP during the British rule (1933), and later briefly as the chief minister of the province (1937). 
As the prime minister of the princely state of Hyderabad from1941-1947, he guided the ship of state with great wisdom and dexterity while it was going through a turbulent period. Nawab Saheb was blessed with a long life and lived to be ninety-three years old. Before his death in 1981, he had authored his autobiography, which documented many notable events in the political history of India in which he had played some role. The details about his service in Hyderabad are especially fascinating. 
His Exalted Highness(HEH) Mir Osman Ali Khan, The Nizam of Hyderabad, was reputed to be the wealthiest man in his time. He was a prodigious philanthropist, but, paradoxically, in his personal life, he was a frugal, even stingy person. The following paragraph translated and adapted from Nawab Chhatari’s book, Yaad-e-Eyyam, recounts his experiences as the prime minister of Hyderabad. While he is unfailing deferential to the Nizam, his narrative also spotlights some bizarre events that he observed during his tenure there. 
“The imperial court of Hyderabad was modelled on the old Mughal court, following strict conventions and traditions. It punctiliously observed a formal dress code. One day in June 1942, HEH summoned me to see him in his Nazri Bagh palace, instead of the usual King Kothi or Falak Numa, since he was feeling unwell. Normally, all courtiers were required to wear a special attire–Dastar and Baqloos. However, this time, I was given especial exemption to appear without the formal attire–an especial honor. 
Once inside, what I observed stunned me. All the porches, porticos and rooms were jam packed with a variety of goods, boxes, crates, old bottles, and glass containers, liberally covered in thick layers of dust. Besides, cobwebs and pigeon droppings abounded everywhere. Nothing apparently had been touched or cleaned in years. Then, oddly, there was a large goat lazily grazing in the middle of the audience chamber, apparently passing out its days in comfortable retirement. The most intriguing sight was the large number of sealed boxes and aging yellow bags, presumably full of money, jewels and precious stones, scattered about where they could easily be pilfered. 
Amidst all this chaos, the Nizam sat serenely in a chair all by himself. As soon as I lowered myself in the nearby chair, he complained about the fever and diarrhea he was suffering from. I dutifully presented an Imam-e-Zaaman to speed up his recovery, which mercifully happened in a few days.”
Syed Amir (Editor)                                                                                    Khurshid Usmani (Web)

Mohammed Akbar (President)                                                                     Fazal Khan (Chairman)

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