Aligarh Alumni Association PO Box 1877, Ellicott City MD 21041


February 2016

Annual Meeting and General Elections:  The Aligarh Alumni Association of Washington DC (AAA) has announced that its annual meeting and elections to elect new office bearers for the year (2016-2017) will be held on Sunday, March 27. Dr. Syed Amir has been appointed the election officer to conduct the elections. The Association has appealed to all its members to actively participate in the electoral process by attending the meeting and nominating well-qualified candidates to fill the vacant positions. Details about future functions will be forthcoming.
Frank Islam Honored: The AAA is pleased to learn that the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) has decided to confer the honorary D.Sc. degree on Mr. Frank Islam, a long-time member and supporter of the AAA. The University has also chosen Mr. Islam to be the keynote speaker at its 63rd Annual Convocation to be held on February 27, 2016, at Gulshan-e-Syed. A well-recognized entrepreneur and philanthropist, Mr. Islam has donated $2 million to the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), his alma mater, to establish the Frank and Debbie Islam School of Management and create an endowed chair. In addition, he has contributed funds to build a technical college for girls in Azamgarh, UP, in memory of his mother.
Loss of Literary Luminaries: The AAA would like to express its sadness on the recent deaths of Jameel uddin Aali and Nida Fazli, highly acclaimed poets, lyricists, writers, and literary figures. Both had participated in several AAA Mushairas and were highly popular with the audiences.
Selected News from the Aligarh Muslim University
AMU’s Minority Status is Threatened: The AMU has long been recognized as a minority institution; however, in 1968 the Indian Supreme Court ruled that, based on its charter laid out in 1920, the University could not be classified as a minority institution. The Indian Parliament acted in 1981 to remedy the situation and removed some provisions in the original charter that led to the Supreme Court’s decision.
Unfortunately, in 2005, Allahabad High Court branded some provisions of 1981 Act passed by the Parliament as unconstitutional, placing the minority status of AMU in limbo. The appeal against the decision of the High Court is now being pursued with the Supreme Court by the AMU lawyers.
Meanwhile, the AMU Vice-Chancellor, Lt General (retd) Zameeruddin Shah, has appealed to the Indian Muslim community “not to get unduly exercised on the issue and have full faith in the judicial system for protecting the minority rights.”
Passing of a Senior Aligarian
The passing of Mr. Ghulam Yazdani Siddiqi, a highly respected member of the AAA and our community, on Saturday, December 19, 2015, has caused much sorrow. A self-effacing man, Mr. Yazdani made numerous contributions to the service of the AAA and South Asian community in the Washington area.
Yazdani Saheb followed a rich and colorful career path. After finishing his undergraduate studies at St. Andrews College in Gorakhpur, UP, India, he enrolled as a graduate student at AMU, obtaining his master’s degrees in English, and then Library Sciences. He later moved to Pakistan and briefly served at the Atomic Energy Commission.
Since settling in the Washington DC area in 1979, he was actively involved in varied community services, and was one of the founders of the Islamic Community Center of Laurel, MD. While serving as the librarian of the Urdu Section at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library at Washington DC, Yazdani Saheb was instrumental in starting Urdu books section, and introduced a number of friends to the newly available facilities.
As a member of the AAA, he served as its president, and thereafter enthusiastically participated in all its functions until the very end. He was especially supportive of the literary activities and scholarly programs of the AAA, including the Mushaira, Sir Syed Day, and Mohammad Iqbal Memorial lectures. His last appearance was at the Sir Syed Day Dinner and Lecture, wherein he introduced the keynote speaker, Professor David Lelyveld, whom he had known and admired for a number of years. The AAA will greatly miss him and his wise counsel (Adapted from an account provided by Ms. Iram Yazdani).

Mr Yazdani introducing guest speaker, Prof David Lelyveld at 2015 Sir Syed Day memorial lecture.
Mr. Yazdani (center) with Prof. David Lelyveld and AAA members

Syed Amir (Editor)                                                                                 Khurshid Usmani (Web)

Farzana Farooqi (President)                                                               Razi Raziuddin (Chairman)

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