Aligarh Alumni Association PO Box 1877, Ellicott City MD 21041


July 2018

AAA – July  2018
Trustees: Aisha Khan (Chair), Tariq Farooqi, Abdullah Abdullah, Fazal Khan, Masood Farshori
Exec.Council: Rafat Husain (President), Harris Usmani (Treasurer), Afzal Usmani (Secretary)
The Annual Summer Mushaira and Kavi Sammelan: The AAA in collaboration with the global organization of people of Indian origin-DC (GOPIO-DC) is organizing a bilingual poetry recitation at the Arlington Central Library Auditorium, Arlington, VA, on Sunday, August 26, 2018. 2:00-5:00 PM. The AAA started the tradition of holding the Independence Day Mushaira-Kavi Sammelan a decade ago with the goal of providing a platform where people of diverse backgrounds, transcending political, religious, regional, and geographical differences, could come together. This event also recognizes local poets and authors by releasing their recently published books. This year’s event is dedicated to the memory of the legendary Hindi/Urdu poet Mr. Gopaldas Saxena Neeraj, who passed away on July 19, 2018, at Aligarh. Mr. Neeraj had a close association with the AMU and had bequeathed his body to the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College of the AMU (Contributed by Dr. Zafar Iqbal)
The Annual AAA Picnic: The AAA held its annual picnic on Saturday, June 30, 2018, at Urbana District Park, Frederick, MD. Despite extremely hot weather, more than 50 people braved the elements and attended the party. The food items were abundant, with barbecue grills working non-stop. Young volunteers, Farheen Abdullah and Azam Husain, were busy serving hot delicious burgers and barbecued chicken. Some added attractions were exotic drinks, such as lassi and the “karhak chai” brought by some members. The association was fortunate to have Professor Vipin Tripathi, a retired professor of the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, and founder of Sadbhav Mission, attending the event. Sadbhav Mission aims at developing grassroots resistance to communalism and mobilizing people to focus on basic issues like education. Professor Tripathi briefed the audience about his mission and lamented the divisive policies of the current government. At the end, Mr. Harris Usmani, the treasurer of the Association and the organizer of the picnic, thanked the attendees. (Contributed by Dr. Rafat Husain)
The Aligarh Alumni Association Hosts Professor Suhail Sabir: Some members of the AAA Washington DC, hosted Professor Suhail Sabir and his wife, Mrs. Khalida Nasreen, at a dinner party on July 17, 2018. Professor Sabir was visiting the area at the invitation of Afzal Usmani. His visit offered a valuable opportunity for AAA members to hold informal discussions with him about his work and experience with the various scholarship programs being managed by the AMU. The event took place at the Yekta Restaurant in Rockville, Maryland, and was well attended. A broad range of subjects, pertaining to the AMU, were brought up and discussed. It was both an enjoyable and rewarding evening, with guests and hosts interacting easily. (Contributed by Mr. Afzal Usmani)
The Passing of a Hindi/Urdu Poet and Sage, Gopaldas Neeraj: The Urdu Kavi of Hindi poetry, Gopaldas Neeraj, the doyen and emblem of progressive Hindi poetry, breathed his last at All India Institute of Medical Science, Delhi, on Thursday, July 19, 2018, at the age of 93. Most Indians considered him a secular humanist, an embodiment of India’s composite, syncretic culture, and a torchbearer of the thesis of universal brotherhood, who prided in his couplet: ” Bus ye-hee apraadh maiN har Baar kata hooN/ aadmi hooN, aadmi sey p’yaar karta hooN.
His prolific writings spread over almost seven decades, resulted in four books of poetry; Praangeet, Vibhaawari, Antardhwani, and Sangharsh. Mr. Neeraj received many honors and awards, including Padma Shree in 1991, Yash Bharti in 1994, and Padma Bhushan in 2004. Best known for his famous lines, “CarvaaN guzar gaya, ghubaar dekhtay rahey…” He also wrote lyrics for many successful Bollywood movies.
Mr. Neeraj was in spirit a proponent of Gandhian philosophy and Hindustani traditions, who was equally comfortable in composing lyrics, poems whether in Hindi, or Urdu; his poems were a perfect creative blend of Urdu and Hindi. His famous lyrics included; Rangeela Re, Khilte Hain Gul Yahaan, Shokhiyon Mein Ghola Jaaye. For his lyrics in Bollywood films, he won three back-to-back Filmfare awards in the 70s. For a sample of his inspiring poetry, please click:here (Contributed by Dr. Razi Raziuddin)
AMU Chosen the Second Best Among Indian Universities:  Based on students’ opinions, the Aligarh Muslim University was judged as the second best among Indian universities, when its excellent teaching and academic qualities are considered. Furthermore, its Department of Mathematics is rated 129th in the world, according to a report in the US News Education, Best Global Universities Rankings. The same publication also ranked AMU 305th in the world for studies of biology and biochemistry, and 460th for study of physics. AMU vice chancellor, Professor Tariq Mansoor, commented that “the university is proud to claim the top spot in the US News Education Rankings.” He added that “these rankings reveal that AMU is one of the most prestigious universities with very high entry standards.”  (Contributed by Dr. Razi Raziuddin)
Glimpses into the Past
Editor’s Note: Professor Rashid Ahmad Siddiqui served as the chairman Urdu department at AMU, until his retirement in 1958. He was a celebrated Urdu writer, known for his unique literary style and refined humor, wit and satire. He authored a number of books and articles. However, most of his writings drew inspiration from life as he experienced it at AMU, which also formed the backdrop of his stories. His pen sketches of his former professors and peers are life like and represent some of his best creations. After arriving from Jaunpur, UP, around 1914, he settled in Aligarh, and died there in 1977, at age 85. The following paragraph is translated and adapted from his book, Ashufta Biani Mayri.
“In my student days (1916-1921), the MAO College had a number of British professors. Among them, Professor Reynolds was one of the most talented and respected teachers. His reputation was sky high and whosoever managed to get admitted to his class or tutorial group was considered also very gifted, a case of reflected glory. He was punctilious in enforcing rules and regulations and occasionally when he visited the dining hall, there was an amazing transformation of the place. The food, dining tables, the kitchen, even the service personnel were meticulously clean for that day, and we felt as if we were dining at some formal European style dining hall. However, the following day, it was all back to business as usual.
One day, most unusually, Professor Reynolds came slightly late to teach his class. After waiting for a few minutes, the students left since he had never been late before. The following day, the professor admonished his students, “unless you know that I am either dead or sick, don’t ever walk away from my class.”
His routine never changed. On his last day of work at the University, he was scheduled to take the evening train out of Aligarh. Yet, he arrived on time to take his class as usual and taught us until the very last minute as if it was just another normal working day. When the hour bell rang, and the class was getting ready to leave, he exclaimed softly “Goodbye.” We realized for the first time that his voice was a little choke, as he was valiantly trying to control his emotions.” (Ashufta Biani Mayri, Muktaba Jamia Press, New Delhi)
Syed Amir (Editor)                                                                                    Khurshid Usmani (Web)
Rafat Husain (President)                                                                       Aisha Khan (Chairperson)
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