News from the Washington DC Area
In keeping with a long tradition, The Aligarh Alumni Association (AAA) held its annual general body meeting on Saturday, March 22, 2014, in Montgomery County Executive Office Building. The meeting was well attended. The outgoing president, Dr. Razi Raziuddin, briefly reviewed the activities of the Association during the past year and noted that the various programs sponsored by AAA, especially the Mushaira and Sir Syed Day Dinner, had received strong support from and a large participation by the community. Mr. Tariq Farooqi, outgoing chairperson of the Board of Trustees, discussed the unfortunate legal case the Association had to deal with during the past year. Although the case is not yet finally resolved, he was optimistic that most of the difficulties were now behind us.
Dr. Aftab Ansari, chairman of the scholarship committee, updated the audience about the status of the scholarship programs. Designed to assist bright and needy students at the AMU and Feeder-Coaching Centers, operating in various cities in India, the programs help financially disadvantaged students who otherwise may not have gone to school or college. Both programs, he informed, were fulfilling their intended purposes well.
The Association also conducted its elections, and the list of the elected officials is attached.
Elected executive council with election officer
Board of Trustees (2014-2015)
A section of audience
Elegant ladies in attendance
AAA Office Bearers, March 22, 2014
Dr. Fazal Khan
Mr. Masood Farshori
Mr. Khurshid Usmani
Ms. Farzana Farooqi
Dr. Mohammad Akbar
Dr. Arati Raziuddin
Board of Trustees:
Dr. Razi Raziuddin (2019)**
Mr. Tariq Farooqi (2019)***
Dr. Rafat Husain (March 2015)
Ms. Ayesha Khan (March 2016)
Dr. Aftab Ansari (March 2017)
**Newly Elected Trustee
***Newly Elected Trustee, and Chair, Board of Trustees
Term of office ends, shown in parenthesis.
News from AMU
Aligarh Muslim University organized the second World Summit Meeting (WSM) during February 25-27, 2014, at Aligarh. From this area, Syed M. Amin, Ozair Asadullahand twosenior members of the AAA, Dr. Abdullah and Dr. Fazal Khan, attended the meeting. Following is a brief report of the event provided by Drs. Abdullah and Fazal Khan.
The WSM attracted participation of a wide and eclectic group, drawn from Old Boys Associations of Lucknow and Bombay, Europe and North America as well as the Middle Eastern countries. Mr. Hasan Kamal, a founding member of the Washington Association, represented the Federation of Aligarh Muslim University Alumni Associations of North America.
The meeting was spread over six sessions. In the inaugural session, Vice Chancellor Lt. Gen. Zameeruddin Shah presented his vision for the next five years, emphasizing his goal to elevate the status of AMU to number one among Indian universities by 2017 and into the top 200 universities in the world by 2020.
The second session was focused on the Aligarh Movement and its global perspective. It was chaired by Hasan Kamal who invited Abdullah, as the first speaker, to set the direction of the discourse. The third session, chaired by the vice chancellor, explored the mechanism of translating his broad vision into action and the potential role of alumni in it. Next, Fazal Khan in his address stressed his conviction that alumni could not make much headway without the active involvement of university staff and administration.
The fourth session, also chaired by Hasan Kamal, addressed the interface between alumni and alma mater. The various speakers who followed agreed that there was a pressing need for increased interactions between alumni, university staff and administration and that they should work together as a team.
The fifth session on Alumni-student Interactions was chaired by Abdullah who highlighted the fact that alumni currently could reach students only indirectly through the university and administrative staff. He urged the vice chancellor to establish an Alumni Center at Aligarh which would serve as a coordinating body for the alumni across the globe, and would provide liaison between them and the students.
In his valedictorian lecture, Dr Shahid Jameel, the famed scientist at the International Center for Genetic Engineering, New Delhi, presented some excellent recommendations for raising the academic standards of the university, and affirmed the need for the establishment of an Alumni Center. The vice chancellor in concluding remarks promised that he would work on implementing all valid recommendation, including the establishment of an Alumni Center.
On the final day, General and Begum Shah graciously invited the US delegates for breakfast at his residence, giving us the valuable opportunity to chat with him informally on a variety of topics. He displayed keen interest in the AAA affairs and appeared well informed about the developments–some not so happy–in our area. After breakfast, we were invited to the inauguration ceremony of the Smart Class Rooms, one in Abdullah Girls College and the other in the Botany Department. Gen. Shah asked Abdullah to cut the inauguration ribbon at Abdullah Girls College, and then Fazal Khan to do the same at the Botany Department.
During our stay, we were able to offer some suggestions for the improvement in the way the meeting was organized and managed. We felt that some sessions could have been better structured and time management more judiciously executed. Also, opportunities for greater interactions between the visiting alumni, students and staff could have further enriched the experience especially of the visiting alumni
In conclusion, those of us who attended the meeting had some enjoyable and memorable time.
Glimpses into the Past History of AMU
The Foundation Stone of MAO College Laid in 1877
The foundation stone-laying ceremony of the Mohammadan Anglo-Oriental (MAO) College on January 17, 1877 was a grand and colorful event. Sir Syed had invited the highest British official in the land, the Viceroy of India, Lord Lytton, to perform the ceremony. Lord Lytton, accompanied by a retinue of advisors and staff, travelling in his special train from the princely state of Patiala, arrived at Aligarh in the morning at 9 am. He was received by a number of dignitaries, including some of the elites of Aligarh society and high officers of the civil administration– commissioner and the district magistrate. The city and the railway station had been adorned with beautiful flowers, ornate flower pots and decorative banners to welcome the special guest of honor.
The viceroy was entertained at breakfast at Sir Syed’s residence, along with some selected guests. In the afternoon, Lord Lytton was taken to the site where he was to lay the foundation stone, in a spectacular procession which was headed by parade of brightly bedecked elephants. He was received by Sir Syed and led to a huge Shamiana, festooned with flowers, banners and colorful drapes. There were many guests, drawn from various parts of India, who had travelled to attend this once in a lifetime ceremony.
The short distance from the point where the Viceroy would disembark from the carriage and walk to the dais in the ceremonial Shamiana was covered with a red carpet that had green borders, generating a stunning effect. Dr. Syed Mahmoud welcomed the chief guest and presented an address on behalf of the MAO College. As he stood up to respond, Lord Lytton was covered in a deluge of flowers, a token of the appreciation of the audience. He was overwhelmed by the enthusiastic reception. The ceremony concluded late in the evening, following a lavish dinner
Today, the Strachey Hall stands where the MAO College foundation stone was laid by Lord Lytton over one-and-quarter centuries ago. (Adapted from; Murraqaay Tarikh Muslim University (1975), By Manzar Jaleysari)
Syed Amir (Editor) Khurshid Usmani (Web)
Fazal Khan (President, EC) Tariq Farooqi (Chairman, BOT)