Aligarh Alumni Association PO Box 1877, Ellicott City MD 21041


May 2017

Sir Syed’s two-hundredth’s Birth Anniversary: The Aligarh Alumni Association, Washington DC (AAA), is planning to celebrate the bicentennial of the birth (October 17, 1817) of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, the founder of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) and the Aligarh movement, on Saturday, September 9, 2017. The Association is developing a colorful program, comprising scholarly lectures by distinguished speakers, an exhibition of historic papers and documents, an entertainment show and a gala dinner. It is hoped that other South Asian organizations in North America will join in this historic celebration.
Urdu Academy of Maryland: The Academy, in collaboration with the AAA, is organizing a one-day cultural program on Saturday, May 20, 2017, at Seneca Valley High School, Germantown, MD. It will include a wide variety of activities, ranging from lectures, skits, and ghazal recitations to displays of books and a colorful dress show. Ms Tahira Aziz, the chief sponsor of the program, is a social worker, who runs the Urdu Academy in Montgomery county, MD, which aspires to introduce Urdu to non-Urdu speakers.
AAA Iftar Dinner and Fund-raiser: The AAA will host its annual Iftar dinner and fund-raiser on Saturday, June 10, 2017, at Rockville Seniors’ Center. The collected funds support needy and bright students at AMU who are pursuing studies in the various professional disciplines. The program awarded 264 scholarships in the year 2016 (an increase of 11 from the previous year), bringing the total number of awards to over 2,500 since the inception. In addition, the Feeder Program supported 16 schools and coaching centers in various cities in India, benefiting over 800 students, bringing the total number since 2008 to over 5,000 students (5th – 12th grade). (Information extracted from Dr Aftab Ansari’s memo)
Dr Abdullah’s Trip to India: Apparently, the official indifference notwithstanding, Urdu culture and poetry are thriving in India. Dr A. Abdullah, one of the founders and a trustee of the AAA, was recently invited to participate in two Mushairas in India sponsored by Jashn-e-Bahar. Held in Delhi and Patna, these functions attracted many dignitaries and literary personalities. Besides staging Mushairas, the Director of Jashn-e-Bahar, Ms Kamna Prashad, has produced TV serials and organized national/international seminars aimed at the promotion of Urdu language and literature. (Please see the link to Delhi Mushaira).
Dr Abdullah also attended a seminar in Delhi, celebrating the bicentennial of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan’s birth. He was honored with a plaque given in recognition of his contributions to planting the seeds of the Aligarh Movement in North America. He later attended two meetings at AMU, related to the newly-established Frank and Debbie Islam Business Complex and Department of Mass Communications. Both projects are supported by Mr Frank Islam. (Personal Communication).
Passing of Dr. Masarrat Ali: The Aligarh community in the Washington Area suffered a loss with the recent death of Dr. Masarrat Ali, a long-time supporter and a life-member of the AAA. He was the founder of AMU alumni Association of San Antonio, and had also served as the president of the Federation of Aligarh Alumni Association. His remarkable achievement was the digitization of the entire collection of books, speeches, letters and articles written by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan (Contributed by Mr. Afzal Usmani)

AMU Welcomes New Vice Chancellor: The President of India, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, has appointed Professor Tariq Mansoor to be the next vice chancellor of the AMU. Dr Mansoor currently serves as the principal and chief medical superintendent of the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, and will take over the reins of the University following the retirement of the current VC, Lt General Zameer Uddin Shah.
Professor Mansoor has over 33 years of teaching and research experience, has supervised 49 post-graduate students and has published over 90 papers in national and international journals. He has been a member, of the executive Council, and is a former president of the Association of Surgeons of India (UP Chapter).
Scholarship Grants from Aligarh Alumni Associations: The Alumni Associations of Michigan and Texas have, respectively, provided scholarships worth Rs 5,000 to 205 AMU students and Rs 4,000 to 60 students in the current academic year. In addition, the Old Boys Association, Bihar, has awarded scholarships worth Rs 6,000 to three students.
Women’s College Organizes Annual Mushaira: Poets from across the country recently gathered at AMU’s Women’s College for the Annual Mushaira, which was inaugurated by the Pro Chancellor, Nawab Ibne Saeed Khan of Chattari. It was attended by the Vice Chancellor, Lt General Zameer Uddin Shah as the Chief Guest. Prominent poets attending the Mushaira included: Mr Azhar Inayati, Mr Vaquar Manvi, Mr Alam Khursheed, Mr Popular Meeruthi, Mr Jameel Manvi, Ms Salma Shaheen, Ms Azra Naqvi, Dr Shehla Nawab, Mr Mohid Rasheedi, Dr Gulam Sarwar, Professor Abid Ali Abid and Dr Zoya Zaidi. (Adapted from AMU News, May 2017)
Maulana Abul Hasan Ali Nadavi (1914-1999), popularly known as Ali Mian, was an eminent Islamic scholar and a prolific author in several languages. He devoted his life to teaching and scholarship at Darul Uloom Nadwatul Ulama, Lucknow. In 1938, at an early phase of his career, he visited the AMU at the invitation of Professor Syed Suleiman Ashraf, head of the department of theology, to produce a course book, blending religious teachings and Islamic history, for undergraduate students. He was paid Rs 500, a princely sum at the time, as compensation for his work. The amount was nearly ten-times his monthly salary at Nadwa.
In the absence of an official guest house, Ali Mian was lodged in the office of Maulana Abu Bakr Sheesh Faruqui, nazim of the theology department, located next to the Jama Masjid. The concurrent presence of Maulana Syed Suleiman Ashraf and Abu Bakr Sheesh, two luminaries, had given the AMU a reputation of excellence in ecclesiastical scholarship.  In the following paragraph taken from his book, “Karawan-e-Zindagi,” Maulana Ali Mian, recorded his impressions of AMU, gained during his two-month stay.
“Maulana Sheesh was a celebrity in the theology department at AMU, a polymath, highly knowledgeable, with expertise in astronomy and mathematics, besides religious and doctrinal studies. He was greatly respected, and senior professors often came to listen to his lectures. He was also an acute connoisseur of Urdu and Persian poetry, and held in high esteem by the students. Since I was staying at a central location near the Sir Syed Hall, I had a vantage position to observe the behavior and daily life of the students and others. I used to regularly walk by the SS Hall through Bob-e-Ishaq onto ZakaUllah road on my way to Maulana Sheesh’s house and where I had my daily meals.  
The students I met showed unfailing courtesy and deference to members of religious faculty, and always took precedence in greeting me with a loud Salam Alaikum. Never did I hear any sardonic comments made to or directed at me. Their behavior was in sharp contrast to the treatment I received routinely at the Lucknow University campus which I had to cross on my way to Nadwa to teach. In general, people in religious garb, like me, were favorite targets of the students and had to endure derision and mockery.” (Translated and adapted from: Karawan-e-Zindagi)
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