Aligarh Alumni Association PO Box 1877, Ellicott City MD 21041


November 2016

The AAA had a busy schedule during the closing months of 2016. It successfully organized some important social, literary and poetic events in October and November. Following is a brief description of these events.
Annual Sir Syed Day Lecture and Dinner: The traditional celebration to mark the birthday of the founder of the Mohammadan Anglo-Oriental (MAO) College, later to become the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), was held on Sunday, October 16, 2016, at the Argyle Country Club, Silver Spring, MD. The featured speaker was Ambassador Ebrahim Rasool, former South African ambassador to the United States, a scholar and one of the leaders of the anti-apartheid movement. Ambassador Rasool reminisced about his close association with the country’s founding president, Nelson Mandela, with whom he briefly shared a prison. He captivated the audience with his eloquence and powerful speech in which he drew parallel between the plight of Muslims following the establishment of British sovereignty in India and of people living under minority rule in South Africa. He spotlighted areas where the anti-apartheid movement benefitted from Sir Syed’s enduring teachings. Consistent with the past tradition, the keynote speaker was presented with the Sir Syed Ahmad Khan Award, honoring his public service and promotion of interfaith harmony. The lecture was preceded by a sumptuous dinner. Click here to see the pictures of the event.
Forty-Second Annual International Mushaira: The Annual Mushaira is considered AAA’s signature event and those interested in poetry and literature look forward to it all year long. This year’s Mushaira, marking the 42nd year of this literary tradition, was held on Saturday, November 5, 2016, at the Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt, Maryland. A constellation of poets, both national and international, participated, transforming the evening into a literary feast. At the outset, the AAA recognized the passing of three of its luminaries, Dr. AR Kidwai, Mr. Yazdani Siddiqui, Mr. Ale Ahmad Hashmi as well as poet Nida Fazli, highlighting their life’s landmarks events in a slide show. Among the participating international poets were Rahman Farris (Pakistan), Sadaf Mirza (Denmark), Nusrat Mehdi (India), Sunil Kumar (India), Sarwat Zahra (UAE) and Khaja Fareeduddin Saadiq (India). The Mushaira was delightfully enriched by the presence of local and national poets. Together they enthralled and captivated the audience for many hours. Dr. Abdullah ably compered the proceedings. The poets were later treated to a midnight supper, hosted by Dr. and Mrs. Mohammad Akbar. Many volunteers spent countless hours and worked diligently to make this function a huge success and deserve our sincere gratitude. Click here to see the pictures of the event. 
The Passing of Two Distinguished Aligarians

The AAA is sad to acknowledge the death of following two illustrious members of our community.
Professor Akhlaq Ur Rehman Kidwai (July 1920-August 2015): Professor Kidwai started his academic career as an associate professor at the department of chemistry, AMU, in the early fifties. He pioneered and promoted research and scholastic activities, and contributed to the establishment of the department of biochemistry as a separate entity. Dr. Kidwai was the teacher and mentor of many AAA members settled in the Washington DC area, including this writer. He occupied numerous high-level positions in India, including Chairman, Public Service Commission, Governor of Bihar, West Bengal and Haryana and Chancellor of AMU. While serving in exalted positions, Dr. Kidwai never lost his special affinity for AMU and feeling of kinship with its alumni. He graced several AAA functions with his presence, and was warmly received by his former students and friends.
Mr. Syed Murtuza Hasan: Mr. Hasan, a notable alumnus and the brother of Dr. Hashima Hasan, passed away at his home in Lucknow on Sep. 9, 2016. During his years at AMU (1970-72), he distinguished himself by his debating skills, leadership qualities, and excellence in sports, particularly tennis and cricket. He later was selected for the coveted Indian Police and Foreign Services. After serving at Indian embassies in Jordan, countries in Africa and Germany, he returned to New Delhi. Tragically soon afterward, he was struck with a debilitating illness that ended his brilliant career. (Contributed by Dr. Aftab Ansari)

Glimpses into the Past History of Aligarh
Centenary of Moulana Shibli’s Death
Allama Shibli Nomani (1857-1914), along with Moulana Hali, Deputy Nazir Ahmad and Nawab Mohsin ul Mulk, was among the close associates of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan and a stalwart of the Aligarh movement. As a poet and writer, Moulana Shilbli fervently desired to establish a Darul Musannifin or the House of Writers to promote writing and scholarship. Although his dream was not realized during his life time, within days after his death in November 1914, one of his celebrated students and successor, Syed Suleiman Nadvi, laid plans for the establishment of the Darul Musannifin at Azamgarh.
In November, 2014, Darul Musannifin and Shibli Academy, commemorated the centenary of Moulana Shibli’s death and the founding of the Academy at Azamgarh. The highlights of the celebration were a series of scholarly lectures, which drew well-recognized intellectuals from around the world, and an exhibition of rare manuscripts. To memorialize this occasion, the Academy brought out a special issue of their monthly journal, Ma’Arif.
Allama Shibli was associated with the MAO College for nearly fifteen years, while he served as a teacher and scholar of Arabic language and literature. The following paragraph related to his academic work during his stay at the AMU is extracted from the Shibli number.
“During his tenure at Aligarh, Moulana Shibli continued to widen his intellectual horizons, while concurrently striving to promote a genuine Islamic environment at the Institution. As the Arabic language teacher, he stressed that, in addition to learning how to read and write Arabic, his students should also be able to speak it fluently. He closely interacted with Professor Thomas Arnold, the famous orientalist, and these interactions benefited both academicians. Several of Shibli’s landmark books were authored during his stay at the MAO College. He generously assigned the proprietary rights of these books in perpetuity to the college, an action that enriched it both financially and intellectually.” (Adapted from: Ma’Arif, Shibli Number, topic suggested by Afzal Usmani)
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