Aligarh Alumni Association PO Box 1877, Ellicott City MD 21041


October 2016

The Annual Sir Syed Lecture and Dinner:

The two premier functions of the AAA are scheduled to be held within the coming weeks. The Annual Sir Syed Day Lecture and Dinner will be held on Sunday, October 16, 2016, at Argyle Country Club, Silver Spring, Maryland. The keynote speaker will be Mr. Ebrahim Rasool, the former ambassador of South Africa to the US and the current Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Georgetown University’s Waleed bin Talal Center. Ambassador Rasool participated in the anti-apartheid movement and the drive against minority rule in his native South Africa. He has also been very active in the interfaith movement aimed at promoting religious tolerance and harmony. Information is posted here.
The Annual International Mushaira: The AAA’s signature event, the Annual International Mushaira, will be held on Saturday, November 5, 2016, at Eleanor Roosevelt High School, Greenbelt, Maryland. A galaxy of popular poets from India and Pakistan, besides those from the US and Europe, are expected to attend. As in the past, a lively program has been painstakingly planned for the evening. The Association has decided to provide a significant discount on the price of tickets for those who plan to attend both the Sir Syed Day Dinner and Mushaira. For further detail, please click on the link here.
Mushaira-KaviSammalan: The AAA, in collaboration with the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin – GOPIO, organized a poetry-reading ceremony on August 20, 2016, to mark the independence of South Asian countries, in which both Urdu and Hindi poets participated. The occasion provided a forum where people drawn from different countries and cultures could share a literary afternoon. More than sixteen poets recited their poetry and enthralled the audience. This year, the program was enriched by the unveiling of three books of poetry by their authors. Click here to see the coverage of this event.
AAA Welcomes a Distinguished Aligarian: In August 2016, the AAA had an opportunity to welcome a prominent Aligarh alumnus, Mr. Shahid Mahdi, who has been both a student and faculty member at AMU. He later joined the Indian Administrative Service and served in important positions in India–including the vice-chancellorships of Jamia Millia– and with international organizations, such as UNESCO, ILO and FAO. He continues to be engaged, following his retirement, in a variety of social, educational and cultural organizations in India. The Association presented him a plaque to recognize some of his high achievements. Ms. Shakila Raza hosted a lunch-reception in his honor to introduce him to the community.
The Passing of a Founding Member: The Aligarian community in the DC area suffered a major loss this year with the demise of Syed Ale Ahmad Hashmi who embodied many of the glorious traditions of Aligarh University. Hashmi Saheb was one of the founders of the Association in our area, and remained until the very last a highly active member, having served as the president, trustee and in other positions. He provided a link to a bygone era of the University, when the students were trained to act in accordance with the rules of high morality and ethics.
Glimpses into the Past History of Aligarh
Professor David Lelyveld is a much acclaimed scholar with an interest in South Asian studies. He has authored several books and research papers related to Sir Syed Ahmad Khan and the Aligarh movement. The following paragraph is extracted from one of his books.
“Of all the British professors, it was Theodore Beck who made the most complete personal commitment to Aligarh and its students. Determined to devote his entire life to the college, he even offered the allegiance of his family back in England. In 1891, he brought out his parents and a sister, and they were introduced to the student body in a formal assembly, marked with the exchange of gifts and addresses. The sister, Miss Beck who stayed on after the parents had departed, became the first women to reside on the college property. “We were all terribly excited, recalled (the future Moulana) Shaukat Ali ten years later, referring to the first time they were invited to a social evening in the presence of an English lady.”
The following year, Beck went a step further and became the first English professor to bring a wife to Aligarh, having first solicited Sayyid Ahmad Khan’s blessings and Sayyid Mahmoud’s brotherly approval. Professors Arnold and Morrison soon followed the example, and these women participated actively in the social life of the college. Like sons in a great joint family, the British professors had brought their wives to Sayyid Ahmad’s college. The family bond reached back to England, especially in the case of the Becks, who provided warm and generous hospitality to Aligarh Alumni studying in British Universities (Extracted and Adapted from: Aligarh’s First Generation, by David Lelyveld)
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