Aligarh Alumni Association PO Box 1877, Ellicott City MD 21041


October 2014

AAA Prepares for Iqbal Memorial Lecture and Dinner: Having staged two highly successful events in September–the Annual Mushaira and the Sir Syed Day Lecture and Dinner (click the link for pictures and information) –the Aligarh Alumni Association of Washington DC (AAA) is now focusing on its forthcoming scholarly event, the Iqbal Memorial Lecture and Dinner. It will be held on Saturday, November 22, 2014 at 6 pm at The Hilton Garden Inn, Rockville, MD, and the keynote speaker will be the internationally recognized diplomat, scholar and author, Professor Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development, University of Maryland.
Shibley Telhami
Professor Telhami will address the timely topic, “What Happened to the Arab Spring. Understanding the Current Tumult in the Middle East.” He is most qualified to provide an incisive analysis, having served as special advisor for the US mission to the United Nations and in various important diplomatic positions. On account of the current relevance of the topic and the reputation of the speaker, a large cross-section of the South Asian Community is expected to attend the event. Click this link for flyer and more information.
Sir Syed’s 197th Birth-Anniversary Celebrations: October 17, 2014, marked the 197th birth anniversary of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, the founder of the AMU. The occasion was celebrated both at AMU and by Aligarians living abroad. Speaking at a commemorative meeting at AMU, Mr. Najeeb Jung, Lt. Governor of Delhi, urged the students to acquire independent tools to achieve success in life and career and not seek any magic formulas drawn from lives of historical figures who lived in a different era.
Sole Female Candidate for Student’s Council: Ms. Kehkashan Khanam, a research scholar, is the only female candidate among the 12 contestants for ten open positions on the students’ council. She has a clear agenda: reinforcement of the women’s security on the campus, by installation of cameras at the entrances of female dorms and lobbies. In addition, she would like to have a hostel designated exclusively for graduate female scholars, who are currently forced to rents rooms outside the campus often in unsafe areas.
Cleanliness Campaign Receives Enthusiastic Response: The Government of India recently launched a campaign to foster a tradition of cleanliness in the country. The initiative generated a fervent response at the University campus. All schools, colleges, departments and Halls of residences organized cleanliness drives led by University officers. (Adapted from the AMU News)
Glimpses into the Past History of Aligarh
It may not be widely appreciated that many non-Muslims also contributed to the College funds. Initially, Sir Syed felt a little embarrassed that he had to go outside the Muslim community to appeal for funds for an institution designed primarily to educate Muslims. Ultimately, however, he was very grateful for the help he received from non-Muslims. In his writings, he made special mention of Sardar Diall Singh Bahadur, a Sikh nobleman, for his generous donations. In his diaries, he also listed the help of many others, writing “I cannot forget the generosity and munificence of Hindu brothers who noticed the wretched conditions of their Muslim compatriots and felt that they had to do something to help pull them out of their misery. They donated money, endowed land and helped in many different ways.”
Another distinguished supporter of the Aligarh movement was Raja Jay Kishan Das, a prominent landowner and a great friend of Sir Syed. When Sir Syed celebrated the Bismillah of his grandson, the future Sir Ross Masood’s, Raja Saheb gifted 500 rupees, a princely sum at the time. However, Sir Syed promptly donated this money to the College Fund. A plaque installed in Stretchy Hall bearing Raja Jai Kishan Das’s name gratefully acknowledged his support. Later, a hostel in Sir Suleiman hall was named after him.

The foregoing two benefactors were not the only non-Muslim supporters of MAO College. A number of plaques and name plates seen today bearing numerous non-Muslims names inscribed on the doors of the dormitory rooms and entrances to the University halls serve as eternal testaments to the generosity of these donors (Source: Khud Nawisht Hiyatt-e-Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, Compiled by Zia Uddin Lahori, 1993.)
Syed Amir (Editor)                                                               Khurshid Usmani (Web)
Fazal Khan (President)                                                        Tariq Farooqi (Chairman)
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