NEWS FROM AROUND WASHINGTON AREA
AAA International Mushaira: The Aligarh Alumni Association, Washington DC, will hold its 43rd International Mushaira on Saturday, November 18, 2017, at Gaithersburg High School, Gaithersburg, MD. The Association has drawn a colorful program and lined up a galaxy of national and international poets to participate in this much-anticipated event. Among the prominent poets expected from overseas are Peerzada Qasim, Abbas Tabish, Ahmad Salman Farooqi, Tahir Faraz, Noureen Talat Arooba, Minu Bakhshi and Salman Gilani. Mr. Gilani’s popularity stems from his ability to suffuse humor into his poetry. Detailed information about the Mushaira and ticket purchase can be obtained by clicking here.
Sir Syed’s Bicentennial Celebration: The AAA staged one of the most spectacular programs of its four-decades long history to celebrate the second centenary of Sir Syed’s birth, the founder of Mohammadan Anglo-Oriental (MAO) College at Aligarh. It was held at the imposing Turkish Center at Lanham, MD, and attracted over three-hundred guests from both the Washington area and outside. The program represented the culmination of months of diligent planning and immaculate orchestration. Divided into two segment, scholarly talks and light entertainment, the early part of the program presented the keynote address by Professor Abdulaziz Sachedina, spotlighting the potential for peaceful coexistence in today’s multicultural societies. He was preceded by Dr. Frank Islam, an educationalist and philanthropist, and Dr. Jeffrey Willetts, Mercer University, Atlanta, who also addressed the topic.
The scholarly segment of the program was followed by dinner and some lighter presentations. Several AAA members and outside artists recreated a show staged nearly one-and-half centuries ago by Sir Syed and his associates, Maulana Shibli Nomani and Maulana Altaf Husain Hali, to raise funds for the nascent and fledgling MAO college (click to watch). A story modelled on the ancient art of story-telling that thrived in the late Middle Ages in North India and cities along the storied Silk Road, designed to entertain the common folks after a long, tiring day, was narrated for the entertainment of the audience by Mr. Javed Danish. A former AMU student, he had travelled from Toronto to produce and stage the live show. Both exquisite presentations received a great ovation.
In a separate room, an exhibition held concurrently, showcased books, literature, pictures, pamphlets on or about Sir Syed and his Aligarh movement. A number of interested attendees stopped by to look at the material, and the exhibition served as a valuable educational resource. A special feature of the celebration was the participation, on an unprecedented scale, of many local ethnic organizations; among them, the University of Karachi Alumni Association, Hyderabad Association, Association of Indian Muslims of America, the Muslim Community Center, MD.
The Association would especially like to thank the guest artists for generous donation of their precious time and talent that greatly contributed to the success of the program. Finally, many AAA members invested countless hours striving to make this program a memorable event and also deserve our collective thanks.
Jameel Zafar Iqbal, MD, PhD, son of Dr. Zafar Iqbal, a long-standing AAA member, has recently joined the Veterans Health Administration Medical Center at Bronx, NY, as chief of pathology & laboratory medicine. He also has a concurrent faculty appointment in the Department of Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York. Congratulations on behlf of the AAA to Dr. Jameel Iqbal and his proud parents.
SELECTED NEWS FROM AMU
The Aligarh Muslim University organized a two-days conference on October 15-16, 2017, at Aligarh to celebrate Sir Syed’s bicentenary to which alumni from around the world were invited. The get-together at the University’s Kennedy Auditorium offered the precious opportunity to attendees to meet and greet friends of long ago, and relive some old cherished memories.
The Vice Chancellor, Professor Tariq Mansoor, in his address commented that the AMU was established as the Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College in 1875, and became a public central university in 1920. He was pleased to note that the alumni from around the world, especially the United States of America, European countries, and the Middle-East, were ascribing their successes to their initial education and training received at AMU. Professor Mansoor graciously acknowledged the “Enormous contribution of alumni made through the Aligarh Open University (AOU), an initiative facilitated by the Federation of Aligarh Alumni Associations, North America. He thanked the alumni for their visit, and announced that the university will soon institute the ‘Distinguished Alumni Awards’ in national and international categories. (Source: The AMU News)
Sir Syed International Award to US Scholar: At the recent bicentennial celebration, AMU awarded the 2017 Sir Syed International Excellence Award to Professor David Lelyveld, a noted scholar and author of Aligarh’s First Generation. Professor Lelyveld was the keynote speaker at the AAA‘s Syed Day dinner in 2015 (Contributed by Dr. Rafat Husain)
MEMORIES FROM THE PAST
The late Zakir Ali Khan (Marhoom) was one of the last members of that glorious generation, now almost entirely gone, of Aligarians who personified the best traditions of the institution. He emigrated to Pakistan soon after independence, and was instrumental in founding the Aligarh Old Boys Association in Pakistan, and associated with the late Z A Nizami (Marhoom) in establishing, in 1993, the Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology, Karachi.
Shortly before his death, Zakir Khan Saheb visited this country, but his planned visit to our town did not materialize due to illness in his family, which compelled him to return home prematurely. Nevertheless, he has left behind a rich, enduring legacy in the form of several books, written in his characteristic delightful style, documenting the traditions of AMU and drawing hilarious pen-sketches of some well-known Aligarh personalities, who have become legends over time.
The following paragraph, translated and adapted from his book, “Riwayat-e-Aligarh,” portrays the first arrival of the iconic poet and freedom-fighter Moulana Hasrat Mohani (real name: Syed Fazl-ul-Hasan), as a wide-eyed, freshman:
“Young Fazl-ul-Hasan arrived with his bed and baggage riding a Yakka. Unfamiliar with the traditions and etiquettes of Aligarh, he dismounted from the Yakka and proceeded towards Sir Syed hostel’s veranda. He cut an odd figure, attired in an old-fashioned, wide-length pajama and sherwani. Also, he was cradling a strange object, a large Paandan, wrapped in a bright red velvet cover.
It so happened that several seniors, including Sajjad Haider Yaldram, the noted author and future University registrar, were at hand to witness this weird sight. High-spirited Yaldram, could not restrain himself and exclaimed loudly, ‘Behold, Khala Amma has arrived.’ Since that day, the expression “Khala Amma” became Moulana Hasrat Mohani’s nickname. Later, when he acquired fame as a poet and national leader, he was still called by this nickname by his close friends. Moulana Hasrat Mohani always enjoyed the name given to him by his friends of yesteryears.”
Syed Amir (Editor) Khurshid Usmani (Web)
Mohammed Akbar (President) Fazal Khan (Chairman)