Aligarh Alumni Association PO Box 1877, Ellicott City MD 21041


September 2014

AAA Working Group Meeting: The group met on September 14, 2014 at the residence of Drs. Razi and Aarati Raziuddin. The session was moderated by the AAA President Dr. Fazal Khan. The meeting reviewed the preparations for forthcoming events, the 40th Anniversary Mushaira, the Sir Syed Day Dinner and Qawwali. Drs. Abdullah and Rafat Husain updated the group about the anticipated participation of the poets and the potential problems in their travel, stay and coordination of their plans with other groups in various cities holding Mushairas. Mr. Masood Farshori described arrangements for the Qawwali program and Mr. Khurshid Usmani discussed the financial issues pertaining to the programs and the fiscal status of the Association.
40th Anniversary Mushaira: The Mushaira, the flagship event of the AAA, was held on Saturday, September 27th, and drew a huge crowd. Some ten prominent poets from North America and overseas participated. A galaxy of poets enthralled the audience for nearly five uninterrupted hours, evoking warm, enthusiastic and repeated applause from the audience. Mr. Gopi Chand Narang, the noted Urdu writer and scholar, presided. The highly successful event, meticulously organized and carefully orchestrated by a group of volunteers, concluded at past midnight.
Sir Syed Day Memorial Lecture and Dinner: The combined lecture and dinner was a joyous occasion held in the elegant setting of the Argyle Country Club. Almost all the poets who came for the Mushaira had stayed on to attend the dinner. Professor Narang, in his hour-long speech, reviewed the sublime traditions of enlightenment as rooted in the poetry of Mirza Ghalib and Sir Syed’s life-long quest for promotion of education and interfaith harmony. He cited specifics examples from the lives of two iconic figures to illustrate his theme. The AAA gave a plaque to Professor Narang to honor him for his services to “Urdu language, literature and literary criticism.” (A detailed account of the two events will soon be presented elsewhere.)
Future Events:
The Iqbal Memorial Lecture and Dinner: The lecture will be delivered by Professor Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat Chair of Peace and Development, University of Maryland, on Saturday, November 22, 2014, 6 pm, at Hilton Garden Hotel, Rockville, MD.
Remedial Education for Madrasa Graduates: Realizing the deficiency in the education of students taught in traditional religious schools, the AMU has launched an ambitious program to provide remedial courses in English, physical and computer sciences for Madrasa graduates. It is hoped that these course will enable them to secure gainful employment in the public or private sector.
Scholarships for the Needy: Dr. Shahid Jameel, president of India Wisdom Foundation, addressing the scholarship distribution ceremony organized by the Aligarh Project at Sultan Jahan Coaching Centre, emphasized the need for the rich to contribute to the scholarship funds for needy students. The Foundation was established four years back to help meritorious students who were financially challenged to enable them to continue their academic pursuits. This project is supported by Aligarh Forum and the Aligarh Alumni Association of Washington DC, USA.
New Sign Boards for all Buildings: All buildings, academic as well as non-academic, will have new signboards installed in front of them, with names inscribed in three languages: English, Urdu and Hindi.
Outstanding Researcher Award: A yearly award of one-hundred-thousand Rupees will be given each year to a member of the academic faculty deemed to have performed outstanding research in the faculties of Science, Life Sciences, Engineering & Technology, Medicine, Unani Medicine and Agriculture. (Source: AMU News)
Glimpses into the Past History of Aligarh
Professor Iqbal Niazi, a senior Aligarian, was educated at AMU and McGill University. He served as a professor of developmental biology at the University of Rajasthan, Jaipur, India, until his retirement in 1988. He lives in New Delhi. Following are his recollections of the life at Aligarh over half a century ago.
I joined AMU in 1944 and have many memories of those years. The latter half of 1940s was a period of great turbulence, as the British prepared to depart after nearly 200-years rule. In spite of the unhappy situation in the country, the University campus remained peaceful, except that the number of students coming from various parts of the subcontinent seeking admission had sharply risen. This led to a severe shortage of hostel accommodation. As many as four students had to be placed in each room as compared to the normal two.
The vice-chancellor, Dr. Sir Ziauddin Ahmad, passionately desired the establishment of a medical college for which he travelled extensively to raise funds. By 1946, he had raised more than 500,000 rupees (at 1946 value) and also obtained the Government’s assurance of matching amounts. Fortuitously, the war had ended, and the USA was closing its military base and its attached hospital at Agra. Dr. Ziauddin Ahmad skillfully managed to secure all the equipment of that hospital for free for the proposed medical college. Unfortunately, Sir Ziauddin’s dream remained unfulfilled during his lifetime because of the partition-related upheaval. The college finally opened in 1962.
I recall an unfortunate incident in 1947 that caused much harm to the university. False rumors had spread that copies of the AMU magazine had been confiscated on the orders of the Vice-Chancellor as it had an article describing in inflammatory detail the brutalities suffered by Muslims during riots in India, and that he was going to submit the name of the author to the police. A strike was called and several hundred students demonstrated in front of the V.C.’s office at the Victoria Gate, shouting slogans and demanding his resignation.

Acceding to their demands, Dr. Ziauddin Ahmad tendered his resignation without hesitation, saying that he had already served the university for 50 years and had no desire to continue any more. He died in London a year later; his body was brought back to Aligarh and buried in the University mosque near the grave of Sir Syed. A large number of mourners, including students, teachers, and others gathered to pay tribute to his memory. He had served the University very well (Contributed by Professor Iqbal Niazi).
Syed Amir (Editor)                                                               Khurshid Usmani (Web)

Fazal Khan (President)                                                        Tariq Farooqi (Chairman)

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