Aligarh Alumni Association PO Box 1877, Ellicott City MD 21041


September 2018

AAA – September  2018
Trustees: Aisha Khan (Chair), Tariq Farooqi, Abdullah Abdullah, Fazal Khan, Masood Farshori
Exec.Council: Rafat Husain (President), Harris Usmani (Treasurer), Afzal Usmani (Secretary)
Sir Syed Day Lecture and Dinner: The Aligarh Alumni Association, Washington DC (AAA), will host its annual lecture and dinner on Saturday, October 13, 2018, at Bolger Center, Potomac, Maryland. The Association traditionally invites an eminent luminary to give a talk on some scholarly subject of contemporary interest. This year, Mr. Raza Rumi, Director Park Center for Independent Media, Ithaca College, NY, an author, distinguished journalist and TV critic will feature as the keynote speaker. A progressive thinker, Mr. Rumi has opposed extremism and promoted values of international harmony, tolerance and moderation through his writings and oral presentations in Pakistan and around the world.

The Annual International Mushaira: The AAA’s much-anticipated annual international mushaira will be held on Sunday, November 11, 2018. at Silver Spring Civic Building, One Veterans Place, Silver Spring, MD 20910. The Association is in the process of lining up some renowned Urdu poets from around the world for participation in the mushaira. As has been the case for many years,, the event will offer a literary feast for those interested in poetry, literature and scholarly pursuits. 

The Summer Mushaira and Kavi Sammelan Cancelled: Unfortunately, the AAA had to cancel this event scheduled on Sunday, August 26, 2018, planned in collaboration with the Global Organization of People of Indian origin-DC. Although all preparations were in place, some unanticipated problems made it difficult to proceed. Several key members involved in the preparations were unable to participate because of illness or bereavement in their families. Originally, this year’s function was dedicated to the memory of the legendary Hindi/Urdu poet Mr. Gopaldas Saxena Neeraj, who passed away on July 19, 2018, at Aligarh. The Association plans to reschedule the Mushaira and Kavi Sammelan to sometime next year. (Contributed by Dr. Zafar Iqbal)
The AMU to Send Doctors and Medicines to Kerala: Mr. Tariq Mansoor, the vice Chancellor of the AMU, has announced that the University will send 16 doctors to help in the relief operations at Kerala. In addition, it will contribute medicine worth Rs 50,000. All travel and other related expenses will also be covered by the University.

The AMU Rejects the Proposal to Drop Muslim from its Name: The AMU has turned down a proposal from the University Grants Commission Panel made in October 2017 that words like ‘Hindu’ and ‘Muslim’ should not be part of the names of secular educational institutions and therefore be dropped. The AMU has argued that its name has historic significance and embodies its unique character and represents the noble ideals of its founder. The issue has been settled for the moment as the Union minister, Prakash Javadekar clarified that the Government of India had no plans to change the names of either AMU or Banaras Hindu University. (Contributed by Dr. Razi Raziuddin)

The AMU to Honor Important Scholars: Professor Christian W Troll, noted scholar of theology and philosophy and Honorary Professor for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations at the Philosophisch-Theologische Hochschule St. Georgen in Frankfurt, Germany, will receive this year’s International Sir Syed Excellence Award for his work on Sir Syed Ahmad Khan. 
Mr. Sanjiv Saraf, founder of the much-acclaimed Rekhta Foundation, will receive the National Sir Syed Excellence Award for making outstanding contributions to the promotion of Urdu language and literature. His website, has created the largest available online resource for the Urdu language, and almost all notable Urdu books have been made available on line. These two awards carry prizes worth two, and one lakh rupees, respectively.
Passing of a Senior Aligarian:  Mr. Tayyab Bin Tahir passed away on 20th August 2018 after a prolonged illness. He was the younger brother of Dr. Abdullah, a senior member and trustee of the AAA. Tayyab Bin Tahir was a prominent student in his Aligarh days, and was chosen to serve as the senior proctorial monitor, a great honor. He also served as Secretary of Azamgarh Muslim Educational Society which manages Shibli National College. I met Tayyab Bhai once in December 1996 in Aligarh when he came to attend the protest against  the police firing at the campus. We invoke Allah’s mercy on his soul and pray that He grant him the highest place in Jannah. (Contributed by Mr. Afzal Usmani)
Josh Malihabadi at MAO College
Editor’s Note: Shabir Hasan Khan, popularly known as Josh Malihabadi (1898-1982), was a celebrated Urdu poet, specializing in the genre of Nazm. The title of Shyer- e- Inqilab was conferred on him by his admirers for his passionate advocacy of India’s freedom movement. He received high civilian awards from both the Governments of India and Pakistan. In 1958, he emigrated to Pakistan, but never seemed to have been happy there. His final years were especially miserable. He died at Islamabad in February 1982. In 1970, Josh authored his autobiography, Yadon ki Barat. It has been criticized for its alleged exaggerations, embellishment of family wealth and numerous narrated love affairs. The following paragraph is translated and adapted from his book and is related to his brief stay at MAO College. 

“It was most probably the year 1912 when I came to the MAO College and was admitted to the Mumtaz House to a room in which two brothers were already in residence. All three of us got along well. The distinguishing feature of life at Aligarh in those days was the complete absence of prejudices, based on perceived provincial, ethnic or linguistic differences. We all considered ourselves children of Sir Syed and the mother institution. The student body was so united that even the police was reluctant to enter the campus or intervene in the affairs of the college. Any external threat to one student was enough to bring about a united response from all students.

In those days, Dr. Shafayat Ullah was the chief medical officer and exercised much authority. However, our gang of students had intimidated him into agreeing to give us fake certificates of illness, enabling us to skip classes whenever we desired. He also recommended special diet for us, which included, ridiculously, biryani, chicken and sheermaal. Otherwise, we threatened him, we would rename him from Shafayat Ullah to Hallakat ullah and publicize it widely with posters and flyers throughout the campus.

(Josh relates in his book a number of mischievous adventures he indulged in during his stay at Aligarh, some undoubtedly grossly exaggerated. Ultimately, he and several of his friends were expelled from the MAO college after participating in some especially egregious prank and getting caught red-handed. He did not secure any degree)

Syed Amir (Editor)                                                                              Khurshid Usmani (Web)
Rafat Husain (President)                                                                 Aisha Khan (Chairperson)
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