Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, The Man of Action

by Farzeen Amin

The world has seen many leaders, the ones who used their charismatic personalities and loud voices to lead a nation, to give them a direction to walk on, the leaders who have laid a solid foundation and platforms. The foundation becomes the basis for nation to progress not only through the words but actions.  The leader who spent every day in adding one more brick in the foundation of development and progress .Sir Syed Ahmad Khan has the later one who devoted his entire life in establishing a foundation of development of Muslim community of Sub-continent.

Sir Syed Ahmad Khan was born in an honorable family in Mughal regime on 17 October 1817. He was born in Aligarh India. Since birth Sir Syed was bringing up in a religious and moderate family environment. He started to work in his early life as his father had a short life and the responsibility of family was laid on his shoulders. He started to work as a clerk in East India Company in 1838 at very young age. Sir Syed had a keen interest in education and the financial hurdles could not stop him from achieving it. He continued to study judiciary and he started his services in Judicial Department.

Sir Syed always had very open approach towards literature and religion; he wanted to share his opinions to enlighten others with the teachings in simple and understandable way so he started writing at the naïve age of only 23 years old. He launched Athar Assanadid in which he talked about the antiques and heritage of Dehli. Sir Syed was very close to his roots and he had a passion to develop the Indian community. As a young and energetic person he has always refrained from getting into the political matters of the state. He believed that only education can become the foundation for the progress and development of Indian people.

Belonging to a religious family, he was keen to develop conscience in other young people around him.  He believed that religion must be taught in a way that it can educate the youth about its essence and meaning rather than just Arabic reading. He started to write essays on Bible, he wrote multiple essays on the life of Holy Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.W) to establish examples for the Muslims and to show them the better way to live life. He also wrote easy commentaries of the writing of Qur’an. Sir Syed Ahmad had tried to push the sluggish Muslim community towards education and development through every mean and mode.

The Indian Mutiny of 1857 had left a lasting impact of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan. He analyzed the mutiny like no other analyst. He was against the actions taken against the British Rule but he published his analysis on the causes of Indian Revolt in 1857. His analysis was not only important for the local community but the British government also took it seriously and changed its policies towards the Indian community according to it.

To create a culture of education he started to encourage the young children towards it for this purpose he founded the first school in Muradabad in1858 and Ghazipur in 1863. Sir Syed pondered on the issue that all the latest educational text books are written in English language which is not commonly understood language of the community so he made a major breakthrough in the history to help the youth to get education. He founded the famous scientific Society which translated and published the in Urdu language. The educated people from Hindu and Muslim community became part of the scientific society to help the youth come out of the darkness into the light of education.

In 1867 Sir Syed Ahmad Khan was transferred to Banaras for his services. It was the time when the Hindu men started riots for replacing Urdu with Hindi as the official language. It was the first time Sir Syed Ahmad realized that Hindu and Muslim are to entirely different nations which cannot coexist with each other at one place. In 1867 Sir Syed was the first person to give Two Nation theory which later became the basis for the development of separate Nation for Muslim community.

Sir Syed visited England in 1869 where he dreamt of creating a Muslim Cambridge. He believed that only education can create a great nation. He was against Muslim participation in the politics and especially the National Congress as he believed that Congress would never be in favor of Muslim community. The roadmap towards the development of youth was laid with the establishment of Muslim school in Aligarh in 1875. Later the foundation of Aligarh College was laid by the viceroy in 1877. In 1886 he provides the platform to the community for sharing their idea and unify together on current issues through All India Muhammadan Educational Conference. It was the only platform for the Muslims to combine at one place before the establishment of All India Muslim League.

Sir Syed Ahmad believed that without education the muslim community cannot high light their issues and they cannot become the valuable assets. The political activities were considered as diversion as he believed that Muslims first need to understand and develop in educational arena. He openly voiced against the parliamentary democracy in sub-continent as it will not give equal rights and participation to the diverse communities living in British India especially the Muslim community.

Sir Syed Ahmad Khan was man of many talents he used all of his abilities for the development of Muslims in British India. He was respected and honored for his tiresome and sincere efforts by the British government as well. He was the man who used his words and actions all together for the education and moral development of young Muslims of British India. He was honored with honored with Knighthood in 1888 with the star of India by the British government. Sir Syed’s efforts are unforgettable in the history of Muslim development. Pakistan is faces the vacuum of the leadership and the leaders like sir Syed Ahmad Khan.

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