Article, Interview

Life of Sir Syed through an Enthusiast’s eyes

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Today as we celebrate Sir Syed day, we remember his teachings and sayings which promoted western education for the Muslims as he thought that the Muslim Community was threatened by the rigidity of their orthodox outlook. Though he was criticized for promoting western education which was portrayed as if he was with the britishers. But Sir Syed’s main motive was to educate us how to fight for ourselves and for our freedom. Sir Syed began promoting Western-style scientific education by founding modern schools and journals and organizing Muslim entrepreneurs. Though Sir Syed supported the British during the 1857 uprising, a role which was criticized a lot but when he was transferred to Muradabad, he began to write the pamphlet entitled “The Causes of the Indian Revolt” (Asbab-e-Baghawat-e-Hind), in which he did his best to clear the people of India and especially the Muslims, of the chart of Mutiny. In spite of the obvious danger, he made a courageous and thorough report of the accusations people were making against the Government and refused the theory which the British had invented to explain the causes of the Mutiny. Upon his transfer to Aligarh in 1864, Sir Syed began working wholeheartedly as an educator. He founded the Scientific Society of Aligarh, the first scientific association of its kind in India.

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As we went collecting more information about Sir Syed we met a big enthusiast of Sir Syed, Professor Mohammad Ishtiyaque who was the Vice Chancellor of Magadh University, Bodhgaya, Bihar. Having an inspiring experience of 36 years of teaching in the post graduate of Department of Geography, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. Professor Ishtiyaque has a credit of writing 10 books and 54 articles published in the Journals of National And International repute. He recently gave a mind blowing speech on Sir Syed’s life, contribution towards the Muslim community and the birth of Aligarh Muslim University and how Jamia Millia Islamia came into existence, which really made us eager to know more about Sir Syed. When we went asking him about Sir Syed he enlightened us with more teachings of Sir Syed. He Quoted Sir Syed “ Do not show the face of Islam to others; instead show your face as the follower of true Islam representing character, knowledge, tolerance and piety.” Professor Ishtiyaque explained us the meaning of this Quote saying that promoting religion is not the correct way to educate others about it, the correct way is to promote its true teachings by being a true follower of your religion representing true character, knowledge and peace.

-Adyashree Bohra and Saher Hiba Khan
Jamia Millia Islamia

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