KARACHI: Back when the Muslims of the subcontinent were being subjugated by the British, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan realised that they needed to remove the scales of ignorance from their eyes and keep up with the times, former federal minister Syed Safwanullah said on Saturday.
He was speaking at an event organised by the Aligarh Muslim University Old Boys' Association (AMUOBA) to mark Sir Syed Day.
Safwanullah said Khan encouraged Muslims of that time to get modern education and compete with Hindus. "He helped Muslims realise that they were a separate nation and should not allow the British and the Hindus to subjugate them."
Khan selected a group of bright individuals from all over the subcontinent and "polished them into diamonds." We must keep Khan's legacy and work alive today for the coming generations to benefit for them, Safwanullah said.
Members of the AMUOBA delivered speeches to highlight Khan's efforts and successes in reforming the Muslims of the subcontinent.
Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology (SSUET) chancellor Muhammad Adil Usman said Khan's birthday fell on October 17, but the event had to be postponed due to unavoidable reasons.
"Khan's Aligarh Movement spearheaded an era of enlightenment among Muslims and helped improve their economic conditions. He wanted the Muslims to establish a command over the sciences."
The SSUET is proud of following in his footsteps, Usman said.
He spoke of various projects launched by the Aligarian including the Sir Syed Tower, the ZA Nizami Block and four new technologies.
Prof Waqar Ahmed Rizvi spoke on Khan's efforts for the advancement of Muslims and his achievements in his life. "Sir Syed devoted his life to Muslims. He visited London so he could learn new ways to motivate Muslims. There he studied the journals Spectator and Tetlor and launched Tazheebul Akhlaq. He said Khan also inspired scholars like Allama Iqbal, Maulana Shibli Nomani, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Jigar Moradabadi and Abdul Haleem Sharar.
SSUET students sang Israrul Haq Majaz's, Ye Mera Chaman Hai Meraa Chaman, Main Apne Chaman Kaa Bulbul Hun, the Muslim University Aligarh's anthem at the end of the event.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 27th, 2014.