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Indian History

Sir Syed’s Day

  • 24 Oct 2020
  • 3 min read

Why in News

Sir Syed’s Day is observed on 17th October to mark the birth anniversary of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan.

Key Points

  • Early Life: Sir Syed Ahmad Khan was born in 1817 in a family that was close to the Mughal court, he was a man of many distinctions, a civil servant, journalist, educationist, social reformer and historian among others.
    • He served the British administration before the revolt of 1857.
    • He has also written a pamphlet titled “The Causes of the Indian Revolt'' to explain the reasons for the revolt from a Indian perspective.
  • Educationist: Sir Syed is, first and foremost, known for his pioneering role in transforming the educational opportunities for Muslims.
    • Sir Syed realised that Muslims could only make progress if they took to modern education. For this he started the Aligarh movement.
  • Social Reformer: He also pushed for social reforms and was a champion of democratic ideals and freedom of speech.
    • He was against religious intolerance, ignorance and irrationalism. He denounced purdah, polygamy and easy divorce.
    • Tahzebul Akhlaq (Social Reformer in English), a magazine founded by him, tried to awaken people’s consciousness on social and religious issues in a very expressive prose.
  • Critical of National Movement:
    • In his later years Sir Syed encouraged the Indian Muslims not to join the National Movement. He felt that education and not politics was needed by them.
    • In a way he encouraged the forces of communalism and separatism at this stage.

Aligarh Movement

  • It was a systemic movement aimed at reforming the social, political and educational aspects of the Muslim community.
  • The movement undertook to modernise Muslim’s education by adapting English as a medium of learning and western education rather than just focusing on traditional teachings.
  • Sir Syed established the Scientific Society in 1864, in Aligarh to translate Western works into Indian languages to prepare the Muslims to accept Western education and to inculcate scientific temperament among the Muslims.
    • The Aligarh Institute Gazette, a magazine published by Sir Syed was an organ of the Scientific Society.
  • In 1877, he founded the Muhammadan Anglo Oriental College on the pattern of Oxford and Cambridge universities. The college later grew into Aligarh Muslim University.
  • The Aligarh Movement helped in the Muslim revival. It gave them a common language— Urdu.

Source: TH

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