Aligarh Movement And Its Role And Impacts
Due to their intense hatred for invaded Britishers, the Muslims of Sub-continent adopted a policy to keep themselves at a distance from English and thus avoided any kind of interaction with them. Due to this reason Muslims not only became the victim of their atrocities but also they lagged behind in society especially in the field of politics and education as compared to Hindus who quickly adopted western culture, politics and education and became their friends. Due to their isolation policy, Muslims of the Sub-continent had almost reached to the brink of total annihilation and it is believed that Muslims would have been either totally subjugated or assimilated into Hindu society if Aligarh Movement would have not been started by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan.
The Beginning Of Aligarh Movement
Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, the pioneer of Two Nation Theory and the founder of Aligarh Movement felt aggrieved over the deplorable conditions of the Muslims of Sub-continent who were at the joint mercy of Hindus and British forces. One of the main reasons of Muslims terrible conditions was their reluctance to western culture and education. To persuade them and enrich them with western knowledge so that Muslims could compete Hindus and acquire their status back in society, Sir Syed Ahmed initiated an educational movement in Aligarh which is called Aligarh Movement in Pakistan’s history.
History Of Aligarh Movement
To give practical shape to his plan for the educational uplift of the Muslims of Sub-continent, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan in 1859 setup a school at Muradabad where Persian and English languages were taught. He opened another school at Ghazipur in 1863.
On return from his short visit to England in 1869, where Sir Syed Ahmed thoroughly observed and studied the educational system of Britain and Oxford and Cambridge universities, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan had made-up of his mind to setup an educational institution on their pattern in Sub-continent.
On 24th May 1874, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan setup Muhammadan Anglo Oriental (M.A.O) High School at Aligarh. Due to the diligent work of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan the school was upgraded and raised to the status of college on 1st August 1877 and was inaugurated by Viceroy Lord Lytton. In 1920, the college was raised to the status of university called Aligarh Muslim University.
Leaders Of Aligarh Movement
Some of the prominent leaders of Aligarh Movement aside from Sir Syed Ahmed Khan were
Maulana Hali, Maulana Shibli, Nawab Mohsin ul Mulk, Nawab Viqar ul Mulk and some other prominent leaders of that time.
Objectives Of Aligarh Movement
Major objectives of Aligarh Movement at the time of its initiation were to help Muslims to regain dignity in society and get latest education. Similarly to help Muslims get strong socially and economically and get access to British government were also the main objectives of Aligarh Movement.
Role Of Aligarh Movement
In Muslims history in Sub-continent particularly prior to the partition, Aligarh Movement has played an important role in every aspect of Muslims life. A glimpse of the important role of Aligarh Movement has been given below.
1 The Political Aspects Of Aligarh Movement
In political arena of the Sub-continent, Aligarh Movement has played the following important roles.
Muslims of the Subcontinent were completely unaware of the western political system and had no idea how it works. Aligarh Movement not only imparted knowledge of western political culture but also trained Muslims and guided them to fight for their rights.
Resolved British-Muslims Relations
British government and its forces in Sub-continent were considering Muslims sole responsible for the 1857 War of Independence and therefore they had adopted very strict policies to crush them. Muslims on the other hand were at odds with British forces too. Such an air of conflict and mistrust between Muslims and Britain had resulted in the deplorable conditions of the Muslims of India. To pacify the situation and create a sentiment of trust and friendship between the two nations, Aligarh Movement published Magazine on the causes of revolt of 1857 in which other nations of the Subcontinent were held as equal responsible as Muslims. Similarly to further strengthen the relations between Britain and Muslims, Indian Patriotic Association and British Indian Association 1866 were created by the Aligarh Movement.
Aligarh Movement also played an important role in 1867 Urdu-Hindi controversy for the protection of Urdu, the language of Muslims of the Subcontinent. Sir Syed Ahmed Khan using Aligarh Movement platform demanded from the government for the establishment of an institution where modern western knowledge can be translated into Urdu. Similarly Scientific Society was already in use for this purpose.
Developed Two Nation Theory
One of the major political services of Aligarh Movement was the presentation of Two Nation Theory, presented by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, which became the basis of Pakistan Movement and finally the establishment of Pakistan in 1947.
2 The Educational Aspect Of Aligarh Movement
Some of the prominent educational services that Aligarh Movement had provided to Muslims of Subcontinent in their desperate time of need are given below.
Aligarh Movement helped in the establishment of schools that helped Muslims to enrich themselves with modern education. Some of these schools include;
- School at Muradabad 1859
- School at Ghazipur 1863
- MAO School 1874
These schools helped Muslims to get the basics of modern education at their doorstep.
Aligarh Movement also helped to impart modern education to Muslims of Subcontinent which ultimately helped them to compete Hindus equally in the society and regain their lost status in the society.
Aligarh Movement helped in the creation and establishment of Scientific Society in 1864 which translated modern western knowledge into Urdu to help Muslims understand them easily.
Aligarh Institute Gazzete
Aligarh Movement also launched a News Paper in 1866 with the name of Aligarh Institute Gazzete to highlight problems of society particularly of Muslims of the Subcontinent.
Aligarh Movement also began holding educational conferences such Muhammadan Educational Conference annually to analyze educational system and formulize new strategies for the improvement of educational system.
3 The Religious Services
Aside from education and politics Aligarh Movement also helped and guided Muslims in religious sphere. It published a number of books regarding religious matters some of which are given below.
- It published John Devenport book “An Apology For Muhammad And Muhammadans” in response of William Muir’s most controversial book “Life Of Muhammad”.
- To more properly answer the remarks of William Muir, “Khutbat-i-Ahmadiya” was published a few years later.
- Similarly “Tahzib-ul-Akhlaq” and “Tabaeen-al-Kalam” are the two other most important religious books produced by the Aligarh Movement.
To prevent Muslims orphan from going to Christian missionaries a number of orphanage were opened by the Aligarh Movement where both shelter, food and education were provided to these children.
Role Of Aligarh Movement in Establishing Muslims League
Aligarh Movement had no doubt an important role in Muslims political awareness and particularly in the establishment of a separate political platform with the name of All India Muslims League. The league came into existence at the time when prominent Muslim leaders and scholars from all across the India had gathered for Muhammadan Educational Conference hold by the Aligarh Movement in 1906 in Dacca.
The Impacts Of Aligarh Movement For Reforming Muslims Society In The Sub-continent
Some of the important impacts of Aligarh Movement for reforming Muslims society in the Sub-content are given below.
- It removed the element of mistrust between Muslims and British
- Imparted modern education to the Muslims of Sub-continent
- Brought economic prosperity to the Muslims of Subcontinent
- Helped in the protection and promotion of Urdu language
- Brought political awareness in Muslims of the Subcontinent
- Developed and promoted Two Nation Theory
- Educated Muslim community of the Subcontinent
- Established Muslim League
- Helped in the evolution of leadership in Muslim community
- Regained honorable status in Society
Critical Analysis Of Aligarh Movement
One of the major objections raised by the opponent of Aligarh Movement at that was its main and strong focus on the acquisition of western knowledge only. This step of Aligarh Movement took its followers and students away from religious education. To fill this gape a number of religious educational institutions were opened by other leaders of the Muslim community of Subcontinent of that time.
Literary Services Of Aligarh Movement
The literary services of Aligarh Movement include publishing Khutbat-i-Ahmadiya, Risala-e-Asbab-e-Baghawat-e-Hind, Tabeen-al-Kalam and Tahzib-ul-Akhlaq.
Aligarh Movement not only proved life saving for the Muslims of India but it also helped them in regaining their lost status in society plus guided them in their political activities. It would not be wrong to say that Aligarh Movement was the first organized step taken by the Muslims of Subcontinent towards the establishment of Pakistan.