By Shaheer Khan
Zakir Ali Khan Receiving the Award.
Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, the founder of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) was born on October 17, 1817. Sir Syed, the famous 19th century scholar, historian and social reformer spent most of his time on promotion of social, economic and educational conditions of Indian Muslims.
Sir Syedâ€™s untiring and painstaking efforts over a long period of time bore fruit when he was able to establish the Mohammedan Anglo Oriental (MAO) College in 1875, which subsequently developed into Aligarh Muslim University in 1920. The institute was founded with the primary objective of removing the educational backwardness of the Muslim community. In this task Sir Syed sought cooperation of all the communities and the institute was open to all, irrespective of caste creed and religion. For Sir Syed Ahmed Khan it was impossible to conceive the growth and progress of India without simultaneous development of communities in harmony, brotherhood and cooperation. Today AMU symbolizes on the one hand the secular ideals of the Republic of India and on the other the aspirations of more than 150 million Muslims in India.
The AMU alumni are spread in large numbers in all over the world. On Sir Syedâ€™s 192nd birth anniversary-on October 17- hundreds of thousands of students, alumni, and well wishers of AMU around the world celebrated the founderâ€™s day popularly known as â€˜Sir Syed Dayâ€™.
The AMU Old Boysâ€™ Association in New York also celebrated the day at Akbar Restaurant in Long Island, New York.
The evening started with light refreshments. The formal program started off with the recitation of some verses from the Holy Qurâ€™an by Ms. Naila Ali. Mr. Faiq Siddiqi and Well known TV personality in New York was emcee for the program.
Secretary of the association, Mr. Muzaffar Habib presented the annual report and thanked the volunteers and sponsors. He stressed the need to keep the Aligarh tradition alive and spoke about what needs to be done to achieve associationâ€™s goals. He presented a plaque to Mr. and Mrs. Riaz Alvi for their services to the association.
Ex-president of the association Dr. Masood Haider presented the obituaries of Dr. Abdul Bari and Haneef Akhgar Malihabadi, popular poet of USA, who passed away this year. Mrs. Bari was presented a plaque to recognize the contributions of her late husband to the association.
On the occasion, Mr. Muhammad Zakir Ali Khan was also honored with â€œLife Time Achievement Awardâ€ for his outstanding services to the continuation of the spirit of the Aligarh Movement and to the cause of higher education in Pakistan. The prize carried cash amount of Rs. 1, 00,000 and Citation.
Born in 1926 at Rampur (UP) Zakir Ali Khan did his B.Sc. in 1945 and B.Sc. Engineering in 1948 from the Aligarh Muslim University. He is one of the founders of the Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology in Karachi. He has served as the general secretary of the Aligarh Old Boyâ€™s Association, Karachi for almost 4 decades and has edited the Associationâ€™s monthly magazine â€˜Tehzeebâ€™ for many years.
The author of number of books Zakir Ali Khan was awarded the first â€˜ International Award for Literatureâ€™ instituted by the Aligarh Muslim University, at last yearâ€™s world alumni summit at Aligarh.
The keynote address of Zakir Ali Khan was equally inspiring. He shared Aligarh anecdotes and wisdom that just had to be appreciated and emphasized on team work which resulted in the establishment of Sir Syed University. Mr. Khan said that the best tribute to Sir Syed is to take his educational movement forward.
Mr. Zakir Ali Khan expressed his gratitude for the award and he donated the whole prize money to the welfare of AMU students.
The first part of the program ended with the traditional singing of the Tarana of AMU which was presented by a group.
The second part of the program was dedicated for an interesting Mushaira wherein some famous poets from India and Pakistan including Tahir Faraz (India), Abbas Tabish (Pakistan), Meraj Faizabadi (India), Waseem Barelvi (India), Zamin Jafri (Canada), Saleem Kausar (Pakistan), and Manzar Bhopali (India) were invited who enthralled the audiences for almost four hours.
A new website (www.aligarhmovement.com) on Sir Syed and his mission â€œAligarh Movementâ€ was launched by one of the flag bearer of Aligarh Movement, Muhammad Zakir Ali Khan.
The proceedings started with a brief introduction of the website and its developer, Mr. Afzal Usmani by this scribe.
Mr. Afzal Usmani spoke on the need of a website where introductory information and Sir Syed, Aligarh movement and prominent Aligarians is easily accessible. He said that the new website would fill the vacuum and would inspire others to work in this direction.
While inaugurating the website, Mohammad Zakir Ali Khan expressed the need of such website which can fulfill the void in cyberspace to carry on the mission of Sir Syed and Aligarh Movement. This is an era of information Technology and people look for information on internet because it is easy and accessible from anywhere on a click of a button. He congratulated Mr. Afzal Usmani, the brain behind this website and his team and extended his support to make this website as a reference portal for all the information of Aligarh Movement to carry on mission of Sir Syed.
Prof. Waseem Barelvi, famous Urdu poet also spoke on the occasion. He appreciated the efforts for making the material on Sir Syed, his associates, and Aligarh movement available at one place.
Afzal Usmani requested everyone to share any information which they consider will be relevant for the website.