Syed Ahmad, famous as “Sir Syed Ahmed Khan” was a great philosopher, educator, leader, social activist, reformer, Islamic reformist and a Muslim pragmatist of 19th century British India. Whenever we talk about modern India or the progressive Muslims, one name which is always there is of Sir Syed. He founded Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College in Aligarh and patterned the college after universities like Oxford and Cambridge, which he had visited on his trip to England. The College later transformed into what we know as Aligarh Muslim University, which is a live example of Sir Syed’s vision and has been remarkably acknowledged across the globe.
Sir Syed was of the view that scientific knowledge and approach to life is the only way India and Muslims can grow to heights. His vision was one of a kind and he, throughout his life, was only trying to making it concrete. He was also a true rationalist and he always promoted rationalism as opposed to romantic sentimentalism which was very much there in the then Indians.
Sir Syed was great at words too. He began writing in 1840 when he was only 23. He wrote on various topics, from mechanics to educational. Some of his famous works include Asaar-us-sanadeed (Great Monuments) documenting antiquities of medieval era’s Delhi, Asbaab-e-Baghawat-e-Hind describing conditions of Indian revolt of 1857, Khutbaat-e-Ahmadia, documenting a logical reply to a Christian author who presented an untrue picture of Islam by his book, and Tafseer-ul-Quran, a rationalised commentary of Quran. He also wrote various religious and cultural texts. He is the one who laid the parameters of modernist Urdu prose and gave new heights to the language.
Through his simple and natural rationalist thoughts and actions, he brought a remarkable change in the Indian Muslims. And it is only because of his praiseworthy vision and hard work that he, even after more than 12 decades of his death, is remembered and valued just like he did at the time when he was alive.
Today, on Sir Syed’s 93rd birth anniversary, also popularly known as Sir Syed Day, we at TSA have brought some of his visionary words to you all, to give a tribute to him in our little way, for all that he did for the previous generation, us and the coming generation as well.
Also, read another post focusing on the true essence of AMU and modernization through the eyes of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan.
All the designs are by TSA writer and designer, Anas Zeeshan.