Aligarh: The Nursery For Journalists

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Let me excerpt some renowned personalities’ praising words for Sir Syed Ahmad khan.

Mehdi Hassan had ennobled Sir Syed as a mammoth stone in the stagnant water of India. Jawahar Lal Nehru had once opined that, Sir Syed’s decision to turn all his concentration on Muslim education was correct with education. The Times of London had also christened him as “the prophet of education”. On the flip side, some quarters had opined that Sir Syed was the person who made the Muslims self-conscious and called the inner self of awakening and revitalization forth. Now, let’s move and look for his services he rendered for making people equipped with Islamic – cum – scientific education in their lives to eke out.

Look back to the war of independence in 1857, and see what ruptures it left to the people of Indian Muslims. In that time most of English newspapers were mastered by either Anglo-Indians or Englishmen. Bengal Karkaro had published an article in which it was ghastly said that around fifty mosques should be pulverized in lieu of one Church and on the other hand rebellions in a great deal should be decimated by gunfire in lieu of every Christian woman, man and child. “The Lahore Chronical” had mocked Holy Quran with strong quarrels and in that extract Islam was jotted down as the worst religious principle and “Tauheed” that had evolved tumultuous situation in the Muslim Society. Around that time, people were gut-wrenched due to have not armed with education and because of that pessimism they even remained divested of their guarded rights. Then this man of extremely grey matters exerted his precious services of manifold types in the form of extracts including articles he penned, books he authored and newspapers as well as magazines he issued. His two diverse services “The Scientific Society”- issued from Ali Garh on March 3, 1866 – and “Tahzibul Akhlaq” – issued on December 24, 1870 – played a significant role in raising awareness and making people woken up to the significance of scientific education. He undoubtedly welcomed “Political Journalism” through his pains he put.

Ali Garh as a small domain for education got establishment through the services which the scientific society exerted. It impelled him that there should be a nursery whose solely purpose must be imparting the scientific as well as Islamic education among the deprived people of their rights. With brisk advancement it became a university by the year of 1920.

By the last span of four decades of 19Th century it chanced upon some grand pobahs of Sub-Continent in imparting education to them who wrapped their lives in the marvelous history. Ali Garh left them at the crossroad in the history. Three out of four recognized Militant Muslim Journalists chanced upon Ali Garh to get the education.

Maulana Zafar Ali khan done his graduation from Ali Garh. He burnt midnight oil in introducing “Popular Journalism”. He helped also in adding new idioms in Urdu and worked a lot on poetry. It is no exaggeration that he also gave hand to “Urdu Journalism”. Zamindar and The Sitarae Subha were his well-recognized services. Sir Michael Edwire in one of his extracts “India as I knew” jots down that “The Zamindar” was the spokesperson of believers of Pan Islamism. And further in the same extract he writes that Zafar Ali Khan remained hunkered down all the time to fight against his opponents. Above all, this was service of Ali Garh which made him of the manifold expertise.

Other reputed personality was Maulana Muhammad Ali Jauhar – an unfortunate baby – born in 1878. He, after passing his life like bed of thorns, got Honors Degree in Modern History from Oxford. His services in the shape of Comrade – in English and Hamdard – in Urdu – were recognized well globally. The former had set the objectives to purvey the voice and the snags of the people to government. The later one was the first Urdu newspaper which began editorial conference. Through Hamdard he boldly came down like a ton of bricks on British policy towards Turkey with potent quarrels and in that connection his article “The Choice of Turks” is recognized in ecumenical way. By seeing his robust figure in variety of aspects Britishers named him as a “Languorous Man”. He remained a dynamic personality in “English Journalism”. H. G. Wells had called him the heart of Napoleon, tongue of Burke and the pen of Macaulay. This whole credit goes to Ali Garh – which made him such a dynamic personality in the era of journalism.

In the year of 1890, another distinguished journalist entered the Ali Garh college and done graduation. He was none other than Hasrat Mohani. His real name was Syed Fazlul Hassan. He was called Mohani because he was born in “Mohan” – an area in the UP (Unnao Province) in India. He was the master of Arabic as well as Persian languages. He was the only person from the above mentioned well known journalists to have started his journalistic profession from 1903 when he passed his BA examination in Ali Garh. He started issuing his periodical “Urdu – e Mualla” from Ali Garh– crème de la crème college. Hasrat was the first Muslim editor of a magazine. He presented his journalism which was stood as an example of classical literature with politics of revolutionary ilk. He was one of forerunners of fighting for the cause of Islam and liberty. He stood as an aspirant to assist the Muslims in their final fight against Hindus and British tyrants.

They all had a common factor in their lives as to have imprisoned for diverse spans of time but yet they never ended their pains for good. While being in jails they worked much more. Their publications also took closure for good deal of time but they never hunched before tyrants of the time. Their lives were fraught with strains and lurches and they invariably batten themselves to down the hatches. They never became subservient to the blatant rulers. This is the crowning glory of Ali Garh and whole acclaim filled with tributes goes to Sir Syed. It will be no hyperbole if we call Sir Syed “the father and teacher” of well-known Muslim Journalists. Verily, Ali Garh– be-all and be end nursery – adopted so many journalists and three out of four outstanding journalists remained at high rank.

Thank you Sir Syed, you played a significant role and stood at the crossroad in the history as an example for we people. Today’s journalists, teachers, students, artists, human rights activists and writers must learn from you.

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