Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) recently paid tributes to its founder Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, according to a report in OpIndia. Sir Syed was one of the earliest proponents of the divisive two-nation theory that led to India’s partition and the creation of Pakistan on the basis of Islam, by launching a book eulogising him and his work.
While the AMU for long has defended as well as promoted Sir Syed, the majority in Pakistan, a product of his hate campaign, ironically despise him because he advocated shunning the Shari’ah (Islamic law) and Ahadith (life of Prophet Mohammed) and urged Muslims to stay loyal only to the Qur’an.
AMU vice-chancellor Prof Tariq Mansoor on 16 September released a book glorifying the controversial figure. The university is calling the book, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan: Reason, Religion and Nation, authored by Professor M Shafey Kidwai, a “comprehensive” account of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan’s life.
“This book gives a comprehensible, intelligible and lucid narrative on AMU founder, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan’s life and his invaluable contribution to the democratic consciousness in India,” Mansoor said during the launch of the book.
Published by Routledge, the book is claimed to have been based on archival research and works of Sir Syed, including his writings, speeches, and addresses.
Besides the vice-chancellor, AMU Registrar Abdul Hamid, IPS; Prof A R Kidwai (Director, UGC HRD Centre), Prof Mohammad Asim Siddiqui (Department of English), Prof Mohammad Sajjad (Department of History), Prof Pitabas Pradhan (Chairman, Department of Mass Communication) and Ajay Bisaria (Department of Hindi) attended the book launch.
While the varsity eulogised its founder, the founder of AMU had stated that it was the duty of Muslims to be loyal to the British empire. He even called the Revolt of 1857 an act of ‘haramzadgi’. He further asserted that being subjects of the British Empire which was Christian was preferable to being that of Hindus as the former were ‘people of the book’.
Significantly, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan was the first true proponent of the two-nation theory (that said Hindus and Muslims were different peoples who could not cohabit). He had asserted that it was “impossible and inconceivable” for Hindus and Muslims to coexist peacefully and it was necessary for one to vanquish the other.