Friday, November 25, 2011

Aligarh Movement (contd-1)

Congress was fighting for representative government. But As early as 1883, Syed ahmed delivered a lecture deprecating the system of representative institutions even for local self government, and particularly principle of election, pure and simple, in constituting Local Boards and District Boards, for fear that "the larger community would totally override the interests of the smaller community."
As a matter of fact Syed Ahmed and his followers, in their speeches and writings , were never tired of empasizing thatIndia was inhabited by different nations with different social,political, religious and historical traditions.All these ideas were brought to a head in a violent opposition to the Indian National Congress since its very inception.Syed Ahmed looked upon  the system of representative government demanded by the Congress as dangerous to the interests of Muslims.He thought that in a country like India homogeneity does not exist in any one of these fields (nationality, religion,ways of living, customs, culture, and hi8storical traditions ).
Inspite of the theory of one nation propounded by Syed Ahmed in a speech in 1884, inaugurated the movement of the two nation theory. The object and Ideal of the Aligarh Movement were as follows;
1.The Hindus and Muslims form two separate political entities with separate outlook and conflicting interests,
2. The grant of representative institutionms based on democratic principles of appointment to high offices by open competitive examinaion in India would be detrimental to Muslims as they would be subject to Hindu domination which is far worse than British rule,
3. Consequently the muslims should regard the paramountcy of the British as the chief safegurd of their interests and keep themselves aloof from political agitation against the Government,
4. As the Muslim interests are safe at the hands of the British, the Muslims should invove themselves in cultural aspects avoiding political issues except in so far as it is necessary for counter balancing the Hindu political agitation.
In support of the last two points it may be pointed out that he declined to support the "National Muhammadan Association" founded in Calcutta in 1877 by Amir Ali and a young group of Muhammadans. The Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College at Aligarh became the chief centre of the propaganda        
Association with MAO College and Aligarh Movement:
In May 1883, Hennery George Impey Siddons, founder principal of MAO College resigned from Principalship of MAO College. Sir Syed wrote a letter to Syed Mahmood in England and authorized him to find a suitable person for English and Philosophy who can also be appointed as Principal of MAO College as and when if needed. Syed Mahmood was on a personal trip to England. He contacted his old friend of Cambridge, Theodore Beck and offered him the position of English and Philosophy Professor and persuaded him to accept the position and move to India. Theodore Beck had just finished his education from Cambridge University and was just 24 years old. But he accepted the challenge and moved to India and joined the MAO College as a Professor of English and Philosophy and also assumed the office of Principal of MAO College on 28th January, 1884.
He could have never imagined that his career will start as MAO College Principal at the age of 24 and will end his with his last breath at the age of 40 as Principal of MAO College and will become the longest serving Principal of MAO College and champion of Muslims education in India. When he joined MAO College at the age of 24 years, some of his students at MAO College were older than him. He was a soft spoken, humble and very cooperative young man. Very soon became very popular among the students. His abilities and interests in College administration made him indispensable for Sir Syed and MAO College. His attitude towards students made him popular among the students. He used to do evening walk with senior students, visit dining halls to have meals with students and do some formal chat in an informal way. He used to make sure to visit those students who are sick and spend sometime with them so that they can not miss their families at the tough time. He used to help needy students from his pocket. He was a very hard working teacher also. At one point of time due to lack of staff members he taught four subjects so that students can not suffer due to lack adequate staff strength. His friendly as well as disciplined attitude made him insensible for Aligarh Movement and he was associated Aligarh Movement till his last breath.
Sir Syed was a big admirer of Theodore Beck’s administrative abilities and commitment for Aligarh Movement. In 1886 when Sir Syed started Muslim Educational Conference and became Founder Secretary of Muslim Educational Conference, he appointed Principal Beck as Assistant Secretary of Muslims Educational Conference. Principal Beck promoted the idea to have to have a debating club for students. The idea was originally put forward by his predecessor, Principal H.G.I. Siddon. Principal Beck named the debating club as SIDDON’s CLUB to honor The Founding Principal of MAO College. It was Siddon’s Club contribution that MAO College and Aligarh Movement have prolific orator and debators like, Sahebzada Aftab Ahmad Khan, Maulana Shaukat Ali, Maulana Muhammad Ali Jauhar, Maulana Zafar Ali Khan and Sarfaraz Hussain. He also started the famous Riding Club.
Sir Syed’s political ideology was to distance himself and Muslims of India from active politics and never have confrontation viewpoints with the British rule. He was convinced that Muslims of India can not bear the burden of another mutiny. Principal beck was an ardent supporter of Sir Syed’ political thoughts and always promoted Sir Syed’s political thought to help Muslims of India to uplift them on educational front to compete with others. There is a common mis-conception that Sir Syed’s political vies were inspired by Principal Beck. This concept does not have strong roots as Sir had already expressed his political views even before starting The MAO College and he never deviated from his political ideology.