Jo abr yahan se utthega, vo saare jahan par barsega...
Today is Sir Syed Day. The Aligs who are following me would know how big a day it is for everyone at AMU. And those who are not familiar, let me share a few thoughts that are clouding my mind this morning. It is the birthday of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan today. He was the founder of Mohammedan Anglo Oriental College in 1875 which later went on to become Aligarh Muslim University in 1920. He did whatever he could do, to further the cause of education in India. He collected donations, small or big but relentlessly went ahead with his mission to impart modern education based on science and reasoning. He faced stiff opposition but he remained unfazed. Once he was garlanded with shoes. He didn't react, simply went ahead and sold the shoes to add to the donation for the construction of the MAO college.
My parents taught at AMU. For most part, we lived in the Medical Colony in the AMU campus. I had a great time. Too many friends, too much fun, great growing up years. We never really distinguished our friends by their religion or name. The thought never even came to mind. Sir Syed had famously said, "Hindus and Muslims are two eyes of a beautiful bride that is Hindustan." I never ever distinguished between a Rahul Chauhan, Shaishiv, a Shavez Imam, a Navneet Kedar (A Christian by religion and the man solely responsible for developing whatever musical taste that I have) or Satnam Singh. It never occurred. Honestly. This for me is the legacy of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan. At least this is how I look at it and that's how I imbibed in my life.
Happy Sir Syed Day! May Sir Syed's noble message of education travel far and wide.