ISLAMABAD: The great educationist and reformer Sir Syed Ahmad Khan is being remembered on his 195th birth anniversary on Wednesday.
He is respected for his hard work to promote education among Muslims of the sub-continent.
Sir Syed was born in Delhi on October 17, 1817.
His family on the maternal and paternal side had close contacts with the Mughal court. His maternal grandfather, Khwajah Farid was a Wazir in the court of Akbar Shah II.
The early years of Sir Syed's life were spent in the atmosphere of the family of a Mughal noble. As a boy he learnt swimming and archery, which were favorite sports of the well-to-do class in those days.
Sir Syed received his education under the old system. He learnt to read the Quran under a female teacher at his home. After this, he was put in the charge of Maulvi Hamid-ud-Din, the first of his private tutors.
Having completed a course in Persian and Arabic, he took to the study of mathematics, which was a favorite subject of the maternal side of his family.
He later became interested in medicine and studied some well-known books on the subject. However, he soon gave it up without completing the full course. At the age of 18 or 19 he started taking a keen interest in the literary gatherings and cultural activities of the city.
After the death of his father he decided to enter the service of the East India Company.
He started his career as Sarishtedar in a court of law. He became Naib Munshi in 1839 and Munshi in 1841. In 1858 he was promoted and appointed as Sadar-us-Sadur at Muradabad.
In 1867 he was promoted and posted as the judge of the Small Causes Court. He retired in 1876. He spent the rest of his life for Aligarh College and the Muslims of South Asia.
Sir Syed's greatest achievement was his Aligarh Movement, which was primarily an educational venture.
He established Gulshan School at Muradabad in 1859, Victoria School at Ghazipur in 1863, and a scientific society in 1864. When Sir Syed was posted at Aligarh in 1867, he started the Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental School in the city.
During his stay, he studied the British educational system and appreciated it. On his return home he decided to make M.A.O High School on the pattern of British boarding schools. The School later became a college in 1875.
Sir Syed wrote many books and journals to remove the misunderstandings between Muslims and the British. The most significant of his literary works were his pamphlets "Loyal Muhammadans of India" and "Cause of Indian Revolt".
Sir Syed asked the Muslims of his time not to participate in politics unless and until they got modern education. He was of the view that Muslims could not succeed in the field of western politics without knowing the system.
By establishing the Muhammadan Educational Conference, he provided Muslims with a platform on which he could discuss their political problems.
Sir Syed is known as the founder of Two-Nation Theory in the modern era.
He died in March 1898 in Delhi (India) due to prolong illness.