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4.2 THE ALIGARH MOVEMENT IN EDUCATION

After the war of Independence of 1857 A.D. the British took over the whole of India. They left no stone unturned in suppressing and oppressing the Muslims. For the purpose, they threw out Persian from the offices; abolished the posts of Qazis from the Courts or law; confiscated the educational trusts and the movable and immovable properties of the academies etc. In this way they succeeded in paralysing the Muslims in economic, political and cultural fields.

In those days Sir Syed Ahmed Khan was a civil servant. He was for sighted Muslims with a keen sense of honour. Me could not see the miserable plight of the Muslims. After a prolonged and careful thought he concluded that unless the Muslims acquired the knowledge of the modern sciences,, they could not get rid of their miserable plight and keep pace with the true. Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and his Colleagues believed that the Muslims must study and learn the western sciences in English. At the same time they also thought it necessary for the Muslims to maintain their Islamic identity. For the purpose, they thought it pertinent to establish educational institution. Aligarh College was the outcome of a first-rate his untiring efforts which he intended to run on the pattern of the Oxford and Cambridge Universities.

Causes behind the Aligrah Movement

The main motives behind the Aligarh Movement were as follows:

I) To clarify the position of Muslims

After failure of the war of independence of 1857 A.D. it had become clear that the British could not be sent back with battles and wars. At the same time, it was necessary to clarify the position of the Muslims to the British rulers, who had serious misgivings about the mind-set of the Muslims of the Sub Continent. Aligarh Movement look it upon itself to do the job.

II) To introduce modern science and modern education

Cut off from the modern science as they were the Muslims of the Sub-Continent regained back ward and had to suffer hardships. Only those who had modern “education, were considered eligible for civil service. The miser able financial plight of the Muslims forced them to realize that they needed to learn modern sciences. They were treated as illiterate though they were qualified from the religious institutions.

III) To enable Muslims to compete Hindus

The Hindus had slamed to dominate the South Asian politics and economy to become the future-masters of the Sub-continent. Therefore, it was necessary to equip the Muslims with modern sciences to enable them to compete with the so-called future-masters of South Asia. The Aligarh Movement was very much a correct step in the correct direction for achieving that purpose.

IV) To manage schools as centre of cultural values

The Muslim advocates of the modern education too were dissatisfied with the educational system of the public (Government) schools, for it was repugnant to their cultural values. Therefore, they thought it indispensable for the Muslims to manage their education themselves. The Aligarh Movement fulfilled this obligation to a great extent.

V) To attain internal freedom in institutions

Sir Syed Ahmed Khan had criticized the dictatorial role of the Education Directorate in particular. He was right in thinking that an unusually strong hold of the authorities on public Institutions always marred their functioning and curtailed the internal freedom (autonomy) of the institutions. Hence, the need for a non-governmental educational system in the shape of the Aligarh Movement.

VI) To develop education system suitable for Muslims

The Medium of Instruction in public and missionary schools, was English. Moreover, the locals were facing many difficulties in grasping the European sci literature. Only the most intelligent/outstanding students and arts and those healing from highly educated families could benefit from the modern sciences. Hence the need for an educational system suitable to cater to the needs of the Muslims in the form of the Aligarh Movement.

VII) To educate Muslim youth according to the their faith and belief

The curriculum of the public and missionary educational institutions contained such material as was quite against the teachings of Islam. Christianity was preached deliberately and openly. Therefore, there was every possibility for the Muslim youths to be easily led astray. That was why Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and his colleagues thought it essential for the Muslim youth to be educated/taught in keeping with their faith and belief.

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