An Islamic Scholar with universal appeal

Alumni of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) in New Zealand celebrated the Centenary of Founder Sir Syed Ahmed Khan.

The event, first of its type in New Zealand, was held at the Ruakura AgResearch Convention Centre in Hamilton on October 22.

Born on October 17, 1817, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan was an Indian educator, jurist, author, politician, and an Islamic reformer.

He rigorously worked towards establishing better learning opportunities for the people in general and Indian Muslims in particular.

In 1875, Sir Syed established the Mohammedan Anglo Oriental College at Aligarh under the auspices of the British Raj.

Modeled on the Oxford University in the UK, its name was later changed to Aligarh Muslim University.

It became a Central University in 1920, hailed as one of the earliest institutes of higher learning in India.

In its 136 years of service, AMU has seen at its portals numerous intellectuals and high calibre personalities who have achieved outstanding success in their personal, professional and social lives.

Among them were Dr Zakir Hussain (former President of India), Dr Hamid Ansari (current Vice-President of India), Ayub Khan and Fazal Ilahi Chaudhry (former Presidents of Pakistan) Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan and Khawaja Nazimuddin (former Prime Ministers of Pakistan).

A large number of AMU Alumni, known as ‘Aligarians,’ after the city of Aligarh today live and work throughout the world.

According to the Amu Directory, they are located in at least 96 countries.

New Zealand lists 50 Alumni.

The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) recognises the degrees conferred by AMU and its graduates are not required to go through the assessment of their degrees for further qualification in New Zealand or to apply for jobs.

Sir Syed’s Birthday is celebrated throughout the world.

The function in Hamilton was chaired by Dr Asad Mohsin, Waikato University Associate Professor. He hosted the event with Mohammad Ather.

Dr Anwar Ghani, a Senior Scientist at Ruakura AgResearch and President of the Federation of Islamic Associations in New Zealand was the Guest of Honour.

Among the highlights of the event was the rendition of ‘Tarana,’ the AMU Anthem and classical music concert by Ubaid Ansari and Albeena Ather.

Imran Mohammad is Lecturer in Department of Construction at the Faculty of Technology & Built Environment, Unitec Institute of Technology.

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