Zia Ahmad –
India’s High Commissioner to Australia Navdeep Singh Suri has called for an element of modernity in our thinking and value system.
He was the Chief Guest at Sir Syed Day Celebrations organised by the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) Alumni of Australia at Strathfield Town Hall, Sydney on Saturday, January 30, 2016.
He praised Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, who managed to bring about a balance between religion and enquiry and placed the foundations for AMU which has served the community for almost 150 years.
Speaking on education, Mr Suri said that there was a great potential for India to develop vocational education, learning and using Australian strength in this sector.
He said that there were about 67,000 Indian students enrolled in Australian educational institutions and that there were plans to collaborate with TAFE (Technical and Further Education) to upskill Indians with vocational education.
Mr Suri was earlier India’s Ambassador to Egypt and speaks fluent Arabic, a sample of which he displayed at Sir Syed Day.
Tribute to Sir Syed
He appreciated the Poem composed by the last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar, sung melodiously by Riaz Shah at the programme.
In his welcome address, AMU Alumni President Aale Ali paid tribute to Sir Syed for working singlehandedly on his educational mission in spite of widespread opposition from the community elites of the time.
Keynote speaker Professor Veena Sahajwalla from the Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology attended the function with a large number of her senior colleagues and research students.
She explained about her projects, especially on safe and economically sustainable recycling and refurbishment of computer and associated electronic equipment and their use by needy sections of the society.
She emphasised that it was the right of all children and youth globally to access electronic infrastructure and use the internet for their education.
Talal Yassine, Managing Director of Crescent Wealth, commended the efforts of the Alumni in the field of education and talked about the financial services provided by his organisation, particularly superannuation and ethical investment.
Dr Samiuddin Syed, Chairman of the Scholarship Committee of the Alumni elaborated on the scholarship programme funded from Australia that was greatly benefiting Indian students with poor background giving them access to higher education.
Among the other guests were Dr Vinod Bahade, Acting Consul General of India, Sanjay Sawant, Consul at Sydney Consulate of India and Rama Mahapatra, husband of Professor Sahajwalla.
The entertainment programme included a dress parade, songs and dances by Alumni children and poems recited by Khurshid Anwar and Riaz Shah.
The event ended in the usual tradition of Tarana recited by some members of the Alumni and the audience.
Sir Syed Day is globally celebrated on the birth anniversary of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, founder of the Aligarh Movement that greatly contributed towards the modern education of Indians in general and Muslims in particular.
AMU Alumni of Australia was founded in the early nineties and has been marking Sir Syed Day every year, inviting educationists, community leaders and diplomats for a gala dinner, inspiring talks and entertainment.
Zia Ahmad is Managing Editor, Australasian Muslim Times based in Sydney. The above article and accompanying pictures have been reproduced here with his permission. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: www.amust.com.au
- India’s High Commissioner to Australia Navdeep Singh Suri (third from right) with (from left) Sanjay Sawant, Dr Vinod Bahade, Talal Yassine, Rama Mahapatra and Professor Veena Sahajwalla
- Children reciting poems of Allamah Iqbal at Sir Syed Day celebrations
(Pictures by Moby Production, Sydney)