Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) is a public central university. It was originally established by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan as Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College in 1875. The Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College became Aligarh Muslim University in 1920. The main campus of AMU is located in the city of Aligarh. Spread over 467.6 hectares, AMU offers more than 300 courses in both traditional and modern branches of education. In addition to this it has its three off-campus centres at Malappuram (Kerala), Murshidabad (West Bengal) and Kishanganj (Bihar). The university comprises all castes, creeds, religions and genders, and is an Institute of National Importance provided under the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution at its commencement.
Aligarh Muslim University grew out of the work of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, the great Muslim reformer and statesman, who in the aftermath of the Indian War of Independence of 1857 felt that it was important for Muslims to gain education and become involved in the public life and government services in India. Raja Jai Kishan helped Sir Syed in establishing the university
The British decision to replace the use of Persian in 1842 for government employment and as the language of Courts of Law caused deep anxiety among Muslims of the sub-continent. Sir Syed saw a need for Muslims to acquire proficiency in the English language and Western sciences if the community were to maintain its social and political clout, particularly in Northern India. He began to prepare foundation for the formation of a Muslim University by starting schools at Moradabad (1858) and Ghazipur (1863).His purpose for the establishment of the Scientific Society in 1864, in Aligarh was to translate Western works into Indian languages as a prelude to prepare the community to accept Western education and to inculcate scientific temperament among the Muslims. The intense desire to ameliorate the social conditions of Indian Muslims led Sir Syed to publish the periodical, ‘Tehzibul Akhlaq’ in 1870.
In 1877, Sir Syed founded the Muhammadan Anglo Oriental College in Aligarh and patterned the college after Oxford and Cambridge universities that he had visited on a trip to England. His objective was to build a college in tune with the British education system but without compromising its Islamic values. Sir Syed’s son, Syed Mahmood, who was an alumnus of Cambridge prepared a proposal for an independent university to the âMuhammadan Anglo-Oriental College Fund Committeeâ upon his return from England in 1872. This proposal was adopted and subsequently modified. Syed Mahmood continued to work along with his father in founding the college.
It was one of the first purely residential educational institutions set up either by the government or the public in India. Over the years it gave rise to a new educated class of Indian Muslims who were active in the political system of the British Raj. When viceroy to India Lord Curzon visited the college in 1901, he praised the work which was carried on and called it of “sovereign importance”.
The college was originally affiliated with the University of Calcutta and subsequently got affiliated with the university of Allahabad in 1885. Near the turn of the century, the college began publishing its own magazine, The Aligarian, and established a Law School.
It was also around this time that a movement began to have it develop into a university. To achieve this goal, expansions were made and more academic programs added to the curriculum of the college. A school for girls was established in 1907. By 1920 the college was transformed into the Aligarh Muslim University.
Sir Syed breathed his last on March 27, 1898 and was buried in the premises of the university mosque in the Sir Syed Hall, AMU.
The university’s formal head is the Chancellor, though this is a titular figure, not involved with the day-to-day running of the university. The Chancellor is elected by the members of University Court, a body with members drawn from all walks of life. The university’s chief executive is the Vice-Chancellor, appointed by the President of India on the recommendation of the Court. The Court is the supreme governing body of the University and exercises all the powers of the University, not otherwise provided for by the Aligarh Muslim University Act, the Statutes, the Ordinances and the Regulations of the University.
On 11 April 2015, Mufaddal Saifuddin was elected Chancellor and Ibne Saeed Khan, the former Nawab of Chhatari state, Pro-Chancellor. Habibur Rahman, former vice chancellor of Agra University, was elected Honorary Treasurer.
On May 17, 2017, Tariq Mansoor assumed his office as 39th Vice-Chancellor of the university.
Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, one of the architects of modern India was born on October 17, 1817 in Delhi and started his career as a civil servant.
The 1857 revolt was one of the turning points in Syed Ahmed’s life. He clearly foresaw the imperative need for the Muslims to acquire proficiency in the English language and modern sciences, if the community were to maintain its social and political clout, particularly in Northern India.
He was one of those early pioneers who recognized the critical role of education in the empowerment of the poor and backward Muslim community. In more than one ways, Sir Syed was one of the greatest social reformers and a great national builder of modern India. He began to prepare the road map for the formation of a Muslim University by starting various schools. He instituted Scientific Society in 1863 to instill a scientific temperament into the Muslims and to make the Western knowledge available to Indians in their own language.
The Aligarh Institute Gazette, an organ of the Scientific Society, was launched in March 1866 and succeeded in agitating the minds in the traditional Muslim society. Anyone with a poor level of commitment would have backed off in theface of strong opposition but Sir Syed responded by bringing out another journal, Tehzibul Akhlaq which was rightly named in English as ‘Mohammedan Social Reformer’
In 1875, Sir Syed founded the Madarsatul Uloom in Aligarh and patterned the MAO College after Oxford and Cambridge universities that he went on a trip to London. His objective was to build a college in line with the British education system but without compromising its Islamic values.
He wanted this College to act as a bridge between the old andthe new, the East and the West. While he fully appreciated the need and urgency of imparting instruction based on Western learning, he was not oblivious to thevalue of oriental learning and wanted to preserve and transmit to posterity therich legacy of the past. Dr. Sir Mohammad Iqbal observes: “The real greatness of Sir Syed consists in the fact that he was the first Indian Muslim who felt the need of a fresh orientation of Islam and worked for it — his sensitive nature was the first to react to modern age”.
The aim of Sir Syed was not merely restricted to establishing a college at Aligarh but at spreading a network of Muslim Managed educational institutions throughout the length and breadth of the country keeping in view this end, he instituted All India Muslim Educational Conference that revived the spirit of Muslims at national level. The Aligarh Movement motivated the Muslims to help open a number of educational institutions. It was the first of its kind of such Muslim NGO in India, which awakened the Muslims from their deep slumber and infused social and political sensibility into them.
Sir Syed contributed many essential elements to the development of the modern society of the subcontinent. During Sir Syed’s own lifetime, ‘The Englishman’, a renowned British magazine of the 19th century remarked in a commentary on November 17, 1885: ‘Sir Syed’s life “strikingly illustrated one of the best phases of modern history”. He died on March 27, 1898 and lies buried next to the main mosque at AMU.
Throughout its history a sizable number of university alumni, popularly known as Aligs, have become notable in many varied fields, both academic and otherwise, ranging from Zakir Husain, 3rd President of India; Pashtun independence activist Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan; the former Vice-President of India Mohammad Hamid Ansari; André Weil the French mathematician of the 20th century; Anwara Taimur the first and the only woman to be the Chief Minister of Assam. Sheikh Abdullah, and Mufti Mohammad Sayeed both former Chief Ministers of Jammu and Kashmir. Sports persons like Dhyan Chand, Lala Amarnath and Zafar Iqbal are some among the many alumni of the university.
Source : https://www.amu.ac.in/index.jsp and wikipedia