Personally, I am extremely impressed with the contribution of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan in the field of education for Muslims of Indian sub continent and recently read a book authored by David Matthews titled Hayat a Javed on him.
Educating the Muslims has no magic wand, it has to start somewhere. Inequities towards Muslims in the Indian subcontinent were not spearheaded by RSS/BJP, it has a long history. The enemy is within us!
The story of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and what did we do to him is sad and disgraceful. It is not RSS/BJP; it is the Fatwas of Maulana Qasim Nanotvi and Maulana Yaqoob of Deoband that Muslims of India & PK are in this mess. Nothing happens overnight, the clergy planned meticulously over a hundred of years for this calamity to strike. And like mindless repetitive parrots, our experts hold either Modi (nowadays), or at best Ziaul Haq, or Saudis responsible; no, it is Deobandis and Barelvis as Sir Syed puts it, it was the fatwas of Rampur and Bareilly and the snide remarks of holy men of Delhi against education.
Great nations are not made overnight, every Muslim child that remains uneducated is the responsibility of those Draconian fatwas; what we sow is what we shall reap, we had sown venom and hate. Maulvi Ali Bakhsh did the needful and traveled to Mecca and Medina on the pretext of pilgrimage and secured a fatwa calling for beheading of Sir Syed if he repented not and persisted with his plan to establish the college to educate the Muslims.
The problem of Muslim backwardness and formal collapse of uninterrupted Muslim rule goes back almost 800 years ago.
In 1835, when Muslims of India came to know that Government started English teaching in all schools, they submitted an application signed by 80000 Maulvis to stop it. Muslims vehemently opposed the new system of education believing that the philosophy and logic taught
in English was at variance with the tenets of Islam. They looked upon the study of English as little less than embracing of Christianity.
Sir Syed said “it was a matter of deep regret that Muslims considered their religion which was so great and enlightened, weak enough to be endangered by the study of western literature and science.”
Sir Syed described his vision of the institution:
“I may appear to be dreaming and talking like Shaikh Chilli, but we aim to turn this M.A.O. College into a University similar to that of Oxford or Cambridge. Like the churches of Oxford and Cambridge, there will be mosques attached to each College. The College will have a dispensary with a Doctor and a compounder, besides a Unani Hakim. It will be mandatory on boys in residence to join the congregational prayers (namaz) at all the five times. Students of other religions will be exempted from this religious observance.
Muslim students will have a uniform consisting of a black alpaca, half-sleeved chugha and a red Fez cap… Bad and abusive words which boys generally pick up and get used to, will be strictly prohibited. Even such a word as a “liar” will be treated as a abuse to be prohibited. They will have food either on tables of European style or on chaukis in the manner of the Arabs. Smoking of cigarette or huqqa and the chewing of betels shall be strictly prohibited. No corporal punishment or any such punishment as is likely to injure a student’s self-respect will be permissible. It will be strictly enforced that Shia and Sunni boys shall not discuss their religious differences in the College or in the boarding house. At present it is like a daydream. I pray to God that this dream may come true.”
After Sir Syed established Aligarh University Sir Syed was declared as infidel and destined to be beheaded.
Sir Syed was called atheist, irreligious, Christian, nature-worshipper, anti-Christ, and many other things. Fatwas that he was a kafir were prepared, and signatures of Maulvis of every town and city were obtained. Even those who remained silent against Sir Sayyid as regards takfir, were called kafir.”
A fatwa was obtained from Makka, bearing the seals of Muftis of all the four schools, in which it was written: “This man is an heretic, or he was inclined to unbelief (kufr) from Islamic law in some aspect. … If he repents before he is arrested, and turns away from his misguided views, and there are clear signs of repentance from him, then he should not be killed. Otherwise, it is obligatory to kill him for the sake of the faith.” .. sent by Javed Khan, 18 Sep 2017