Aligarh University Scholarship Program Fundraiser a Great Success
By Zafar Iqbal

Washington, DC: “The key to successfully negotiating the path ahead for you and for generations to come remains reason and revelation,” said Mr. Enver Masud, the keynote speaker at the Aligarh Alumni Association’s Scholarship Fund-raising Iftar-dinner on Saturday, 29th September 2007 in Washington. There is no better way than education to enrich the power of reasoning. Mr. Masud praised the attendees for continuing the AMU tradition of providing financial help to deserving students.
The event, arranged by the Aligarh Alumni Association of Metropolitan Washington (AAA), was a great success. More than 250 persons from various parts of Maryland, Virginia and District of Columbia attended the function and contributed over $160,000 for the Scholarship Fund. Most donors expressed the desire to remain anonymous, as they did not wish any publicity of their generosity.
The function started with the Maghrib prayer and Iftar followed by dinner. It was heartwarming to see the participation of young volunteers in calling for azan (Rabea Ahmad) and leading the namaz (Talha Ahmad), as well as in recitation of a Qur’anic sura with qirat by Amna Husain and its translation by Danish Khan.
The AAA president, Dr. Rahat J. Khan, welcomed the audience and introduced the main speaker, Mr. Enver Masud, who is a scholar and founder of The Wisdom Fund and descendent of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan.
Dr. Aftab Ansari briefly outlined the history and current status of the scholarship program. With a humble beginning in 1990, the program has grown exponentially to funding 118 scholarships in 2007, supporting undergraduate and graduate students, including those in professional disciplines. Since 1992, the Scholarship Program has helped produce 56 engineers, 38 research scientists, 35 physicians and surgeons, 16 Unani physicians, 9 lawyers, 8 economists, 7 teachers, and many other professionals. A significant amount of financial support is being earmarked for school projects, including scholarships to financially challenged school children.
One donor dedicated a scholarship in the name of the late Dr. Virasat Kashmiri who had been associated with AAA for quite some time. The association also recognized the dedication and contributions of Mr. Ahmed Raza, Dr. Imtiazuddin, Dr. Noor Mohammad, and Dr. Saeed Quraishi, who had promoted the program significantly. May Allah give them a high place in Jannat.
It is very rewarding to see the scholarship program achieve the desired result in terms of progression of academic career of recipients of the award. One such awardee — a graduate student at the Indiana State University, Terre Haute, Indiana — traveled at his expense to share his experience. He touchingly described his transition from hopelessness to achieving a very promising academic career. Mr. Abdul Alim Barbhuiya narrated — in an emotionally charged voice — how the AAA scholarship played a critical role in continuation of his studies at AMU and encouraged him to compete for the US State Department scholarship guided by the Fulbright Foundation. Several thousand applicants compete internationally for a few scholarships and it is a great achievement to be selected as a Fulbright Scholar. In addition, the award brings honor to the university.
Dr. A. Abdullah, Chairman of the Scholarship Committee, summarized his meeting with the Muslim Social Upliftment Society (the society that manages the scholarship program at Aligarh) and about 40 recipients of the scholarships. He told them that the scholarship was an investment in the future of the community and the recipients were expected to play their role in furthering the education of the next generation and keep the Aligarh Movement alive.
Mr. Frank Islam, Dr. Saleem Aziz, Dr. Aquilur Rahman, Mr. Asim Khan, Mr. Mohammad Akbar, and Dr. Razi Raziuddin also addressed the audience. Mrs. Shakila Raza — a functionary of the scholarship program along with her late husband, Mr. Ahmad Raza — thanked the supporters of the program and the AAA workers for their continuing dedication. Dr. Syed Amir was the Master of Ceremony.
This highly successful event was organized by Dr. Syed Rafat Husain with the able support of Dr. A. Abdullah, Dr. Rahat Khan, Mrs. Shakila Raza, and a team of enthusiastic volunteers, including the spouses and children. The tables were elegantly decorated, the Iftar dishes and drinks were served on each table, and the food service went smoothly.
I am sure that Majaz would have been very pleased to note that his wish, “Jo abr yahan se uthe gaa wo sare jahan pey barse gaa,” is not just a dream.

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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