Aligarh University Scholarship
Program Fundraiser a Great Success
By Zafar Iqbal
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
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
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
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.