Sir Syed Day Celebrated in Washington
By Zafar Iqbal, PhD

Pictures taken at the 34th Sir Syed Day Dinner organized by the Aligarh Alumni Association of Metropolitan Washington on October 24 at the University of Maryland Auditorium at Rockville, Maryland

Washington, DC: “The status of Muslims in India would have been worse had Sir Syed Ahmad Khan not worked hard for empowerment of the community through education,” said Shamsur Rahman Faruqi while addressing the 34 th Sir Syed Day Dinner organized by the Aligarh Alumni Association of Metropolitan Washington on Saturday, 24 th October 2009 at the University of Maryland auditorium at Rockville, Maryland.

Faruqi, a leading Urdu literary critic and author of more than 20 books and innumerable scholarly research papers in reputed literary journals and magazines, was introduced by Dr. Moazzam Siddiqui. Mr. Habib Farooqi, the senior most Aligarian in the audience, presented a plaque to the chief guest on behalf of the Association.

Faruqi observed that the seed of communal divide in the Subcontinent was sowed by the erstwhile British rulers in India in the late- 18 th century by brainwashing people that the Urdu language was for Muslims and Hindi was the language for Hindus. He opined that the partition of the Subcontinent was an extension of the “ divide and rule” modus operandi of British occupiers.

He remarked that the commonly accepted explanation of the word Urdu — a language of soldiers — is not correct. This meaning of Urdu was perhaps tagged to subconsciously impress that the speakers of this language were subscribers of the warrior mentality.  Faruqi appeared cautiously optimistic about the future of Urdu in India. 

Shri Ali Anwar Ansari, a member of the Rajya Sabha from Bihar, thanked the Association for providing him the opportunity to address the audience.  He appreciated the efforts of Sir Syed for recognizing the importance and significance of education.  He offered his help to the Association in promoting the noble cause of improving the literacy rate.

The meeting started with the recitation of a Qur’anic sura by Dr. Ayub Yusufi followed by the welcome address by the Association’s president, Dr. Rafat Husain. 

Dr. Zafar Iqbal eulogized Professor Shuaib Kidwai, who passed away October 23, 2009.  Dr. Kidwai, a respected member of the community, was the Association’s patron for many, many years. 

The audience was entertained with a presentation of glimpses of the university’s culture by in-house talented artists organized by Dr. Razi Raziuddin.  Mr. Mustafa Hashmi, dressed as Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, read excerpts from the speeches of the AMU founder.  Dr. A. Abdullah narrated light-hearted incidents reported about the AMU culture by a number senior Aligarians.  Ms. Sheeba Naved, Dr. Shakeel Ahmad and Ms. Nuzaira Azam recited the poems of three great poets of Aligarh: Moin Ahsan Jazbi, Majaz and Ali Sardar Jafri, respectively, in their beautiful voices. 

President-elect of the Association, Mr. Masood Farshori, was the master of the ceremony and thanked the chief guests, speakers, program participants, audience, and volunteers for making the event a success.



Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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