Department of History

Seminar/conference/workshop Events

Dept. data last updated on :26/05/2023

(1) Concept Note

(1) Concept Note Sir Syed Ahmad Khan: His Vision & Legacy 21-22 November 2017 Organised by: Sir Syed Academy & CAS, Department of History, AMU, Aligarh -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sir Syed Ahmad Khan was not only a pioneer in the field of education but also an active social reformer, a historian, an archaeologist, an epigraphist, and a philosopher and thinker. He had not only a major role to play in pulling out a community out of the quicksand of illiteracy but also in trying to reform them spiritually by challenging much of the received wisdom of the past. Educated in traditional Sciences, Syed Ahmad started as an employee of the tolering ancient regime of the Mughals. He ultimately, in accordance with the changing times, joined the service of the British Administrators. The contact first with Western culture and science and then his experience in the Revolt of 1857 made a deep impact on his mind. He also realised the deep educational, social and economic morass his community in particular, and Indians in general were sinking into. He soon took upon himself the task of educationally and socially reforming the society to which he belonged. He endeavoured to show through his writings the importance of modern education and the application of scientific thinking. But he was not merely an arm-chair reformer. He took upon himself the task of establishing an institution where modern science would be taught and practiced. He believed that in order to keep with times there was need for all Indians, especially Muslims, to be equipped with the language through which modern science could be accessed. Thus along with modern education Syed Ahmad emphasised the importance of such education being imparted in English. He challenged many traditional, Social and religious practices and tried to offer a modern updated interpretation of Islam. His exegesis of the Quran and the Old and New Testament were in past of his great modernizing project. The two day Seminar would endeavour to assess this legacy of the visionary reformer. Is this legacy relevant today, if so, what is its impact? Are we today following this legacy and the path shown by Syed Ahmad, or have we deviated from it? How can his legacy help in solving our present day problems? Or, more basically, is Sir Syed relevant for today, the 21st Century in New India? Sub-themes: 1. Colonial Period and Modern Education. 2. The Developing intellectual milieu of the 19th C. Europe and its impact on Syed Ahmad. 3. Syed Ahmad and his role as a Social Reformer. 4. Syed Ahmad as a Historian, Archaeologist and Epigraphist. 5. Syed Ahmad and the Conservation and Preservation of Monuments. 6. Syed Ahmad as an Educationist. 7. Relevance of Syed Ahmadâ??s methods in modern period.

( 2) Concept Note

( 2) Concept Note Commemorating Syed Ahmad Khan: A Historian, Intellectual and Man of Reason 29th-31st January, 2018 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Syed Ahmad Khan (17th Oct., 1817-27 March, 1898) is known as an Educationalist, Philosopher and a Reformer a permanent figure of Indiaâ??s Nineteenth Century Renaissance. A strong supporter of modern scientific learning, he established Mohmmadan-Anglo Oriental (MAO) College which in 1920, by an Act of the Central Legislature was transformed into a Central University. Apart from being a thinker and reformer, Syed Ahmad Khan was also a person who contributed much to the understanding of Indian History and Archaeology. As an intellectual his earliest important works were in the realm of History and Archaeology. His Asarur Sanadid (1985) was the first survey of monuments attempted in Persian or Urdu language, and is still regarded as an important source for the archaeology of Delhi. He edited Abul Fazlâ??s Ain-i Akbari, Baraniâ??s famous history Tarikh-i Firoz Shahi and Jahangirâ??s memoirs, within the period 1855-64. Having been a person who was in the service of the British and witness to the great revolt of 1857, he was perhaps, the only Indian whose narrative of his experiences were written and printed in 1858, and also a very perceptive discussion of the causes of the Revolt. He himself was a sincere supporter of the British government as a modernising force. He addressed himself to the furthering of the cause of progress of Muslims, under the British regime. For this he insisted on modern English education as a necessary opening for service under the British, as well as for general enlightenment. He established the translation Society (later called Scientific Society) for translation of scientific works from English to Urdu and Hindi. From 1860s onwards Syed Ahmad was deeply involved in the problem of adjusting Islam to modern values. For this he had to confront the entire weight to balance tradition. His controversy with Muir over his Life of Mahomet was not really with Muir, but with the traditional Islamic biography of the Prophet. This naturally extended to the meaning of the message of the Quran. His own principle that the World of God must accord with work of God really meant subordinating faith to science. It is not surprising that this Tafsir or Commentary on the Quran aroused such bitter controversy. But Syed Ahmad, to give him credit, renamed steadfast in his position. His final contribution to education was the establishment of the Mohammadan Anglo-Oriental College (1875) in the tradition of Ram Mohan Royâ??s cause of modern educate (he also used the term â??Anglo-Orientalâ??). He insisted on the College concentrating on English institution and modern education, a cause that he energetically also undertook in respect of the Allahabad University to which MAO college was affiliated as well as newly founded Punjab University. Syed Ahmad is known for his opposition to the Indian National Congress, especially by his speeches in 1887 (his knighthood came rather inconveniently at that time!). It is, however, good to remember that he also stuck to the cause of liberty, and refused to support the demand that Government should proceed against the Congress leaders. For our Seminar we would welcome papers on the following topics, keeping in view our orientation towards History: 1. Assessments of Syed Ahmad Khanâ??s own specific contributions to History and Archaeology. 2. The causes and nature of the Rebellion of 1857, especially taking into account of Syed Ahmad Khanâ??s own two works on it. 3. The European sources of Syed Ahmad Khanâ??s thought, e.g. John Stuart Mill and Henry Maine. 4. Problems of Islamic history, especially those touched on in Syed Ahmad Khanâ??s writings. 5. Syed Ahmad Khanâ??s ideological position relative to that of important figures in the Bengal or Indian Renaissance. 6. The Indian National Congress and its approach to Muslims, in the context of Syed Ahmad Khanâ??s opposition to it. 7. Syed Ahmad Khan and Hindi-Urdu controversy. 8. Any aspect of the biography of Syed Ahmad Khan. This list is suggestive, and the scholars invited can feel free to choose a topic for their contribution which in their view falls within the scope of the Seminar.