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Sir Syed: A symbol of communal harmony

By Yaqoob Murtaza

Today the prevalent situation in India is very worst and not healthy for marginalized people to live in. We are living in a difficult era where religion is being used an instrument of violence, and there is continuous attempt to divide already fragile society on the communal line in order to consolidate vote banks and it should not be forgotten that the current wave of aggressive nationalism and mob lynching have taken the life of many innocent Indians that to a large extent threatened brotherhood, tolerance, unity, fraternity, humanity, peaceful coexistence and religious harmony.

In this critical situation we must re-read Sir Syed Ahmad Khan who was a symbol of communal harmony and was completely against sectarianism and communalism. He had a vision for peaceful coexistence in a society and mentioned that there are two pillars for achieving peaceful coexistence that is (1) collaboration(2) communal harmony.

He also had a mission to embrace the richness of religious diversity in India. The diversity which makes us stronger. Once we are stronger and together, we can help in shape of better future for India and world. He counselled us to come together, to work together rather than to conflict.

He was a man of exceptional quality in all regards who always advocated Hindu-Muslim unity and was a firm believer of that religion is all about caring of fellow human beings. Therefore “all communities irrespective of any discrimination should be given equal status” .

He openly remarked that India is not only a country of Hindus. It is a country of Muslims, Hindus, Christians and Paris too. As he said “Hindu and Muslims are two eyes of beautiful bride that is Hindustan. Weakness of Any one of them will spoil the beauty of the bride”

He strongly believed that a country like India can get stronger and develop itself only when the people of India live in mutual goodwill and harmony. Therefore in a lecture at Gurdaspur (Punjab) he stated “O Hindus and Muslims! Do you belong to a country other than India? Don’t you inhabit this Soil? And are you not buried under it or cremated on its Ghats? Hindu and Muslim is nothing but a religious word. All Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, and Christians who inhabit this country are one Nation”.

Additionally the idea of Hindu-Muslim unity was also reflected in the foundation stone of Mohammadan Anglo Oriental College as he himself remarked “the main purpose of this college is to impart knowledge to Muslims who are suffering because of lack of it but this institution is for all. Hindus and Muslims are like and both of them need education”.

It should be kept in mind that Ishwari Parsad Upadhyay -first graduate- and Amba Parasad -fisrt post graduate- from AMU are best example of Hindu Muslim unity and secularism that later on was enshrined in the Constitution of India.

Off course, in a limited period of time, he has done unlimited fruitful tasks that surprised not only Muslim society but whole world too.

This year marks centenary of AMU but till today the mission of Sir Syed has not been fulfilled completely. As he wished to eradicate the darkness from world but still there is darkness across the world. He wanted to establish a society where Hindus and Muslims live together, work together for their beloved country and cooperate each other. But this dream is yet to be fulfilled. He was a flag bearer of communal harmony, coexistence of multicultural society but today communal heat and hatred among the followers of different religions is on continuous rise and seems to be increasing day by day.

Therefore the descendants of Sir Syed must imbibe lesson from his message as he wished that “Sons of MAO College should go forth throughout the length and breadth of the land to preach the message of free enquiry, of large-hearted toleration and of pure morality”. They should continue to carry the light of his broad vision and fruitful dream to intensify his mission.

Let us carry the torch to eradicate heat, hate, disparity, mob lynching and other social violence taking place in our society in the name of religion. Let us work together to uplift the glory of humanity, brotherhood, love, peace, cooperation and religious harmony. Let us dream to re-establish large hearted tolerance, multicultural society in order to save secular and democratic values of our Constitution and to regain age old culture of our society.

Yaqoob Murtaza is a student of law at Aligarh Muslim University

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