A great social activist, educator, and Islamic reformist, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan was born on 17th October 1817. A distinguished scholar, he was a progressive thinker who played a major role in promoting the social, scientific, and economic development of Indian Muslims.
He was born as Syed Ahmad Taqvi into a family with strong Mughal connections. He received the conventional education but was a pioneer in introducing modern education for the Indian community. Sir Syed Ahmad Khan was a man of many distinctions.
His literary activities started mainly in 1847 with a graphic study of Delhi monuments in his important archaeologist work, ‘Asrar-Us-Sanadid’. He was also a journalist who used his pen for social reform. Tahzebul Akhlaq, a magazine founded by him, tried to awaken people’s consciousness on social and religious issues in a very expressive prose.
In 1864, he was made an honorary fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society of London, and in 1869 an honorary doctorate was conferred on him by the University of Edinburg.
Besides this he founded the Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College in 1875, to support the social, scientific, and economic development of Indian Muslims. Today, the institution is known as the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) and ranks among the top universities in India.
Syed Ahmad Khan died on March 27, 1898. He was interred within the Aligarh University campus beside Sir Syed Masjid. He left a rich legacy behind him. The India Post issued a commemorative postage stamp on his birth anniversary.
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