Sir Syed Ahmed Khan

Sir Syed Ahmed Khan

News: Sir Syed’s 125th birth anniversary coincides with the passing of the Women’s Reservation Bill.

Who was Sir Syed Ahmed Khan?
• Sir Syed Ahmed Khan (17 October 1817 – 27 March 1898), was an Indian Muslim reformer, philosopher, and educationist in nineteenth-century British India.
• Though initially espousing Hindu–Muslim unity, he later became the pioneer of Muslim nationalism in India and is widely credited as the father of the two-nation theory, which formed the basis of the Pakistan movement.
• He founded many educational institutes to propagate education, the most significant being the Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College (MAOC) which he set up in 1875. This later became the Aligarh Muslim University.
• Sir Syed is believed to be the first Indian Muslim who understood the need for a fresh orientation of Islam. He founded the Scientific Society of Aligarh modeling it on the Royal Society of England.

What were Sir Syed Ahmed Khan's views on women education?
• Sir Syed Ahmed Khan had complex and evolving views on women’s education. While he is lauded for propagating modern education among Muslims and advocating several reforms for the community, he initially held conservative views on women’s education.
• He believed in a “disorganised tutor-based home education” for women. He was of the view that education could potentially jeopardize women’s primary role in life, which, in his view, was marriage. He supported gender segregation and opposed co-education.
• However, his interactions with women in Europe made Sir Syed revise his views on women’s education, somewhat. He admired the freedom enjoyed by women in Europe and believed that the rejection of women’s education by Muslims had contributed to the community’s decline.

Literary works:
• Tahzib-ul-Akhlaq, Asar-us-Sanadid, Khutbat-i-Ahmadiya, Tabaeen-al-Kalam

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