Pahalgam: Hundreds of alumni of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) assembled at picturesque Pahalgam in south Kashmir to celebrate the birth bicentenary of its founder Sir Syed Ahmad Khan on October 17. The celebrations were organised across the globe where AMU alumni work in different capacities.
It was for the first time that a large number of Aligarh alumni from entire Kashmir Valley assembled in south Kashmir to mark the occasion. They lit camp fire, relished Sir Syed dinner and sang the unforgettable Asrarul Haq Majaz’s AMU anthem in unison to recreate the ambience of their alma mater. Kashmir Aligs-a loose group created by a score of enthusiastic old boys hosted the event.
“It was a dream come true to meet a large number of old students of Aligarh on the occasion of Sir Syed Day,” Parvez Ahmad Sheikh, a schoolteacher who has postgraduated in Physics from AMU in late 1990’s said. “The AMU taught us how to lead a purposeful life,” he said.
Kashmir boasts thousands of alumni of the AMU who have remained effective in running the affairs of the state. From late Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah, a post-graduate in Chemistry in 1920s, to the hundreds of alumni working in diverse fields presently, the university has played a pivotal role in the uplift of the society in Kashmir.
Dr Zamir Bhat, an old student from Anantnag district played the central role in organizing the event. “The participants came from every nook and cranny of the Valley, some of them along-with their families,” he said. “I never expected that old boys feel so much nostalgic about the days spent in Aligarh,” he said. “This is for the first time that such a huge number of Aligs assembled and stayed overnight to celebrate Sir Syed day. This exhibits their dedication,” Wasim Bari, who teaches Physics at Kashmir University, said.
A documentary film on the life and contributions of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan was showcased on the occasion.
“The SS day celebration at Pahalgam was a lifetime event. The organisers had put in their sweat and blood to make the bicentenary celebration a memorable event,” Zahid Bhat, an engineer with Srinagar Development Authority said.
Dr Altaf Hussain Pandith, who teaches Chemistry at Kashmir University, said that the assembly of Aligarh alumni was a wonderful event and attestation to the fact that any sincere effort can bear fruit if it is pursued with dedication.
Prominent high court lawyer Molvi Aijaz in his inimitable style recollected his Aligarh memories and urged the organisers to make the annual meet a regular feature. The participants included doctors, engineers, jurists, top-level government functionaries, journalists and teachers from different age groups. They introduced themselves with the enrolment numbers they got on their admission in the university.
Later in a brief discussion, the participants highlighted the essence of Sir Syed’s mission and its relevance in present day Kashmir. Various participants floated ideas to join hands for initiating concrete efforts to pursue Sir Syed’s mission in Kashmir. Prominent journalist Khursheed Wani compared the Kashmir’s present day situation with the times of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan and asked the Alig community to play their role at individual and collective levels to safeguard the interests of Kashmiris, especially in the field of education.