The following article, “The Aligarh Movement Was a Pure Educational Venture, But It Had a Profound Impact On Indian Politics.“, is written by Fahad Farooq, a student of Sir Syed Kazim Ali. Moreover, the article is written on the same pattern, taught by Sir to his students, scoring the highest marks in compulsory subjects for years. Sir Kazim has uploaded his students’ solved past paper questions so other thousands of aspirants can understand how to crack a topic or question, how to write relevantly, what coherence is, and how to include and connect ideas, opinions, and suggestions to score the maximum.
- ✓After the fall of the Mughal Empire and the War of Independence in 1857, Sir Syed set up a road map for Muslims to regain their glory through his educational, religious, and political services, collectively known as the Aligarh Movement.
- ✓This movement not only brought about an educational revolution but also changed the whole political dynamics of the Indian subcontinent.
- ✓Aligarh became a centre of all Muslim educational institutes, providing a platform for Muslim youth to struggle for a separate homeland.
2- What was the Aligarh Movement?
- ✓It comprises the educational, social, political and religious services rendered by Sir Syed for the renaissance of Muslims of the Subcontinent. This movement was started to uplift Muslims by bringing them near to the British, keeping them away from conventional politics, inculcating Western knowledge among them and introducing a modern aspect of Islam.
3- What were the impacts of the Aligarh Movement on Indian politics?
- ✓Leading towards the formation of All India Muslim League
- Case in point: Establishment of Muslim league on the annual session of the Muhammadan Educational Conference
- ✓Constructing the Two Nation Theory
- Case in point: Educational address of Sir Syed in 1886 at Meerut
- ✓Leading towards a generation of freedom fighters
- Case in point: Efforts of Maulana Mohammad Ali Johar and participation of Aligarh students in the Khilafat movement for Muslims of Turkey
- ✓Bridging gaps between Muslims and British
- Case in point: Aligarh Institute gazette and the book “Causes of Revolt” by Sir Syed to reduce the gap between the British and the Muslims
- ✓Inculcating the idea of detaching from Congress
- Case in point: Sir Syed’s address after the formation of Congress
- ✓Clarifying Muslims’ positions in Urdu Hindi controversy
- Case in point: Use of the Scientific Society platform
4- Critical analysis
Answer to the Question
The War of Independence 1857 shattered the Muslims of the subcontinent socially, politically and economically by dumping them into an ocean of deprivation, subjugation, and injustice. The then situation was such a plight that there was no hope for the Muslim’s rise. The Aligarh Movement, a turning point for the Subcontinent’s Muslims, has proved to be a renaissance movement of Muslims initiated by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan. Moreover, the main objectives behind this movement were the regeneration of Muslim society, intellectual upliftment, and the creation of a bridge between the British and Muslims to shorten the differences. To realise this dream, a system of Western-style scientific education for the Muslim population in British India was initiated. However, this movement not only brought about an educational revolution but also changed the entire political dynamics of the Indian subcontinent. The move left a lot of political impacts, such as the construction of the Two Nation Theory, the reduction of the gaps between British and Muslims, and the generation of leading freedom fighters who played essential roles in the Pakistan movement. Also, the sole Muslim representation party, “Muslims League”, was established at the annual session of the Mohammedan Educational Conference, which set the roadmap for Indian Muslim politics. This answer endeavours to explain the profound impacts of the Aligarh Movement on Indian politics.
What was the Aligarh movement?
After the 1857 War of Independence, the situation of Muslims became miserable as Hindus put all the blame for the war on Muslims. British started giving opportunities to Hindus and depriving Muslims of all the chances of social, economic, educational, and political upliftment. After viewing this pathetic situation of Muslims, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, who was a philosopher, educationist, and reformer, initiated a movement to uplift Muslims. Its purpose was to bring Muslims near the British, keep them away from conventional politics, inculcate Western knowledge into Muslims and introduce a modern aspect of Islam. He set up a series of educational institutions and societies to give his thoughts a life, like the MAO College, Scientific Society, and Muhammadan Educational Conference. This movement changed the whole situation of Indian Muslims by making effective changes and led to the creation of an independent state, Pakistan.
What were the impacts of the Aligarh Movement on Indian politics?
Leading towards the formation of All India Muslim League
First, the Aligarh Movement made a remarkable impact on the politics of the Indian subcontinent by making Muslims make their political party. This movement brought political awareness and educated people about their rights. Additionally, it produced several intellectual graduates, which helped the Muslims reach their destination. All India Muslim League was established on 31st December 1906 in the annual session of the Muhammadan Educational Conference. This league played an essential role in protecting the rights and interests of Muslims, and it fought for the freedom of Muslims to protect their identity. Thus, the formation of the Muslim League changed the whole political environment of the Indian subcontinent.
Constructing the Two-Nation Theory
Second, this movement also impacted the Muslims’ viewpoint about a united India. Previously, they used to believe in the unity of Hindus and Muslims. But later, due to the teachings of the father of the Aligarh Movement, Sir Syed, they started thinking that Hindus and Muslims are two different communities with different interests. In the address at Meerut in 1886, Sir Syed, for the very first time, used the word Nation for Muslims. He mentioned in his speech that the Hindus and Muslims are two different communities which could not work together. And if elections are held, the Hindu majority will get total control over the Muslims because they are fewer in number. From the addresses and statements of their leader, Muslims got a new idea of the Two Nation theory, which jolted the entire subcontinent’s political culture. Hence, it is pretty evident that this educational movement transformed the political future of the Indian Subcontinent.
Leading towards a generation of freedom fighters
Third, the Aligarh Movement also set the basis for the generation of freedom fighters, who played a crucial role in disuniting the subcontinent. As there was no educational institution before, Muslims had no awareness of the destruction of identity carried out by Britishers and Hindus. Due to this movement, a platform was developed for the Muslims to struggle for their rights and protect their identity. Several Aligarh graduates became freedom fighters. The name of Maulana Muhammad Ali Johar is worth mentioning here. He was one of the co-founders of the Muslim League, led the Khilafat movement delegation to Europe, opposed Nehru’s report and supported Quaid’s fourteen points. The role of freedom fighters produced by the Aligarh Movement changed India’s political environment by launching several movements and challenging British rule. Therefore, it is evident that the Aligarh Movement profoundly impacted India’s politics.
Bridging gaps between Muslims and British
Further, the movement also played an essential role in bridging the differences between the Britishers and Muslims after the War of Independence. Sir Syed wrote the book “Causes of the Indian Revolt”, in which he modified that it was not a planned rebellion; instead, it was a reaction to the ineffective policies of the British. In addition, the Aligarh Institute Gazzete was the journal published in 1866 by the Scientific Society. Its aim was to wash away the misconceptions between Muslims and the British and bring them close to each other. This reduction in differences gave Muslims ample opportunities and included them in the political sector of the subcontinent. Consequently, their participation transformed the political situation. In conclusion, the movement left its impressions by impeding new political conditions.
Inculcating the idea of detaching from politics
Additionally, through this movement, Muslims became aware of Congress’s atrocities and adopted aloofness from it. They understood that this party was purely a Hindu organisation and it would never work for Muslims’ interests. Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, soon after the formation of Congress, mentioned that it is a Hindu party and Muslims should not take part in their activities. He also proposed the system of a separate electorate for the preservation of Muslims’ political rights. After his address, Muslims fought for years to get a separate electorate for them and form a Muslim league to have their representation. So, traces of the Aligarh Movement started new political dynamics.
Clarifying Muslims’ position in Urdu Hindi Controversy
Last but not least, this movement also helped the Muslims to clarify their position in the Urdu-Hindi controversy. With the help of their sole representative, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, Muslims conveyed their opinion on and opposed it. He established the Scientific Society to protect Urdu by translating books from other languages into Urdu. He also demanded the establishment of such an organisation at the national level. As a result, the platform of Aligarh helped Muslims give their thoughts a voice and convey their opinions on the policies of the ruling elite. Thereupon, the Aligarh Movement played a crucial role in impacting the subcontinent’s politics.
In a critical diagnosis, it is not wrong to say that a movement started for educational purposes left its traces and transformed the politics of that time. It became a platform for solving the Muslims’ grievances and highlighting the issues at the national level. It also helped in the creation of Pakistan by becoming an impetus for Muslims’ demand for a separate homeland. All the political demands and efforts made in the 20th century can be traced back to the Aligarh Movement. The political situation of the subcontinent before this movement was quite different because of Muslims’ exclusion. Its arrival made remarkable impacts and set the basis for the political environment.
In conclusion, several institutes were made under the Aligarh Movement, which helped in educational uplift and created a new political environment. The Muslim League was formed during the Muhammadan Educational Conference session, which emerged as one of the biggest political parties. Its leaders and freedom fighters took part in the fight for the political emancipation of Muslims. It also impacted politics by setting up a concept of the Two Nation Theory, leading towards the division of the subcontinent. Hence, despite being an educational venture, the Aligarh Movement profoundly impacted India’s politics.
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