Aligarh: “Sir Syed Ahmad Khan’s contribution to journalism is not limited to starting ‘Aligarh Institute Gazette’ and ‘Tahzib-ul-Akhlaq’, two prominent periodicals of the 19th century, but his journalistic writings spelt out the contours of civil society in the nineteenth century”.
This was stated by Professor Shafey Kidwai, Department of Mass Communication, Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) and a Sahitya Academy awardee, while delivering a special lecture on “Sir Syed and his Journalism”.
The event was organized by Institute of Persian Research, AMU in connection with Sir Syed Day celebrations on October 12.
Continuing his address, Professor Kidwai said, Sir Syed brought out a bi-annual journal, Khairkhawahan-i-Musalmanan-i-Hind in 1860, and was associated with a Persian newspaper, Zubdat-ul-Akhbar, and wrote several articles for it.
Prof. Kidwai highlighted numerous facets of Sir Syed’s life as a journalist by pointing out that Sir Syed incorporated editorials and reviews in his newspaper.
Additionally, he outlined Sir Syed’s opinions on blasphemy, the ban on cow sacrifice, and support for the Waqf Bill for the holistic advancement of Muslims, and other topics.
In his remarks as president, Prof. Shan Mohammad, a former director of the Sir Syed Academy at AMU, related amusing anecdotes from his study of Sir Syed and highlighted numerous strategies he used for the welfare of the country and their applicability today.
The two primary speakers for the day, Prof. Shafey Kidwai and Prof. Shan Mohammad, were introduced by Prof. Azarmi Dukht Safavi, Honorary Advisor of the Institute of Persian Research.
Prof. Safavi emphasized that the Institute Gazette, which Sir Syed Ahmad Khan founded, used to publish Persian articles and compositions as well. She highlighted the rich history of Persian at Aligarh Muslim University and stated that from MAO College, there has been a close relationship with Iran.
“In 1902, Moulvi Najaf Ali led a group from MAO College to Iran that brought twelve Iranian applicants for admission to the college. This Persian student exchange has been going on for more than a century,” she added.
During the interactive session, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan and Mirza Ghalib were referred to as two icons of the 19th century with no contemporary counterparts by Professor Gulfishan Khan, Chair of the Department of History.
She described Sir Syed as the founder of modern journalism and Urdu journalism.