• Category Non-Fiction
  • Format Paperback
  • Imprint Rupa
  • Price 500
  1. ISBN: 9.79E+12
  2. Pages: 320 pages
  3. Date: 2006


This is a long awaited book on one of the most enigmatic personalities who helped to shape the idea of India. Sir Sayyid Ahmed Khan, the founder the Muslim Anglo Oriental College now known as the Aligarh Muslim University, was what one may call a complete individual educationist, philanthropist, administrator, leader and most importantly a self made man who was, even by today’s standards, staunchly secular. It is perhaps ironical that the challenges Sir Sayyid faced in his lifetime were also in subsequent years and indeed to this day, faced by the institution he founded. The university has gone through several twists and turns. There were events that threatened its very existence, sometimes for the lack of funds and at other times because there were people who wanted to see the venerable institution go. In much the same way, Sir Sayyid too faced several challenges. He had to take several tough decisions in life. Some were personal, like his decision to leave his mother behind when he was evacuating the family during the mutiny. At other times, he was simultaneously fighting the British and opponents to his cause. There were attempts to sully his image. If there was one part of his personality that Sir Sayyed passed on to AMU it is his resilience. The university might have over the years become the happy hunting ground for politicians and vested interests, but it survives and holds its own despite the odds. The book provides a historically relevant perspective to the story of Sir Sayyid and the AMU, and brings it up to date. The author uses rare archival matter and but for this book, those documents would forever have been lost. The author’s insights into the life and times of Sir Sayyid are perhaps helped by the fact that he is a descendant of Maulvi Samiullah Khan one of the co founders of the institution. This is, in every sense, a frank, lucid book about a genius.


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