The Aligarh Muslim University is a residential academic institution which was established in 1920. Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, a great reformist of his age, who felt the need of modern education for Muslims, started a school swayback in 1875 which later became a college under the title of "Mohammedan Anglo Oriental College" and ultimately became a university. This is a premier university comes under central government. The President of India appoints the Vice Chancellor.  It has several faculties and maintained institutions. It draws students from all over the country as well from foreign countries.

Aligarh is situated at a distance of 130 Km., South East of Delhi on Delhi-Calcutta Railway and Grand Trunk Road route. The latitude is 27 degree 54 minute North and longitude is 78 degree 5 minute East. The climate is hot and dry in summer (mid-February to mid June) and cool and dry in winter (mid October to mid February) with an intervening rainy season. The university campus is 3 km away from the main city.

Sir Syed created an institution which, first as M.A.O. College and then since 1920 as Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), became the generator of an amazing range of talent. I came, I saw and I was conquered is the most likely feeling of almost every person who has had occasion to visit the AMU. Aligarh's "culture of decency" has a compelling appeal. You can have a negative view of Aligarh when you have not been there but you cannot when you have known it. A number of distinguished former students of M.A.O. College guided the national struggle as national leaders and made tremendous sacrifices. A number of them occupied most important offices which included the president ship, governorship and chief minister-ship.

In one of his lecture Sir Syed stated: The main reason behind the establishment of this institution, as I am sure all of you know, was the wretched dependence of Muslims, which had been debasing the position day after day. Their religious fanaticism did not let them avail the educational facilities provided by the government schools and colleges. It was, therefore, deemed necessary to make some special arrangement for their education. Suppose, for example, there are two brothers, one of them is quite hale and hearty but other is diseased. His health is on the decline. Thus it is the duty of all brothers to take care of their ailing brother bear the hands in his trouble. This was the very idea which goaded me to establish the Mohammedan Anglo Oriental College. But I am pleased to say that both the brothers get the same education in this college. All rights of the college appertaining to those who call themselves Muslims are equally related to those who call themselves Hindus without any reservations. There is no distinction whatsoever between Hindus and Muslims. Only one who strive hard can lay claim to get the award. Here in this college Hindus as well as Muslims are entitled to get the stipends and both of them are treated at par as boarders. I regard both Hindus and Muslims as my two eyes".

Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru correctly saw the spirit of Sir Syed's mission when he started in his autobiography:

So, to this education he turned all his energy trying to win over his community to his way of thinking. He wanted no diversions or distraction from other directions: it was a difficult enough piece of work to overcome the inertia and hesitation of the Muslims. The Hindus, half a century ahead in Western education, could indulge in this pastime. Sir Syeds decision to concentrate on Western education for Muslims was undoubtedly a right one. Without that they could not have played any effective part in the building up of Indian nationalism of the new type, and they would have been doomed to play second fiddle to the Hindus with their better education and far stronger economic position. The Muslims were not historically or ideologically ready then for the bourgeois nationalist movement as they had developed no bourgeoisie, as the Hindus had done. Sir Syeds activities, therefore, although seemingly very moderate, were in the right revolutionary direction.

The establishment of M. A. O. College was described by Lord Lytton as an epoch in the social progress of India. Several decades later Sir Hamilton Gibb characterized the college as the first modernist institution in Islam.

Freedom Fighters and Leaders

What should one think of a university which has produced freedom fighters like Mohammad Ali, Shaukat Ali, Hasrat Mohani, Raja Mahinder Pratap, Syed Husain, Rafi Ahmed Kidwai and Mohammad Yunus and claims to have had on its rolls a Zakir Husain who rose to be a president of India, an Ayub Khan who became president of Pakistan, a Nawabzada Liaqat Ali Khan, a Prime Minister of Pakistan, an Ahmed Said Khan of Chatari, a Prime Minister of Hyderabad, Sheikh Abdullah, G.M. Sadiq and Mir Qasim, all Chief Ministers of Jammu and Kashmir; Abdul Ghafoor, Chief Minister of Bihar; Minister of State for Railways, Shafi Qureshi; Minister of State for Industry, B.P. Mauriya and Minister of State for Law, V. A. Saiyed Mohamamd.


Educators and Scholars

Aligarh seems to have been a perennial source of talent and can boast of having the stature of Abdul Haq, Abdul Majid Daryabadi, D. D. Kosambi, K.M. Panikar and Haroon Khan Sherwani among its scholars and Babar Mirza, Zakir Husain, Ghulam Sayyedein, Mohammad Habib, Hadi Hasan, Shaikh Mohammad Abdullah and Mumtaz Jehan Hyder among its educators. Aligarh has produced Fani, Josh, Majaz, Jazbi and Ali Sardar Jafri among its poets and Sajjad Hyder Yaldram, Zafar Ali Khan, Sadat Hasan Minto, Ismat Chughtai, Qazi Abdul Sattar, Rasheed Ahmad Siddiqi, Ale Ahmed Suroor and Raja Rao among its men of letters. The mehfils of Aligarh still reverberate with the poems of Waheed Akhtar, Sajida Zaidi, Zahida Zaidi, Ravindra Bhramar and Shiv Shankar Sharma Rakesh. Aligarh men and women made the grade at the highest ranks of the national ladder e.g. Minister of education, Chief minister of West Bengal and Orissa and Indian Ambassador to U.S.S.R., Nurul Hasan; Chairman of the University Grants Commission, Satish Chandra; Chairman of the Union Public Service Commission and Governor of Bihar State, A. R. Kidwai; Vice-Chancellor, Jamia Millia, Masood Husain Khan; Director of the National Council of Educational Research and Training, Rais Ahmed; Rector of Jawaharlal Nehru University, Monis Raza; Director-General, Department of Oceanography, Zahoor Qasim; Indian Ambassador to Syria, K. A. Nizami; Secretary in the Central Government, Mahmood Butt.

Artists and Film Personalities

Even among film personalities Aligarh is not to be left behind. It has given to the country Begum Para, Neena, Renuka Devi, Talat Mahmood, Shakeel Badayuni, Rahi Masoom Raza, Javed (of Saleem Javed fame), Rahman, Tabbasum and Naseeruddin Shah.

Sports and Athletics

As for sports, Ghouse Mohammad learnt his tennis at Aligarh and Wazir Ali, Nazir Ali, Lala Amarnath, C. S. Naidu and Mushtaq Ali their cricket. Among Olympic hockey players, Mohammed Jafar, Masood Minsha, Ali Sayeed, Inamur Rahman, Govinda and Zafar Iqbal played for India; Abdul Qayyum, Sayed Ali, and Anwar Ahmad Khan for Pakistan and Doraswamy for Malaysia. Afsar Husain still is the national yachting champion.

A Convocation Address

So far as Muslim of India are concerned, one can assert without fear of contradiction that the man who played the most important role in this struggle is the presiding spirit of this university. The battle was fought here in Aligarh and Aligarh is the visible embodiment of the victory of the forces of progress. Here developed the new schools of research, interpretation and reconstruction of Muslim thought. You must remember that this glorious heritage is yours and it is for you to revive the past splendor of Aligarh. The inscriptions which have been carved on the walls of your Strachey Hall may fade with the passage of time but the inscriptions which Aligarh has written on the modern period of Indian history can never fade. Future historians will discover in Aligarh one of the main sources which has contributed to the evolution of modern India. Your duty is to regenerate those old traditions and to create in your University an atmosphere of research and enquiry into all the spheres of knowledge and preach the gospel of large hearted tolerance and of pure morality.

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad
February 20, 1949
Courtesy by:
Dr. Raziuddin & S. Rafat Husain
Aligarh Alumni Association
Washington, D.C.

A 100 Year Chronology

24 May 1875 The inauguration of the School. This presided by Maulvi Mohammed Karim, president of Managing Committee. Speeches delivered by Sir Syed, Raja Jai Kishan Das and Maulvi Samiullah. Maulvi Samiullah's son Mr.Hamidullah Khan admitted as the first student.

1 June 1875 The boarding house started with seven students on the roll with a budget of Rs. 989 per month. Managing committee constituted Maulvi Samiullah, Chiragh Ali, Syed Mahmood, Raja Jai Kishan Das, Sir Syed, Nawab Ziauddin Khan and Maulana Ahsan Nanotovi was appointed its member. Maulvi Samiuulah Khan was appointed secretary of the Managing Committee.

8 January 1877 Lord Lytton laid the foundation stone of Strachey Hall and the M. A. O. College.

1 January 1878 First year classes started and the college affiliated to the Calcutta University for F. A. education.

1 January 1881 B. A. classes started. Mr. Ishwari Prasad was the first student of M. A. O. College to pass the examination.

26 August 1884 Students Union (Siddons Union Club) inaugurated.

16 November 1887 The college affiliated to Allahabad University.

21 December 1889 Trustee Bill passed. Sir Syed and Syed Mahmood appointed as Life Honorary Secretary and Life Joint Secretary of the college.

15 July 1891 First issue of Aligarh Magazine edited by Maulana Shibli Nomani, published.

20 December 1891 Law classes started.

27 March 1898 Sir Syed Ahmad Khan died.

31 March 1898 Efforts started to make the college a Muslim University by Sahibzada Aftab Ahmad Khan.

31 January 1899 Mohsinul Mulk appointed as the Secretary of M. A. O. College.

7 March 1906 Princes of wales visited the college, Science section of the college dedicated to him established.

16 January 1907 His Majesty Habeebullah Khan Shah of Afghanistan visited the college and announced a grant of Rs. 20,000.

10 February 1907 Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah established Girls School which was recognized as Undergraduate College in 1937.

16 February 1907 Students strike against European staff of the College.

11 January 1908 Viqarul Mulk appointed as the Secretary of the College.

10 January 1911 A committee constituted to establish Muslim University with Sir Mohammad Agha Khan as the President and Nawab Viqarul Mulk as the Honorary Secretary.

25 October 1920 Mahatma Gandhi visited the College.

17 December 1920 Inauguration of the Muslim University. Her Highness Sultan Jahan Begum, Wali Bhopal appointed as the first Chancellor of the Aligarh Muslim University, Sir Ali Mohammad Khan, Maharaja Mahmoodabad took over as the first Vice-Chancellor of the University.

28 December 1922 First convocation of the University. 228 Science and Arts graduate were awarded degrees.

1 January 1924 Sahibzada Aftab Ahmad Khan appointed the Vice- Chancellor.

16 November 1926 Nawab Bhopal Hameedullah Khan laid the foundation of the Science Faculty. Government of India donated 15 lakh rupees and Nizam Hyderabad also donated 10 lakh rupees to the University.

27 November 1927 Ahmadi School for blind inaugurated.

15 July 1928 Unani Medicine classes started.

21 November 1938 College for Engineering & Technology inaugurated.

11 October 1951 Aligarh Muslim University (Amendment) Act passed.

3 January 1952 Institute of Ophthamology's foundation stone was laid.

6 November 1955 Pandit Nehru laid the foundation stone of Maulana Azad Library which was inaugurated by him on 6 Dec. 1960.

3 December 1955 Shah Saud visited the University.

25 February 1956 Iran's Shah's visit to the University.

21 May 1956 A delegation led by Dr. Zakir Husain visited Saudi Arabia. Shah Saud donated 1 million rupees to the University Medical College. Date of establishment of Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College.

8 November 1960 Foundation stone of Kennedy House laid.22 lakh rupees donated by Ford Foundation, U. S. A. to this complex.

29 March 1961 Foundation stone of Faculty of Arts laid. Commerce Faculty started.

20 November 1964 His Highness Sheikh Sabahu Saleem, Prime Minister Kuwait visited the University.

20 July 1966 Womens's Polytechnic inaugurated.

6 February 1968 Center of west Asian Studies established.

16 April 1969 Faculty of Social Science introduced.

17 June 1972 An undemocratic, highly objectionable Act imposed upon the University, known as "Black Act".

4 January 1975 Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Alnahyan visited the University and announced a grant of millions of rupees for Petroleum College.

13 March 1976 Annual convocation of the University in which Late Mr. Fakhruddin Ali Ahmad, President of India, was the Chief Guest.

Courtesy by: Dr. Raziuddin & S. Rafat Husain
Aligarh Alumni Association
Washington, D.C.

Total students at present: 24,000
Resident Students: 15000
Total Staff: 8000
Teaching Staff: 2000
Faculties: 12
Departments: 84
Halls of residence: 15
Girls Hostels: 3
Budget plan and non plan: 100 crores.
Maulana Azad Library having more than 1 Million books and rare manuscripts.
Computer Center, Remote Sensing Center and Telematics Center.
Fully developed sports complex, swimming pool, Riding Club, Lawn Tennis etc.
Medical College and Hospital.
Tibbiya College (Unani Medicine), 6 School, One women's College, Two boys and girls polytech.


Number of Faculties---------------------------------  11
Number of Department of Studies----------------  82
Number of Teachers ---------------------------------  2,530
Number of Students --------------------------------   27,340
Number of Foreign Students----------------------   1,865 
Number of Employees ------------------------------   7,394
Number of Halls of Residence ------------------   15