Even after the creation of M.A.O. College Aligarh, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan was dissatisfied with the progress of Muslims in the field of education. Therefore he decided to lay the foundation of the All India Mohammedan Educational Congress as the forum of Muslim intelligentsia to develop awareness for education among the Muslims. Later on the name of the Congress was changed to Conference.
The first meeting of the Conference was held at the campus of M.A.O College, Aligarh on December 27, 1886. In this conference, 161 Muslim delegates from all parts of India decided to create opportunities for the Muslims to get higher education. They proposed to create an environment where religious education would be introduced in Muslim’s English medium schools by involving Ulema in the process. They decided to ensure that material prejudicial or disgusting to the Muslim culture or religion was not taught in the educational institutions. They also decided to find out the causes of the decline of religious institutions.
From then onwards the meetings of All India Mohammedan Educational Conference used to take place on annual basis quite successfully. Sir Syed himself remained the secretary of the organization for 10 years and was not only involved in the arrangements of the annual conference but he had also made it a point that the proceedings of the conferences be duly published. The Conference also provided opportunities to the Muslims to share their talent and ideas. People like Shibli Nomani, Altaf Husain Hali, Mohsin-ul-Mulk, Mian Muhammad Shafi, Sheikh Abdul Qadir and Deputy Nazir Ahmad were among the prominent Muslim personalities of the time, who were regular delegates of the annual meetings. The 13th session of the Conference, held at Culcutta, was presided by Syed Amir Ali was historic as it brought together, for the first time, the important leaders of Bengal and Northern India. Anjuman-e-Tarraqqi-e-Urdu was one of the associations development from the platform of the All India Mohammedan Educational Conference. A number of wonderful articles including Musalmanon ki Guzashta Taleem, Al Jazia, Kutab Khana Sikanderia, Haqooq-uz-Zimmiyeen and Musalmanon ki Taraqqi-o-Tanazzuli ke Asbab were published under the auspices of the Conference.
Apparently the All India Mohammedan Educational Conference was a non-political organization. Yet anything delivered from its platform was considered as a unified demand of the Muslims of the sub-continent. Sir Syed himself delivered his anti-Congress speech from the platform of the Conference. After his death, at this forum the Muslims started discussing political problems they faced from time to time. It was also in the annual session of The All India Mohammedan Educational Conference that the All India Muslim League was launched as the first full-fledged political party of the Muslims of South Asia in 1906.
This article was last updated on Wednesday, Jan 04, 2006