Syed Ahmed Khan

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India is a beautiful bride and Hindus and Muslims are her two eyes. ... If one of them is lost, this beautiful bride will become ugly.

Sir Syed Ahmed Khan (17 October 181727 March 1898), also known as Sir Syed and also Sayed Ahmad Khan, was an Indian educator and politician, and an Islamic reformer and modernist.

Quotes[edit]

  • India is a beautiful bride and Hindus and Muslims are her two eyes. ... If one of them is lost, this beautiful bride will become ugly.
  • Now, suppose that the English community and the army were to leave India, taking with them all their cannons and their splendid weapons and all else, who then would be the rulers of India? Is it possible that under these circumstances two nations—the Mohammedans and the Hindus—could sit on the same throne and remain equal in power? Most certainly not. It is necessary that one of them should conquer the other. To hope that both could remain equal is to desire the impossible and the inconceivable. But until one nation has conquered the other and made it obedient, peace cannot reign in the land. [...] It is, therefore, necessary that for the peace of India and for the progress of everything in India the English Government should remain for many years—in fact for ever!
  • O Hindus and Muslims! Do you belong to a country other than India? Don’t you live on the soil and are you not buried under it or cremated on its ghats? If you live and die on this land, then bear in mind that ‘Hindu’ and ‘Muslim’ is but a religious word: all the Hindus, Muslims and Christians who live in this country are one nation.
    • Variant: "Oh Hindus and Mussalmans, do you inhabit any country other than India? Do you not both live here on the same land and are you not buried in this land or cremated on the ghats of this land? You live here and die here. Therefore remember that Hindu and Mussalman are words of religious significance otherwise Hindus, Mussalmans and Christians who live in this country constitute one nation." Writings and Speeches of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, p. 266.
    • Quoted in Shirali, Aresh (10 August 2017). "The Enigma of Aligarh". Open Magazine.
  • It is a great mistake that the country can only be either a Dar-ul-Islam or a Dar-ul-Harb in the primary signification of the words, and that there is no intermediate position. A true Dar-ul-Islam is a country which under no circumstances can be termed a Dar-ul-Harb and vice versa. There are, however, certain countries which, with reference to certain circumstances, can be termed Dar-ul-Islam, and with reference to others Dar-ul-Harb. Such a country is India at the present moment... If you have power, jihad is incumbent upon you. If you do not have power, it is unlawful.
    • quoted in Arun Shourie - The World of Fatwas Or The Sharia in Action (2012, Harper Collins) as attributed and quoted in Arun Shourie - The World of Fatwas Or The Sharia in Action (2012, Harper Collins) ch 5, see fn 40
  • ...then will one glorious fact stand out in prominent relief and become patent to the universe... if in Hindustan there was one class of people above any other, who from the principles of their religion, from habits and associations, and from kindred disposition, were fast bound with Christians, in their dread hour of trial and danger, in the bonds of amity and friendship, those people were the Mohammedans, and they alone... I really do not see that any class besides the Mohammedans displayed so much single-minded and earnest devotion to the interests of government or so willingly sacrificed reputation and status, life and property, in their cause... It is to the Mohammedans alone that the credit belongs of having stood as the staunch and unshaken friends of the government amidst that fearful tornado that devastated the country, and shook the Empire to its centre; and who were ever ready, heart in hand, to render their aid to the utmost extremity, or cheerfully to perish in the attempt, regardless of home and kindred, of life and its enjoyments...
    • quoted in Arun Shourie - The World of Fatwas Or The Sharia in Action (2012, Harper Collins)
  • Be it known however that I am no advocate of those Mohammedans who behaved undutifully, and joined in the Rebellion: on the contrary I hold their conduct in utter abhorrence, as being in the highest degree criminal, and wholly inexcusable; because at that momentous crisis it was imperatively their duty, a duty enjoined by the precepts of our religion, to identify themselves heartily with the Christians and to espouse their cause; seeing that they have, like ourselves, been favoured with a revelation from Heaven, and believe in the Prophets, and hold sacred the word of God in His holy book, which is also an object of faith with us. It was therefore needful and proper, that where the blood of Christians was spilt, there should also have mingled with it that of Mohammedans; and those who shrunk from manifesting such devotedness, and sided with the rebels wilfully disobeyed the injunctions of religion, besides proving themselves ungrateful to their salt, and thereby incurring the severe displeasure of Government, a fact that is patent to every peasant...
    • quoted in Arun Shourie - The World of Fatwas Or The Sharia in Action (2012, Harper Collins)
  • Among the scum of the people who were upheaved to the surface amidst the convulsions into which the country was thrown, it is remarkable how many there were who were styled Moulvies; and yet they were merely ignorant and besotted scoundrels, who had no just claim to the appellation, which may have been given to them by courtesy only, because some of their ancestors may have been Moulvies. The fellows were alluded to in the public prints as really what they professed to be, and, having assumed high-sounding and inflated names to give themselves the prestige of learned Moulvies and holy Fuqeers, it was natural that the authorities should be misled into the belief that men of note and influence were implicated in the rebellion, as its promoters and leaders. The fact is, however, that not one of these individuals was looked up to as a Pastor or spiritual guide; on the contrary, they were of no repute whatever, and were heartily despised by all good Mohammedans, who had penetrated the character of these lowbred pseudo-Moulvies. Those who were really learned and pious Moulvies and Durveshes kept aloof, and did not pollute themselves by the smallest degree of complicity in the rebellion, which they utterly denounced and condemned as infamous and criminal in the extreme. With one solitary exception I do not find that any learned and influential Moulvie took any part in the rebellion. I know not what possessed him to act in the way he did, but his understanding must have been warped; and we know that ‘to err is human’
    • quoted in Arun Shourie - The World of Fatwas Or The Sharia in Action (2012, Harper Collins)
  • "At this time our nation is in a bad state in regards education and wealth, but God has given us the light of religion and the Quran is present for our guidance, which has ordained them and us to be friends. Now God has made them rulers over us. Therefore we should cultivate friendship with them, and should adopt that method by which their rule may remain permanent and firm in India, and may not pass into the hands of the Bengalis... If we join the political movement of the Bengalis our nation will reap a loss, for we do not want to become subjects of the Hindus instead of the subjects of the "people of the Book..."
    • KUMAR, S (2000). Educational Philosophy in Modern India. Anmol Publications Pvt. Ltd. p. 60.
  • In whose hands shall the administration and the Empire of India rest? Now, suppose that all English, and the whole English army, were to leave India, taking with them all their cannon and their splendid weapons and everything, then who would be rulers of India? Is it possible that under these circumstances two nations—the Mahomedans and the Hindus—could sit on the same throne and remain equal in power? Most certainly not. It is necessary that one of them should conquer the other and thrust it down. To hope that both could remain equal is to desire the impossible and the inconceivable.
    • quoted in Vikram Sampath - Savarkar, Echoes from a Forgotten Past, 1883–1924 (2019)
  • Let us imagine the Viceroy’s Council made in this manner. And let us suppose, first of all, that we have universal suffrage, as in America, and that all have votes. And let us also suppose that all Mohammadan electors vote for a Mohammadan and all Hindu electors for a Hindu member, and now count how many votes the Mohammadan member will have and how many the Hindu. It is certain that the Hindu member will have four times as many, because their population is four times numerous . . . and now how can the Mohammadan guard his interests?
    • quoted in Vikram Sampath - Savarkar, Echoes from a Forgotten Past, 1883–1924 (2019)
  • Now, suppose that the English community and the army were to leave India, taking with them all their cannons and their splendid weapons and all else, who then would be the rulers of India?.... Is it possible that under these circumstances two nations—the Mohammedans and the Hindus—could sit on the same throne and remain equal in power? Most certainly not. It is necessary that one of them should conquer the other. To hope that both could remain equal is to desire the impossible and the inconceivable... But until one nation has conquered the other and made it obedient, peace cannot reign in the land.
    • Sir Syed Ahmed Khan (1817–1898), Speech in March 1888, Quoted by Dilip Hiro, "The Longest August: The Unflinching Rivalry Between India and Pakistan" [1]
  • “Would our aristocracy like that a man of low caste or insignificant origin, though he be a B.A. or M.A., and have the requisite ability, should be in a position of authority above them and have power in making laws that affect their lives and property? Never! Nobody would like it.”
  • “I believe that the Bengalis have never at any period held sway over a particle of land. They are altogether ignorant of the method by which a foreign race can maintain its rule over other races.”
  • “Oh! my brother Musalmans! I again remind you that you have ruled nations, and have for centuries held different countries in your grasp. For seven hundred years in India you have had Imperial sway. You know what it is to rule.” ... “Our nation is of the blood of those who made not only Arabia, but Asia and Europe, to tremble. It is our nation which conquered with its sword the whole of India, although its peoples were all of one religion.”
  • The old Muhammadan books and the tone of their writings do not teach the followers of Islam independence of thought, perspicacity and simplicity; nor do they enable them to arrive at the truth of matters in general; on the contrary, they deceive and teach men to veil their meaning, to embellish their speech with fine words, to describe things wrongly and in irrelevant terms, to flatter with false praise . . . to puff themselves up with pride, haughtiness, vanity and self-conceit, to hate their fellow crea­tures, to have no sympathy with them, to speak with exaggeration, to leave the history of the past uncertain and to relate facts like tales and stories.
    • as quoted in Tariq Ali-Can Pakistan Survive__ The Death of a State-Penguin Books Ltd (1983)
  • In the India Office is a book in which the races of all India are depicted both in pictures and in letterpress, giving the manners and customs of each race. Their photographs show that the pictures of the different manners and customs were taken on the spot, and the sight of them shows how savage they are — the equals of animals. The young Englishmen who, after passing the preliminary Civil Service examination, have to pass examinations on special subjects for two years after- wards, come to the India Office preparatory to starting for India, and, desirous of knowing something of the land to which they are going, also look over this work. What can they think, after perusing this book and look- ing at its pictures, of the power or honour of the natives of India ? One day Hamid, Mahmud, and I went to the India Office, and Mahmud commenced looking at the work. A young Englishman, probably a passed civilian, came up, and after a short time asked Mahmud if he was a Hindustani? Mahmud replied in the affir- mative, but blushed as he did so, and hastened to explain that he was not one of the aborigines, but that his ancestors were formerly of another country. Reflect, therefore, that until Hindustanis remove this blot they shall never be held in honour by any civilised race.
  • [Jihad is an] act of extreme religious piety, the spiritual benefits ( sawab ) of which accrue to the sacred soul of Muhammad Ismail , the martyr who led it .
    • Sir Syed A. Khan quoted in Jain, M. (2010). Parallel pathways: Essays on Hindu-Muslim relations, 1707-1857. quoting Ashraf 2007, also in 1857 in the Muslim Historiography, Muḥammad Ikrām Cug̲h̲tāʼī. also in Rebellion 1857 A Symposium (1957)"
  • [Sayyid Ahmad Barelvi was blessed with] "the honour of martyrdom in the company of believers of pure faith."
    • Sir Syed A. Khan quoted in Jain, M. (2010). Parallel pathways: Essays on Hindu-Muslim relations, 1707-1857. quoting Ashraf 2007, also in 1857 in the Muslim Historiography, Muḥammad Ikrām Cug̲h̲tāʼī.
  • A Wahhabi is simply a pure worshipper— a puritan of Islam, a follower of the uncontaminated faith of the Prophet. To represent him as invariably a secret conspirator against constituted authority—a worker in darkness, a preacher of sedition—is a libel. ... True Wahhabism was not inimical to the British Government.
    • Sir S.A. Khan, quoted in "Sayyid Ahmad Khan" K.A.NIZAMI , also in Jain, M. (2010). Parallel pathways: Essays on Hindu-Muslim relations, 1707-1857.

Asaru’s-Sanadid[edit]

  • Iron Pillar: “…In our opinion this pillar was made in the ninth century before (the birth of) Lord Jesus… When Rai Pithora built a fort and an idol-house near this pillar, it stood in the courtyard of the idol-house. And when Qutbu’d-Din Aibak constructed a mosque after demolishing the idol-house, this pillar stood in the courtyard of the mosque…
    ”Idol-house of Rai Pithora: “There was an idol-house near the fort of Rai Pithora. It was very famous… It was built along with the fort in 1200 Bikarmi [Vikrama SaMvat] corresponding to AD 1143 and AH 538. The building of this temple was very unusual, and the work done on it by stone-cutters is such that nothing better can be conceived. The beautiful carvings on every stone in it defy description… The eastern and northern portions of this idol-house have survived intact. The fact that the Iron Pillar, which belongs to the Vaishnava faith, was kept inside it, as also the fact that sculptures of Kirshan avatar and Mahadev and Ganesh and Hanuman were carved on its walls, leads us to believe that this temple belonged to the Vaishnava faith. Although all sculptures were mutilated in the times of Muslims, even so a close scrutiny can identify as to which sculpture was what. In our opinion there was a red-stone building in this idol-house, and it was demolished. For, this sort of old stones with sculptures carved on them are still found.
    ”Quwwat al-Islam Masjid: “When Qutbu’d-Din, the commander-in-chief of Muizzu’d-Din Sam alias Shihabu’d-Din Ghuri, conquered Delhi in AH 587 corresponding to AD 1191 corresponding to 1248 Bikarmi, this idol-house (of Rai Pithora) was converted into a mosque. The idol was taken out of the temple. Some of the images sculptured on walls or doors or pillars were effaced completely, some were defaced. But the structure of the idol-house kept standing as before. Materials from twenty-seven temples, which were worth five crores and forty lakhs of Dilwals, were used in the mosque, and an inscription giving the date of conquest and his own name was installed on the eastern gate…“When Malwah and Ujjain were conquered by Sultan Shamsu’d-Din in AH 631 corresponding to AD 1233, then the idol-house of Mahakal was demolished and its idols as well as the statue of Raja Bikramajit were brought to Delhi, they were strewn in front of the door of the mosque…”“In books of history, this mosque has been described as Masjid-i-Adinah and Jama‘ Masjid Delhi, but Masjid Quwwat al-Islam is mentioned nowhere. It is not known as to when this name was adopted. Obviously, it seems that when this idol-house was captured, and the mosque constructed, it was named Quwwat al-Islam…”
    • About antiquities of Delhi. Translated from the Urdu of Asaru’s-Sanadid, edited by Khaleeq Anjum, New Delhi, 1990. Vol. I, p. 305-16
  • Quwwat al-Islam Masjid: "When Qutbu'd-Din, the commander-in-chief of Muizzu'd-Din Sam alias Shihabu'd-Din Ghuri, conquered Delhi in AH 587 eorresponding to AD 1191 corresponding to 1248 Bikarmi, this idol-house (of Rai Pithora) was converted into a mosque. The idol was taken out of the temple. Some of the images seulptured on walls or doors orpillars were effaced completely, some were defaced. But the structure of the idol-house kept standing as before. Materials from twenty-seven temples, which were worth five crores and forty lakhs oj Dilwals, were used in the mosque, and an inscription giving the date of conquest and his own name was installed on the eastern gate... When Malwah and Ujjain were conquered by Sultan Shamsu'd-Din in AH 631 corresponding to AD 1233, then the idol-house of Mahakal was demolished and its idols as well as the statue of Raja Bikramajit were brought to Delhi, they were strewn in front fthe door of the mosque... In books of history, this mosque has been deseribed as Masjid-I-Adinah and Jama ’ Masjid Delhi, but Masjid Quwwat al-Islam is mentioned nowhere. It is not known as to when this name was adopted. Obviously, it seems that when this idol-house was captured, and the mosque construeted, it was narned Quawwat alIslam .... (quoted from Goradia, P. (2002). Hindu masjids. )

Writings and Speeches of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan[edit]

Sir Sayyid Aḥmad K̲h̲ān̲_ Sir Syed Ahmad Khan_ Shan Mohammad (ed.)_ Ram Gopal (foreword) - Writings and Speeches of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan-Nachiketa Publications (1972)
  • It is a great mistake that the country can only be either a Dar-ul-Islam or a Dar-ul-Harb in the primary signification of the words, and that there is no intermediate position. A true Dar-ul-Islam is a country which under no circumstances can be termed a Dar-ul-Harb and vice versa. There are, however, certain countries which, with reference to certain circumstances, can be termed Dar-ul-Islam, and with reference to others Dar-ul-Harb. Such a country is India at the present moment. (79-80)
  • The second thing which I wish to see established in our people is national feeling and sympathy; and this cannot be created unless the boys of our nation read together. At this moment, when all of us Mohammedans have come together the assembly itself has an effect on our hearts, and an involuntary emotion gives birth to the thought-"Our Nation!" "Our Nation"-but when we separate the effect vanishes. This is not merely my assertion; I trust that all here will acknowledge its truth. If you will reflect in the principles of religion, you will see the reason why our Prophet ordered all the dwellers in one neighbourhood to n1eet five times a day for prayers in the mosque, and why the whole town had to meet together on Fridays in the city mosque, and in Eid all the people of the district had to assemble. The reason was that the effect of the gathering should influence all, and create a national feeling among those present, and show them the glory of the nation. These outward shows l1ave a great effect on the human mind. They create unity and draw a picture of the nation on the heart. These thoughts will not grow up in the minds of men unless they are forced on their attention. Hence, it is necessary for the good training and education of Moham- 1nedans that they should be collected together into one place to receive it; that they may live together and eat together, and learn to love one another. 200-1
  • I ask my friends honestly to say whether out of two such nations whose aims and objects are different, but who happen to agree in some small points, a "National" Congress can be · created? No. In the name of God- No. I thank my friend for inducing the twelve Standing Committees to sanction the rule "that any subject to which the Mussalman delegates object, unanimously or nearly unanimously, must be excluded from all discussion in the Congress." But I again object to the word "delegate", and would suggest that instead of that word be substituted "Mussalman taking part in the Congress." But if this principle which he has laid down in his letter and on which he acted when President, be fully carried out, I wonder what there will be left for the Congress to discuss. Those questions on which Hindus and Mohammedans can unite, and on which they ought to unite, and concerning which it is my earnest desire that they should unite, are social questions. We are both desirous that peace should reign in the country, that we two nations should live in a brotherly manner, that we should help and sympathise with one another, that we should bring pressure to bear, each on his own people, to prevent the arising of religious quarrels, that we should improve our social condition, and that we should try to remove that animosity which is every day increasing between the two communities. The questions on which we can agree are purely social. If he Congress had been made for these objects, then I would myself have been its President, and relieved my friend from the troubles which he incurred. But the Congress is a political Congress, and there is no one of its fundamental principles, and especially that one for which it was in reality founded, to which Mohammedans are not opposed. We may be right or we may be wrong; but there is no Mohammedan, from the shoemaker to the Rais who would like that the ring of slavery should be put on us by that other nation with whom we live. Although in the present time we have fallen to a very low position, and there is every probability we shall sink daily lower (especially when even our friend Badruddin Tyabji thinks it an honour to be President of the Congress), and certainly we shall be contented with our destiny, yet we cannot consent to work for our own fall. 241-2
  • Now, suppose that all the English and the whole English army were to leave India, taking with them all their cannon and their splendid weapons and everything, then who would be rulers of India? Is it possible that under these circumstances two nations-the Mohammedans and the Hindus -could sit on the same throne and remain equal in power? Most certainly not. It is necessary that one of them should conquer the c:1ther and thrust it down. To hope that both could remain equal is to desire the impossible and the inconceivable. At the same time you must remember that although the number of Mohammedans is less than that of the Hindus, and although they contain far fewer people who have received a high English education, yet they must not be thought insignificant or weak. Probably they would be by themselves enough to maintain their own position. But suppose they were not. Then our Mussalman brothers, the Pathans, would come out as a swarm of locusts from their mountain valleys, and make rivers of blood to flow from their frontier on the north to the extreme end of Bengal. This thing-wl after the departure of the English would be conquerors-would rest on the will of God. But until one nation had conquered the other and made it obedient, peace cannot reign in the land. This conclusion is based on proofs so absolute that no one can deny it. 184-5
  • Lord Ripon had a very good heart and kind disposition and every qualification for a Governor. But, unfortunately, his hand was weak. His ideas were radical. At that time the Local Board and Municipality Bills were brought forward, and the intention of them was that everybody should be appointed by election. Gentlemen, I am not a Conservative, I am a great Liberal. But to forget the prosperity of one's nation is not a sign of wisdom. The only person who was opposed to the system of election was myself. If I am not bragging too much, I may, I think, say that it was on account of my speech that Lord Ripon changed his opinion and made one-third of the members appointed and two-thirds elected. Now just consider the result of election. In no town are Hindus and Mohammedans equal. Can the Mohammedans suppress the Hindus and become the masters of our "Self-Government?" In Calcutta an old, bearded Mohammedan of noble family met me and said that a terrible calamity had befallen them. In his· town there were eighteen elected members, not one of whom 'Was a Mohammedan; all were Hindus. Now, he wanted Government to appoint some Mohammedans; and he hoped Government would appoint him. This is the state of things in all cities. In Aligarh also, were there not a special rule, it would be impossible for any Mohammedan, except my friend Maulvi Mahomed Yusuf, to be elected; and at last he, too,• would have to rely on being appointed by Government. Then how can we walk along a road for which neither we nor the country is prepared? 216
  • The second demand of the National Congress is that the people should elect· a section of the Viceroy's Council... Now, let us suppose the Viceroy's Council made in this manner. And let us suppose first of all that we have universal suffrage, as in America, and that everybody, chamars and all, have votes. And first.suppose that all the Mohammedan electors vote for a Mohammedan member and all Hindu electors for a Hindu. member, and now count how many votes the Mohammedan members have and how many the Hindu. It is certain the Hindu members will have four times as many because their population is four times as numerous. Therefore we can prove by mathematics that there will be four votes for the Hindu to every one vote for the Mohammedan. And now how can the Mohammedan guard his interests? It would be like a game of dice, in which one man had four ... ice and the other only one. In the second place, suppose that the electorate be limited. Some method of qualification must be made; for example, that people with a certain income shall be electors. Now, I ask you, 0 Mohammedansl Weep at your condition! Have you such wealth that you can compete with the Hindus? 209-10
  • Now, we will suppose a third kind of election. Suppose a rule to be made that a suitable number of Mohammedans and a suitable number of Hindus are to be chosen. I am aghast when I think on what grounds this number is likely to be determined. Of necessity proportion to total population will be taken. So there will be one member for us to every four for the Hindus. No other condition can be laid down. Then they will have four votes and .we shall have one. Now, I will make a fourth supposition. Leaving aside the question as to the suitability of 1nembers with regard to population, let us suppose that a rule is laid down that half the members are to be Mohammedan and l1alf Hindu, and that the Mohammedans and Hindus are each to elect their own men. Now, I ask you to pardon me for saying something which I say with a sore heart. In the whole nation there is no person who is equal to the Hindus in fitness for the work.210-1
  • And show me the man who, when elected, will leave his business and undertake the expense of living in Calcutta and Simla, leaving alone the trouble of the journey$. Tell me who there is of our nation in the Punjab, Oudh, and North-Western Provinces, who will leave his business, incur these expenses, and attend . the Viceroy's Council for the sake of his countrymen. When this is the condition of your nation, is it expedient. for you to take part in this business on the absurd supposition that the demands of the Congress would, if granted, be beneficial for the country? Spurn such foolish notions.211
  • What is the result of competitive examination in England? You know that men of all social positions, sons of Dukes and Earls, of darzies and people of low rank, are equally allowed to pass this examination. Men both of high and low family come to India in the Civil Service. And it is the universal belief that it is not expedient for Government to bring the men of low rank; and that the men of good social position treat Indian gentlemen with becoming politeness, maintain the prestige of the British race, and impress on the hearts of the people a sense of British justice; and are useful both to Government and to the country. But those who come from England, come from a country so far removed from our eyes that we do not know whether they are the sons of Lords and Dukes or of darzies, and, therefore, if those who govern us are of humble rank, we cannot perceive the fact. But as regards Indians, the case is different. Men of good family would never like to trust their lives and property to people of low rank with whose humble origin they are well acquainted (Cheers). The third case is that of a country in which there are different nationalities which are on an equal footing as regards the competition, whether they take advantage of it or not. Now, I ask you, have Mohammedans attained to such a position as regards higher English education, which is necessary for higher appointments, as to put them on a level with Hindus or not? Most certainly not. Now, I take Mohammedans and the Hindus of our Province together, and ask whether they are able to compete with the Bengalis or not? Most certainly not. When this is the case, how can competitive examination be introduced into our country (Cheers). Think for a moment what would be the result if all appointments were given by competitive examination. Over all races, not only over Mohammedans but over Rajas of high position and the brave Rajputs who have not forgotten the swords of their ancestors, would be placed as ruler a Bengali who at sight of a table knife would crawl under his chair (Uproarious cheers and laughter). There would remain no part of the country in which we should see at the tables of justice and authority any face except those of Bengalis. I am delighted to see the Bengalis making progress, but the question ·is-What would be the result on the administration of the country? Do you think that the Rajput and the fiery Pathan, who are not afraid of being hanged or of encountering the swords of the police or the bayonets. of the army, could remain in peace under the Bengalis? (Cheers). This would be the outcome of the proposal if accepted. Therefore if any . of you-men of good position, Raises, men of the middle classes, men of noble family to whom God has given sentiments of honour-if you accept that the country should groan under the yoke of Bengali rule and its people lick the Bengali shoes, then, in the name of God jump into the train, sit down, and be off to Madras, be off to Madras! (Loud cheers and laughter). 207-9
  • When it has been settled that the English Government is necessary, then it is useful for India that its rule should be established on the firmest possible basis. And it is desirable for Government that for its stability it should maintain an army of such a size as it may think expedient, with a proper equipment of officers; and that it should in every district appoint officials in whom it can place complete confidence, in order that if a conspiracy arises in any place they may apply the remedy. I ask you, is it the duty of Government or not to appoint European officers in its empire to stop conspiracies and rebellions? Be just, and examine your hearts, and tell me if it is not a natural law that people should confide more in men of their own nation. If any Englishman tells you anything which is true, you remain doubtful. But when a man of your own nation, or your family, tells you a thing privately in your house, you believe it at once. What reason can you then give why Government, in the administration of so big an empire, should not appoint as custodians of secrets and as givers of every kind of information, men of her own nationality, but must leave all these matters to you, and say: "Do what you like?" These things which I have said are such necessary matters of State administration that, whatever nation may be holding the empire, they cannot be left out of sight. It is the business of a good and just Government, after having secured the above mentioned essentials, to give honour to the people of the land over which it rules, and to give them as high appointments as it can. But, in reality, there are certain appointments to which we can claim no right; we cannot claim the post of head executive authority in any zila. There are hundreds of secrets which Government cannot disclose. If Government appoint us to such responsible and confidential posts, it is her favour. 189-90
  • 0 brothers! I have fought the Government in the harshest language about these points. The time is, however, coming when my brothers, Pathans, Syeds, Hashimi and Koreishi, whose blood smells of the blood of Abraham, will appear in glittering uniform as Colonels and Majors in the army. But we must wait for that time. Government will most certainly attend to it; provided you do not give rise to suspicions of disloyalty. 0 brothers! Govern-nent, too, is under some difficulties as regards this last charge I have brought against her. Until she can trust us as she can her white soldiers she cannot do it. But we ought to give proof that, ,whatever we were in former days, that time has gone, and that now we are as well-disposed to l1er as the Highlanders of Scotland. And then we should claim this from Government. 215
  • I come now to some other proposals of the Congress. We have now a very charming suggestion. These people wish to have the Budget of India submitted to them for sanction. Leave aside poli- • tical expenses; but ask our opinion about the expenses of the army. Why on earth has Government made so big an army? Why have you put Governors in Bombay and Madras? Pack them off at once. I am also of the opinion that their ideas should certainly be carried out. I only ask them to say who, not only of them but of the whole people of India, can tell me about the new kinds of cannon which have been invented-which is the mouth and which the butt end. Can any one tell me the expense of firing a shot? Does any one understand the condition of the army? One who has seen the battle-field, the hail-shower of shots, the falling of the brave soldiers one over another, may know what equipments are needed for an army. If then, under these circumstances, a Mohammedan were on this Council, or a Bengali-one of that nation which in learning is the crown of all Indian nations, which has raised itself by the might of learning from a low to a high position-how could he give any advice? How ridiculous then for those who have never seen a battle-field, or even the mouth of a cannon, to want to prepare the Budget for the army? 214
  • The English have conquered India and· all of us along with it. And just as we made the country obedient and our slave, so the English have done with us. Is it then consonant witl1 the principles of empire that they should ask us whether they should fight Burma or not? Is it consistent with any principle of empire? In the times of the Mohammedan empire, would it have been consistent with the principles of rule that, when the Emperor was about to make war on a Province _of India, he should have asked his subject-peoples whether he should conquer that country or not? Whom should he have asked? Should he have asked those whom he had conquered and had made slaves, and whose brothers he also wanted to make his slaves? Our nation has itself wielded empire, and people of our nation are even now ruling. Is there any principle of empire by which rule over foreign races may be maintained in this manner? 187
  • The aspirations of our friends the Bengalis have made such progress that they want to scale a height to which it is beyond their powers to attain. But if I am not in error, I believe that the Bengalis have never at any period held sway over a particle of land. They are altogether ignorant of the method by which a foreign race can maintain its rule over other races. Therefore, reflect on the doings of your ancestors, and be not unjust to the British Government to whom God has given the rule of India; and look honestly and see what is necessary for it to do to maintain its empire and its hold on the country. You can appreciate these matters; but they cannot who have never held a country in their hands nor won a victory. Oh, my brother Musussalmans! I again remind you that you have ruled as-lions, and have for centuries held different countries in your grasp. For seven hundred years in India you have had Imperial sway. You know what it is to rule. Be not unjust to that nation which is ruling over you, and think also on this.: how upright is her rule. Of such benevolence as the English Government shows to the foreign nations under her, there is no example in the history of the world. See what freedom she has given in her laws, and how careful she is to protect the rights of her subjects. 191
  • ...was ordained by a higher power than any on earth, that the destinies of India should be placed in the hands of an enlightened nation, whose principles of government were in accordance with those of intellect, justice, and reason. Yes, my friends, the great God above, He who is equally the God of the Jew, the Hindu, the Christian, and the Mohammedan, placed the British over the people of India-gave them rational laws (and no religious laws revealed to us by God can be at variance with rational laws), gave you, up to the year 1858, the Government of the East India Company. The rule of that now defunct body of merchant princes was one eminent for justice and moderation, both in temporal and religious matters. The only point in which it failed to satisfy the wants of the age latterly, was the fact of its not being a regal Government,-a necessity which had gradually forced itself more prominently into notice as time rolled on, when the once solitary factory on the banks of the Ganges had grown into an empire half as large as Europe, with a population of nearly two hundred millions. 117
  • I do not think the Bengali politics useful for my brother Mussalmans. Our Hindu brothers of these Provinces are leaving us and are joining the Bengalis. Then we ought to unite with that nation with whom we can unite. No Mohammedan can say that the Eng· lish are not "people of the Book." No Mohammedan can deny this: that God has said that no people of other religions can be friends of Mohammedans except the Christians. He who had read the Koran and believes it, he can know that our nation cannot expect friendship and affection from any other people. (Thou shalt surely find the most violent of all men in enmity against the true believers to be the Jews and the idolators: and thou shalt surely find those among them to be the most inclinable to enter• tain friendship for the true believers, who say "we are Christians." Koran, Chap. V.) At this time our nation is in a bad state as regards education and wealth, but .God has given us the light of religion, and the Koran is present for our guidance, which has ordained them and us to be friends. Now God has made them rulers over us. Therefore we should cultivate friendship with them, and should adopt that method by which their rule may remain permanent and firm in India, and may not pass into the hands of the Bengalis. This is our true friendship with our Christian rulers, and we should not join those people who wish to see us thro,vn into a ditch. If we join the political movement of the Bengalis our nation will reap loss, for we do not want to become subjects of the Hindus instead of the subjects of the "people of the Book." And as far as we can we should remain faithful to the English Government. By this my meaning is not that I am inclined towards their religion. Perhaps no one has written such severe books as I have against their religion, of which I am an enemy. But whatever their religion, God has called men of that religion our friends. We ought not on account of their religion but because of the order of God to be friendly and faithful to them. If our Hindu brothers of these Provinces, and the Bengalis of Bengal, and the Brahmans of Bombay, and the Hindu Madrasis of Madras wish to separate themselves from us, let them go, and trouble yourself about it not one whit. We can mix with the English in a social way. We can eat with them, they can eat with us. Whatever hope we have of progress is from them. The Bengalis can in no way assist our progress. And when the Koran itself directs us to be friends with them, then there is no reason why we should not be their friends. But it is necessary for us to act as God has said. Besides this, God has made them rulers over us. Our Prophet has said that if God places over you a black negro slave as ruler you must obey him. See, there is here in the meeting a European, Mr Beck. He is not black. He is very white (Laughter). Then why should we not be obedient and faithful to those white-faced men whom God has put over us. and why should we disobey the order of God? 192-3
  • Among such unfounded reports was this: that the Mohammedans are, by the tenets of their religion, necessarily hostile to the professors of the Gospel of Christ; whereas indeed the very reverse of this is the fact, for Mohammedanism admits, that there is no sect upon earth but the Christians, with whom its people may maintain amity and friendship. · "Thou shalt surely find the most violent of all men in ennity against the true believers to be the Jews and the idolators, and thou shalt surely find those among them to be the most inclinable to entertain friendship for the true believers, who say, 'we are Christians.' This cometh to pass because there are priests and monks among them and because they are not elated with pride." -Alkoran Soorutoomaweeda, that is, The Table, Sale's Trans., Ch. V.39
  • And, further a Juhad, according to the principles of Mohammedan faith, really cannot take place under the present regime! The reason is, that the Mohamn1edans are living under the protection of their European rulers, and the f)rotected cannot make a crusade against their protectors. The Britisl1 have obtained <lo1nination in Hindoostan by two 1no<les viz., by conquest an<l by cession. In either case, the Mohammedans have, as a natural consequence, become their subjects, and enjoy peace an<l protection under their a<lministration, while the Government reposes confidence in their loyalty anll submission. How then could the Mohammedans rise against the Government in a Juha<l, when the very first condition of a religious war is, that there should not subsist the relations of protected and protectors between the crusaders, and those against whom the cn,sade is undertaken? This point is distinctly laid down and enforced in the book of Alungeeree, in which the author says, that there are two indispensable requisites to a J uhad,-first, that there be no ummun or protection,-and secondly, that there be no treaty or engagement between the parties. 44
  • In the Hedaya it is written that ..., i.e. protected, is a term applied to those who live in peace and security under a Government professing a different creed. This is precisely the case with us who abide under the protecting arm of the British. Again, it is stated in the Hedaya and Alumge eree that when a Mohammedan enjoys protection and security under the rule of a nation not of his own faith, it is in the highest degree infamous if, from a professedly religious motive, he commits any outrage upon the person or property of those by whom he is governed. Our law provides, that when we of our own motion desire to elect a King to reign over us,-he must be a professor of our faith, and be taken from the tribe of Koreish; but if any man raises himself to supreme power by force of arms, it is by no means a sine qua non that he should be a believer in the Prophet; and this of course implies that Mohammedans are enjoined to obey faithfully the ruler under whose dominion they may happen to dwell, be his creed what it may. In two of our religious books, entitled "Tatarkhanee and Mooltugil, it is also written, that it is not at all essential that the King of the country in which Mohammedans reside, and by whom they are protected, should be Mohammedan. The precedent for this is found in the Touret, or Book of loses, where it is recorded, that Joseph served Po!iphar, King of Egypt, and was obedient and faithful to him in all things, although Potiphar was not a Jew- (see Genesis eh. XXXIX). In like manner the Mohammedans dwell in obedience to the laws ancl Government of the British, who extend to them the canopy of their protection; and this obedience is nothing more than the proper and bounden duty of their Mohammedan subjects, as inculcated and enforced by the precepts of our religion. 45
  • We also like a civil war. But not a civil war without arms; we like it with arms. If Government wants to give over the internal rule of the country from its own hands into those of the people of India, then we will present a petition that, before doing so, she pass a law of competitive examination, namely, that that nation which passes first in this competition be given the rule of the country; but that in this competition we be allowed to use the pen of our ancestors, which is in truth the true pen for writing the decrees of sovereignty. Then he who passes first in this shall rule the country. If my friends the Bengalis pass first, then indeed we will pick up their shoes and put them on our heads; but without such a civil war we do not want to subject our nation to be trodden under their feet. Let my Hindu fellow countrymen and Bengali brothers understand well that my chief wish is that all the nations of India should live in peace and friendship with one another; but that friendship can last so long only as one does not try to put another in subjection. The Bengalis and also the educated Hindus of this Province have tried on this game, and hope that we Mohammedans will join them: " 'tis imagination, 'tis impossible, 'tis madness." 220
  • This statement of Mr Hume is entirely and utterly false. I am at a loss to conceive how English gentlemen have adopted those qualities which Lord Macaulay has so eloquently described as characteristic of the Bengali....I am grieved that Mr Hume should have .thought me capable of such ideas-ideas which he would hardly attribute to the meanest and guiltiest of mankind. I can only account .for it by remembering that lie is also an old man, and that through his close intimacy with :aengalis his method of thought may well have been distorted into this most un-English character.'251-2

About[edit]

  • To the Muslim community Sir Syed Ahmed Khan was and is like the eye which weeps for the suffering of any and every part of the body.
  • “As is well-known, he secured donations for Aligarh from Hindus of his own feudal class. When canvassing for their support he expressed such exemplary sentiments as that Hindus and Muslims were the ‘two eyes of the beautiful Indian bride.’ But when addressing exclusively Muslim audiences, especially political meetings, he was militant enough to threaten civil war.”
    • M.R.A. Baig, The Muslim Dilemma in India, Delhi, 1974, p. 52.
  • Sir Sayyid was a prolific writer and was the first to use arguments from the canonical sources of Islam to prove that Indian Muslims were not fanatics who had waged religious war in his book entitled The Loyal Mohammadans of India.
    • Tariq Rahman - Interpretations of Jihad in South Asia_ An Intellectual History-de Gruyter (2018)
  • His image in the public mind today is almost wholly a result of this selective, this assiduous silence, reinforced now by governmental hagiographic propaganda. The propositions he injected into public discourse were the precise ones—in sequence, and word for word—which Jinnah picked up once he decided that is future lay in playing the communal card. The propositions are again and again picked up by leader. after leader who reckons that the way to national importance is by becoming the leader of one community, and the way to latter is the religion-in-danger shriek; as such leaders keep erupting — Bhindranwale one day, Shahabuddin the next—the reader will at once see the contemporary relevance of Sir Syed’s propositions.
    • Arun Shourie, Religion in politics (1989), chapter The Gloss-over School, 335 ff.
  • In his whole attitude is implicit the concept of Pakistan .
    • Percival Spear , in his book " India , Pakistan and the West. also in Jain, M. (2010). Parallel pathways: Essays on Hindu-Muslim relations, 1707-1857.
  • Another source of apprehension for the British was the Muslim concept of jihad with which the entire political atmosphere was filled from the very beginning of the 19th century. From Balakot, near Peshawar, to Bahadurpur in Bengal agitated religious thought was reeling round the obligation of waging jihad. The fatwa of Shah 'Abdul 'Aziz and the activities of the followers of Sayyid Ahmad Shahid, referred to as Wahhabis by the English writers, were enough to create fear and suspicions in British mind about the Muslims. Sayyid Ahmad Khan used all the force of his persuasive talent as well as his knowledge of Muslim law, to dispel this fear by proving that jihad was not justified against the British power in India.

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