HANDLING THE PLIGHT OF SOUTH ASIAN MUSLIMS UNDER BRITISH RAJ: A STUDY OF THE APPROACHES, CONTRIBUTION AND LEGACY OF ALIGARH MOVEMENT
Societies witness their decline when they become indifferent or adversary towards newness, progressivism and technological advancements; so was happened with Mughal Empire in India. Intended to uplift the moral of the decayed and degenerated Indian Muslim society facing a desperate plight resulting from the fiasco of First War of Independence 1857 against British East India Company, Aligarh Movement founded by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan appeared to reform the society empowering it with modern education, and by condemning the traditionalism, religious orthodoxy and feelings of antagonism towards the colonial masters of India. It literally infused a new spirit among the Muslim community of South Asia, helped it a great deal come out of desperation and make progress in distinct fields of social life. This research paper goes into the socio-political milieu of India which became the rationale of the emergence of Aligarh movement, the vision and mission of its founder, the intellectual and educational services he rendered, and the legacy this movement left. Further, it highlights and gives an assessment to the some of its salient educational characteristics in comparison to one of the contemporary educational and reformist movements, i.e. Darul Ulum Deoband movement, which too took up the task of the renaissance of the Muslim society of South Asia by sticking out for dissemination of the orthodox and conventional religious education. The study argues that although Sir Syed Ahmad Khan had been and is continued to be criticized for his rationalist, naturalist and loyalist approaches by the orthodox circles, yet it his vision and mission rightly responded to the challenges faced by the Indian Muslims then, and his movement left a legacy which gave rise to various other political and intellectual movements in South Asia. The methodology deployed in the discourse is descriptive, analytical and comparative.