New Delhi: Perhaps, Mumbai-based Anjuman-I-Islam may be the oldest and the largest modern educational institution in the Sub-continent which was established much before Sir Syed Ahmad Khan’s Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College in Aligarh. Objectively, Anjuman has been behind the success of thousands of students who have gone on to make their mark in life.
One may not believe that this 140 year old institution has 1.13lakh students on its roll as well as more than 113 educational, professional and technical institutions. In spite of this incredible feat, the Anjuman-I-Islam did not get much fame and prominence as it ought to deserve, which has no parallel in the country as far as Muslim-managed educational institutions are concerned.
However, noted journalist and scholar Shamim Tariq has tried to bring to light the tremendous contributions and achievements of Anjuman-I-Islam by penning down a very incisive and riveting account of the Anjuman’s history.
The book, in Urdu titled as ‘Anjuman-I-Islam aur uskee Karimi library’ (Anjuman-I-Islam and Karimi Library’), may be the first scholarly attempt to trace not only the origins of Aujuman-I-Islam but also the advent of Muslims in Mumbai and their socio-economic conditions.
Talking to Muslim Mirror, Shamim Tariq said it was a humble beginning for Anjuman-I-Islam which started in 1874 with one school and now it can boast of the largest Muslim educational organization in the country providing education from primary to higher levels.
Shamim Tariq, who is Research officer in Anjuman -l-Islam’s Urdu Research Institute, says it was founded by a small group of committed Muslims led by none other than Dr. Badruddin Tyabji with a ‘desire to see the Muslim Community advance in education and social standing’.
Urdu language also has a special connection with the Anjuman. In his book, Shamim Tariq underlines this fact saying Urdu was always remained an inseparable part of the Anjuman-I-Islam. Its contribution for the promotion of Urdu language is also extraordinary.
Anjuman also publishes a quarterly journal in Urdu.
It is worthwhile to be mentioned here that Dr. Badruddin Tyabji, who also studied in England, was not overawed by the British civilization or apologetic to colonial masters. This character reflects from his persona as he had no hang-over in naming the school as Anjuman-I-Islam which was an Urdu medium school. He was so much ardent lover of Urdu that he admitted his three sons in the Anjuman-I-Islam.
While, it cannot be said about Sir Syed who penned down a booklet in 1859 titled as “ Asbab-e-Baghawat-e-Hind” (The Causes of the Indian Revolt) in order to curry favour from India’s ‘new masters’ who dethroned last Mughal Bahdur Shah Zafar in 1857. It is well known fact that Sir Syed had supported the British during the 1857 uprising.
Apart from this achievement, Badruddin Tyabji was a fine jurist who became the first Indian Chief Justice of Bombay High Court and the first Indian Solicitor. He was also the third president of Indian National Congress.
In his book, the author also points out that ideologically, Sir Syed and Tyabji both were poles apart but they both were concerned about promoting education in the community.
The book also recounts the unparalleled contribution of Mohammed (son of Haji Saboo Siddik, a top merchant of Mumbai) who died in 1908 when he was just 23 year old. This young philanthropist- belonging to the business community Kachichi Memon- bequeathed a large sum of money for establishing, conducting and managing this Institution for imparting Vocational, Technical and Industrial training and education. The value of the assets, so bequeathed, exceeded Rs 3 Crore at the time of donation. The Mohammed Haji Saboo Siddik Institute owes its existence to the munificence of Mohammad Siddik. The author laments that nobody bothers to remember this noble soul without his generous contribution the Anjuman-I-Islam would not have been in the present position.
At present, the Anjuman-I-Islam- which started with one school- has been running a chain of educational institutions across Mumbai and other places in Maharashtra. It has more than 113 institutions from pre-primary schools to graduate and postgraduate level including, College of Engineering, Polytechnics, Unani Medical College, College of Education, College of Commerce & Economics, Institute of Management Studies, College of Hotel Management and Catering Technology, College of Home Science, School of Pharmacy and School of Architect. No other Muslim educational organization can match the size and shape of the Anjuman as it is catering to the needs of more than 1.10 lakh students from various communities under its umbrella. The Anjuman’s imposing building is located in the heart of the city.
Anjuman is now focusing on quality education in order to make it world class educational social service organization. It has established an Integrated Technical Campus in Navi Mumbai having faculties in Engineering, Management, Pharmacy, Architecture and Computer Applications (Information Technology). The new technical campus owes its existence to philanthropist Abdul Razzak Kalsekar who donated a whopping Rs.40 crore for this noble cause. Kalsekar was recently passed away in Mumbai.
In one of the chapter of the book, the author also tries to draw parallels between the Anjuman-I-Islam and the Aligarh Muslim University as both these institutions came into existence in the aftermath of first war of independence.
Besides educational activities, the Anjuman has a very rich library. In his book, Shamim Tariq also tries to highlight its rich and rare collection. The library known as Karimi Library is the greatest repository of rare books, manuscripts, documents and other academic material. It provides a wealth of information on countless subjects in many languages including Arabic, Persian, English, Marathi, Sanskrit, Pashtu, Gujarati, Sindhi, Malayalam, and Urdu.
Commenting on his book, senior journalist Suhel Anjum says Shamim Tariq has done a wonderful job by bringing out this seminal work on Anjuman. He says the book provides a wealth of information about the Anjuman-I-Islam’s genesis and its gradual progress into a gigantic educational institution as well as socio-economic condition of Muslims in the island town which was then emerging as a big metropolis.
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