Bangla Section of the Department of Modern Indian Languages, Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) organised its first two day national seminar on “Literary Trends of Contemporary Literature: East & West” during 25-26 March, 2019.
Mr M Nurul Islam, Founder General Secretary of Al Ameen Mission was the Chief Guest. Prof Hakim Syed Zillur Rahman, treasurer of Aligarh Muslim University and Chairman of Ibn Sina Academy, was the Guest of Honour. Dr Masud Anwar Alavi, Dean, Department of Arts delivered Concluding Remarks. Dr Syeda Nuzhat Zeba, Professor at Department of English, AMU gave a direction to audience on the subject by raising some interestingly questions.
Dr. Amitava Chakraborty, Faculty Member, Department of Modern Indian Languages & Literary Studies, University of Delhi was also present. Dr Amina Khatun, Director, Bangla Section of D/O Modern Indian Languages welcomed speakers and delivered introductory remarks.
Here are highlights of M Nurul Islam’s speech.
In my opinion, the topic itself is very relevant in the present scenario, in whatever way we look at it. I agree with these words written in your theme paper – Language and literature, indeed, has no boundary or limitation. It is all pervading.
In fact, the Bengali literature or in the larger canvas, Indian literature began to flourish during the middle age and it gathered momentum in the colonial time. The Indian languages took definite shape and thrived in the middle age. Mystic literature was a product of that particular age. It was during that time, Persian literature – which was abundantly rich – enlightened India in a new way. It would not be out of context to say that only a century back, in the 19th century, the works of legendary Hafiz, one of the most beloved poets of the Persians, was diligently pursued by the Tagore family of Jorasanko, where Rabindranath Tagore was born in 1861. It is also interesting to note that his father, Debendranath Tagore, an avid reader of Hafiz, was born in 1817. The year coincided with the birth of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, the founder of the Aligarh Movement.
In 1875, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan established Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College here, which later on came to be known as Aligarh Muslim University. An ardent social reformer, he played a seminal role by laying the foundation of modern scientific education in undivided India. Besides, he was among those early pioneers who recognised the critical role of education in the empowerment of the poor and backward Muslim community.
I have come to this sacred place from far off Bengal. And I have come from an institution, which although came into existence more than a century later, was profoundly influenced by the ideals of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan.
For many reasons, the Muslims in West Bengal lagged far behind in every walk of life- socially, mentally and of course financially. Historically, partition prompted a large section of the community to migrate to East Pakistan, which is now known as Bangladesh. Many of them became frustrated and disillusioned. In the mid 80s of the last century, we felt strongly that education and education alone could change the whole scenario of backwardness. With the aim to uplift the backward Muslim community in Bengal, we started an unchartered journey from Khalatpur, a remote village in Howrah district. That’s how Al-Ameen Mission came into existence. The year was 1986.
It was an uphill task, but with resolute determination we trudged along. Al-Ameen’s journey began with only 7 students. The ideals of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan and the trailblazing journey of Ramakrishna Mission showed us the way. If our niyat is noble, if we have self confidence, success is bound to come- we were absolutely sure about it.
Today, the resounding success of Al-Ameen Mission amply proves the correctness of our thought. Earlier, the participation of Muslims in higher education, particularly in professional courses was 2 to 3 per cent in our state, but now due to our constant endevour it has reached up to 20 to 30 per cent. But how was it possible? It was only possible through the generous support from our numerous well-wishers and unstinting help from both the Central and the State government. The Mission has now 70 branches throughout West Bengal as well as outside the state. We are a big family now consisting of 17,000 resident students. Al-Ameen, meanwhile, has produced 2,400 MBBS Doctors and 2,500 engineers. The total number of alumni is nearly 20,000. In many higher educational institutions in India and abroad, there are sizeable numbers of alumni now. Many of them are also studying here in Aligarh. Some of them have also become teachers here. We are proud of them.
No doubt, we are elated to see so many students, who were part of a backward community not so long ago, are walking gloriously in so many institutions throughout the world. The achievements of Al-Ameen Mission are discussed in the national level, bringing fame to the state.
Once upon a time, throughout the county, the name ‘Aligarh movement’ gained eminence in the education sector. Similarly, the path shown by Al-Ameen Mission has triggered off a movement, which is being aptly called as “Mission Movement” by general public as well as by numerous researchers globally. This movement has generated many more educational institutions throughout the state.
Therefore, I sincerely pay homage to that towering personality. We should remember pioneers like Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, who blazed a new trail by rationally thinking about the backward people of South Asia. Here, I would like to quote Sir Syed who says—“When a nation becomes devoid of arts and learning, it invites poverty, and when poverty comes, it brings in its wake thousands of crimes.”
To conclude, literature is the mirror of the society we live in. This is something ingrained inside our society.
Like any sector of society, Education too takes inspiration from different ideologies and advance further. There is always constant mingling of thoughts and ideas. May be, someone who is not too old can provide new ideas, notions, conceptions to the society. Like you see new literary movements garnish different branches of literature.
I hope the participants who would be discussing the trends of contemporary literature during these couple of days would definitely throw some new ray of light. We work amongst people in the practical field, empowering them, enhancing them through education.