Sir Syed saw the educational backwardness of most Muslims in the subcontinent and strived to change that for good. He established a number of successful institutions across the subcontinent in hopes of educating Muslims in science and religion, in what was known as the Aligarh movement.
This was a platform given by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan to Muslims to discuss their political views and ideologies safely. The establishment of this institution also fuelled the intellectual atmosphere in the Muslim society and sparked enthusiasm among the people. His efforts gave birth to a generation of Muslim intellectuals and politicians.
Despite the formation of the Indian National Congress in 1855, he advised Muslims not to join it as he saw they were in no position to be getting involved in politics, which became clear as the failed War of Independence in 1857 was blamed on Muslims. Instead, he continued urging Muslims to advance in modern education and non-political activities first.
Unlike other Muslim leaders of his time, Sir Syed was of the opinion that Muslims should stay in good sights of the British rulers if they wished to succeed in receiving their due rights. He constantly sought to convince Muslims to befriend British, and also wrote journals and books that addressed misunderstandings between the two parties.
Sir Syed lost faith in Indian nationalism and a united India after Hindi-Urdu controversy, and began to advocate the two nation theory. He was the first Muslim leader to use the word “Nation” for Muslims of the subcontinent, therefore many believe he was the founder of the theory, and not Allama Iqbal.
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