From flame to ashes: Aligarh movement’s vision of progress at cross roads
Tawseef Ahmad Bhat
The Valley of Kashmir was a great center of learning from the ancient times and scholars from all parts of India, China and Tibet came here to study literature and philosophy. The Valley was known as “Sharda Peetha” or the great seat of learning especially Sanskrit. Being a centre of oriental learning Kashmir was also known as “Iran-i-Sageer” (miniature Iran) and has produced great Persian poets and scholars. It has been endowed by nature with the bountiful atmosphere of the most educative type. The Kashmiri’s have derived full inspiration from their amiable surroundings and the Valley produced a galaxy of scholars, philosophers and chroniclers. The educational backwardness of the Indian Muslims in general and that of the Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir was one of the biggest challenges of the 19th Century. Since education is an indispensable instrument for socio economic development, the useful and constructive role of education is widely acknowledged. Aligarh movement took imperative steps in order to improve the conditions of the Muslims. The founder of the Aligarh movement took lot of measures in order to increase literacy rate of the Muslims. He lifted the veil of ignorance from his people and pointed the way to progress through education. Huge efforts were made by his companions and associates in order to make them cent percent literate. In Kashmir the leaders were also influenced by his vision and mission and followed him in every sphere. The results were evident and much improvement was achieved. However in the Kashmir the situation changed worse before the dream of the Sir Sayyid was fully achieved. In the past three decades education in the beautiful Kashmir valley has been paralyzed in the most evil manner.