KARACHI: After passage of almost 150 years, the Pakistani society has realised the importance of the lessons on equality, tolerance, cooperation and coexistence, which were given by the great reformist, philosopher and educationist Sir Syed Ahmed Khan.

This was stated by the chancellor of the Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology (SSUET), Jawaid Anwar, while briefing the media about a series of programmes which the university had scheduled in association with the Aligarh Muslim University Old Boys’ Association (AMUOBA) to celebrate the 200th birth anniversary of Sir Syed, who was born on Oct 17, 1817.

Mr Anwar said: “Almost all departments of the country are on the decline. The need for adopting Sir Syed’s approach is more serious now than it was years back. He was a far-sighted man and time has proved him correct that Muslims had to look ahead and study according to the requirements of modern times.

“The Aligarh Muslim University had taught these principles to its students who by following them revolutionised the society of the subcontinent. They started believing that they belonged to one nation yet they had to coexist with Hindus, Christians and believers of other faiths.”

Informing the journalists about the series of events the university had planned, the chancellor said: “Prof Abu Sufyan Islahi, who teaches at the department of Arabic at the Aligarh Muslim University, is coming to deliver a lecture on Oct 17. Besides, speakers from England, Canada, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, South Korea and the USA have also confirmed their participation.

“We have also scheduled a lecture by Dr Naweed Syed on brain-machine interfacing (Oct 26) because Sir Syed loved science as Muslim scientists were ruling the world then.

“A mushaira will also be held (Dec 9) in which poets may also participate from India if all stays well between the two countries.

“We are launching several books on the occasion. The most prominent among them is Sir Syed ka Tasawwur-i-Saqafat (Sir Syed’s idea of culture). Students will also be taking part in quizzes (Oct 5); speech (Oct 9), essay writing (Oct 5) and singing of national songs (Oct 12) competitions.

“Both pictorial and book exhibitions are to be held on Oct 16.

“The most important event is the grand award ceremony (Nov 26) in which people related to education, health, science and peace will be honoured. These people will be those who are known not only by their professional excellence, but by their association with Sir Syed as well.

“We have planned to establish the Sir Syed Institute for Youth Development and Research. This pilot project has been working at the SSUET since last one year and producing positive results.”

On the issue of students falling prey to terrorists, he said, “Terrorism is a global threat. Parents have to join hands with universities as the latter cannot control them on their own. We have to change the mindset of students and have to fulfil their just demands. Our youth institute is providing students with positive environment.”

Newly-appointed vice-chancellor Prof Dr Afzal Haq and AMUOBA vice-president Tariq Subzwari besides others were present on the occasion.

Published in Dawn, September 27th, 2017

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