KARACHI - Sir Syed Ahmed Khan was one of the architects of modern day India and Pakistan, said Vice Chancellor (VC) of University of Karachi (KU) Professor Dr Muhammad Ajmal Khan here on Monday.

Addressing the inaugural ceremony of a three-day international conference held on the 200th birthday of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, entitled, ‘Literature, History and Culture: South Asian Perspective and Sir Syed Ahmed Khan’, organised by Department of Urdu (KU), the VC said that his wisdom and knowledge were a guiding force for Muslims of the subcontinent after they were down and out from the politics after the war of independence. “His ideas and thoughts are still a role model for us,” he said, and added, “Sir Syed taught us to fight in tough times and to sustain our presence without compromising on our dignity and honour.”

Khan said that Sir Syed had advised the Muslims to distance themselves from politics so that they could receive education first. “Even the British government acknowledged his educational and social services,” he added.  KU VC congratulated Professor Dr Tanzeem-ul-Firdous on successfully holding the conference and assured him all sort of possible support. Former director Pakistan Study Centre Professor Dr Jaffar Ahmed, while delivering his keynote address, said that Sir Syed is not only considered to be a meaningful bridge between the two centuries but he is a name of dialogue between the East and West. “He emerged at that point of time when Muslims’ civilization in the subcontinent was going downhill. He successfully managed to absorb the knowledge and wisdom of the 19th century and successfully transferred it to the 20th century,” Ahmed noted.

He further said that Sir Syed had founded such institutions which were the beacon of knowledge for the upcoming generations. “Although in historical perspectives, Sir Syed’s scholarly work was rapid, but also had some weaknesses. But in a nutshell his work contributed to the development of education, history and dialogue,” he observed.

“He didn’t take much time to declare Muslims a separate nation,” he said, and added, “He had a firm belief that modern education was need of the hour, and he took exemplary measures in this regard,” Ahmed added. 

Dean Faculty of Social Sciences, KU Prof Dr Muhammad Ahmed Qadri said that many edicts were issued against him. “Undoubtedly he was a courageous personality who is still alive in history,” Qadri opined.

Department of Urdu Chairperson Professor Dr Tanzeem-ul-Firdous spoke about the life of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan.

She said that the main purpose of this conference was to pay tributes to the services of Sir Syed on his 200th birthday. “This is the first ever international conference in the history of KU’s Department of Urdu,” she said, and added, “I am much thankful to the vice chancellor, HEC and Anjuman Taraqqi Urdu Pakistan for their much-needed support.”