Monday, July 22, 2024

Syed Ahmad Khan-The Architect of the Two-Nation Theory

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Syed Ahmad Khan-the architect of the two-nation theory was the bane of Bharat

Syed Ahmad Khan(1817-1898) was a controversial personality in the annals of Indian history.

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Khan is, perhaps, the first Muslim intellectual who realised that the British rule in India was for the “Muslim community’s interests”.

He was a civil servant, educationist and a politician.

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He was knighted the British government in 1888 for his services to the empire.

Sir Syed is perhaps best known for his educational contributions. He founded several English Medium schools in and around the area of Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh.

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But he is most famous for laying down the foundation of the Mahommedan Anglo Oriental College in 1875, he envisaged that it will be the Oxford of the East.

But mind you, it wasn’t really meant for promoting the cultural cosmopolitanism that India was, rather it was meant to cater to the English educational needs of the Muslim elite section.

Emphasis upon English Education

It will not be unfair at all to say that Syed Ahmad Khan was a stooge of the British rulers.

He tried a lot to please his English political masters to not wreck his educational plans. You may think what was wrong on his part to advocate the cause of English education.

Well, see this carefully- he advocated English education for a number of reasons-

Firstly, to ensure that the his Muslim brethren doesn’t fall behind their Hindu counterparts in job prospects.

Secondly, in the event of the British leaving or getting ovethrown, the Muslim society will be in a position to restore their rule in India.

Khan was simply concerned with the betterment of his community via English education, nothing else.

Architect of Two-Nation Theory

He was the original architect of the two-nation theory.

J Sai Deepak in India, Bharat and Pakistan-The Constitutional Journey of a Sandwiched Civilisation asserted that Syed Ahmed Khan never really believed in the so-called Ganga-Jamuna Tehzeeb.

Khan was of the belief that Hindus and Muslims constitute separate civilizations having their own customs, traditions, ways of life and beliefs.

There was no compatibility between them.

There wasn’t any question of co-existence.

He eulogised Sultanate and Mughal rule and argued that it was “necessary for India”.

He had laid down the blueprint of Pakistan in a rudimentary form by advocating the agglomeration of Muslim majority provinces in India.

Ahmed Khan even went to the extent of opposing the Indian National Congress.

INC was one of the vanguards of the Indian freedom struggle and Khan tried to oppose it with Raja Shiv Prasad of Benaras by forming the United India Patriotic Association.


Let’s be under no illusion that Syed Ahmed Khan was a nationalist, he never was.

He was simply a stooge of the Britishers and was the bane of Bharat. His only concern was separatism and welfare of the Muslim community in India, nothing else.

Hence Syed Ahmad Khan-the architect of the two-nation theory.

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