As M.A.O College Aligarh, the greatest dream of Sayyid Ahmed khan was achieved and this achievement turned the tides for future events. Still he realized that college was unable to fulfill educational problems of Muslims of India. Sayyid Ahmed khan launched All-India Muhammedan Educational Congress in 1886, later on changed to “Conference” for Muslims to provide them a forum through which they could get educational awareness. On contrary to the Confrontational Politics of the Indian National Congress, he wanted co operational Politics with the British rulers.
All India Muslim Educational Conference (AIMEC), a Non-political organization which brought Muslims social and political leaders, intellectuals and distinguished people from all of walks of life onto one platform for educational empowerment of Muslims of India. It transformed the dimensions of Aligarh Movement and fulfilled the dream of its founder, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan by converting Muhammadan Anglo Oriental College (M.A.O. College) to Aligarh Muslim University. The Conference also became championing the cause of Women’s education and gave birth to one of the oldest and biggest women’s educational institution, Women’s College of Aligarh. This non-political, All India Muslim Educational Conference which was started for educational empowerment of Muslims of India also gave birth to largest Muslim political party “Muslim League”
The AIMEC held it inaugral meeting on December 27,1886 at M.A.O College in the chair Moulvi Samiullah Khan. It was attended by 161 delegates from all over. The Inaugural session at Aligarh adopted the following resolutions:
- Establishment of “AIMEC” and to hold its annual session in different parts of the country.
- British Government should only take care of modern and western education. Muslims will take care of Oriental studies.
- Promote publications of journals and special attention should be paid for memorization of Quran (Hifz-e-Quran)
- The Head Office of Muslim Educational Congress will be at Aligarh.
The main objectives of the Conference were:
- To provide a platform for Muslims to get higher education.
- To arrange a forum through which religious education should be taught in English medium schools of Muslims.
- To provide a forum for ullama and religious scholars to encourage diniyat and oriental studies in the schools of Muslims, and support them to take forward religious tasks.
- To provide a forum, through which the declined status of religious institutions should be improved.
The annual meetings of AIMEC were regularly held every year in different parts of the country. Sir Syed Ahmed acted as the secretary of the Conference till the time of his death. He himself took care of regularly publishing of conference proceeding every year.
The holding of meeting every year under conference proved a great success for their required results. People from all-India gathered and sit together, to talk about their problems, solutions, and suggestions. This was the first and the only platform for the Muslims where they gathered for their united cause. The AIMEC conference provided a unique platform.
One branch of conference was anjuman-e-tarraqi-e-urdu, in which many important tracts were published under the conference like ‘Musilmanon ki ghuzishta taleem’, ‘Al-jazia’ and few articles like “Kutab Khana Sikanderia”, “Huqooq-uz-Zimmiyan”, “Muslimanon ki Taraqqi-o-Tanazili kai Asbab”.
The AIMEC also provided the platform for Muslims to display their inborn qualities of people like Moulana Shibli Nomani, Moulana Altaf Hussain Hali, Mohsin-ul-Mulk and Moulvi Nazir Ahmed.They used their hidden talents through this platform by delivering speeches and poetry to show their desire for education, passion for self respect and national sympathy. Through this platform greatest contemporary literacy figures were sharpened like Abdul Kalam Azad.
The conference took the initiative to look after the matters concerning the Indian Muslims generally:
i) Oriental and religious education should be started in Government Schools.
ii) Social issues; to curb Non-Islamic and heinous traditions from the Muslim society.
iii) An extra effort to put for promotion of women’s education.
iv) Demands were made to remove derogatory and anti-Islamic contents from History course books.
v) Translation of literary works of different languages into Indian languages.
vi) The need of women education was felt and a proposal to start a women education section in Muslim Educational Conference was accepted. The idea to start girl’s schools is all the state capitals was initiated. Later, girls’ school at Aligarh was established.
vii) Conference also accepted Theodore proposal regarding education reforms to continue their struggle and effort regarding education.
As AIMEC was a non political organization, yet anything delivered through platform of conference was considered collective demand of Muslims. Sayyid Ahmed also delivered his first anti-congress speech through this platform. The first ever political party of the Muslims in the history of India, “The All India Muslim League” was formed on the platform of this conference. AIMEC played very important role in the life of Muslims to get their rights, education and later on separate state in the shape of Pakistan.