Aligarh Muslim University

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Aligarh Muslim University
علیگڑه مسلم یونیورسٹی
The seal of the Aligarh Muslim University
Motto Arabic: عَلَّمَ الاِنْسَانَ مَا لَمْ يَعْلَم‎‎
ʻallam al-insān-a mā lam yaʻlam
Motto in English
Taught man what he knew not (Qur'an 96:5)
Type Public
Established 1875 (as MAO College)
1920 (as AMU)
Endowment $18.2 million[1]
Chancellor Mufaddal Saifuddin
Vice-Chancellor Lt. General Zameer Uddin Shah
Academic staff
Students 30,000
Location Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, India
Coordinates: region:IN-UP 27°54′54″N 78°04′44″E / 27.9150085°N 78.0787925°E / 27.9150085; 78.0787925
Campus Urban
Nickname AMU
Affiliations UGC, NAAC, AIU

Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) is a public central university. It was originally established by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan as Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College in 1875. The Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College became Aligarh Muslim University in 1920.[2] The main campus of AMU is located in the city of Aligarh. Spread over 467.6 hectares, AMU offers more than 300 courses in both traditional and modern branches of education. In addition to this it has its three off-campus centres at Malappuram (Kerala), Murshidabad (West Bengal) and Kishanganj (Bihar). The university comprises all castes, creeds, religions and genders, and is a Institute of National Importance provided under Seventh Schedule of the Constitution at its commencement.[3][4]


Bab-e-syed, the gateway to AMU


It was established as Madrasatul Uloom Musalmanan-e-Hind in 1875.[5] The college started on 24 May 1875.[6] The Anglo–Indian statesman Syed Ahmad Khan founded the predecessor of AMU, the Muhammadan Anglo Oriental College, in 1875 having already established two schools.[7] The movement of Muslim awakening associated with Syed Ahmad Khan and M.A.O. College came to be known as Aligarh Movement.[8] He considered competence in English and "Western sciences" necessary skills for maintaining Muslims' political influence, especially in Northern India. Khan's image for the college was based on his visit to Oxford and Cambridge and he wanted to establish an education system similar to the British model.[9]

A committee was formed by the name of foundation of Muslim College and asked people to fund generously. The then Viceroy and Governor General of India Sir Lord North Brook gave a donation of Rs 10000 and the Lt. Governor of the North Western Provinces contributed Rs 1000 and by March 1874 the fund for the college stood at Rs 153492 and 8 anas.[6]

In the beginning the college was affiliated with the University of Calcutta for the matriculate examination but became an affiliate of Allahabad University in 1885. In 1877 the school was raised to college level and Lord Lytton laid the foundation stone of the college building.[6]

Transformation into university[edit]

Around 1900 efforts began to make the college its own university. The Aligarh Muslim University Act of 1920 made it a central university.[9]

HH Sir Mohammad Ali Mohammad Khan and the Aga Khan III also played a major role in realising the idea of Syed Ahmed Khan by collecting funds for building the Aligarh Muslim University[10]

In 1927, a school for the blind was established and, the following year, a medical school was attached to the university. By the end of the 1930s, the university had developed an Engineering faculty. Syed Zafarul Hasan, joined the Aligarh Muslim University in early 1900s as head of Philosophy Department, dean Faculty of Arts. He was a pro-vice chancellor before his retirement.

Victoria Gate, a prominent building at the university

Before 1939, faculty members and students supported an all-India nationalist movement. After 1939, political sentiment shifted toward support for a Muslim separatist movement. Students and faculty mobilised behind Muhammad Ali Jinnah and the university became a center of Pakistan Movement.[11][12]

Women's education[edit]

Women's education started at the university with the establishment of the Girls School on 19 October 1906. The All India Muhammadan Educational Conference had started a movement to establish girls education from 1896 onward. The school became intermediate college in 1929 and on 1930 it was made a constituent college of the university and the name was changed to Women's College. Since then it caters to the female undergraduate students of the university.[13]

In late 2014 the university's vice-chancellor Zameer Uddin Shah turned down a demand by female students of the college to be allowed to use the Maulana Azad Library, which was male-only. Shah stated that the issue was not one of discipline, but of space as if girls were allowed in the library there would be "four times more boys," putting a strain on the library's capacity.[14][15][16] Although there was a separate library for the university's Women's College, it was not as well-stocked as the Maulana Azad Library.[14] National human resource and development minister Smriti Irani decried Shah's defense as "an insult to daughters."[15]

Responding to a petition filed by a Human Rights Law Network intern, the Allahabad High Court ruled in November 2014 that the university's ban on female students from using the main library was unconstitutional, and that accommodations must be made to facilitate student use regardless of gender.[16][17] The High Court gave the university until 24 November 2014 to comply.[17]

Minority status[edit]

Aligarh Muslim University claims itself as a minority institute guaranteed under Article 29 and 30 of the Constitution of India. However, Allahabad High Court had struck down provisions of Aligarh Muslim University Act stating that AMU is not a minority institution. In April 2016, the Indian government advised the court it would not appeal the decision.[18][19]


SS Masjid beside Strachey Hall, AMU Aligarh

The university's formal head is the Chancellor, though this is a titular figure, not involved with the day-to-day running of the university. The Chancellor is elected by the members of University Court, a body with members drawn from all walks of life. The university's chief executive is the Vice-Chancellor, appointed by the President of India on the recommendation of the Court. The Court is the supreme governing body of the University and exercises all the powers of the University, not otherwise provided for by the Aligarh Muslim University Act, the Statutes, the Ordinances and the Regulations of the University.[20]

On 11 April 2015, Mufaddal Saifuddin was elected Chancellor and Ibne Saeed Khan, the former Nawab of Chhatari state, Pro-Chancellor.[21] Habibur Rahman, former vice chancellor of Agra University, was elected Honorary Treasurer.[22]

Since 2012 Zameer Uddin Shah has been Vice-Chancellor, the 38th person to hold that position.[23][24]

Academic profile[edit]

Aligarh Muslim University is a fully residential university having 13 faculties, 7 constituent colleges (5 colleges academic programs), 15 Centres, 3 Institutes, 10 schools.[25] Recently the university opened faculty of International Studies.[26]


Kennedy House, museum (left); auditorium (right)

In 2012, the university was ranked 5th by India Today.[27] In 2013, the University ranked 9th in the top 10 higher education institutions in India by Times Higher Education World University Rankings.[28] In 2014 the Department of Fine Arts was ranked number 10 by India Today.[29] In 2015 the National Assessment and Accreditation Council rated the school 3.35/A.[30]

In 2016, Faculty of Law retained its 6th rank consistently third time in a row in India's best law colleges compiled by India Today.[31] It had consistently ranked in the top 20 in previous years.[32]

Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, the medical school of the university has been ranked 12 by India Today in the year 2016.[33] It was ranked 14 in its 2015 ranking.[34]

Zakir Hussain College of Engineering & Technology, the engineering college of the university has been ranked 23rd in 2016 by India Today best college rankings.[35]

In 2015 US News and World Report in its education and advice ranked the university 6th in India, 110th in Asia and 69th in Mathematics subjects.[36] The university ranked 20 by Careers 360 (Magazine).[37]


Maulana Azad Library (viewed from Kennedy Lawns)
Main article: Maulana Azad Library

The Maulana Azad Library is the library of the university. It consists of a central library and over 100 departmental and college libraries.

It houses royal decrees of Mughal emperors such as Babur, Akbar and Shahjahan are highlights of the collection.[38]

The foundation of the Library was laid in 1877 at the time of establishment of the Mohammedan Anglo Oriental College by Lord Robert Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Earl of Lytton, the then Viceroy of India and it was named after him as Lytton Library. The present seven-storied building was inaugurated by Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of independent India in 1960 and the Library was named after Abul Kalam Azad popularly known as Maulana Azad, the first Education Minister of the independent India.[38][39]

Social science cyber library was inaugurated by Pranab Mukherjee,the President of India on 27 December 2013.[40] In 2015 the Cybrary was accredited with the International Standard Organisation certification.[41]

Student life[edit]


Sherwani is worn by male students of the university and is a traditional attire of the university. It is required to be worn during official programs.[42] The university provides sherwani at a subsidized price.[43] Sherwani is unique tradition of Aligarh Muslim University.

In early 2013 Zameer Uddin Shah stoked a controversy by insisting that male students have to wear sherwani if they wanted to meet him.[44]

Clubs and societies[edit]

Sports and cultural activities are executed by various clubs available in the campus. The most important and oldest is the Cricket club[45] and Horse riding club.[46]

Notable alumni[edit]

Throughout its history a sizable number of university alumni popularly known as Aligs have become notable in many varied fields, both academic and otherwise, ranging from Zakir Husain, 3rd President of India;[47] freedom fighter Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan; the current Vice-President of India Mohammad Hamid Ansari;[48]André Weil the French mathematician of the 20th century;[49] Anwara Taimur the first and the only women Chief Minister of Assam.[50] Sheikh Abdullah, and Mufti Mohammad Sayeed both former Chief Ministers of Jammu and Kashmir.[51][52] Sports persons like Dhyan Chand, Lala Amarnath and Zafar Iqbal[53] are some among the many alumni of the university.

University in literature and other media[edit]

The Aligarh Muslim University is the setting for numerous works of fiction. Films set in the university include Mere Mehboob a 1963 film directed by Harnam Singh Rawail and starring Rajendra Kumar, Sadhana, Ashok Kumar, Nimmi, Pran, Johnny Walker and Ameeta. The 1966 film Nai Umar Ki Nai Fasal was also filmed on the campus.[54] Aligarh 2015 a film on Ramchandra Siras a gay professor from the university has been released and received warm response worldwide.[55]



  1. ^ "Aligarh Muslim University, BHU welcome budgetary allocations". The Times of India. 1 Mar 2013. 
  2. ^ "Aligarh Muslim University". Retrieved 8 July 2012. 
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Aligarh" in Chambers's Encyclopædia. London: George Newnes, 1961, Vol. 1, p. 267.
  6. ^ a b c Cementing Ethics with Modernism: An Appraisal of Sir Sayyed Ahmed Khan's Writings. Gyan Publishing House. 2010-01-01. ISBN 9788121210478. 
  7. ^ Muhammad Moj (1 March 2015). The Deoband Madrassah Movement: Countercultural Trends and Tendencies. Anthem Press. pp. 47–. ISBN 978-1-78308-388-6. 
  8. ^ "Syed Ahmad Khan and Aligarh Movement". Retrieved 2016-04-07. 
  9. ^ a b "AMU History". Aligarh Muslim University. Retrieved 30 March 2014. 
  10. ^ Express Tribune. "To sir with love: Aga Khan III – a tireless advocate for female education". 
  11. ^ Mushirul Hasan, "Nationalist and Separatist Trends in Aligarh, 1915–47," Indian Economic and Social History Review, (January 1985) 22#1 pp 1–33
  12. ^ Zakir Ali Khan, an alumni of AMU, in an Interview with The Dawn, Pakistani newspaper[dead link]
  13. ^ "Women's College of Aligarh Muslim University |". Retrieved 2016-03-27. 
  14. ^ a b Eram Agha, Girls in AMU library will ‘attract’ boys: VC. The Times of India, 11 November 2014.
  15. ^ a b Irani slams AMU V-C over women in library remark. Hindustan Times, 11 November 2014.
  16. ^ a b Allow entry of girls inside library: Allahabad High Court to AMU. Deccan Chronicle, 25 November 2014.
  17. ^ a b India court library ban on women 'unconstitutional'. BBC News Online, 14 November 2014.
  18. ^ "AMU row: Centre to withdraw UPAs appeal, push for non-minority status". Retrieved 2016-04-04. 
  19. ^ "Modi government seeks more time from SC to file application in Aligarh Muslim University case - The Economic Times". The Economic Times. Retrieved 2016-04-04. 
  20. ^ "Aligarh Muslim University || Registrar Section". Retrieved 2015-10-01. 
  21. ^ "Bohra community head is AMU Chancellor". The Hindu. 2015-04-12. Retrieved 2015-10-01. 
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  23. ^ "Know the new VC of Aligarh Muslim University". 2012-05-12. Retrieved 2015-10-01. 
  24. ^ PTI (2012-05-11). "Zameeruddin Shah appointed as new AMU vice-chancellor – The Times of India". Retrieved 2015-10-01. 
  25. ^ "Aligarh Muslim University – Faculties". Retrieved 2015-10-01. 
  26. ^ PTI (2013-05-11). "Aligarh Muslim University to set up international relations study centre – The Times of India". Retrieved 2015-10-01. 
  27. ^ "Back Where It Belongs: AMU at 5th spot on India Today Universities Rankings 2012". 18 May 2012. Retrieved 21 February 2013. 
  28. ^ "India's top 10 higher education institutions". The World University Rankings. 4 March 2013. Retrieved 9 March 2013. 
  29. ^ "NDIA'S BEST FINE ARTS COLLEGES 2014". India Today. India Today. Retrieved 1 October 2015. 
  30. ^ "5th Meeting of the Standing Committee (3rd March 2015): List of Institutions Recommended For Accreditation by NAAC (1st Cycle)" (PDF). National Assessment and Accreditation Council. 
  31. ^ "Faculty of Law, Aligarh Muslim University Best Law Colleges 2016 India Today Survey". Retrieved 2016-05-29. 
  32. ^ "Faculty of Law, Aligarh Muslim University Best Law Colleges 2015 India Today Survey". 
  33. ^ "Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, AMU Best Medicine Colleges 2016 India Today Survey". Retrieved 2016-05-29. 
  34. ^ "INDIA'S BEST MEDICAL COLLEGES 2015". India Today. Retrieved 1 October 2015. 
  35. ^ "Zakir Husain College of Engineering & Technology Best Engineering Colleges 2016 India Today Survey". Retrieved 2016-05-29. 
  36. ^ "Aligarh Muslim University in India | US News Best Global Universities". Retrieved 2015-10-12. 
  37. ^ Top Public Universities in India 2015
  38. ^ a b "AMU at 5th spot on India Today Universities Rankings 2012". Retrieved 2015-10-01. 
  39. ^ "Aligarh Muslim University || M.A. Library". Retrieved 2015-10-01. 
  40. ^ "President of India inaugurates XXXVII Indian Social Science Congress". batori. Retrieved 1 October 2015. 
  41. ^ "Aligarh Muslim University 'cyberary' gets ISO certification". Business Standard. Retrieved 1 October 2015. 
  42. ^ "Is Lt Gen Zameeruddin Shah reviving 'Sherwani Culture' in AMU? |". Retrieved 2016-04-06. 
  43. ^ "For AMU students, wearing sherwani no issue - Indian Express". Retrieved 2016-04-06. 
  44. ^ Bhalla, Sahil. "This isn't the first time the Aligarh Muslim University VC has said something outrageous". Retrieved 2016-04-06. 
  45. ^ Guha, Ramachandra (2014-10-10). A Corner of a Foreign Field: The Indian History of a British Sport (New and Updated Edition). Penguin Books Limited. ISBN 9789351186939. 
  46. ^ "Galloping to glory". The Hindu. 2011-02-26. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2016-04-06. 
  47. ^ "Encyclopedia Britannica- Biography". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 1 October 2015. 
  48. ^ "Hamid Ansari: From diplomat to Vice-President". Firstpost. Retrieved 1 October 2015. 
  49. ^ Borel, Armand
  50. ^ "Anwara Taimur – The First Lady CM of Assam". Retrieved 1 October 2015. 
  51. ^ [1]
  52. ^ "Mufti Mohammad Sayeed – A suave politician". The Indian Express. 2016-01-07. Retrieved 2016-01-07. 
  53. ^ "Some hearts still beat for hockey here". India Today. Retrieved 1 October 2015. 
  54. ^ Share on Twitter (2014-03-15). "Tigmanshu Dhulia to shoot at Aligarh Muslim University? - The Times of India". Retrieved 2015-10-01. 
  55. ^ "Aligarh review: Manoj Bajpayee touches your heart, changes perceptions". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 2016-03-26. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Mushirul Hasan: "Nationalist and Separatist Trends in Aligarh, 1915–47" in Indian Economic and Social History Review (Jan 1985), Vol. 22 Issue 1, pp 1–33
  • Gail Minault and David Lelyveld: "The Campaign for a Muslim University 1898–1920" in Modern Asian Studies (March 1974) 8#2 pp 145–189

External links[edit]