Theodore Beck

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Theodore Beck
Preceded by NA
Succeeded by NA
Personal details
Born 1859
Died 2 September 1899

Theodore Beck (1859 – 2 September 1899, Simla[1]) was a Quaker[2] and British educationalist working for the British Raj in India, who was invited by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan to serve as the Principal of the Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College in Aligarh after Mr. H.G.I. Siddon resigned due to poor health in 1883. Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College later evolve into the Aligarh Muslim University.

Beck was educated at the University of London and Trinity College, Cambridge.,[3] where he was an active member of the 'Apostles', a religious group founded by F. D. Maurice. He gained his B.A. in 1883, and was appointed Principal of MAO that year, aged only 24.[1]


He was the principal of M.A.O College in Aligarh from 1883-1899 A.D He was one of the secretaries of the Mohammedan Defence Association.

He was the founder President of Siddons Union Club at Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College in the year 26 August 1884.[4]

He edited Aligarh Institute Gazette.

He was preceded by Henry George Impey Siddons who was the first principal.

He was also opposed to join the Congress. After he died his younger sister E.J.Beck returned to Britain where she became the secretary of the National Indian Association.[5]

Beck manzil[edit]

The Old Boys, residing at Meerut, called a meeting on 10 September 1899 and decided to raise a fund to commemorate their Principal, Theodore Beck’s memory. They collected a sum of Rs. 465/- on the spot. Finally the Beck Fund amounted to Rs. 6,000/- with which the hall adjacent to the Lytton Library was built, and was named as "Beck Manzil". Theodore Beck was a distinguished graduate of the Trinity College, Cambridge and had held the office of the President of the Cambridge Union. He took charge as Principal of the MAO College at Aligarh on 1 February 1884 and remained Principal of the College for fifteen and a half year till his death on 2 September 1899 at Simla. Mr. Beck was much affected by Sir Syed’s death in 1898 and he decided to devote himself to the collection of funds for "Sir Syed Memorial". He wrote articles, delivered speeches and visited Allahbad and other places to collect funds for raising a suitable memorial to the "Founder’s" and set up the Muslim University as early as possible. His health began to fail. He went to Simla to recoup and on 2 September 1899 he breathed his last. He was working upon an appeal to Muslims for the Sir Syed Memorial fund, almost till the last day. The object of the fund was to collect a sum of Rs. 1,000,000 for raising the MAO College to the status of Muslim University. Mr. Beck devoted his energies to realizing Sir Syed’s dream of the University and through his efforts Englishmen Contributed generously to the fund. Lord Elgin, the Viceroy, contributed Rs. 2,000.[6][7]


He was born to Mr. Joseph Beck, a maker of optical instruments; a maker of optical instruments; member of the Anti-Slavery Society and Treasurer of the Friends War Victims Relief Committee during the Franco-Prussian War.[8]


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