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Aligarh Muslim University

Aligarh Muslim University
अलीगढ़ मुस्लिम विश्वविद्यालय
The seal of the Aligarh Muslim University
Motto Arabic: عَلَّمَ الاِنْسَانَ مَا لَمْ يَعْلَم
allama'l-insāna mā lam ya'lam
Motto in English
Taught man what he knew not (Qur'an 96:5)
Established 1875 (as MAO College)
1920 (as AMU)
Type Public
Endowment $18.2 million[1]
Vice-Chancellor Lt. General Zameer Uddin Shah
Visitor Pranab Mukerjee, President of the Republic of India
Academic staff
Students 30,000
Location Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, India
Campus Urban 467.6 hectares (1,155 acres)
Acronym AMU
Nickname AMU
Affiliations UGC, NAAC, AIU
Victoria Gate, a prominent building at the university
Maulana Azad Library (viewed from Kennedy Lawns)
Kennedy House, museum (left); auditorium (right)
Bab-e-syed, the gateway to AMU
University canteen
SS Masjid beside Strachey Hall, AMU Aligarh

Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) is a government funded, public university, 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. According to the 2014 Asia Ranking of Times Higher Education, AMU ranks 3rd among universities in India.[3] The university comprises all castes, creeds, religions and genders, and is on the list of Institutes of National Importance.[4][5]


  • History 1
  • Organisation 2
  • Academic profile 3
  • Libraries 4
  • Rankings 5
  • Notable alumni 6
  • University in literature and other media 7
  • References 8
  • Further reading 9
  • External links 10


It was established as Madrasatul Uloom Musalmanan-e-Hind in 1875–78,[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] 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.[8] 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[9]

In the beginning the college was affiliated with the University of Calcutta but became an affiliate of Allahabad University in 1885. Around 1900 efforts began to make the college its own university. Its range of courses was expanded and a girls school was added in 1907 before it became the Aligarh Muslim University in 1920. The Aligarh Muslim University Act of 1920 made it a central university.[8] The university was designed to train Muslims for government service in India and prepare them for advanced training in British universities.

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.

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 an center of Pakistan Movement.[10][11]

In late 2014 the university's vice-chancellor Zameerud-din Shah turned down a demand by female students 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.[12][13][14] Although there was a separate library for the university's Women's College, it was not as well-stocked as the Maulana Azad Library.[12] National human resource and development minister Smriti Irani decried Shah's defense as "an insult to daughters."[13]

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.[14][15] The High Court gave the university until November 24, 2014 to comply.[15]


The university's formal head is the Chancellor, currently Mufaddal Saifuddin is the Chancellor, though it is a titular figure, and is 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.

Ibne Saeed Khan, the erstwhile Nawab of Chhatari state, is the current Pro-Chancellor.[16]

Currently Zameer Uddin Shah is the Vice Chancellor. Shah is the 38th Vice Chancellor.[17][18] Vice-Chancellor is 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.[19]

Prof Habibur Rahman, former vice chancellor of Agra University is the current Honorary Treasurer.[20]

Academic profile

Aligarh Muslim University is a fully residential university having 13 faculties, 7 constituent colleges (5 colleges academic programs), 15 Centres, 3 Institutes, 10 schools.[21] Recently the university opened faculty of International Studies.[22]


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.[23]

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.[23][24]

Social science cyber library was inaugurated by

  • Official website

External links

  • 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

Further reading

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  6. ^ "Aligarh" in George Newnes, 1961, Vol. 1, p. 267.
  7. ^
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  10. ^ Mushirul Hasan, "Nationalist and Separatist Trends in Aligarh, 1915–47," Indian Economic and Social History Review, (January 1985) 22#1 pp 1–33
  11. ^ , Pakistani newspaperThe DawnZakir Ali Khan, an alumni of AMU, in an Interview with
  12. ^ a b Eram Agha, Girls in AMU library will ‘attract’ boys: VC. The Times of India, November 11, 2014.
  13. ^ a b Irani slams AMU V-C over women in library remark. Hindustan Times, November 11, 2014.
  14. ^ a b Allow entry of girls inside library: Allahabad High Court to AMU. Deccan Chronicle, November 25, 2014.
  15. ^ a b India court library ban on women 'unconstitutional'. BBC News Online, November 14, 2014.
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  36. ^ Borel, Armand
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The Aligarh Muslim University is the setting for numerous works of fictions and films. Films set in the university includes 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[39] As of September 2015, Aligarh, a film about a gay professor from the university was being filmed.[40]

University in literature and other media

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;[34] freedom fighter Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan; the current Vice-President of India Mohammad Hamid Ansari;[35]André Weil the French mathematician of the 20th century;[36] Anwara Taimur the first and the only women Chief Minister of Assam.[37] Sports persons like Dhyan Chand, Lala Amarnath and Zafar Iqbal[38] are some among the few alumnus of the university.

Notable alumni

In 2015 USNews in its education and advice rankings has ranked the university in the 6th slot in India, 110th rank in Asia and 69th ranking in Mathematics subjects.[33]

In 2015, the Law school was listed on number 6 in India's best law colleges list compiled by India Today. It was consistently ranked top 20 in the previous years.[31]The Medical school of the university was ranked 14 by India Today in its 2015 ranking.[32]

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]



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