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26 May 2013

NCT Delhi govt begins identification of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan's haveli and birthplace, to be declared National Heritage site

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By Our Special Correspondent

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has asked the Department of Archaeology, Govt. of NCT of Delhi, to start Identification of Haveli and Birth Place of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, which would be later on declared as a “National Heritage” Site.

Ms. Sheila Dikshit finally acted on the plea following a meeting with a team of senior AMU Alumni based in Delhi led by P. Mohammad with Mohammad Aslam and Minnat Rahmani, which met the Delhi Chief Minister at her residence on 26 November 2012. Ever since its meeting the three AMU alumuni had been demanding the Delhi government to acquire, restore and declare the Haveli and Birth Place of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan as a “National Heritage Site”.


Sir Syed Ahmad Khan was the pioneer of modern education in India and his role in establishing Mohammmedan Anglo Oriental (MAO) College in 1875 at Aligarh.

Later in 1920 as Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) a central university was a historic step for spreading modern education and scientific temperament among Indians. Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, one of the architects of modern India was born on October 17, 1817 in Delhi.

Sir Syed instituted Scientific Society in 1864 to create a scientific temperament among the Indians and to make the Western knowledge available to Indians in their own language. He got translated many scientific works from English into Urdu.

The Aligarh Institute Gazette, an organ of the Scientific Society was started in March 1866 and succeeded in agitating the minds in the traditional Indian Society.

Presently In the bustling bylanes of Darya Ganj market, a piece of Indian history is gathering dust. A crumbling four-storey haveli, located near the Aulia Masjid, .Where this great educationist Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, founder of the Anglo Mohammedan College, now known as Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), grew up. The grand haveli has now been divided into pigeon-hole apartments. So much so that even identifying the mansion is a near impossible task.

After so many years, only some parts of the former haveli still resemble what it looked like in those times, as no steps were taken to conserve it. According to sources, about eight to 10 families live in the mansion today. With the paint on the walls peeling off, the floor chipped in several places and dust and cobwebs in every corner, the present state of the mansion does not do justice to its historical status.

“Sir Syed stayed at Goodenough House in London for 7 months during his trip to England (1869). The house bears the plate "English Heritage" and that Sir Syed lived here. The great sense of history prevails in UK and still below plate is a reminder of a place Sir Syed stay in London but we Indians are lost our own historical heritage and there is no sign of Sir Syed birth place and haveli in the very heart of Delhi.

Based on this meeting Chief Minister has asked to Department of Archaeology, Govt. of NCT of Delhi look into the actual place identify the actual house where Sir Syed Ahmad Khan lived once as this place is now occupied by many people and the head of archeology department has written a letter to P. Mohammad on 15-May-2013 in this regard. P. Mohammad with the team of Sr. AMU Alumni is working to create a team of experts in this area so that the actual Haveli will be located and the proper support will be provided to Department of Archaeology so that acquiring, restoring and declaring the Haveli and Birth Place of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan as a “National Heritage Site” by the Govt. of NCT of Delhi will be possible at the earliest.

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