Sada-e-Watan Sydney ™

Sir Syed Day was held at Parramatta Town Hall Sydney

Coverage by: Syed Zafar Hussain, Report by: Rasheeduzzafar

Kumud Merani & President Nadeem Siddiqi

The Aligarh Muslim University Alumni of Australia celebrated its 15th annual Sir Syed Day on 11 November 2006 at Parramatta Town Hall. Celebrated in every major city of the world by past and present students of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), the occasion commemorates the birthday of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, the founder of AMU in India. In Sydney the much awaited function is famous for scholarly speeches by scientists and educators combined with lively entertainment for the families, not to mention the four course dinner. This year the Alumni invited Consul General of India, Hon. Mr. Sujan Chinoy as the chief guest and Professor Arthur Trusswell, Professor and Head of the Human Nutrition Unit at University of Sydney, as the Guest of honor and keynote speaker. The function was attended by over 300 guests.

The function started with recitation from Holy Quran by Master Faisal Akhtar and its translation in English by Miss Aaminah Siddiqi. In his welcome speech, President of the Alumni, Dr Nadeem Siddiqi, paid tributes to Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and said that the founder of the AMU overcame seemingly insurmountable hurdles, on the strength of his conviction, to create an institution that has for the last 100 years been a beacon of enlightenment and hope. Dr Siddiqi said that Sir Syed has arguably done more for the Muslims in South Asia than any other person in the last millennium. He was a visionary, who saw the formation of MAO College as an important first step towards educating the Muslim masses of the country. While laying the foundation of MAO College, Sir Syed had said “This College may expand into university whose sons shall go forth through out the length and breath of the land to preach the gospel of free inquiry, large hearted tolerance, and of pure morality”. He had then added, “with mutual assistance, collective effort and generosity we should make arrangement for education of children and woman”. Dr Siddiqi said that it is this vision of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan that drives the mission of the AMU Alumni of Australia. He briefly outlined the two scholarship projects (Primary School Scholarship and University Scholarship) being run by the Alumni in order to help financially disadvantaged students. Dr Siddiqi extended a warm welcome to all the guests and expressed his gratitude to all those who lent their support to the function, especially SBS Radio’s Hindi and Urdu presenters Ms Kumud Merani, Mr. Rehan Alvi, Ms Yasmin Syed and Ms Jaya Sharma, Mr. Mateen Abbas of Nawa-e-Sarosh, Mr Vikram Sharma of Monica Geet Mala and Mr. Riaz Shah of Rimjhim. He also thanked Mr. Zafar Hussain of Sada-e-Watan, Mr. Mohammad Munir of Rabitah and Mr. Hasnain Zaheer of Indian Link magazines for publishing the SS Day program. Dr Siddiqi concluded his speech by appealing to all guest ‘Our Alma Mater has given us numerous opportunities. It is now time to give back. Time to stand up and do our part to fulfill the vision and dream of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan’. ‘We might not be able to do it alone’ he said, ‘but I have no doubt that together we can’.

Mr. Faiz Ahmad then briefly explained about University Student Scholarship Program, Primary School Children Sponsorships Project and Building & School Infrastructure Project and appeal to audience to help Alumni in helping the education of underprivileged.

Mr. Riyaz Akhtar gave a brief introduction of chief guest Mr. Sujan Chinoy. In his excellent and spellbinding speech, the Chief Guest Mr. Sujan Chinoy thanked the Alumni for inviting him and commended the efforts of the Alumni in helping poor students achieve their dreams. He likened these efforts to the hard work that Sir Syed had done in his selfless service to the community. Quoting the Holy Quran and the traditions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Mr. Chinoy said that Islam has laid great stress on acquiring and imparting education. Islam, he said, had made it a duty up on every Muslim to engage himself in acquiring knowledge. The honorable chief guest also reminded the guests of the important role the AMU had played in shaping India’s destiny for the better. “It was and still is one of the best universities of India”, he said. Mr. Chinoy of the Indian Foreign Services, who has held many important positions in the Indian Commissions in many countries and who is proficient in Chinese, Arabic and a host of Indian languages, said he still considers himself a student in search of knowledge. He said he was impressed by the Alumni’s work and would encourage all to support the Alumni’s efforts.

Dr Sami Syed, introduced Professor Truswell to audience and requested him to address the guests. Key note speaker Prof Truswell thanked Alumni and said that I am honored to be your keynote speaker this year and praised Alumni’s scholarship program. Prof Trusswell said that Sir Syed wanted his fellow Muslims to be educated in Science, technology and modern business. Prof Trusswell talked in length of about Sir Syed’s articles especially in an essay where Sir Syed said that when a person or group consider themselves to be perfect in anything they neglect struggle & effort, further researches and inventions and gradually declines. No one is absolutely perfect except God. Prof Truswell then talked in length about Universities and the problem they are facing. Prof. Truswell is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, London, Royal Australasian College of Physicians, International Union of Nutritional Sciences and the UK Faculty of Public Health Medicine. He was awarded a DSc in 1998. He has published over 500 research papers in national and international journals and is the author of several famous books on nutrition, such as “Essentials of Human Nutrition”, ‘ABC of Nutrition’ and ‘Human Nutrition and Dietetics’. Prof. Truswell has many great honors to his credit. He was awarded the prestigious Officer of the Order of Australia medal in 2001 for his distinguished work in human nutrition and understanding of human diseases caused by nutritional deficiencies or malnutrition.

Later, Dr Qazi Ashfaq Ahmad, senior patron of the Alumni, presented a vote of thanks and reiterated the need for community work and helping those who are less fortunate than us. The program broke for the Maghrib prayers, following which the children presented three performances, The song of peace, Mushaira and Fancy dress show. As always, the children stole the show with their immaculate performances and set the field for further entertainment into the night. Dinner was served after which Ms Kumud Merani, SBS Radio Hindi presenter, Mr. Rehan Alvi, SBS Radio Urdu presenter and Mr. Zia Ahmad, President MEFF gave away the prizes to young performers. The program concluded with melodies of the yester years presented in their inimitable way by Mr. Riaz Shah and his team of talented singers and musicians. Mr. Syed Hamid Ali, Secretary, AMU Alumni of Australia was the host of the night and was instrumental in the planning and smooth running of the whole show.



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