Sir Syed Ahmad Khan The reform movement amongst the Muslims was spearheaded by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan (AD 1817-1898). He belonged to a family of nobles and joined the East India Company as an officer. He remained loyal to the British during the Revolt of 1857. The British, however, regarded the Muslims as their most dangerous enemies and discriminated against them.
Syed Ahamad Khan was depressed by the backwardness of the Muslims. He stressed the need for English education among the Muslims and opposed social prejudices which kept the community backward. All his life, he was guided by three aims-remove British hostility towards the Muslims and ensure good relations between the two, introduce reforms for the advancement of Muslims and finally, induce the Muslims to accept these reforms.
All his life, Syed Ahmad Khan protested against the practices of purdah, polygamy and easy divorce. Promotion of modern western education, however, was his priority. He believed that progress was possible only if the Muslims adopted western scientific knowledge and culture. In AD 1864, he founded the Translation Society at Aligarh. It was later renamed the Scientific Society. This society published Urdu translations of books on science and literature. He also established many schools in different parts of the country.