It was not before the second half of the nineteenth century that reform movement among the Muslims of India had begun.
Among the Muslim intelligentsia who seriously endeavoured to bring about a change in the outlook of the Muslims the name of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan deserves special mention.
b. Educational Reform Programme:
If Rammohan Roy was the harbinger of regeneration among the Hindus, Sir Syed-Ahmed Khan may be said to be one who infused a new life into the Muslim community of India.
In 1864 Sir Syed Ahmed Khan founded the ‘Translation Society’ for the introduction of Western knowledge among the Muslims of India. Later on, this society came to be known as the ‘Scientific Society’.
Situated at Aligarh the primary objective of the society was to translate into Urdu and publish various English books on science and other subjects.
c. Foundation of the Anglo-Oriental College:
The greatest achievement of Sir Syed Ahmed was the foundation of the Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College. Situated at Aligarh this College developed into a centre of study for the Muslims of India.
d. The Aligarh Movement:
The Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College in course of time came to be known as Aligarh College The socio-religious and political movement that had begun centring the Aligarh College has been generally called the Aligarh movement.
The most important feature of the movement was that the students were to acquire knowledge of Western science and learning remaining devoted to Islam, so that they could give leadership to the Muslim community in India and inculcate a sense of unity among them.
The Aligarh movement initiated by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan was different from all other movements taken place earlier for the purification of Islam.
The Aligarh movement, as conceived by Sir Syed Ahmed, aimed at creating a class of Muslim aristocracy which would assume the leadership of the Muslim community in India and interact with the British rulers on equal terms with them.
In fact, the Aligarh movement instead of emphasizing on Islam as religion helped to emerge the Muslim community as a separate entity. This eventually gave birth to religious nationalism in a section of Muslim community in India.