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Sir Syed Ahmed Khan

SAYYAD AHMAD KHAN commonly known as Sir Syed, was an Anglo-Indian, Muslim philosopher, pragmatist, and social activist of nineteenth century India.

In 1842, Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar-II conferred upon Sir Syed the title of Javad-ud Daula, conferred upon Sir Syed's grandfather Syed Hadi by Emperor Shah Alam II around the middle of the 18th century. In addition, the Emperor added the title of Arif Jang.

Born into Mughal nobility, Sir Syed earned a reputation as a distinguished scholar while working as a jurist for the British East India Company's rule in India. During the Indian Rebellion of 1857, he remained loyal to the British Empire and was noted for his actions in saving European lives. After the rebellion, he penned the booklet The Causes of the Indian Mutiny - a daring critique, at the time, of British policies that he blamed for causing the revolt.

Sir Syed began promoting Western-style scientific education by founding modern schools and journals and organizing Muslim entrepreneurs. Towards this goal, Sir Syed founded the famous Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) in 1875 with the aim of promoting social, scientific, and economic development of Indian Muslims.

Sir Syed promoted the adoption of Urdu as the language of all Indian Muslims, and mentored a rising generation of Muslim politicians and entrepreneurs. Prior to the Hindi-Urdu controversy, he was interested in the education of Muslims and Hindus both and this was the period in which Sir Syed visualized India as a "beautiful bride, whose one eye was Hindu and, the other, Muslim". Due to this view, he was regarded as a reformer and nationalist leader.