Nawab Muhammad Ishaaq Khan

Nawab Muhammad Ishaaq Khan
Born: 1860, Delhi
Died: October 28, 1918, Jehangirabad-Meerut(UP)
Secretary of MAO College Board: Jan. 1913- October 28, 1918
President All India Muslim Educational Conference

A compossionate follower & Pillar of Aligarh Movement, son of Nawab Shefta (a great poet and contemporary of Mirza Ghalib), father of EX-Vice Chancelllor, Nawab Ismail Khan, deciple of Maulana Altaf Hussain Haali and an architect by hobby is a small introduction of Nawab Ishaaq Khan, 3rd Secretary of MAO College Management and President of All India Muslim Educational Conference.

Nawab Ishaaq Khan was born in reputed Delhi family and his father was Nawab Mustafa Khan of Jahangirabad, popularly known as Nawab Shefta [1804-1869], a famous friend of Mirza Asadullah Khan, Ghalib. In 1861 Nawab Mustafa Khan (Nawab Shefta) employed Maulana Altaf Hussain Haali to teach his son. The Nawab was himself a skilled poet and critic of Urdu & Persian and wrote under the name of Shefta.

He was district and session Judge at Muradabad when was elected as Secretary of MAO College Management in the last week of January 1913. His term was to expire on July 21, 1915. In March 1915 he announce that owing to his failing health he would not like to continue Secretary any longr. However, later he agreed to br re-elected for next 3 years, till january 1919. But his health broke down and did not completed his term.

Nawab Ishaaq Khan was district & session Judge in Allahabad. During his tenure of MAO College Secretaryship, he invited Sarojni Naidu to MAO College. To commemorate her visit, he, announced an annual donation of a collection of books in the Students’ Union Library, to be known as ‘Mrs. Sarojni Naidu Collection’.

During his job as district and session Judge in Allahbad, he was greatly impressed by the eminence of Pundit Moti Lal Nehru as a lawyer. When his son Nawab Ismail Khan returned from England after becoming a barrister at law, Nawab Ishaaq Khan made him start his legal practice as assistant lawyer to Pundit Moti Lal Nehru who prevailed upon Nawab Ishaaq Khan to let his son stay with him as his guest. So he stayed in Anand Bhawan for a couple of years. He had a life long friendship with Pundit Jawaher Lal Nehru and Mrs. Vijay Lakshmi Pundit.
Nawab Ishaaq Khan was a very good architect also. He himself designed a building with the help of some assistants who had experience of building barracks for the British army. The building is in Meerut (UP) and named after his father, Mustafa Castle. He amalgamated many styles of architecture in building Mustafa Castle. It has all the facilities which British bungalows provide. It has prominent features of the buildings of Rajasthan and Oudh area, mainly Lucknow. But as result of this amalgam the facade of Mustafa Castle is absolutely unique. This building was completed in 1900. Nawab Mustafa Khan's mother (grand mother of Nawab Ishaaq Khan) was the daughter of the Commander in Chief of the Mughal army, Ismail Baig Hamadani. Even after the surrender of the Mughal army he continued his fight against the British and finally retreated to Nepal. Nawab Mustafa Khan was tried for supposedly supporting the uprising which had emanated from Meerut. He was sentenced to seven years imprisonment. He was confined in a cell of the military jail of Meerut cantonment which had been improvised for the convicts of the 1857 uprising and was later abandoned.

This small jail happened to be right in the centre of the area which comprises Mustafa Castle. It was purchased by Nawab Ishaq Khan along with the adjoining area comprising nearly 30 acres of land. He then built Mustafa Castle as his homage to the memory and honor of his father Mustafa Khan. The cell in which he was imprisoned was retained in its original shape in the building he constructed.

The following outstanding persons have visited and stayed in Mustafa Castle.
Mahatma Gandhi. Three days during the Khilafat Movement
Jawaher Lal Nehru. Three days during the Khilafat Movement
Mohammad Ali Jinnah. Twice during the Pakistan Movement
Mrs. Naidu. Many times over a period of 30 years
Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad. Two or three times
Maulana Mohammad Ali. Many times
Maulana Hasrat Mohani. Many times
Bahadur Yar Jang of Hyderabad. Once
Mrs. Vijay Lakshmi Pundit, Many Times
Vitthal Bhai Patel. Elder brother of Vallabh Bhai Patel. Twice
Bhula Bhai Desai. Twice.
Govind Vallabh Pant. Twice
Liaquat Ali Khan. Many, many times

Nawab Viqarul Mulk

Mushtaq Hussain, Nawab Viqarul-Mulk

Born: 24th March, 1841, Amroha (UP)
Died: 27th January, 1917, Amroha (UP)

Secretary of MAO College Board:
15th Dec-1907 to July-1912

Biography: Viqar-i-Hayat

Muhammad Ikramullah Khan

Aligarh: Muslim University, 1925.

The association of Maulvi Mushtaq Hussain known as Viqarul Mulk with Sir Syed began from his early career when he worked under him for some time. Sir Syed was highly impressed by his capabilities.
Nawab Viqar-ul-Mulk was born in Amroha (UP) and started his education at a maktab and later on became a pupil of Maulvi Rahat Ali Amrohi, under whom he learned advanced Arabic, Hadith and Fiqh. He later joined government services where he came in contact with Sir Syed Ahmad Khan in 1861 in the United Provinces (UP).
In 1866, he started his career as a humble worker of the Aligarh Movement. He also became a member of the Scientific Society. In 1870, he was awarded second prize in an essay competition arranged by the Society for the Promotion of Education among Muslims. The subject of his essay focused on bringing about an educational renaissance among the Muslims.
In 1875, he was invited to serve in Hyderabad State under the British. He continued to serve for 17 years and as a result of his meritorious services, he was elevated to the rank of a Nawab, his full title being Nawab Mushtaq Hussain Viqar-ul-Mulk. He served the state of Hyderabad from 1875 to 1892.
Nawab Viqar-ul-Mulk was a member of the Shimla Deputation in 1906. He wanted the Muslims to organize themselves politically and to safeguard their political rights. Starting his political career with the Aligarh Movement, he represented and guarded the Indian Muslim cause at few significant events which includes the Shimla Deputation.
Viqarul Mulk was one of the most ardent followers of Sir Syed and a very active worker of his camp. For the Scientific Society he translated a book ‘French Revolution and Napoleon’. When the College Fund Committee was formed, he became one of its members and worked ceaselessly for popularizing the movement of Sir Syed. He raised a huge amount of Rs. Seven Lakhs and 50 thousand for the establishment of the M. A. O. College.
After the death of Mohsinul Mulk he was elected unanimously Secretary by the Board of Trustees and took over charge in January 1908 when he was 67. He had sharp differences with the European staff of Aligarh College but Sir Syed and Mohsin-ul-Mulk believed in Anglo Muslim alliance. He, therefore, tried to put the necessary checks on the unquestionable authority of the Principal, which led to a serious clash between him and the European staff resulting in the resignation of Principal Archbold. The matter became so serious that it went to the level of Lt. Governor. However, Viqarul Mulk did not yield on the question of autonomy of the Institution. From a political point of view, his secretary ship was hard and stormy but he worked with courage.
Viqarul-Mulk had strong religious bent of mind and did not wish the students to grow up without a full share of religious training. He made it clear that those who did not say their prayers were liable to be turned out of College. This pleased the Ulemas who were opposed to English education (like Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi). They now supported the College and like Maulana Abdul Bari of Firangi Mahal chose the Aligarh College for education of their own children. Viqarul Mulk was primarily a leader of the Muslim community and he was one of the founders of the Muslim League in 1907 in Dhaka. It was during his Secretary ship of the M.A.O. College that intense efforts were made to set up a Muslim University at Aligarh. He succeeded in collecting donations for this purpose. Thus it may be said that after Sir Syed he was the most eminent figure behind the Aligarh Movement.

During the life of Sir Saiyad Ahmad, the Aligarh Movement was confined to the upper and middle class muslim society. Mohsinul Mulk widened its activities and Viqarul Mulk made it a mass movement creating Aligarh a Centre of Muslim intelligentia.

By 1915, he was paralyzed by a stroke. He passed away on January 27, 1917, and was buried in his family graveyard at Amroha.

Humanism of an Ultraconservative:
Viqar-ul-Mulk- has carved a niche for himself in the history of the Aligarh movement as Sir Syed's close confidante and the Secretary of the Board of Trustees of the MAO College from 1907 to 1914 during a very turbulent phase of the history of the institution. He also played a role in shaping far-reaching political developments as one of the founders of the All India Muslim League of which he was the first Joint Secretary. By all accounts he was a very stern, uncompromising person not given to levity and humor so characteristic of the Muslim elite of the age. Someone writes of him as a person "who commanded respect and fear rather than affection." Without going into his biographical details it will be sufficient to note that Mushtaq Hussain resigned his position as Tehsildar in UP as his Collector was not agreeable to his taking a few minutes off for the Zuhr prayers. It was after this confrontation that Sir Saiyad helped him get employment in Hyderabad here he made long-lasting contribution to Revenue administration and was instrumental in making Urdu-instead of Persian- as the official language of the largest princely state in the British India. We shall see an extraordinarily `human' Viqar-ul-Mulk in the following account which is based on "Khutoot-i-Viqar- ul-Mulk" compiled by his youngest son Mr. Mushtaq Ahmed and published by the AMU in 1974.His eldest son, Mohammed Ahmed (1868-1896), went to England to qualify as Barrister. There, he married a young lady, "Shelly". The couple settled down in Bangalore while Viqar-ul-Mulk was still serving in Hyderabad. Mohammed Ahmed died in Bangalore at the age of 28 after a brief illness leaving a young widow and one year old daughter called "Hameeda". By then, Viqar-ul-Mulk had left Hyderabad, and returned to his native Amroha in UP. The widowed daughter-in- law and the grand daughter joined him there. The misfortunes of the family did not end; Hameeda was claimed by cholera at the age of five. Following the death of the daughter Shelly decided to return to her native England and Viqar-ul-Mulk, despite financial difficulties- after all he was only the 'title holder' of Nawab, but was otherwise a pensioner-ensured that the daughter-in- law received regular remittances for her upkeep. This arrangement went on for a number of years until she wrote to him on 6th January 1906 informing that she had received an inheritance of more than 10000 pounds and requested him to stop the financial assistance rather quaintly called "Pin Money". The following excerpt from her letter is worth quoting; " Let me in the fullness of my heart again express my loving gratitude to you for the fatherly care you have taken of me ever since you knew of me and during my widow-hood. I am thankful beyond words to you and especially now that you are relieved from the extra expense which you have so generously given and continued un-interruptedly. In reply, Viqar-ul-Mulk wrote to her a letter reproduced at pp 44-46 of the compilation. That being in Urdu is not being reproduced. It may be explained that the Nawab knew no English- he wrote to the daughter-in- law in Urdu; the originals were translated in English by his son-in-law Mr. Sibghatullah. We may only note the substance of what he wrote. The Nawab saheb mentioned that for long he wanted to tell something to Shelley but had so far refrained from doing so lest she misconstrued that as being intended to relieve his financial burden. Now that the situation has changed, he would suggest that she should give a serious thought to getting remarried. I venture to translate the relevant part of the letter as under; "Let me assure you that if one of my daughters had faced a similar situation, I would not only give her a similar advice but would have also tried to see that my advice was acted upon. … If you heed this advice, let me assure you that our relations will continue as before. If God (the Nawab uses `khuda') blesses you with an issue (from the second marriage), my affection for that off-spring will be the same as with the child of my own daughter. My hand of friendship will extend towards any family with whom you may choose to establish such relations. All this is on account of the affection which I have naturally for you and which shall always remain thus. My greatest satisfaction, if you act on this advice, will be that when my time comes I can leave this world unencumbered with the painful thought of your troubled life". The reply of the doting daughter-in- law is as interesting and its relevant portion (p-47) deserves to be quoted; "It is an extremely kind one and shows great delicacy in that you never mentioned the subject of my re-marriage whilst I depended on you for support.”My dear Mian, to be perfectly candid with you, I have no wish to marry again- there is no man who can take my dear husband's place. Probably, there are plenty of men who would not object to having me now that I have some money, and those I would scarcely marry. But under any circumstances I would prefer to die the widow of Mohammed Ahmed." To this the father-in-law replied (17th May 1906) "I realize that it is not appropriate on my part to write further in the matter; Nevertheless with apologies, I would like to submit that the matter will bear reconsideration at a future date. "The last word on the matter was said by the daughter-in-law who wrote; "I shall always think with loving gratitude of your care of me during all these long years of my widowhood. No English woman ever had a better father-in-law than I, although some are very good indeed."
The editor of `Khutoot-i-Viqarul Mulk” mentions that Shelly did not remarry and passed away at a fairly advanced age.This brief write-up do not admit of any rigorous analysis of the pognanant episode. It will be sufficient to note here the unreliability of stereotyping personalities. It was Sir Saiyad who wrote of Viqar-ul-Mulk, “I believe that Mushtaq Hussain would not change his opinion even if God revealed Himself against it" (quoted by Francis Robinson in "Separatism among Indian Muslims" pp 399-400; Oxford 1993). We need not question the judgment of Sir Saiyad but take note of the multi-layered nature of human personality. At an altogether different plain, the facts mentioned here invite the serious scholar to examine the human side of `Muslim orthodoxy' and whether it holds certain lessons- or at least provides `points to ponder'-for the current, self righteous orthodoxies with their rigid world views. In any case, the episode deserves to be widely publicized as providing new insights in the social life of the Muslim gentry.
(Source: AMUNetwork: by Mr. Naved Masood)

Viqarul Mulk Hall:
During the Vice Chancellor ship of Sir Ross Masood, Aligarh Muslim University honored Viqarul Mulk with naming the first Hall of residence outside of original MAO College campus after him in 1932. Viqarul Mulk Hall have four hostels: Jubilee Hostel, Marris Hostel, Muzammil Hostel and Nasrullah Hostel .

Compiled by:
Afzal Usmani

Nawab Mohsinul Mulk

Saiyad Mehdi Ali, Nawab Mohsinul-Mulk

Born: 9th December, 1837 Etawah (UP)

Died: 16th October, 1907, Shimla (H.P.)

Father’s Name: Saiyad Mir Zaamin Ali,

Biography: Hayat-e-Mohsin (By Mr. Amin Zuberi : 1934)

Secretary of MAO College Board: 1899-1907

Very few friendships have been as stable and strong as that of Sir Saiyad Ahmed Khan and Mohsin-ul-Mulk. Such a high level of respect for difference of opinion was possible in those days only. Saiyad Mehdi Ali, popularly known as Nawab Mohsin-ul-Mulk, was one of the strongest supporters of Sir Saiyad’s mission and Aligarh Movement. He was born in Etawah(UP) and received the best of early education in and around Etawah. He was given a thorough basic education, both in Persian and Arabic. During his posting as Tahsildar in Etawah, he met Sir Saiyad Ahmad Khan. This meeting resulted in a long lasting companionship and Nawab Mohsinul Mulk became a staunch supporter of Sir Saiyad’s vision and Mission. He became member of the Scientific Society from its starting dates in 1864. He wrote passionate articles in Tahzeebul Akhlaq to support Sir Saiyad’s vision and spread his mission and became a spokesperson of Sir Saiyad’s social thoughts and Aligarh Movement. Regarding Sir Saiyad Ahmad Khan’s visit to England, Nawab Mohsinul Mulk wrote a letter to Honorable Haji Ismail Khan: Saiyad Ahmad Khan went to England to see with his own eyes the nation which is respected all over the world, and to see the people in their own homes and in their own country. Whatever he observed, he made known to his own people when he returned. When people go to Britain from this country, they usually go for the sights, the theaters, the parks and the museums. But this great friend of Islamic faith went there and sat down in a library to write the Khutbat-e-Ahmadiya and to visit colleges and Universities. He went there for the sake of his people, he stayed there for the sake of his people and he came back for the sake of his people.”

When Sir Saiyad formed THE COMMITTEE OF THE SUPPORTERS OF THE ADVANCEMENT OF MUSLIM EDUCATION, Nawab Mohsinul Mulk was on his side and started collecting donations for the cause of the newly formed committee.

In 1867, he sat for the Provincial Civil Service examination and topped the list of successful candidates. He was appointed as Deputy Collector in U. P. In 1874, Mehdi Ali proceeded to Hyderabad and for his meritorious services, he was conferred the titles of Munir Nawaz Jang and Nawab Mohsin-ud-Daula by the Nizam of Hyderabad.

In 1893, he retired from Hyderabad and came to Aligarh and offered his services to Sir Saiyad Ahmad Khan to assist him in spreading the message of Aligarh Movement. Upon the death of Sir Saiyad, he was appointed as the Secretary of the Muslim Educational Conference in 1899. Towards the beginning of 20th century, the Hindi-Urdu controversy arose in the United Provinces. Mohsin-ul-Mulk took up the pen in defense of Urdu in collaboration with the Urdu Defense Association. He authored following books;

Mazaameen-e-Tahzeebul Akhlaq (Collection of his articles published in Tahzeebul Akhlaq)


Kitabul Muhabbat-o-Shauq Makaateeb

Musalmano(n) ki Tahzeeb


Nawab Mohsin-ul-Mulk, being a farsighted and politically conscious leader, carried on correspondence with the private secretary of the Viceroy to give his point-of-view on the necessity of separate representation for the Muslims in all legislatures and local bodies. He presided the 9th session of Muslim Educational Conference which was held in Aligarh in 1894 and proposed a resolution to help and support Nadwatul-Uloom, the newly formed religious school in Lucknow. His impressive Presidential remarks soften the hearts of modern educationist to support the cause of Nadwatul-Uloom.

After Sir Saiyad’s death in 1898, he became Secretary of the MAO College management and took Sir Saiyad’s burden on his own shoulders and is regarded with as much respect as his forerunner. He continued the mission of Sir Saiyad; at the same time he gave some special attention to bring religious and oriental stream scholars closer to AMO College so that the students can benefited from the scholars to have a proper understanding of religion also. He appointed a committee under the Chairmanship of Maulana Habibur Rahman Khan Sherwani to improve the religious studies courses in MAO College. Maulana Shibli Nomani was also a member of that committee. He played a key role in renewing Allama Shibli Nomani’s relationship with Aligarh and in result Allama Shibli again re-attached himself with Aligarh.

In 1906, he, along with Nawab Viqar-ul-Mulk, became Secretary of Muslim League and were asked to draft the constitution of the Muslim League. On 16th October, 1907, he died in Shimla (HP).

The Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) honored him by naming a Hall of residence after him. The foundation stone of the Hall was laid by the then Vice Chancellor, Mr. Badruddin Tyabji on November 4, 1963. It started with an initial strength of 400 and is now one of the largest residential Halls both in size and strength, having 900 students and six different hostels: Allama Shibli Hostel (Previously this was Sir Ziauddin Hostel), Ameen Hostel, Majaz Hostel, Maulana Hali Hostel, Maulana Mohd. Ali Johar Hostel, and Saifi Hostel

Compiled by:

Afzal Usmani