Principal MAO College : William A.J. Archbold

William A.J. Archbold

Born: 1865 - England
Died: 1929 - England

Principal of MAO College: 16th October, 1905 to 31st Oct, 1909

Founder Secretary: Appointment Association, University of Cambridge

Secretary: Board of Indian Civil Services Studies

Twentieth-Century Essays & Addresses
Outlines of Indian Constitutional History (British Period)
Bengal haggis; the lighter side of Indian life

The romantic movement in English literature; a series of illustrative passages arranged with an introduction and brief biographies
Essays on teaching of history
The Somerset Religious Houses. Prince Consort Dissertation, 1890
Editor: Dictionary of National Biography.

William A. J. Archbold was born in England in 1865. He completed his graduation in Law in 1887. After completing his Law degree, he received WHEWELL SCHOLARSHIP in 1888 and started working as editor for Dictionary of National Biography. He established Appointment Association in University of Cambridge and served as its founding Secretary for 3 years.

In 1905 when Prof. Theodore Morrison resigned from the position of Principal MAO College, Mr. Archbold was working University of Cambridge and writing a book on French History for Cambridge University Press. MAO College made an offer to Mr. Archbold for principal MAO College which he accepted. A delegation of MAO College Old Boys comprising Shaikh Abdullah, Barrister Rafiuddin, Syed Abid Hussain and Sahebzada Aftab Ahmad Khan went to Bombay to receive him. Mr. Archbold was known as an able administrator before his joining as Principal of MAO College.

Mr. Archbold was well aware of his responsibilities as MAO College Principal. AT one occasion of dinner he said; “No one would succeed in the work, who did not have sympathy with the history, traditions, and aspirations of the MAO College.”

In the early 20th century i.e. in May 1906, the MAO College Students' Union had passed a resolution for Hindu-Muslim cooperation to fight against British imperialism. Mr. Archbold, Principal, Mohammadan Anglo Oriental College, therefore in August 1906 had tried to ensure the 'aloofness of the students from political agitation'. But the national and international development had created such a context that forced MAO College to produce many leaders, who asserted against the British imperialism and had joined the national movement of agitational politics which bore many fruits, including few Head of States

Mr. Archbold played a notable role in organizing Muslims Deputation which waited on the Viceroy, Lord Minto at Shimla, 1st Oct. 1906. The 1906 delegation to the viceroy was an announcement by John Morley, the secretary of state for India that his government proposed to introduce constitutional reforms in India. When Nawab Mohsin-ul-Mulk, Secretary MAO College Board of Trustees, heard about it, he wrote to Mr. Archbold, Principal of MAO College, who was then vacationing at Shimla. In his letter, Nawab Mohsin-ul-Mulk emphasized the importance of the occasion and asked Archbold to inquire whether Lord Minto, would receive a delegation of Indian Muslims, who wished to put before him their views about the projected constitutional reforms. The viceroy agreed. That initiative, as Bimal Prasad has emphasized (and documented), came entirely from Nawab Mohsin-ul-Mulk; not even from Archbold, let alone the British.

Mohammad Ali's phrase `command performance' was baseless and mischievous. When Nawab Mohsin-ul-Mulk got the green light from Shimla, a Memorial was prepared and discussed with some Muslim leaders at Lucknow. The big issue of the day that concerned both the Viceroy and the Muslims of the new province of East Bengal and Assam was the powerful ongoing agitation to annul the Partition of Bengal. Nawab Salimullah of Dacca and Nawab Ali Choudhury insisted at Lucknow that the Memorial should ask for an assurance that the Partition would not be annulled. But Aligarh Movement Leaders was not interested in that issue, which was not even mentioned in the Memorial. Nawab Salimullah of Dacca, therefore, refused to join the delegation although Nawab Ali Choudhury participated in the delegation.The viceroy too appears to have been disappointed that the Bengal Partition issue was not included in the Memorial. Lord Minto took it up on his own bat. In his reply, he reminded "The Mahomedan community of Eastern Bengal and Assam [that they] can rely as firmly as ever on British justice and fair-play." The delegation had asked for separate electorates and a fairer quota of representation in the viceroy's council, his executive council, in provincial councils and on senates and syndicates of the Indian Universities. They had reiterated the demand for a Muslim University. They sought a Muslim quota in the government service and the appointment of Muslim judges on the Bench. These were all predictable demands of the Muslim Salariat and professionals. In response, Lord Minto "promised … nothing, except sympathy.”So much for the `command performance'! Even the memorandum presented by them to Lord Minto had been carefully drafted, agreed upon and settled in advance between Mr. Archbold, the Principal of Muhammadan Anglo Oriental College and Dunlop Smith, the Private Secretary to the Viceroy. The British Government in India had taken advance action to give the widest publicity to this whole affair in the British Press in London, how India was not one nation, how it was not suited for democratic institutions, how Muslims were standing by the Empire and how Muslim patriotism and statesmanship had pricked the bubble of the treasonable Bengal Hindu agitators.

From the time of Sir Syed, European staff of MAO College were very powerful and during Nawab Mohsinul Mulk’s Secretaryship, they became even more stronger, specially Principal of MAO College were acting way beyond there authority due to their closeness with British Empire in India. After the death of Nawab Mohsinul Mulk, Nawab Viqarul Mulk was elected unanimously Secretary by the Board of Trustees of MAO College and took over charge in January 1908 at the age of 67. He had sharp differences with the European staff of College but Sir Syed and Nawab 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 secretaryship was hard and stormy but he worked with courage.

After resigning from MAO College Aligarh in 1909, Principal Archbold served as Principal of Govt. College Dacca and then Muir Central College Allahabad.