Bollywood actor Salim Shah to head Sir Syed Day celebrations

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The AMU Alumni Association of Greater Chicago celebrates Sir Syed Day with a virtual event.

Famous character artist Saleem Shah from Sarfarosh transformed his living room in Mumbai, India, into a temporary setting straight out of the 19e century to transport a hypnotized audience sitting thousands of miles away in Chicago, as he performed a 40-minute soliloquy by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan.

The occasion was the Sir Syed Day celebrations hosted by the Greater Chicago Alumni Association.

Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, 19th century educator, reformer and philosopher, is credited with the establishment of Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College in 1875, known today as Aligarh Muslim University (AMU).

Thousands of AMU alumni, spread across the United States in various professions and fields, mark the day with celebrations hosted by various chapters of AMU alumni associations.

The Chicago chapter of the AMU Alumni Association marked the 204e anniversary of the founder’s birth by organizing a Zoom celebration, in the presence of patrons, alumni and their families from around the world.

The main attraction of the celebration was Shah’s soliloquy.

READ: Northern California Aligarh Alumni Association hosts 19th Sir Syed Day (23 August 2016)

Speaking to the American Bazaar on a phone call from his Mumbai home, Shah, a stage and screen artist, said: “When the AMU Alumni Association approached me to present something on their Sir Syed Day I decided to do a 40 minute live soliloquy of Sir Syed, written and directed by Dr M Sayeed Alam.

Shah’s association with the university’s theater team is nothing new. A former AMU student, Shah did his mechanical engineering at the university’s Zakir Husain Engineering College. His love for stage and performance took root when he was secretary of AMU Drama Club in the early 1980s. “I am still associated with my alma mater as a guest of alumni on various occasions. “, did he declare.

Speaking of his performance, the soliloquy, he said: “It starts on the night of the 16e and 17e October 1895 when Sir Syed Ahmed is in his last years. He died in 1898. At the moment he is writing a letter to the Aligariens and this is how he tackles his favorite subjects, anecdotes, advice to the AMU fraternity, the difficulties he has encountered all his life in founding AMU. He also talks about the ghadar of 1857. He speaks of his unfulfilled desire to migrate to “Misr”, modern Egypt. He has been accused of blasphemy by Muslims and of favoritism of his religion by Hindus. He compared Hindus and Muslims to the two eyes of a bride called Hindustan.

When asked if the monologue was taken from actual incidents or if it was also fictional, Shah said: “It is taken from actual incidents from confirmed sources, like books and biographies, all compiled from dramatically. “

Shah said it was heartwarming to see alumni of the university spread around the world still taking an active interest in India’s glorious past and the philosophers who shaped many moments in the country’s history.



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