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Speaking of the blessing of British rule (A speech at the Platinum Jubilee ceremony – February 20, 1955 Cairo, Egypt), Sultan Muhammad Shah Aga Khan III said:
“I think I am right to say that one of the driving forces that has brought us here is the growing hope and optimism of our fellow believers in India, a sense of hope directly and totally due to British rule. Providence has given us given a government that guarantees justice, intellectual and religious freedom, personal freedom, a government that gives a clear and unfavorable field, that by its actions constantly reminds us that fitness is the only criterion. If we want to lead, we must concentrate all our energies in the acquisition of these arts that test the physical form in civilized conditions. Finally we see signs of dawn, finally we see the dim light of the nascent reason. It will take hours, in the life of a people, it will only be a few hours, before the sun of knowledge enters our homes, but we still see the signs of dawn.”
On the importance of the conference, His Highness said:
“Some good critics have said that we have had many conferences and speeches and many speeches, and we have had many resolutions, but the results are still not good and we are still late compared to other Indian nationalities, a pedagogical test. This criticism expresses only half of the truth, these criticisms forget that for us these conferences are signs of progress, would such a conference have been held in Bombay 20 years ago?
“A great historian has said that if St. Paul or the Gautama Buddha visited St. Peter or the great monastery of Lhasa or Kandy, they would not know what the object of the magnificent ceremony was, they would see it there. But if the prophet Si Hagia Sophia or the Musjids of Delhi were today, would find the ceremonial identical to what was once in Mecca and Medina, as the ceremonial.But, what about the staff, sectarian differences, divisions and subdivisions that have infiltrated the simple and clear faith of Islam How could they have hurt and surprised the founder?
“However, here, for the cause of learning, for progress, it is an assembly where, thank God, differences are forgotten. Here we find the unity of the first Islam. This is not progress, is it not a great step towards Salvation – It is fortunate that we have finally realized the need for knowledge.
“There are dangers ahead, and I dare to call your attention to some of them that we can now protect ourselves, which would be the greatest of our misfortunes if we now confuse educational instruction with It is for this reason that we welcome the university reform proposed by the Indian government and that the insightful Indian Muslims want a university where the level of learning is the same, that is the highest, highest and most scientific education possible, an indirect but constant reminder of the eternal difference between good and evil , which is the soul of education. A source of regret for many of us than in Indian universities This divorce between knowledge and religion that, especially in the case of Muslims, will lead, I fear, to a disaster that I believe that most Muslims would like to welcome to a Hindu university, the city of Benares; we would welcome one to Poona, a third to Benga Madras, but since they obviously do not want to have a sectarian university with a Brahmanic environment, it is absurd to deny us a university in Aligarh with affiliated colleges throughout India. Another reason why we need a central university where our individuality cannot be lost to create a mechanical imitation of a European is the following: we have a story in which noble and chivalrous characters abound; We have a religious past so rich in heroic characters that direct contact with them and communion with them could only improve and give our youth an early feeling of the need for self-sacrifice, truth and independence of character without which knowledge is , from the national point of view, useless.
“It can be said that such noble characters also abound in the history of Greece and Rome, what need is there to study the history of the Arabs? Yes, English and French, direct successors of the Romans, can and feel that the characters of Roman history really belongs to them, but this is not the case of the Muslim youth of this country, and for most of us, even the most noble remain until the end, but the characters away, without any direct attraction, full of characters or heroic men, who lived and evolved like today’s Muslims in their homes, this contact with them could only be ennobling. Mouavia and Walid are like statesmen not eclipsed by either Caesar or Augustus. Where can you find them in the annals? of any European or Asian dynasty a ruler more sacred than Omar Ibn Abdul Aziz or an emperor more exemplary than Hisham Ibn Abdul Malik – directly with such great characters only It could strengthen the character of our people. Yes, and so the character of our people. We can have crowds and battalions of graduates, it does not follow that they are men who sacrifice themselves and eliminate these degenerative customs that keep us not only among the backward, but also among the fallen. These painful and pernicious social customs that have infiltrated our religious rites over the centuries, and even Muslims who are by no means ignorant, do not know the difference between these customs and the founder’s commandments. It is wrongly assumed that Islam is responsible for such customs. Therefore, gentlemen, I kindly ask you to reflect, but you have time to reflect on the methods by which you intend to educate your youth. That is why I beg you, gentlemen, to remind you that we are an M.A.O. educational and non-pedagogical conference. That is why I beg you to defend the cause of a central university, a university that, you know, may one day be in Oxford, Leipzig and Paris as the center of great ideas and an ideal noble: a university where our young people receive the highest Western science education, a university where the teaching of Eastern history and literature cannot be dominated by mere knowledge of Western thought that resembles a parrot, a university where our young people can also enjoy, for such benefits, of A Muslim atmosphere, I urge you not to forget the cause of such a university in the cries of the market that multiply each day among us.”
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