The Founder

Syed Ahmad Taqvi bin Syed Mohammad Muttaqi, universally known as Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, was born on October 17, 1817. He was an Islamic reformist and philosopher of the late 19th century in British India.

Born into a family with strong ties to the then Mughal court, Sir Syed had his early education within the Mughal court in Quranic studies and Sciences. In 1838, Sir Syed entered the services of the East India Company and rose to become a judge at the Small Causes Court by 1867, retiring in 1876.

A strong believer that the future of Muslims was threatened by their orthodox outlook, Sir Syed began promoting Western style scientific education by founding modern schools, journals and organising Muslim entrepreneurs.

In 1859 the Gulshan School was established in Muradabad, Victoria School at Ghazipur in 1863 and finally the Mohammaden Anglo Oriental Collge in Aligarh in 1875.

Mohammedan Anglo Oriental College

MAO College started functioning on May 24th 1875 as part of the Aligarh Movement, which pushed for establishing a modern education system for the Muslims of the Indian subcontinent.


Sir Syed considered competence in English and Western sciences necessary skills for future progress. The framework for the college was based on the Oxford and Cambridge Universities. The college was established with generous donations and grants from the then Viceroy of India and the erstwhile Royal Families of undivided India.


Initially affiliated to the University of Calcutta, in 1885 it became an affiliate of Allahabad University.

By the early 1900s, efforts were being made to transform the College into a University. On the advice of the Government of India, a sum of Rs 30,000,000 was raised by the Muslim University Foundation Committee and the Aligarh Muslim University was established in 1920 by the enactment of the Aligarh Muslim University Act.

AMU, as a premier institute of learning, is of national importance under the seventh schedule of the Constitution of India. It’s history since inception, has had various members of royal families, educationists and administrators at the helm of affairs and is proud of its alumni who have included heads of state, parliamentarians, academicians, scientists and artistes who have been feted for their contribution to society.