The Aligarh Miracle

A Reappraisal in Context of the Causal Dimensions of Contemporary Social Movement Theories

  • Hina Khan University of Karachi
  • Maryam Urooj Khan Department of History, University of Karachi


Abstract Views: 689

Social movements are considered to be a modern phenomenon but they have existed in the past as well. Aligarh movement initiated by Sir Sayyid Ahmed khan is a typical social movement from 19th century, aimed at modernization and uplift of the Muslim community of India. It emerged in a period when the Indian Muslims were facing a sharp decline in their socio-economic and political status. This decline had created a psychology of retreat among them wherein they suspected any attempt to reform their lot. For instance, the introduction of modern education by the British rulers was adopted by the Hindu majority for obvious economic benefits. Conversely, the Muslims remained wary of modern education, particularly the English language as a conspiracy to destroy their age-old culture and religion. In this backdrop Sir Sayyid Ahmed Khan’s tireless drive to inculcate modern education proved to be a miracle that transformed the Muslim middle classes for the next century. Although Aligarh movement has attracted tremendous scholarship, there has been virtually little attempt to theorize it as a social movement. In this context the present paper aims to study Aligarh Movement on the parameters of contemporary theories highlighting the causal dimensions of social movements. It will particularly explore the relevance of the elements of deprivation, resource mobilization, political processes, structural strain and those highlighted by the new social movement theory as causal factors in the emergence and evolution of Aligarh Movement.

Author Biographies

Hina Khan, University of Karachi

Assistant Professor, Department of History, University of Karachi

Maryam Urooj Khan, Department of History, University of Karachi

Research Assistant at the Department of History, University of Karachi

Keywords: Aligarh Movement, Sir Sayyid Ahmed Khan, middle class social movements, deprivation theory, resource mobilization, political processes, structural strain theory, new social movement theory, modernist reform, civil society


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How to Cite
Khan, H., & Khan, M. U. (2020). The Aligarh Miracle: A Reappraisal in Context of the Causal Dimensions of Contemporary Social Movement Theories. Journal of History and Social Sciences, 11(1), 17-38.