Sir Syed & Two-Nation Theory –
Sir Syed died in 1898 and Muslim League was formed in 1901 and during its first session in 1906, in Lucknow, there was no discussion on the separate Muslim state, Mohammad Ali Jinaah became its president in 1913 and even then it was not the agenda, he tried for Hindu-Muslim joint dialogue and failed due to prominence of Khilafat Movement and left for London and stayed there till 1933 and then he was insisted to come back and take up the charge of Muslim League.
Sir Iqbal & Rahmat Ali were more vocal than all others during thirtees. And finally sentiments became stronger and visible during 1935 to 1944.
Sir Syed is nowhere in this. He wrote few pieces in newspapers & magazines on communal disharmony but he urged Muslims not to slaughter cows for Hindu brothers as well. There are few apprehensions pointed out by him but that can’t be zoomed into conceptualization of Pakistan or two-nation theory.
“The Scientific Society which was founded by Sir Syed in 1863 was really national in its complexion and character. Apart from the British Members, it had 82 Hindu and 107 Muslim members. Even the Managing Committee of MAO College which comprised 22 members, had six Hindu members on it. The first second master of the school was Sri Baijnath who was no. 2 in the administrative hierarchy. The famous mathematician J.C. Chakravarty joined as professor in 1888 and subsequently was elevated to the coveted post of registrar. The first graduate of the university was Ishwari Prasad; the first MA was similarly one Amba Prasad” writes Faizan Mustafa in today’s Indian Express.
I think Pakistan seized Sir Syed’s name & legacy whereas India abandoned it due to Pakistan’s taking him over. Post-partition Muslims were in the backyard, embarrassed, dithered, disillusioned and couldn’t decide on him, whether to claim Sir Syed or to disown him. Sadly, it is true.
Lastly, people drag Sir Syed because Pakistan’s front line leadership and executive including military positions were represented by alumnus of MAO College, later Aligarh Muslim University, whereas people forget that it was the only institution, for muslims, that could have generated such qualified people that time.