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When Guardians of the Jamia Millia Islamia met in Europe

The Jamia Millia Islamia was established in the year 1920 in Aligarh and within five years of its establishment it fell into a financial predicament due to the on-going Non-cooperation movement.

Maulana Mohammed Ali and Shaukat Ali wanted the Jamia to come to an end as the Khilafat committee had no funds and they were not able to finance the Jamia any longer. Few of the eminent leaders opposed this idea of the Ali brothers and did whatever they could to keep the Jamia Millia Islamia alive.

If it was not for Mr Abdul Majeed Khwaja, uncle of Khwaja Abdul Hamied (founder of CIPLA), the doors of this university would have been closed for ever. He, Mr Abdul Majeed Khwaja, was supported by Hakeem Ajmal Khan and Dr Mukhtar Ahmad Ansari. Together they along with Mahatma Gandhi decided to shift this national institute to Delhi.

Initially it was rested in few rented buildings in Karol Bagh. For this Mr Abdul Majeed Khwaja shifted from Aligarh to Delhi. He was a very successful and prosperous Barrister and bore a major part of the expense of this national institution while on the other hand Mahatma Gandhi, Hakeem Ajmal Khan and Dr Mukhtar Ahmad Ansari made collections in order to fund the institution. Khwaja kept the Jamia alive until he handed over its charge to Dr Zakir Hussein until the latter return to India during the end of 1926.

During the year 1925 Dr Mukhtar Ahmad Ansari and Hakim Ajmal Khan visited Europe and met Dr Zakir Hussein in Paris. Zakir Hussein assured them about his lifelong commitment for the Jamia Millia Islamia after the completion of his education and his return back to India. After this meeting Zakir Hussein went up to Dr Abid Hussain, Dr K.A. Hameid, Dr Barkat Ali and Dr Mujib and asked them to meet the two great leaders who were now in Vienna. All except Zakir Hussain went to Vienna for meeting these prominent Indian figures. Zakir Hussein was busy preparing for his exams so was unable to go along with them.

The four, in Vienna, stayed in a boarding house as they were unable to afford the expensive hotels. The next morning they moved out in search of restaurants for breakfast when Dr Khwaja Abdul Hamied spotted a board of a small restaurant which read “Hungarian Goulash and fresh rolls for breakfast”. They enterd and had Goulash in breakfast. The food more or less tasted like Mughal Qourma.

They were surprised as they ate a Mughal food in a European country. This food was served every morning and it was evident that this custom was brought by the Mughals and this was very similar to the scene in Delhi, India. Later that day, the four went to Hotel Astoria where Hakeem Ajmal Khan and Dr Mukhtar Ahmad Ansari were staying. They were extremely pleased and delighted to meet them.

In this meeting it was the first time when Hakeem Ajmal Khan was seen in European attire. They asked all what they wanted to about the Jamia and sincerely pledged their loyalty to serve the Jamia Millia Islamia. The for thanked their leaders for striving to keep the national institute alive. Later that day they the leaders had lunch together with them, took some photographs and then departed.

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