The Federation of Aligarh Alumni Associations has instituted awards named after the following distinguished personalities for the categories mentioned below:
a DR. ZAKIR HUSAIN AWARD: Guidelines Download form
a SIR ZIAUDDIN AHMED AWARD: Guidelines Download form
a SHAIKH ABDULLAH (PAPA MIAN) AWARD: Guidelines Download form
a ZAFAR IQBAL AWARD: Guidelines Download form
AMUAA-GC AWARDS: Guidelines Download form

DR. ZAKIR HUSAIN (February 8, 1897 – May 3, 1969)
Dr. Zakir Husain was born at Hyderabad on February 8, 1897, he came of a Pathan family of the upper-middle-class, settled at Qaimganj in the District of Farrukhabad, Uttar Pradesh. His father, Fida Hussain Khan, went to Hyderabad , studied Law and had a most successful career. Unfortunately, he died when Dr. Zakir Hussain was only ten years old.

Dr. Zakir Hussain was sent first for his education to the Islamia High School in Etawah (U.P.), which specialized, in puritanical strictures. After finishing school, he joined the M.A.O. College at Aligarh and studied up to the M.A. When the Indian National Congress and the All India Khilafat Committee joined hands in launching the Non-Cooperation Movement, Mahatma Gandhi toured the country to induce teachers and students to leave government administered schools and colleges. The young Zakir Husain, who was then half-student and half-teacher, very prominent among the students and very popular with a large section of the staff, persuaded Hakim Ajmal Khan and other leaders to establish a national institution at Aligarh . The Jamia Millia Islamia came into being on October 29, 1920. Zakir Hussain did not wish to leave his studies incomplete and he went to the University of Berlin in Germany for higher studies in 1923, returning with a doctorate in Economics three years later. He rejoined the Jamia Millia in February-March, 1926 and became the Shaikhu Jamia (Vice-Chancellor). It was at the Jamia Millia that Dr. Zakir Husain developed his gifts as an educationist. It was his experience here as well as his deep study of the philosophy of education, which enabled him to take charge of the scheme of Basic National Education when it was launched in 1938. He was the President of Hindustani Talimi Sangh, Sevagram from 1938 to 1948.

In November 1948, Dr. Zakir Husain was appointed Vice-Chancellor of the Aligarh Muslim University . He was also nominated in the Indian Universities Commission. The World University Service made him the Chairman of the Indian National Committee and in 1954 he was elected the World President of the organization. He was also nominated to the Rajya Sabha and made the Indian representative on the Executive Board of the UNESCO from 1956 to 1958. He remained Chairman of Central Board of Secondary Education till 1957, a member of the University Grants Commission till 1957, a member of the University Education Commission in 1948-1949 and of the Educational Reorganization Committee of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. In 1957 he was appointed Governor of Bihar, Vice President of India in 1962 and in 1967 he was elected as Head of the State and was formally sworn in as the third President of the Indian Republic . He held the highest office of the country with exemplary grace and dignity till his sudden death on May 3, 1969.

Dr. Zakir Husain was awarded Padma Vibhushan in 1954 and Bharat Ratna in 1963. He was awarded D.Litt. (Honoris Causa) by the Universities of Delhi, Calcutta , Aligarh , Allahabad and Cairo .

His interest in literary and academic work was so keen that he translated Plato’s ‘Republic’ and Cannon’s Elementary Political Economy’ into Urdu soon after joining the Jamia Millia in 1920. While in Germany , he got an edition of the ‘Diwan-E-Ghalib’ printed – doing much of the compositionig himself, because the press did not have enough staff – and also brought out a book in German on Mahatma Gandhi (Die Botschaft des Mahatma Gandhi). He delivered a series of lectures on economics under the auspices of the Hindustani Academy and another series in English, on Capitalism: Essays in Understanding, under the auspices of the Delhi University in 1945. He also translated Friedrich List’s ‘Nationalockonomic’. His Convocation Addresses have been collected and published under the title “The Dynamic University”. But he excelled in writing for children and his stories are masterpieces of style.

Tall, well built, fair in complexion, with a noble forehead, a sensitive aristocratic nose, a well-trimmed beard and always neatly and tastefully dressed in Sherwani and Pyjama, Dr. Zakir Husain was an imposing embodiment of culture and refinement. He was sensitive to beauty in all its forms and had an intense passion for excellence. His varied tastes and hobbies, his love of roses, his collection of cacti, fossils, paintings and specimens of calligraphy, objects d’art, and curios and above all, his rich library are evidence of his versatile personality.

He was steeped in the spiritual and aesthetic culture and the ethical principles of the Muslim Sufis and poets. He had the Sufi’s indifference towards the externals of religion and, though a deeply religious man, his religiosity was never obvious. It was the inspiration for secularism by which he endeared himself to men of different religious communities.

Dr. Zakir Husain’s nationalism was, like Gandhiji’s, a reflection of his allegiance to the highest moral values and to the ideals of a culture, which had become the whole of his own self. It was a nationalism, which demanded for the individual that freedom which is the essence of democracy, that self-discipline which is the foundation of democratic citizenship and that identification with the good of the society, which gives substance and meaning to the life of the individual.

The Federation of Aligarh Alumni Associations has instituted the Dr. Zakir Husain Award to recognize the services towards the upliftment of the poor and the oppressed members of the society in India .

SIR ZIAUDDIN AHMED (February 13, 1878 – December 23, 1947)

Sir Ziauddin Ahmed was born in 1877 in the town of Meerut in India . A visionary an outstanding and versatile educationist and parliamentarian, he was also the longest serving Vice-Chancellor in the history of Aligarh Muslim University . His close association with Sir Syed Ahmed Khan added to his stature.  

Sir Ziauddin Ahmed did his Bachelor of Arts degree with distinction in 1895 from M.A.O. College , Aligarh , Master of Arts in Mathematics from Calcutta , and Allahabad Universities in 1897 and 1898 respectively. He joined Trinity College , Cambridge in 1901 for Honours degree in Mathematics, and graduated with excellence by securing first position. In 1904 Sir Ziauddin was awarded the Sir Isaac Newton Scholarship, a rare honor for a foreign graduate, and he was the first Indian to achieve this award. His thirst for knowledge took him to Gottingen University , Germany and in 1905 he completed his Ph.D. in Mathematics. In addition to this, Sir Ziauddin also visited Paris University in France , and Bologna University in Italy in 1905 for advanced studies in his chosen field of Mathematics.

On return from Europe in 1906, Sir Ziauddin Ahmed devoted the rest of his life to the M.A.O College and  Aligarh Muslim University . When M.A.O. College was given the status of a University in 1920, he became its first Pro Vice-Chancellor. In 1935 he was elected as the Vice-Chancellor and remained so until 1946, thus becoming the longest serving Vice-Chancellor in the history of Aligarh Muslim University . In 1946 he was appointed as Rector of the University and held the position until his death in 1947.

Sir Ziauddin Ahmed took keen interest in University affairs, and raised funds for the University time and again.  His dream to start a medical college at Aligarh Muslim University , was not realized in his lifetime, but has come true with the establishment of the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical   College at AMU, Aligarh .

In 1947, Dr Ziauddin undertook a tour of Europe and USA to study the latest trends and developments in higher education. While traveling by from Paris to London , he suffered a stroke and died on December 23, 1947.   His untimely demise left void in the University and in the lives of his followers and well wishers.  Dr. Ziauddin was laid to rest next to Sir Syed Ahmad Khan in the premises of the main mosque of the Aligarh Muslim University according to his own wish.

The Federation of Aligarh Alumni Associations has instituted the Sir Ziauddin Ahmed Award to recognize the best high school students (one male student) from the Children of AMU Alumni or members of the AMU Alumni Associations in North America .

SHAIKH ABDULLAH (PAPA MIAN) (June 1874 – March 1965)

Sheikh Abdullah was born in a village in the Poonch district of Kashmir. His grandfather Mehta Mast Ram was the Lambardar of the village. His father’s name was Mehta Gurmukh Singh and his own name before conversion was Thakur Das, he embraced Islam in 1891 while at Lahore . He was married to Waheed Jahan, the youngest daughter of Mirza Mohammad Ibrahim of Delhi in 1902 at Aligarh . He was survived by five daughters and one son. One of his daughters, Mumtaz Jahan (Mrs. Haider), served over thirty years as Principal of the Women’s College at Aligarh Muslim University , of which he was the founder.

He received his early education at the village school. He had to leave his home for English education. He first went to Jammu and then to Lahore . After passing the Matriculation Examination in 1891 from Lahore he proceeded to Aligarh for higher education. While at Aligarh he attracted the attention of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan who was always very kind to him. It was under his influence that Sheikh Abdullah began to take interest in the social resurgence of the Muslims. After taking the degrees of B.A. and LLB, he established himself at Aligarh permanently and started his career as a lawyer but at the same time he nurtured in his heart the desire to improve the lot of the women folk.

Because of his interest in women’s welfare Sheikh Abdullah was made the Secretary of the Women’s section of the Muslim Educational Conference in 1902. He organized the work of the conference very ably. In 1904 he started a monthly journal for women, the Khatoon, which aimed at creating a suitable atmosphere for women’s education. Through the columns of this journal he pleaded for better facilities for women education and for the improvement of their lot. The journal served the cause of women’s education for a decade. He stopped its publication only when he was convinced that the cause for which he had fought single-handed had been taken up by others in different parts of the country and there was no need of the journal under his editorship.

He next devoted himself whole-heartedly to the development of the Girls’ School, which he had started as far back as 1906. He succeeded in getting financial assistance from Begum Sultan Jahan, the ruler of Bhopal . This was followed by a grant from the government. In 1914 the opening ceremony of the School Boarding House was performed by the Begum of Bhopal and a Ladies’ Conference was also held in the school premises, which was a grand success. Thus in a short time Sheikh Abdullah succeeded in creating an awakening among the people regarding women’s education. His success was due largely to the cooperation and help, which he received from his wife in running the school. She served the school as Honorary Superintendent of the Boarding House for 25 years from 1914-1939. All through her life she nursed the institution with care and patience and hundreds of girls from all over India found in her a true guide and mother. Thus it was through their joint care and supervision that the small institution expanded into Degree College (now known as Muslim University Women’s College/Abdullah College).

Sheikh Abdullah served the Aligarh Muslim University in various capacities. He was a member of the University Court from 1920 till his death and a member of the Executive Council from 1920 to 1928 and also served as Honorary Treasurer of the University for many terms. He was a leading Advocate of the Civil Court , Aligarh , and was the President of the Bar Association. The Aligarh Muslim University awarded him the degree of LLD in 1950. He was awarded Padma Bushan in 1964, and earlier he was given the title of Khan Bahadur by the British.

Sheikh Abdullah’s principal interest was in the fields of education and social reform. But he did not keep himself completely aloof from politics, although he did not take any active part in it. He pleaded for modernizing the system of government so as to suit the changing needs of the time, but he did not demand full democracy or self-government. In the twenties he served for some time as a member of the U.P. Legislative Council. He was sympathetic towards the Khilafat agitation. At the same time he was critical of the work of the Central Khilafat Committee in trying to rouse the emotions of the Muslims on the question of the dismemberment of the Turkish Empire . He was a supporter of the policies of the All-India Muslim League, although not very actively associated with that body. At the Aligarh session of the League in 1925 acted as Chairman of the Reception Committee. In the late thirties and early forties he was distressed by the growing alienation between the two major communities in India . He urged the leaders of the two communities to work for political understanding and communal harmony.

Sheikh Abdullah combined in himself the qualities of a man of action, philosopher and humanitarian. He fought all his life for a good cause viz., the emancipation of Muslim women. The task bristled with great difficulties because of the conservatism of the Muslims and their hatred for every thing associated with the name of the British. He faced the opposition of the orthodox section of his community and bore their vilification campaign calmly, and in the long run overcame all opposition.

The Federation of Aligarh Alumni Associations has instituted the Papa Mian Award to recognize the best high school students (one female student) from the Children of AMU Alumni or members of the AMU Alumni Associations in North America.

Zafar Iqbal

Zafar Iqbal, the mercurial left-winger and Olympic gold medalist, known for his searing runs during his playing days had done his civil engineering from Aligarh Muslim University in 1978.

Zafar Iqbal represented India in field hockey from 1977 to 1986. From 1982 to 1984, he was also India ‘s skipper, leading the national team in the 1982 Asian Games ( New Delhi ), 1982 Champions Trophy ( Amsterdam ), 1983 Champions Trophy ( Karachi ) and 1984 Olympic Games ( Los Angeles ).

From early 1993 to October 1994, Zafar was the national hockey coach. New players like Rajnish Mishra, Anil Aldrin, Dilip Tirkey and Sabu Varkey were discovered during his reign.

Zafar Iqbal who has received many awards, including prestigious Arjun Award currently works as Director (Civil) in Indian Airlines.