Victoria Gate



The Aligarh Muslim University is one of the few universities in the world that is a heritage site. The University has more than 60 heritage sites in its campus. Victoria Gate is one such site in the University and one of the first to be built. It is a majestic awe-inspiring gate, which is the pride of the University.

Sir Syed Ahmad Khan established the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) as Mohammaden Anglo Oriental (MAO) College in 1875. He said, “The main purpose of this college is to impart modern education to Muslims who are suffering because of lack of it but this institution is for all, Hindus and Muslims alike. Both of them need education.”

Victoria Gate was a part of the main building and served as the main entrance of the college at that time. The foundation stone for the gate was laid in 1884. Theodore Beck was the principal of MAO College at that time. His parents became very close to the people here and while going back to England, his father promised to send back a clock for the College. Even though he passed away, his wife fulfilled his promise and donated the clock in 1891. The clock space can be seen on the tower of Victoria Gate at Sir Syed Hall. The gate was named after Queen Victoria of England in 1914. The same structure now serves as Sir Syed Hall. The emblem of MAO College at the entrance since 1920 is presently used as the logo of AMU.

In a meeting of the syndicate, the elite body of ten local trustees decided to place a clock tower on Victoria Gate. The plan of the tower was prepared by the then superintendent of the College building Mr. Mohammad Abdul Rauf. Three rooms were also constructed in the upper portion of the building by Justice Hameer-Ullah-Khan in the memory of his father Samih-Ullah-Khan and came to be known as Samih Manzil. He paid an amount of Rs. 2000 for the construction. In 1921, the clock tower was fixed on Samih Manzil. On 17 October 1984 on Sir Syed Day, Mr. Sayed Hamid, the Vice Chancellor of AMU at that time, installed a different clock on the clock tower. Mrinal Chatterjee a new entrant in University said, “I had heard a lot about Victoria Gate and after finishing my classes on the first day of my college, I went to see it. I was enthralled by its beauty.”

The gate is not a simple brick and mortar structure but it is an architectural delight. The gate is an amalgamation of both Neo-Classical English and Mughal Architecture. It further represents Indo-saracenic architecture. Arches, ornamental parapet, cupola, chattris and Arabic inscription in the marble of the front wall adorn the Victoria Gate. The structural elements include decorative features like cornices. The other structural features are bands, minarets, window detailing and gateways. The gate has a series of Lancet arches inspired from 12th century gothic architecture. The structure has hexagonal and floral pattern jaali, which gives a beautiful effect of light and shadow.



Spiritualism, Mind and Meditation



Many may think spiritualism is a religious way of life. However, the fact is that it is a way to train our mind and spirit for the purpose of self-evolution. Spiritualism is to guide our spirit to a higher plane. By adopting the lifestyle, one can see a positive change in his or her life. Modern life is jam packed with work schedules and is full of tensions, which stresses us out. One has to be thoroughly organized and disciplined to manage the different roles in his life. This discipline comes from the pursuit of spiritual life. Spiritual life is being disciplined, positive and productive. Every action and every thought has to be positive and oriented towards productivity. A person cannot rise with negative emotions and tendencies. With positivity comes peace and happiness and with this perfect state of well being a person and achieve whatever he wants.  ‘Time is of Essence’ hence, time has to be used with utmost care. We should not see how much time we have spent on something but we should see how much time we have utilized.

Spiritualism helps in disciplining a person, which is an imperative trait for growth. Before disciplining ourselves, we have to achieve the most difficult task of disciplining our mind. Mind is an integral part of our existence. According to Vedanta, ‘it is a separate entity from our physical body.’ The nature of mind is very difficult to understand because the mind is very subtle as well as hidden. We can observe our mind through introspection and work on it accordingly. Many problems arise from our mental condition. It is our navigator, propeller and anchor. To have a productive mind we have to condition it accordingly. The mind works the way we program it. Just like a healthy body, we need a healthy mind. In fact, the first step to have a healthy mind is to have a healthy body. The mind needs nourishment that comes from meditation, exercise, healthy food, congenial environment and positive thoughts. If you feed this mind well, then only can you get rich food out of it. It is a common saying in Vedanta, ‘that our joy and suffering, wisdom and folly, strength and weakness, depend very much on the condition of mind.’ The mind has both good forces and dark forces. It is both negative and positive. The force that we let the mind flow with determines the quality of our life. The mind is a magnet that attracts what we have in our life and determines our fate. Therefore, the mind has to be guided to attract only good. That is why it is said that we are the creator of our own destiny. It is in our own will to govern the mind and be productive. Mind is very similar to the stallion, it has to be trained to be disciplined and focused. For a sharp mind, it needs to be purified, nurtured with positivity, needs to be alert,  free from internal noise and most of all be at peace. The mind is the basis for our well being, it should be used for only productive purposes.

Meditation is the most effective means to control the rising of mind waves that disturb it. Meditation has positive effects on a person’s life. It is the key to peace and happiness. It provides energy and nourishment to the mind. Meditation is the light, which removes all the darkness from the mind and takes it towards the positive direction destroying all negativity. Meditation is the process of purification of the mind and soul. It clears our aura and makes us better human beings.  It helps us to connect with our mind and inner self. It helps us collect our self. It builds intuition, helps in clear thinking and sound judgement. It sparks creativity and elevates our capabilities. Once the mind is conditioned, disciplined and seasoned with the help of meditation, it takes its own course and leads us to a path where we can accomplish whatever we want. The greatest gift that we receive from meditation is a blissful mind.