Anglo Arabic School- Delhi’s Oldest Educational Institute

 (sanjay austa austa)

Anglo Arabic School is the oldest educational institution in Delhi.

(click on photos to go to gallery)

If you think of    Delhi monuments you hardly  think beyond  Humayun’s Tomb, Red Fort and the  Qutub Minar. But Delhi is littered with thousands of lesser known monuments , which are equally, if not more  fascinating. Thankfully there are regular heritage walks in winter by INTACH and Habitat Centre, where, for a token fee of 50 rupees, a knowledgeable history buff takes you through  Delhi’s amazing past.

It was on one such walk that I visited the Anglo Arabic Senior Secondary School at Ajmeri Gate. On my shoots in  Chandni Chowk I had  crossed this building numerous times but I  don’t think I ever  gave it a second glance. But on this walk I learnt quite a number of interesting facts about this ancient school of learning.

It was a sunday and the only students i found on the campus were these two hostel residents of Zakir Hussain college. (sanjay austa austa)

It was a sunday and the only students i found on the campus were these two hostel residents of Zakir Hussain college. 

Anglo Arabic School is the oldest educational intuition in Delhi and one of the oldest in India. It was established in the 1690’s by Ghaziuddin Khan the deccan commander and general of Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb.  It opened as a madrasa and took the name of its founder. It was  known as Madrasa Ghaziuddin Khan for a long time until it was christened as Anglo Arabic College by the East India Company in 1829.  Until then it functioned purely as a madrasa. The East India Company  for the first time, made it an educational institution. This was also one of the first institutions in India  where English language and literature was introduced. Over the last three centuries it went by many other names – Anglo Arabic College, Delhi College, Zakir Hussain College.  Zakir Hussain college was shifted from here in 1986 , but a wing in the building still houses the college’s  boys hostel.  The hotel’s presence on the campus is being contested. There is even a High Court order on its removal. I befriended some hotel residents and they showed me their  hostel rooms.

The masjid once had a pool for Wuzu but the mosque is still used for prayers by the school students in the afternoons. (sanjay austa austa)

The masjid once had a pool for Wuzu but the mosque is still used for prayers by the school students in the afternoons. 

Anglo Arabic School is bang opposite Ajmeri Gate. It is also a stone’s throw away from Delhi’s infamous red-light area- the G. B . Road.  Till today it remains the only school in the Walled City that has a playground.

In the centre of this school stands the Masjid Nawab Ghaziuddin Khan Masjid. It is built in red-sandstone and is still used for prayer by the school students. There was once a pool for wuzu (muslim ablutions) . During the First War of Indian Independence or more correctly- during the Sepoy Mutiny, a significant portion of this institution was destroyed, including the library with all the valuable books and manuscripts.

Despite its ancient pedigree , it was as recent as 2002, when the very bureaucratic Archeological Survey  of India ( ASI) declared it  a heritage monument.

Even though the Zakir Hussain college was shifted to its present building outside Turkman Gate in 1986, its hostel still remains at the Anglo Arabic school. There has been a High Court order on its removal from the school campus but it remains. (sanjay austa austa)

Boy’s hostel of Zakir Hussain College. Even though the Zakir Hussain college was shifted to its present building outside Turkman Gate in 1986, its hostel still remains at the Anglo Arabic school. 

18 Responses to “Anglo Arabic School- Delhi’s Oldest Educational Institute”

  1. nirupama says:

    great !amazin pics as usual and informative too!! wow!

  2. Manjunath Shenoy says:

    Hi Sanjay: lovely nugget of information. Fascinating to delve into the past, though the sorry state of affairs in these monuments sometimes takes away from the pleasure of visiting them!

    • sanjay austa says:

      Hi Manjunath, Yes History is indeed fascinating. I love the stories as much as the monuments. I agree most of the lesser known monuments are in a state of utter neglect. Its such a shame to have our heritage destroyed the way its happening.

  3. arshad khan says:

    great sir…..i glad to see this…thnx

  4. SM Aslam says:

    Hello,
    It is a thrilling pleasure to see these noble images.I studied in this great seat of learning in 1946-1947 & am very proud of it

  5. Hello my family member! I want to say that this post is awesome, nice written and include almost all important infos. I would like to peer extra posts like this .

  6. Akanksha says:

    Hi,
    With girls being admitted in this male bastion it is time for a photographer of your caliber to pay visit and shoot a welcome girls photo shoot out.i have myself taken some photos and made few videos you may watch as a starter.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6La6QpOUjhI
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mKQQbQefI8&feature=relmfu
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJUYRKcN4fs&feature=relmfu
    LOOKING FOR HISTORY THROUGH YOUR LENSE

  7. imran says:

    i love my school

  8. Akramnirala says:

    You have done excellent job on writing blog on my school Anglo Arabic School. I proud to be a student of this famous school during 1973 to 1979. But unfortunately you have not mentioned about incidence of Mirza Ghgalib when he visited Anglo Arabic School for seeking job of Urdu Lecturer.
    Anyway, you have good job & I go through this blog after three years. Plz don’t mind.

  9. Leila Mazloom says:

    Hi, I am Leila mazloom, a researcher from Iran, I need more pictures of Ghazi Al-Din Khan mosque and madrasa decoration for my article. Does anybody can help me??? and send the pictures.

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