This week Christy Evans tells us about nineteenth century scholar Mir Aulad Ali
Ba dhuine suntasach é, Mir Aulad Ali. Throid sé go dothuirsithe ar son na Gaeilge. Rugadh é in iarthuisceart na hIndia. Bhí clú agus cáil ar an Roinn Léinn Oirthearach i gColáiste na Trionóide Bhaile Átha Cliath. Cheapadh Mir Aulad Ali mar an chéad ollamh le Araibís agus Peirsis i 1861. Ar an toirt beagnach, thosaigh sé ag foghlaim Gaeilge.
Bhí Mir Aulad Ali in aontíos lena bhean chéile le blianta fada. Bhí cónaí orthu ag 139 Bóthat Laigheann, Rath Maonais i mBaile Átha Cliath. Bhi gean an phobail air. Chonaic na mílte a thaispeántais de phiosóireacht agus na healaíona comhraic.
Bhíodh sé i láthair i gcónaí ag Bál Caisleáin Bhaile Átha Cliath agus culaith thraidisiúnta á gcaitheamh aige. Tógadh Mir Aulad Ali mar Mhuslamach ach bhí meas aige do gach reiligiún. Bhí grá mór ag Mir Aulad Ali don Ghaeilge, chomh maith. Bhí sé ina bhall bunaitheora den ‘The Society for the Preservation of the Irish Language’.
Bhíodh sé ag beagnach gach cruinniú seachtainiúil dá gcuid ag 9 Sráid Chill Dara i mBÁC. Ghríosaigh sé daoine ó gach aicme chun staidéar a dhéanamh ar an nGaeilge. Fuair Mir Aulad Ali bás le taom chroí i 1898. Cuireadh é i Mount Jerome Cemetery, Cros Araild. Ba dhuine dhuine andúchasach é Mir Auald Ali a raibh meas mór air.
Bhí cuimhneamh ceanúil air Mir Aulad Ali ag WB Yeats agus GB Shaw. Bhí sé ag obair glúin roimh bhunú Chonradh na Gaeilge. Ba cheart go mbeadh a fhios ag daoine ar an méid a rinne sé agus go moltar é go forleathan.
Mir Aulad Ali was an inspirational Dubliner. He worked tirelessly for the Irish language. He was born in India, but was attracted by the prestige of the Department of Oriental Studies at Trinity College in Dublin. He was appointed their first dedicated professor of Arabic and Persian in 1861. On arrival, he set about learning Irish.
Mir Auald Ali lived with his wife for many years at 139 Leinster Road, Rathmines. He became a popular figure about town. Thousands flocked to see his demonstrations of fencing and oriental martial arts.
He was an exotic figure and he always attended the Dublin Castle Ball in traditional costume. Mir Aulad Ali was a Muslim but he had respect for all religious faiths. He was passionate about Irish and was a founding member of the Society for the Preservation of the Irish Language.
Minutes show that he attended almost every weekly meeting at 9 Kildare Street, Dublin. He held night classes and encouraged men and women of all classes to study Irish. Mir Aulad Ali died of a heart attack in 1898. He is interred at Mount Jerome Cemetery at Harold’s Cross in Dublin.
He was fondly remembered by ordinary Dubliners, and also by WB Yeats and GB Shaw. Mir Aulad Ali fought for Irish a generation before the Gaelic League even existed. We should praise him, and his work should be more widely known.
Christy Evans tells us about the Manchester students who campaigned to be allowed to sit GCSE examinations in Irish or ‘as Gaeilge