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Obituary of Prof Iqbal, whose work on post-Syed Ahmad Khan Aligarh Movement won him laurels

Professor Iqbal Husain breathed his last on February 20 at his residence in Sir Syed Nagar, Aligarh, writes Dr Gulfishan Khan.

An alumnus of Aligarh Muslim University, he was born in Ghazipur District of Eastern UP in 1935. He received his early education at his native place and obtained the degrees of B.A. M. A. and Ph. D. from the Centre of Advanced Study, Department of History, AMU.

After completing his education he joined the Department as a Research Assistant in 1971. Thereafter, he served in the Indian Railways for some time. He rejoined the Department as Reader in 1985 and became Professor in 1991 and superannuated in 1995.

Professor Iqbal had a fruitful academic career.

During his professional career as a teacher and historian he contributed numerous articles on diverse subjects in both national as well as International Journals. He was a regular member of the Indian History Congress and U.P. History Congress.

He composed important monographs such as “A Calendar of Farangi Mahall Documents 16-18th Centuries” published under the auspices of the Department, and a monograph entitled Hindustani Tahzib published by the Urdu Academy in 1982, 1988.

He contributed significant essays on the important personalities of revolt such as military general Bakht Khan and his role in the revolt. In 1990 he had the opportunity of visiting the U.S. under the prestigious Fullbright programme. During his stay in the U.S. he delivered lectures in the University of Virginia on the theme of the Revolt of 1857.

Professor Iqbal Husain will be remembered for his pioneering work The Ruhela Chieftaincies: The Rise and Fall of Ruhela Power in India in the eighteenth century published from the Oxford University Press Delhi.

This work was his doctoral dissertation completed under the guidance of (late) Professor Z.U.Malik, an authority on the eighteenth century politics and culture. The work was a successful attempt to bring the hitherto little studied and neglected Ruhillas of north India from obscurity to light.

It provided a ground work for other scholars developing thematic issues on the nature of ethnicity and regional political power in eighteenth-century India. He also brought to completion Karl Marx’s articles on India during 1850 in the New York Tribune.

During the retirement period as Sir Syed Fellow he undertook the scholarly task of publication of important documents of post-Syed Ahmad Khan Aligarh Movement such as the contribution of Syed Mahmud and Muhsin al-Mulk.

He was also engaged with important projects such as sacrifices made by the Mewatis in the Freedom Struggle of 1857 awarded to the Centre by the Mewat Development Authority.

He will be remembered for his honesty and straightforwardness with his colleagues and students.

(Khan is M.A., M.Phil (Alig) (D.Phil Oxford), Associate Professor in History, Elected Member Aligarh Muslim University Teacher’s Association (AMUTA), Centre of Advance Study in History, Department of History, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh)

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