Ahsan Raza Khan

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Ahsan Raza Khan



Naved Masood*



It is a pity that the passing away of Ahsan Raza Khan has been widely reported in the context of his supposedly being a teacher of President Hamid Karzai. He deserves to be mourned and remembered for other reasons. First, to set the record straight. Khan was not the teacher of Karzai who was a student of Political Science at Shimla. Khan was a kind of mentor to Karzai who gave emotional support and provided intellectual growth to a lonely Pakhtun boy from Kandahar.


Ahsan Raza Khan, born in Rampur in 1939 joined AMU in 1960 after passing B.A from the Government Raza Degree College in his native place. He passed M.A (History) from Aligarh in 1962 and joined as a Research Scholar in the History Department to work on Chieftains under Akbar. He was awarded PhD degree in 1971 which was published by the Institute of Advanced Studies, Simla in 1977 as "Chieftains under the Mughals during the reign of Akbar" and is now regarded as a seminal work. He joined as Lecturer Department of History in Rajasthan University in 1966 from where he moved to the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies Shimla a few years later and joined the Himachal Pradesh University in 1976 soon after its establishment and remained with the University for the rest of his career developing a fine center for education and research in Medieval History of the region. Lack of access to original source material impeded his personal research career but he turned out to be an inspiring teacher and research guide to scores of students from Punjab, Himachal and Haryana. He was the presiding deity of the Coffee House at Shimla which was the hub of the intellectuals of the place and where he made Hamid Karzai learn his own historical context - Khan had firm grasp over the history of 'Kabul Subah' during the Mughal empire.


A leader among Historians, he was for long a Member of the Council of the Indian Council of Historical Research. He played a very constructive role in updating History curriculum in school and was in the forefront of the efforts to communalize historiography. His other well known work, "The Ayodhya Syndrome" is a telling evidence of his commitment to the cause of non partisan historiography. It is a pity that his location at a 'marginal location' kept him away from the limelight though the prestigious Central University did him the honour of appointing him as an Honorary Professor there.


An obituary note is not the place to mention full facts, it may suffice to note that his non appointment as a teacher in Aligarh is in itself an instructive accounts and depicts the way in which extraneous considerations have always played a part in faculty appointments in the institution.


*Mr. Naved Masood is an AMU Alum and a senior Civil Servant in Govt. of India and he is based in New Delhi. He can be reached at naved.masood@gmail.com

Noted Historian Ahmad Raza Khan passes away

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_noted-historian-ahsan-raza-khan-pas...

Noted Historian Ahmad Raza Khan passes away

Historian Ahsan Raza Khan, whose students include Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, has passed away after a brief illness here.

He breathed his last at IGMC hospital here last evening.

Khan, 72, is survived by two daughters, family said.

He started his career as fellow from Aligarh Muslim University and later moved to Indian Institute of Advance Studies Shimla.

Khan joined Himachal University in early eighties and held prestigious positions including founder chairman of Department of Journalism and Mass Communication.

He also had the honour of having Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai as his student in HP University.

A member of Indian Council for Historical Research (ICHR) for a long period, Khan also served at the Central University of Hyderabad for a brief period.

Khan wrote "Chieftains in the Mughal Empire during the reign of Akbar" in 1977, and "The Ayodhaya Syndrome" in the aftermath to the demolition of Babri Mosque.

Vice-Chancellor and teachers of HP University have condoled the death of the historian.

Noted historian Ahsan Raza Khan Dies

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/Briefly-Nation--HPU-historian-Khan-die...

SHIMLA: Noted historian Ahsan Raza Khan (72), whose students included Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, passed away after a brief illness at Shimla’s Indira Gandhi Medical College hospital on Thursday evening. Khan started his career as fellow from Aligarh Muslim University and later moved to Indian Institute of Advance Studies, Shimla. Khan joined Himachal University in the 1980s and held several prestigious positions including founder chairman of Department of Journalism and Mass Communication.. Khan wrote ‘The Ayodhaya Syndrome’ in the aftermath of the demolition of Babri Mosque. HPU Vice-Chancellor and staff have condoled the death of the historian.

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