By Afzal Usmani
Born: 1st August 1924, Jaunpur (UP) India.
Died: 9th December, 2007, Aligarh (UP) India.
Father: Husain Ali
Children: Prof. Mohd. Jamil (Civil Engg., AMU Aligarh), Dr. Bilquees Bano
1945: B.A. Allahabad University
1947: M.A. (Geography), AMU Aligarh, 1956:
Ph.D. from London School of Economics with Prof. Dudley Stamp
1948: Lecturer, Department of Geography, AMU Aligarh
1956: Reader, Department of Geography, AMU Aligarh
1962: Professor, Department of Geography, AMU Aligarh
1962-84: Chairman, Department of Geography, AMU Aligarh
1966-68: Dean, Faculty of Science
1959-62: Provost, Sir Shah Sulaiman Hall
1984: Professor Emeritus in Dept. of Geography AMU Aligarh
1972-74: Director Academic Program (DAP)
1979-80: Pro-Vice Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University
1985-1993: Vice-President, International Geographical Union, http://www.helsinki.fi/science/igu
1987: Member, Royal geographical Society of London.
1992-95: Pro-Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University
2001: Padama Shri by the Government of India
2001: Bhoogol Ratna Award by Bhoovigyan Vikas Foundation, New Delhi.
2002: "Saraswati Award" in Environmental Science and Ecology by the UGC
Member: The Scientific Committee of the International Social Science Council
“Laureate d’ honneur” by the International Geographical union at Glasgow, UK. 'Academician' by the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Member : Bureau for Promotion of Urdu
President : Indian Geographical Union, Indian Geographical Council.
Mohd. Shafi was born on 1st June, 1924 in historical city of Jaunpur in eastern Uttar Pardesh. In 1945, after completing his graduation from Allahabad University, he joined Aligarh Muslim University in M.A. in Geography.
Association with Aligarh :
Mohd. Shafi completed his M.A. in Geography in 1947. Like other part of the country, Aligarh Muslim University campus was also not safe from the socio-political activities of Indian Freedom movement during this time. But this did not affect the studies of young Mohd. Shafi. After completing his M.A., he joined AMU as lecturer in department of Geography. He completed his Ph.D. from London University in 1956 and was appointed as Reader in Geography department of AMU. His Ph.D. work was well recognized at International level. His research area Agricultural Geography got attention in the research community an department of Geography of AMU Aligarh was declared a center of excellence for the subject buy University Grant Commission and Mohd. Shafi was appointed its Coordinator. His research work on the Food System of India has been recognized with high honors in many countries, and by the United Nations.In 1962, he was appointed as Professor in the same department. In the same year he became Chairman, Department of Geography and served on this position till 1984. He has published 11 books and 130 research papers, and has supervised 34 doctoral works. He also served as Provost for 3 years and Dean Faculty of Science. In 1972, Prof. Abdul Aleem, Vice-Chancellor of AMU Aligarh appointed him as Director of Academic Program (DAP). He served as DAP till 1974. His academic excellence and administrative abilities were noticed by AMU Vice Chancellor Prof. Ali Mohammad Khusro and in 1979 he appointed him as Pro-Vice Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University. He served as Pro Vice-Chancellor for two years. In 1984, he retired from his services but Department of Geography appointed him as Professor Emeritus.
Professor Shafi is the first Indian Geographer in the Indian sub-continent including SAARC countries to receive this prestigious award at the 30th International Geographical Congress held at Glasgow in U.K. More than 1800 geographers from 81 countries participated in the Congress. The Russian Academy of Sciences also conferred on him its highest award 'Academician'. The Royal Geographers Society, London made him its Honorary Corresponding Member of the Council and the American Geographic Society offered him its Fellowship. In 2002 he has been honored for "Saraswati Award" in Environmental Science and Ecology by the University Grants Commission. On April 22, 2001 at New Delhi Bhoovigyan Vikas Foundation awarded him the maiden Bhoogol Ratna Award, which consists of Rs One lakh and a citation.
In AMU Court meeting on July 5th, 1992, Professor Mohd Shafi was elected as Pro-Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University for a period of 3 years.
On 9th December 2007, Professor Mohd Shafi died in Aligarh. He was laid to rest in University Graveyard 'Mintoyee'.