Khaliq Ahmad Nizami

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Professor Khaliq Ahmad Nizami

Doyen of Studies of Aligarh Movement

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As a student and follower of Aligarh Movement, our efforts are to introduce our readers about people who has contributed to Aligarh Movement. I feel an honor to write few words about Prof. Khaliq Ahmad Nizami who has documented the life of Aligarh Movement in his best possible way. I am thankful to Prof. Ishtiyaq Ahmad Zilli, Mr. Naved Masood and Dr. Mohd Sajjad to help me to write these words. I am also thankful to Dr. Shaheer Khan to provide few of the pictures of the front cover of the books authored by Prof. Nizami. Some of the information I got from internet. Feel free to correct it if you feel anything is factually incorrect.

Here is a brief life sketch of Prof. Khaliq Ahmad Nizami, Doyen of Studies of Aligarh Movement.

By Afzal Usmani*

Once Syed Mahmud, one of the architect of Aligarh Movement and son of Aligarh Movement’s founder Sir Syed Ahmad said “Until Indian Muslims will remember my father, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan; they will also remember Lieutenant Colonel G.F.I. Graham”. I am not sure whether we Indian Muslims in general and AMU fraternity in particular kept the words of Syed Mahmud or not but I am sure whosoever will study Sir Syed and Aligarh Movement and praise the efforts and sacrifices of Sir Syed and his associates for the establishment of Aligarh Movement cannot miss to praise the efforts of Prof. Khaliq Ahmad Nizami who worked tirelessly to compile and protect the legacy of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan and Aligarh Movement. For a long time I was thinking to write his brief life sketch for web portal but for one or the other reason it got delayed. But a recent article by Prof. Yaseen Mazhar Siddiqi (former Chairman, Dept of Islamic Studies) in “Mashaaheer Number of Tahzibul Akhlaq” titled, “Ustaad-e-Giraami Nizami R.A.” prompted me to finish long pending task to introduce one of the passionate follower of Sir Syed and Aligarh Movement to the readers of . Prof. K.A. Nizami’s well wishers never claimed for a sainthood for him but never thought that someone will portray him as monster. Every human being has certain human weakness so does Prof. Nizami. What Prof. Siddiqi wrote in his article may be partly true but “Mashaaheer Number of Tahzibul Akhlaq” was not the right place to express his anecdotes in this fashion.

I was familiar with the name of Prof. Nizami since my early days of Aligarh but could not meet him till 1992 when Literary and Cultural Society of Allama Iqbal Hall decided to invite him to be a Chief Guest for an evening of a 5-Day long Literary & Cultural bonanza “Shaheen-92”. Being as Secretary of Literary & Cultural Society when I went to invite him for 24th November 1992, he took me to his office cum personal Library at his residence “Nizami Villa”. He gave me a tour of his collection of books which left a long lasting impression on me and also created a desire to have a personal library like him. It was only his personal library from Aligarh which got a place in Dr. Raza Ali Abidi’s BBC radio show “Kutub Khaaney”. I got another chance to visit the same library in 2008, after 10 years of his death and his absence felt very strongly. I came to know more about him from his writings when I started reading and writing about Aligarh Movement. He wrote numerous books and articles related to Sir Syed, his mission and life. His major work related to Aligarh Movement studies are Syed Ahmad Khan, in Builders of modern India, Sir Syed speaks to you, Sir Syed ek ta'arruf, Sir syed aur unkay rufaqa, Scientific Society, Armaghan-i-Aligarh, Sir syed Album, Sir Syed aur Aligarh Tahrik, SirSyed on Education, Society and Economy, Sir syed Ki Fikr aur Asr-e Jadid Ke Taqaz-e, Ek dard angez kahani Sir Syed KiZabani, History of the Aligarh Muslim University, Secular Tradition at Aligarh Muslim University and Aligarh Ki Elmi Khidmat.

Khaliq Ahmad Nizami was born in the town of Amroha in the United Provinces of British India on December 5, 1925. He was the son of Aziz Ahmad and Sayyidah Nizami. His other siblings were Swaleha Nizami, Laiq Ahmad Nizami, Zilley Ahmad Nizami, Taufiq Ahmad Nizami and Jamal Ara Nizami. Khaliq Ahmad received his education in India, and though he travelled extensively and gained much recognition abroad, he also largely pursued his academic career in his native country. He attended Meerut College which was attached to University of Agra, where he completed the M.A. in history in 1945. In the following year he was awarded the LL.B. degree by the same institution. He was married to Raziyah Nizami, sister of noted Urdu scholar Khawaja Ahmad Farooqui. The couple had five children, Ahtesham Nizami, Azra Nizami, Wajih Nizami, Mujib Nizami and Farhan Nizami. Dr. Farhan Nizami is the Prince of Wales Fellow in the study of the Islamic World, Magdalen College, Oxford and the Founder Director of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies. The Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies is a Recognized Independent Centre of the University of Oxford. It was established in 1985 to encourage the scholarly study of Islam and the Islamic world. Famous Islamic scholar Maulana Syed Abul Hasan Ali Nadvi, popularly known as Maulana Ali Miyan had served as its founding Patron. Presently Prince Charles, HRH The Prince of Wales is the Patron of the Centre. Dr. Farhan Nizami is now an important name in Islamic Academic circles.

In 1947 Khaliq Ahmad Nizami joined the staff of the Aligarh Muslim University in Aligarh, India, in the Department of History. The Aligarh Muslim University is the premier institution of higher education for Muslims in India in both pre-partition and post-partition days. In the period between 1937 and 1947 it was the foremost center of the Muslim political agitation that eventually led to the partition of India and the creation of Pakistan. Khaliq Ahmad Nizami was among those Muslim intellectuals who opted for Indian nationalism and the cause of the Indian National Congress. In consequence, he remained in India with his family when the country was divided in 1947. One of his younger siblings Er. Zilliey Ahmad Nizami moved to Pakistan after completing his graduation in Civil Engineering from Aligarh Muslim University in 1951. His other sibling Dr. Taufiq Nizami also served as a faculty in Dept. of Political Science in Aligarh Muslim University.

Prof. Khaliq Ahmad Nizami's rise in position at Aligarh was both steady and swift. In 1953 he became reader in history, and in 1963 he was promoted to the rank of professor. In 1971 when Prof. Nurul Hasan relinquished his position as Head of Dept of History, Prof. Nizami took over the rein of Dept of History and headed it till his superannuation in 1984. The latter appointment was accompanied by his being made head of the university's Centre of Advanced Study in History, which has numbered many of the best and most famous twentieth-century historians of India among its personnel. His principal scholarly concern was the history of medieval Muslim India, and the majority of his publications were in that field. For instance, he wrote extensively on the Sultanate of Delhi, giving particular attention to the religious dimensions of the history. In addition to a general book on the sultans of Delhi (originally in Urdu), he wrote studies on prominent sufis such as Shaykh Farid al-Din Ganj-i Shakir and on the saints of the Chishti order. One of the more consequential of his efforts was the publication of the political correspondence of the 18th-century Muslim reformer and philosopher Shah Waliullah R.A of Delhi. This correspondence provided the basis for an enlarged understanding of Shah Waliullah's contribution to Indian Muslim history. Perhaps the most enduringly important of his contributions is his work, together with Prof. Muhammad Habib, another eminent Historian from AMU Aligarh, on The Comprehensive History of India and his Supplement to Elliot and Dowson's History of India which has been a standard source (in translation) of original source materials for Indian history. Prof Mohammed Habib was his mentor. In fact Prof. Nizami was appointed in the Department of History by Prof Mohammed Habib who took a keen interest in his academic growth and to whom he owed his academic growth and career progression which was a record those days. In fact his most lasting works are “Shah Waliullah ke Maktoobat” and “Tarikh Mashaikh-i-Chisht”. Of course there is the volume on Sultanate period in “A Comprehensive History of India” co-authored with Prof Mohammed Habib.

There is also a group of works devoted to Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, the founder of the Aligarh Muslim and the most important intellectual and political leader of the Indian Muslims in the latter part of the 19th century. In addition to the studies of the life and times of Sir Syed Ahmad and the history of the Aligarh movement, these studies include an illustrated album and a collection of poems about Sir Syed Ahmad Khan and some of his associates.Professor Nizami had an extraordinary faith in Sir Syed. He established Sir Syed Academy in Aligarh and introduced the process of yearly lectures on Sir Syed. He authored several books on Sir Syed both in English and Urdu which were well received by the readers. Prof. Nizami's books in the field of History also enjoyed fame and appreciation at the international level. In all, Prof. Nizami had published more than 40 books and more than 200 papers in Urdu, Arabic, Persian and English dealing with various aspects of medieval Indian history, culture, Sir Syed and Aligarh. His articles on these subjects, spread through a variety of publications, were even more numerous. In addition to these publishing activities relating to works from his own pen, he was general editor of the Crescent-Lotus book series. A detailed list of his research papers can be found at the official website of Center for Advance Studies, Dept of History AMU Aligarh . Among his books on various topics other than Aligarh Movement, the following are especially noteworthy: Makatib Rasheed Ahmad siddiqui, Moulana Azad and the thirty pages of his India wins Freedom, Moulana Azad Album , Religion and politics in India during the thirteenth Century, Life and Times of Shaikh Nizamuddin Auliya, Life and Times of Shaikh Naseeruddin Chiragh Delhvi, Life and Times of Shaikh Fariduddin Ganj-i Shakar, Tarikh-i Mashaikh-i Chisht, Salatin-i Delhi Ke Mazhabi Rujhanat, Mystic Ideology and its impact, Mystic Teachers and their Influence and Akbar and religion.

Apart from his academic engagements, Prof. Nizami was also part of the University Administration and played an important part in the administration of the Aligarh Muslim University throughout his academic career. He served as Provost of oldest Hall of residence, Sir Syed Hall. In those days Sir Syed Hall was undivided and Tibbiya Hostel was also attached with it. Current Provost office of Sir Syed Hall(South) was office of Vice-Chancellor and the entire wing with Victoria Gate was Registrar office. A portion of Sir Syed Hall was also occupied by Faculty of Law which was there even when I joined Aligarh in 1988. It is a rare event that during his Provost of Sir Syed Hall, he made arrangement to print the book “History of M.A.O. College, Aligarh” written by Mr. Shyam Krishna Bhatnagar and distributed to every resident member of the Hall. He also organized several unique shadow play to tell the life story of Sir Syed. Shadow play also known as shadow puppetry is an ancient form of storytelling and entertainment which uses shadow or flat articulated figures (shadow puppets) to create the impression of moving humans and other three-dimensional objects. Later Prof. Nizami was also appointed as Dean Students Welfare (DSW).

Prof. Nizami took over the rein of Dept of History of AMU in 1971 and became Head of the Department. He served in this position till his retirement in 1984. He also served as Dean Faculty of Social Science from 3rd July 1977 to 30th July 1980. He served as Pro-Vice Chancellor from 1972 to 1974 with Prof. Abdul Aleem as the Vice Chancellor. In January, 1974 when Prof. Abdul Aleem relinquished the post of Vice Chancellor, Prof. Nizami served as Officiating Vice- Chancellor from 3rd January 1974 to 30th August 1974. He was one of the strongest candidates for the Vice Chancellorship of AMU Aligarh but Prof. Ali Mohammad Khusro was appointed as Vice Chancellor of AMU Aligarh sometime in 1974 and he took charge of Aligarh Muslim University on 20th September 1974. This is the year when Prof. Khaliq Ahmad Nizami’s efforts brought some good news to the followers of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan when Aligarh Muslim University finally agreed to establish Sir Syed Academy in Sir Syed House and Prof. Nizami became its Founding Director. Sir Syed House was originally a military mess. In 1876 it was bought by Syed Mahmood, the first Indian judge of the Allahabad High Court for the residence of his father Jawad ud Daula Arif Jung Sir Syed Ahmad Khan. The bungalow, known as Sir Syed House, lay in a dilapidated condition till it was fully renovated and restored to its original grandeur in the early 1970S. It was decided to convert the Building into a memorial for the founder and house in it the Academy named after him. The Academy was inaugurated on 22nd October, 1974 by H.E. Akbar Ali Khan Governor of Uttar Pradesh, India. Since its inception the Academy has been trying to create an awareness and understanding about the tremendous contributions that Sir Syed made for the advancement of the cause of educational, technological, social and cultural development. The Academy highlights the substantial effort of Sir Syed to promote unity and ha among the various communities of this vast country and thus to champion the noble cause of nation building. He also had a plan to start an Academy of Quranic Studies in the campus of Sir Syed Academy. He laid out the prelim plan in “Sir Syed Album”. But time did not gave him chance to implement his idea. But later his son, Dr. Farhan Nizami who is based in Oxford UK implemented his plan and “Khaliq Ahmad Nizami Center for Quranic Studies” was started as per the plans of Prof. Khaliq Nizami. Prof. Ahtesham Ahmad Nizami, former Dean Faculty of Engineering is its Founding Director. You can know more about of the center by visiting;

H.E. Mr. Akbar Ali Khan Governor of UP Inaugurating Sir Syed Academy in 1975

Prof. A.M. Khusro (VC), Nawab Chattari (Chancellor) and Prof. K.A. Nizami, Founding Director can also be seen in the picture


Sir Syed Academy, AMU Aligarh

K.A. Nizami Center for Quranic Studies, AMU Aligarh

In 1975, Prof. Nizami’s life took another turn and he was appointed as the Indian ambassador to Syria and he served his responsibilities as an Indian highest diplomat in Syria till 1977. He returned to Aligarh in 1977 and took over the rein of Sir Syed Academy of which he was Founding Director from 1974 to 1975. He served in the Capacity of its Director till 1985. He compiled a comprehensive list of Students of MAO College and Muslim University which was later published as Alumni Directory by his brother Er. Zilley Ahmad Nizami, who was Founding Chancellor of Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology in Karachi Pakistan. Prof. Nizami was also associated with Darul Musannefin Shibli Academy ( ) and served as member of the Management Committee and Member of the Editorial board of its monthly journal Maarif from 1989 till his last breath. Darul Musannefin Shibli Academy is a think tank and research institute conceptualized by Allama Shibli Nomani and founded and nurtured by Syed Sulaiman Nadvi, Maulana Hamiduddin Farahi, Maulana Abdul Salam Nadvi, Maulana Shah Moinuddin Nadvi, Maulana Abdul Majid Dariyabadi, Maulana Sabahuddin Abdur Rahman, Maulana Syed Abul Hasan Nadvi and Maulana Ziauddin Islahi. It is now headed by Prof. Ishtiyaq Ahmad Zilli, one of the student and colleague of Prof. Nizami. During his association with Darul Musannefin Shibli Academy, not only he visited Azamgarh to attend the annual meetings but also paid a visit to Bindawal, birth place of Allama Shibli Nomani.

After retiring from his services from University in 1984, he remained as Director of Sir Syed Academy till 1985. His passion for his work and specially to write about Aligarh Movement kept him busy till his last breath. He took good care of his personal collection of books and was always on top of his collection. When I went to invite him again for “Iqbal Day Celebration” in November 1995, he gave me another tour of his library. One of my teacher and warden, Mufti Zahid Ali Khan was also with me. When Mufti Zahid mention about the publication of some Islamic book, Prof. Nizami immediately reached to a shelf and showed us the latest edition of the same book. Mufti Zahid was not even aware of this latest edition of the said book. This was an unforgettable moment for me about Prof. Nizami’s passion for collection of books of the subjects he likes most. Due to some prior commitment, he did not accept our invitation to attend the event as a Keynote Speaker. I never thought this will be my last meeting with doyen of studies of Aligarh Movement. I still remember his death in first week of December of 1997 when Aligarh lost one of its most devoted sons. This was my last month in Aligarh and I already had a job offer in New Delhi and had to join on 1st Jan 1998. I was working hard to complete my Master’s dissertation before the end of month. His death news was a shock to me and to Aligarh community as one of the eminent Aligarian and ardent follower of Sir Syed and his movement left us. He died on Thursday, December 4, 1997 and was laid to rest in University graveyard “Mintoyee”.

Re: Prof. K.A. Nizami


It really was an interesting & informative write-up on Prof .Nizami.
I wish Dr. Sajjad, being from same Department could add some more details about the contributions of Prof. Nizami towards the subject of History and towards the development of the Department of History at AMU.

I am specifically requesting Sajjad Sahab as I enjoy reading his very informative and well researched academic articles on various luminaries of AMU. Infact I was a bit surprised as to why Sajjad sahab did not write anything uptill now for the various AMU fora to enlighten the members about Nizami Sahab, a great historian of AMU.


Dr. Najeeb Siddiqi
M.Sc. Biotech 1986
New Delhi

Re:Prof Khaliq Ahmad Nizami-Doyen of Studies of Aligarh Movement

Dear Ahtasham,

The write up invoked nostalgia and wet the eyes, particularly by mention about Janab Nizami Saheb. Actually, being historian, not only he had studied well the periods (works and achievements) of great personalities in history but also realised continuously how to take initiatives, to make improvements in existing set-ups, provisions and facilities. He had concern about students' problems ranging from micro to major levels.
For instance in hostel rooms' conditions : there used to be a central power wire line hanging from ceiling upto a suitable height in each Front Room of S S Hall. That central wire served as a transformer from where each of four partners used to have connection upto his reapective table placed at each corner of the room. Mostly these branching wires were not of equal lengths. Central wire made an acute angle towards the partner having wire of shorter length. Sometimes this 'inequality' used to develop a little under current (tussle) between the effected partners. Intensity of tension could be measured by acuteness of the angle. As acute was the angle so tense was the atmosphere(mahaul) in the room which used to come out with the words 'Kiya hai partner ? Aap thoda bada wire nahein laga sakte hain, kitni bar request ki ja chuki hai. . . Phir bhi . .' and so on.
Again, the then serious problem was realised and solved by none other than Nizami sb. He got replaced it with fresh electric wiring connecting each corner seat fitted with a switch. For few days each partner frequently tried switches for 'ON' and 'OFF' uttering good words for Nizami sb.

Besides his professional duties he wrote no. of books particularly on Sufism. Unparallel amongst is 'Tarikh-e-Mashaikh-e-Chisht'.

There was a play 'Mohammad Tughlaq' staged by National School of Drama (NSD). Prior to start of a play, a booklet containing gist / brief about the play is distributed to audiance so was for 'Mohammad Tughlaq'. I had one and went thru its pages. I felt flying in the sky with AMU flag in my hands on finding the play was reviewed by 'Prof. K A Nizami' for the authenticity of the subject, 'Mohammad Tughlaq'.

AMU has been regularly studding stars to its already created 'Kahkashan' with lights of different wave lengths shining in all directions. Question is how to gather it into laps. Need not worry ! '' will take care but slowly slowly.


S Z Khan, M.Sc.'75,

Professor Khaliq Ahmad Nizami Doyen of Studies of Aligarh Movem

افضال بھائی
السلام علیکم ورحمۃ اللہ وبرکاتہ
زیر نظر مضمون پڑھا آپکی عرق ریزی اور جانفشانی کی ستائش نہ کرنا نا انصافی ھوگی. اللہ کرے آپ اسی طرح مشاہیر اسلاف کے کارناموں کو روشناس کراتے رھیں .... اللہ کرے زور قلم اور زیادہ
آپکا بھائی
عبدالرحمن اعظمی

Re:Prof Khaliq Ahmad Nizami-Doyen of Studies of Aligarh Movement

Dear Afzal Mian ASMK

You have done a wonderful job in writing about Prof Khaliq
Ahmad Nizami sahib, a great AMU personality. Every student of AMU has his own
memories of his time. Here are mine.

During my stay at AMU from 1968 to 1980, there were several personalities known
for different reasons. For instance, there were high academic achievers such as
Prof Shafi from Geography, Prof Fakhruddin from Geology, Prof Osman from
Chemistry, Prof Mehdi Hasan from Anatomy, Prof Ale-Ahmad Saroor from Urdu, Prof
Irfan Habib from History etc. Then there were Prof Rasheed Siddiqui of
Engineering and Rehman Khan of Law who were very loud and strong supporters of the
minority character at the time when most teachers were scared to speak. There
were also Prof Rais of Physics and Prof Irfan Habib etc who were champions of
equality and hence, against minority character.
At the same time, there were individuals who used to work
silently for improving the academic and residential environment of the University.
They were noticed by their hard work and dedication and they rose to the admin
ladder accordingly. Professor Khaliq Ahmad Nizami aka K.A. Nizami sahib was one
of them. I have immense respect for him and always feel, had he been given the
one full term extension as VC, we would have been in much better state today.
When I took admission in AMU as a PUC student in 1968, I was
allotted to Sulaiman Hall. My cousin, Amir Ahmad bhai, wanted to put me in
Osmania Hostel of SS Hall under the care of his friends, Barkat-uz zaman Bhai
and Mohd Mian Bhai, so that a villager like me could easily adjust to the life
of AMU. Mohammad Mian bhai, currently VC of MANUU, wrote an application on my
behalf for hall transfer and asked me to meet the Provost. This was my very
first interaction with Prof Nizami sahib. He asked me the reasons for my
transfer, and waitlisted me. Thereafter, I used to see Prof Nizami sahib on a
daily basis on the sub-roads of the
Hall, where he walked with a serious posture. I can still visualize him in
brown sherwani crossing the lawns in front of Osmania hostel making his way to
Jam-e-Masjid to pray and that too even when he was VC and PVC.
Prof Nizami sahib was innovative as a Provost, and worked
very hard to improve the hostel life of the students. He did all of this so
that students could devote more time to their studies. He established a reading
room for the students, and a three star guest room for the stay of the
student's parents and guests. These were probably the first among all
residences. He was a historian and a great admirer of Sir Syed. Given this
background, he wanted to create an atmosphere that mimicked the times of Sir
Syed. For example, he made it compulsory
for students to eat food together in the dining hall at a fixed time. He also re-introduced
the ringing of a bell at the start of both lunch and dinner times. Prof Nizami
sahib also had plans to preserve the rooms as heritage site on both sides of
Stratchy Hall as they were in Sir Syed's time. He even took a keen interest in
the reconstruction of Sir Syed's house, which used to be a ruin (khandar) with
exposed bricks and half fallen walls. I believe it was not renovated, but
demolished and reconstructed on the original foundations under the care of
Nizami sahib.
He renumbered the hostel rooms back to original on the
complaints of the old alumni of the Hall as they used to find difficulty in
recognizing their rooms on their visits.
Unfortunately, I lost the book “History of M.A.O. College, Aligarh that was compiled
on cyclostyled paper and distributed to all the residents of the Hall for a few
Rupees. I used to always think that the book was written by Prof Nizami sahib.
Thanks to Afzal sahib for letting us know that it was in fact written by Bhatnagar
Prof Nizami sahib was a strict administrator. He improved
the quality of food given to the students. He was quite hard on the kitchen
staff, who revolted and went on strike at one point. Nizami sahib did not
relent a bit. He hired vegetarian cooks from outside and we enjoyed eating
poori and sabzi for a week until the agreement with the kitchen staff was
reached. I believe he liked delicious food, as he took Siddique mian, head cook
of SS Hall, with him to Syria as the ambassador's cook.
Considering his dedication, innovative ideas and admin
prowess, Nizami sahib was easily noticed by the VC and selected for bigger
roles as DSW and then to PVC. When he officiated as VC, he used to make random
visits to the departments at 8 am to see if all the classes started at their
times and that the staff was available in the departments.
The university was closed sine die for few months in 1973
due to students agitation for the restoration of the minority character. The students
were on the verge of losing one academic year. As a PVC in charge of academic
affairs and later as Acting VC, Prof Nizami sahib helped put in a unique system
by having three semesters in a year instead of two and modifying the examining
system temporarily. Thus, it saved the year of the students.
Prof Nizami was an honest and active administrator and hence,
not favored by the lazy and unproductive staff politicians. They along with student
leaders with vested interests approached the Ministry of Education not to give
him a four years term as VC. I wished it did not happen.
Nizami sahib's father moved to Meerut to practice law and
was called "Huqqay Wale Wakeel", according to his acquaintances. Probably, he
used to smoke Huqqa in his court office (Katchehry basta). They still have
their house in Gali Dolli wala Chatta in Khairnagar, next door to my maternal
uncle, Marhoom Hakeem Shabbir Rizvi sahib. This is how KA Nizami sahib studied
at the Meerut College.
I met him last in Sept 1978 when I was seeking admission in
M.Lib.Sc. The course used to have five seats mostly reserved for experienced
librarians. Many first class holders of the Bachelor of Library Science degree
were denied admission. I, unfortunately, was one of them. Nizami sahib at that
time was the Dean of Social Sciences. Library Science used to fall under this
Faculty. Three senior students including me were trying separately to be
nominated through student leaders like Marhoom Mushtaq Khillo and Marhoom Javed
Habib. In addition, I chose another route of sifarish. I requested my cousin
and Nizami sahib's neighbor in Meerut,
Marhoom Dr Shakil Rizvi sahib of Pathology department to help me out. Shakil
bhai took me to Nizami sahib’s newly built house near Medical College and made
an admission request, projecting me as the most deserving candidate and the only
bread earner of the family in the absence of my father who had died a few years
ago. Nizami sahib listened carefully and said I will look into it.
After a week, 10 more applicants were given admission to
M.Lib.Sc. Prof Nizami sahib increased the class size from 5 to 15 and allowed
fresh graduates to obtain admission. He was of the opinion that a class size of
5 was a waste of resources, as the same resources with additional efforts may
manage a class of 15. His logical decision provided a chance to further the
career of 10 more promising librarians. Most of them are holding responsible
positions in their profession today. Four of them are working at AMU Library at
senior positions and two of them are abroad. I would certainly not have
achieved my career goals without Prof Nizami's logical decision. I am sure many
more students would have benefitted from his decisions, which were always in
the interest of the students. We should not forget that he was after all a
human being and might have committed some mistakes in his long career, but I am
sure that those shortcomings, if any, will be easily overweighed by his good
and logical decisions as well as professional and academic achievements.
Kindest regards.

Ahtasham Rizvi
Toronto, Canada

Re: Prof Khaliq Ahmad Nizami -- Doyen of Aligarh Movement

Mr Afzal Usmani has done a commendable job which must have involved much research and effort. It is as well that a very skewed article on the late Prof Nizami in a magazine which made Afzal complete the long delayed project - just shows that the most untoward event can have some beneficial outcome!

Much against my initial reluctance I am constrained to observe that the article in question appears in a journal (Tahzibul Akhlaq), which for all practical purposes, is an official publication of the University as the Trust which publishes it is owned and controlled by the AMU. The Magazine brought out a special number dedicated to the past notables of Aligarh. Clearly, the nature of this particular Issue required publication of biographical sketches of selected notables. Such sketches are expected to give a snapshot of the life and works of the personality in question with references to his 'pluses' and 'minuses' to the extent they have a bearing on a general appreciation of the 'notable'. Such a sketch is not expected to be an exercise in hagiography but by the same logic the author is not required to jog his memory to recall each and every wart of the man or woman he writes about.

Reading Prof Yasin Mazhar Siddiqui's piece leaves one with the distinct impression that he harbours very deep-seated grievances against Prof Nizami and when writing on him he cannot help remembering one instance of slight and injustice after another while dealing with the subject. This results in a litany of personal grievances and his sense of being wronged by the person whose life and works he was called upon to chronicle. The piece thus ceases to be a biographical sketch. One wishes that in the circumstances the author had 'recused' himself from doing a piece on his "Ustad-i-Girami' and left the job to a more objective person. Prof Siddiqui was well advised, instead, to have contemplated writing his own memoirs which offer greater scope of dwelling on how his life was shaped by the real or imaginary atrocities of his 'revered teacher'

This also raises an issue whether in the present case editorial responsibilities were properly discharged in okaying an unexpurgated version of a doting student of his revered teacher. One expects greater discretion in a quasi official publication.

Before parting with this missive I can not help noticing that the particular Issue of "Tahzibul Akhlaq" is devoted to my father with a number of rather ornate adjectives. I suppose this should not seriously jeopardize my locus standi to write this piece.

Naved Masood
LL.B. (Hons) 1977

New Delhi

Professor Khaliq Ahmad Nizami

Iam delighted to read,these facts and miss the opportunity to read much about aligarh movement!thanks Afzal for this kind job you are doing.keep it-up sha'a allah you remain to be a true aligarian.
Syed Mohammad Abdullah

Not a leftist but reasonaby seasoned Historian

I have carefully reviewed the writing by Br Afzal Usmani. It's an achievement in its own way. As far Prof. Khaliq Ahmad popularly known in my days at AMU 'K.A. Nizami' has left his Legacy not only as an academic but a very good administrator during his days as Acting Vice Chancellor. However he was not able to accommodate the political twist from New Delhi and was eventually a compromise to send him as ambassador.

I am familiar too with Farhan Bhai who is one of the brightest but proud sons of Nizami family makes frequent visits to Malaysia. May Allah (swt) bless the family for their contributions for the cause of Aligarh Movements.

Khaliq Ahmad

Very informative, keep up the

Very informative, keep up the good work Afzal Bhai, this website will be wikipedia for aligs in future.

I just saw one typo error in 3rd line of 2nd last paragraph "... Director from 11974 to 75...." One '1' is extra there. Plz correct it.


Re: Prof K.A. Nizami

Very well documented, concise and factual. This is how I will summarize this.

Keep up the good work in documenting the AMU history. It does take quite a bit of effort to put compile such biographies and your voluntary efforts are commendable.

Faisal Saleem
Phoenix AZ

Sir Syed Bi-Centenary


Hamiduddin Farahi


Satish Chandra