About the Series
The object of the series is the publication of biographies of those eminent sons and daughters of India who have been mainly instrumental in our national renaissance and the struggle for independence.
It is essential for the present and coming generations to know something about these men and women. Except in a few cases, no authoritative biographies are available. The series has been planned to remove this lacuna and comprise bandy volumes containing simple and short biographies of our eminent leaders written by competent persons who know their subject well. The books in this series are of 200 to 300 pages each and are not intended either to be comprehensive studies or to replace more elaborate biographies. Though desirable, it may not' be possible to publish the biographies in chronological order. The work of writing these lives has to be entrusted to persons who are well equipped to do so and therefore, for practical reasons, it is possible that there might be no historical sequences observed. It it hoped, however, that within a shorn period all eminent national personalities will figure in this series.
Shri R.R. Diwakar it; the General Editor of this series.
Masihul Mulk Hakim Mohammed Ajmal Khan was a man 'Of multi-dimensional personality. His whole life was a saga of selfless service and sacrifice. Initiating his career as a Unani physician, he ultimately threw himself into the maelstrom of national politics under the inspiring leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. His life, in fact, embodies a transcendental idealism.
An eminent physician, he practised not 60 much for the lucre as for the love of the poor. He promoted with a missionary zeal the indigenous system of medicine. He founded the prestigious Tibbia College as well as the Hindustani Dawakhana in Delhi. His untiring efforts in the field of medicine infused a new vigour and life into an otherwise decaying Indian medical system under the British regime. The growth of the Indian medical profession owes a great deal to this. great crusader of humanity in the sub-continent. His chief contribution in this field was that he revolutionised the indigenous medical system by importing a scientific basis on which the present Unani system now firmly rests. What Sir Syed Ahmad Khan did in the field if education, Hakim Ajmal Khan has truly done the same in the field of medicine.
Starting his early political career as one of the founders of the All India Muslim League, he attempted to mould it as a nationalist organisation. In the second decade of the 20th century he came to associate himself with the Indian National Congress and his enthusiastic zeal for the national cause made a profound impression upon Mahatma Gandhi with whom he forged a life-long friends.hip. He had the credit of adorning the presidential office of the All India Muslim League, the Indian National Congress and the All India Khilafat Committee. He was also the first ever Muslim Chairman of the Reception Committee of the Hindu Mahasabha. Perhaps, very few of us know that he was also responsible for initiating and inaugurating the non-cooperation movement against the British in 1920. He was a man of catholic outlook and an indomitable spirit. He had the courage of conviction and expressed his honest views on all issues of national importance without fear or favour. He was a great champion of Hindu-Muslim unity. In Mahatma Gandhi's memorable words: "Hindu-Muslim unity was the breath of his nostrils."
Hakim Saheb rendered a unique and unforgettable service in the field of education also. The Jamia Millia Islamia owes its existence to his relentless efforts in this direction.
The great historical city of Delhi had a special fascination for him and the boundless love of the people of Delhi for him elicited from Lord Hardinge the remark that he was the "uncrowned king of Delhi." His residence known as Sharif Manzil in Ballimaran was the hub of all national' political activities. He was a man of great vision and sagacity. He evinced a deep understanding of international issues as well, chiefly of West Asia. His dynamic personality made a great impact on all those who came in his contact.
This is indeed one of the ironies of history that not much has been written on the activities of this great son of the soil. Moreover, in popular imagination he seems to survive only as an eminent Indian physician and many facets of his public life as particularly his inestimable contribution to the Indian national struggle remains obscure. The present work is but! a modest, though serious attempt to highlight his services in the field of politics, education and philanthropy. The life and activities of Hakim Ajmal Khan have been recorded and reconstructed by drawing largely on such source material and authentic accounts as have not found sufficient exposure in many other books written on him. The writer hopes that the present study on Hakim Saheb's life and contribution will serve a useful purpose in strengthening the feelings of national integration as well as enlightening the general reader with some of the events which have remained unknown so far.
The stimulus to make a modest contribution to research writing came mainly from my brother Dr. F. A. Jeelani, Principal, Government Post Graduate College, Sehore (M.P.) and my teacher Professor L.C. Goswami, formerly Editor, Gazetteer, Ministry of Education and Culture, Government of India. New Delhi who went through the type-script of the book, though they are, of course, not responsible for any errors that remain. My gratitude to them is far beyond the reach of expression.
I owe much to the renowned Urdu litterateur Hakim Syed Ali Kausar Chandpuri and Professor Ali Ashraf, Vice-Chancellor, Jamia Millia Islamia for the constant encouragement they have given me.
The type-script and proofs were read by my daughter, Tabassum and son, Qamar to whom I am grateful for the pain they took first to produce a clean copy and then to see that the printer's devil is restricted to the minimum.
I shall be failing in my duty if I do not acknowledge my thanks to my colleague Shri M. M. Khan, Reader in Pilitical Science, Prof. S. Ansari, Chief Librarian, Dr. Zakir Husain Library, Jamia Millia Islamia, Dr. Nafis Siddiqi Principal, Bhagau Singh College, Delhi University, Mr. Afaq Ahmed Suharwardi, Mrs. Maimoona Sultan, Ex-M.P., Mrs. Salma Sultan, Doordarshan, New Delhi, Khalda Begum and to the librarians of Mahatma Gandhi Sangrahalaya, Sapru House Library, Tibbia College Library, Hamdard Institute of Islamic Studies, National Archives of India, Delhi State Archives, Central Secretariat Library, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi and Maulana Azad Library, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh for their kind co-operation.
Lineage and Early Life
The League President
The Congress and Khilafat Chief
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