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Ziauddin Ahmad

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Subject: Higher Education Commission of Pakistan, Mohammad Hidayatullah, All India Muslim League members, Indian general election, 1930, Indian general election, 1934
Collection: 1878 Births, 1947 Deaths, Aligarh Muslim University Alumni, Aligarh Muslim University Faculty, All India Muslim League Members, Companions of the Order of the Indian Empire, Differential Geometers, Indian Knights, Indian Logicians, Indian Mathematicians, Indian Muslims, Indian Philosophers, Knights Bachelor, Members of Central Legislative Assembly of India, Muslim Scholars, Pakistan Movement Activists, People from Allahabad, People from Meerut, University of Calcutta Alumni, Vice-Chancellors of the Aligarh Muslim University
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Ziauddin Ahmad

Ziauddin Ahmed
ضیاء الدین احمد
Born Ziauddin Ahmed Zuberi
(1878-02-13)13 February 1878
Meerut, State of Uttar Pradesh, British Indian Empire
Died 23 December 1947(1947-12-23) (aged 69)
London, Great Britain
Residence Aligarh, Aligarh district, Uttar Pradesh.
Citizenship British India (1878–1947)
Nationality Indian
Fields Mathematics
Social reformer
Institutions London Mathematical Society
Royal Astronomical Society
M.A.O. College
Aligarh Muslim University
Trinity College, Cambridge
University of Paris
University of Bologna
Alma mater Allahabad University
Calcutta University
University of Göttingen
Doctoral advisor Dr. James Reynold
Known for As a politician,he was a member of British Indian Parliament,Muslim Renessence, Aligarh Movement, Sadler Commission or Calcutta University Commission on higher education, Reserve Bank of India Act. His leading and central role in the Pakistan Movement.
As a mathematician, his research work on Differential geometry, Projective geometry, Logarithmic applications and sciences, and Algebraic geometry and analytic geometry.
Notable awards Strachey Gold Medal (1895)
Sir Isaac Newton Scholarship[1]
First general secretary of the Muslim League, and the close companion of Founder of Pakistan Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Moti Lal Nehru.

Sir Ziauddin Ahmad CIE, MP (Urdu: ضیاء الدین احمد‎, born Ziauddin Ahmed Zuberi (Urdu: ضیاء الدین احمد زبیری‎) on 13 February 1878 – died 23 December 1947[2]) was an Indian mathematician, parliamentarian, logician, natural philosopher, politician, political theorist, educationist and scholar. He was one of the strongest pillars of the Aligarh Movement and was a professor, first Pro Vice Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University[3] and later on rector of Aligarh Muslim University, India.[4]
He was appointed Pro Vice Chancellor, while Raja Mehmodabad was the Vice Chancellor. Begum Bhopal Chancellor and Sir Agha Khan were the Pro Chancellors when AMU was established by the Act of Parliament in 1920.
Zia Uddin spent his own personal money to bring students to MAO College. One of the most notable was Hasrat Mohani, who hailed from Kanpur and was planning to go to Lucknow. Sir Ziauddin noticed Mohani's distinct talents in math, and went to Kanpur to convince him and his family that he should attend MAO College.[5]


  • Early life 1
  • Professor 2
  • Mathematician 3
  • Ziauddin in Europe 4
  • Sadler Commission On Higher Education 5
  • Services to Aligarh Muslim University 6
    • Popularity among students 6.1
  • Politics 7
    • Resignation and appointment as Rector of Aligarh Muslim University 7.1
  • Death 8
  • Family and legacy 9
  • Honors and recognition 10
  • Aligarh Muslim University Centre's 11
  • References 12
  • External links 13

Early life

Sir Ziauddin was born on February 13, 1878, in Meerut in Uttar Pradesh, British India.[6] He started his primary education in a madarsa and moved to MAO College, Aligarh established by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan.
He had a brilliant academic career at Aligarh, reputedly preferring the job of Junior Lecturer over that of Deputy Collector[7] Ahmad obtained his intermediate from Allahabad University in 1893 and then a BA in mathematics (with distinction) at Aligarh in 1895. Immediately after receiving his B.A., he won the prestigious Strachey Gold Medal in 1897 from in his Alma mater.[6]
While a teacher, he continued his education, obtaining M.A. degrees from Calcutta and Allahabad Universities and also a D.Sc from the latter in 1901. Later that year, he proceeded to Europe for higher studies on a scholarship from the UP Government with supplementary financial assistance from the Prince Agha Khan III. He passed the Natural Science tripos from Trinity College Cambridge in the First Division, and later obtained a PhD in Astronomy from Goetingen University in Germany in 1906.[5]
In 1904, he became the first Indian to receive the coveted Isaac Newton Medal and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and the London Mathematical Society. After spending some time in Bologna, Italy doing further research in astronomy, he headed back home in 1907, pausing for a couple of months at the Al Azhar University in Cairo to understand the academic methodologies of one of the oldest institutions of Islamic learning. On his return, Ziauddin devoted himself to serve his alma mater for the rest of his life. In 1911, he was appointed Secretary of the A.M.U. Foundation Committee as well as Constitution Committee. He was appointed Professor of Mathematics at MAO College and later (1918) became its Principal for which Ross Masud was also a contender.[5]
His interests diversified around 1915 to public affairs (general condition of economy and the representation of Muslims in Government services etc.) and technical and vocational education.[5] In 1924 he was elected to the UP legislative Assembly from the Muslim Constituency of "Mainpuri, Etah and Farrukhabad"- from then on, he was consistently a member of either the provincial or the central legislatures except for brief interludes. He was appointed as assistant master in the Mahommedan Anglo-Oriental (MAO) College. He pledged to Sir Syed that he would dedicate his life to the MAO College and left the job of deputy collector, at the time when the salary and prestige of the two posts varied considerably.[4]


It was with his efforts that a Medical and Engineering college were founded and the Aligarh Muslim College converted to Aligarh Muslim University[4] where Ziauddin Ahmad worked as a lecturer, professor, principal, pro-vice-chancellor, vice-chancellor and rector respectively.[8] Ziauddin can be reckoned as next to Sir Syed Ahmad Khan in the spread of education among the Muslims who owe him a profound sense of gratitude.[8]

Ziauddin played a dominant role in the renaissance of Muslim education in the Indian sub-continent after Sir Syed Ahmad Khan and faithfully handed the torch of education to the rank and file of the Muslims throughout the sub-continent. As a successor of Syed, he carried on the task of educating the people in the teeth of opposition when he proceeded to England to receive the coveted Sir Isaac Newton Scholarship. He was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire (CIE) in the 1915 King's Birthday Honours list.[9] In 1917 Ziauddin was also appointed member of the Calcutta University Commission presided by Sir Michael Sadler also known as Sadler Commission.[8]

Ziauddin rendered services to the Muslims of the sub-continent, worked for their progress and welfare and devoted all his life to the eradication of ignorance and illiteracy. He became a member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) of UP in 1919 and 1922.[8] The second Muslim Kamboh Conference held at Marehra (District Etha U.P) on 21 and 22 April 1935 in Marison Islamia School was presided over by Ziauddin.[8]

He was one of the earliest members of the All-India Muslim League. Knighted in the 1938 New Year Honours list,[10] Ziauddin became the Parliamentary Secretary of the Muslim League in the Central Assembly of India the same year. He remained a member (M.P.) of the Central Assembly of India from 1930 till 1947. In 1946, he was the chief whip of the Muslim League in the Central Assembly.

He was the first Indian Principal of the M.A.O. College and became its first Pro-Vice-Chancellor. He was elected Vice-Chancellor in 1934 and remained so until 1946 with a couple of breaks for several reasons, and thus became the longest serving Vice-Chancellor in the history of Aligarh Muslim University.[1] He was also appointed Rector of the University. He was a great parliamentarian. He was appointed a Member of State Assembly in 1919 as representative of Allahabad University. He was elected a Member of Central Assembly in 1930.[1] His close association with Sir Syed Ahmed Khan made him the embodiment of dignity, excellence and virtue.[1]


Ziauddin was One of the earliest mathematicians who, along with Professor Chakravarti founded the first group of teachers and research workers whose main interests were in Astronomy, History of Mathematics and Theory of Functions. They carried out many innovations in teaching and research.[11] For the first time in 1890, a society called M.A.O. College Mathematics Society was formed with Dr. Ziauddin Ahmad as its President and Mr. A.M. Kureishy as its Secretary.

The society has been continuing its activities and is now known as Aligarh Mathematical Society.The Department of Mathematics came into existence on the elevation of M.A.O. College to the status of a residential University in 1920. Thus the department of Mathematics is amongst the oldest departments of the University. Dr. Sir Ziauddin Ahmad became the first Professor and Head of the Department of Mathematics.[11]

Ziauddin in Europe

After doing DSc in mathematics from Allahabad, Sir Ziauudin moved Europe for further Excellence in the field of Mathematics.[12] He was the first Muslim who obtained D.Sc. (Mathematics). Then, he joined Trinity College, Cambridge in 1901 for Honors Degree in Mathematics and graduated with excellence by securing the first position. His brilliant academic career won him mathematical Tripos topping the University and became a Wrangler. He was also awarded Sir Isaac Newton Scholarship in 1904, a rare academic honour that was ever conferred on an Indian. He was made a member of the Mathematical Society of London and a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society.[5] He did his PhD from the University of Göttingen, Germany.[13] He also visited Paris University in France and Bologna University in Italy for advanced studies in the field of modern Geometry.[14] Sir Ziauddin Ahmad was a distinguished and an eminent mathematician, and have worked in the complex Logarithms applications. He did his pioneering work in modern geometry and published large sum of publications in differential geometry and algebraic geometry,.[12]

Sadler Commission On Higher Education

At the time of the Government of India Resolution in 1913 there were only five universities in India and the number of colleges was beyond the control of the various universities within their territorial limits. As a result different administrative problems piled up in that period. By this time the London University was reorganised and reformed as per recommendations of the Royal Commission under the chairmanship of Lord Halden. Therefore it became a necessity to reform the Indian Universities also. All these circumstances led to the formation of the second university commission. i.e., Calcutta University Commission, 1917.[15] The members of the Commission were Dr. Sir Ziauddin Ahmed[15] Dr. Gregory, Prof. Ramsay Muir, Sir Hartog, Dr. Horniel and Sir Asutosh Mukerji. While the Hunter Commission had reported on problems of secondary education and the University Commission of 1902 mainly on the different aspects of university education, the Sadler Commission reviewed the entire field from school education to university education.[15]

The Sadler Commission held the view that the improvement of secondary education was a necessary condition for the improvement of university education.[15]

The Commission reported that an effective synthesis between college and university 'was still undiscovered when the reform of 1904 had been worked out to conclusion' and the foundation of a sound university organisation had not been laid down.[15]

Further, it reported that 'the problems of high school training and organisation were unresolved'. Although the Commission reported on the conditions of Calcutta University, its recommendations and remarks were more or less applicable to other Indian universities also.[15]

The commission visited all the university centres and after 17 months submitted its report in 1919. It is a very long and significant report. The report consist of 13 volumes, giving a critical and comprehensive survey of educational problems of secondary, collegiate and university education in India. Although it deals with the Calcutta University only, the problem that it studied were more or less common to the other Indian Universities also. The suggestions, therefore, were equally applicable to other universities in the country. Hence, the report of the commission had far reaching consequences upon the development of university education in India as a whole The main objective of the Sadler Commission was to reform university education in India and accordingly it gave importance to improving the quality of university education. The commission’s recommendations can be divided into two parts— academic and administrative. The recommendations of the Sadler Commission greatly influenced the subsequent educational development in the next three decades. These developments may be identified as :

Firstly, increase in the number of universities. Due to the suggestions of this commission a number of new universities were opened in the country. Of these, the Universities at Patna, Osmania, Aligarh, Dacca, Lucknow, Delhi, Agra, Nagpur, Hydrabad and Annamalai may be mentioned. The number increased up to 30 within 1930.[15]

Secondly, teaching work done by the universities. Not only increase in numbers, teaching work also started in different universities. It is worth mentioning that the functions of the first three universities established in India, namely, Calcutta, Bombay and Madras were confined to affiliation, examination and conferring degrees. Teaching was the function of degree colleges and there was no provision for post-graduate education. But after the recommendation of the commission the number of teaching universities and residential universities increased. Most of the newly established universities were teaching universities.

Thirdly,development of academic standard. Academic activities increased in the universities and colleges with the introduction Honours courses. The studies of different Indian languages started and facilities for higher studies and research were also created. The post of professor was created is the universities and the process of inviting learned faculties from abroad to broaden the academic outlook was also started. The department of Education was opened in Calcutta and Dacca universities.

Fourthly,development of internal administration of the universities.[15] Internal administration of the universities improved due to the formation of university court and Executive Council in lieu of previous Senate and Syndicate. Beside these, the creation of the Academic Council to deal with academic matters, such, as, curriculum construction, examination, research etc. greatly helped in improving the academic standard of the universities. As suggested by the commission an Inter University Board was also set up in 1925 for connection and coordination among the different Indian universities.[15]

Fifthly, provision for students’ welfare. For the first time attention of the universities were directed towards students’ welfare. A Board of students’ Welfare was formed in each university by following the suggestion of the commission.[15]

After observing all these it will not be wrong to conclude that the recommendations of the commission have been much more important than those of any previous commission on education.[15]

Services to Aligarh Muslim University

While Ziauddin was at Aligarh, he was highly impressed by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and his approach to modernize education so that Muslims could be brought into the main stream of Indian life[15] in a way that was consistent with new political realities. Even before completing his B.A degree he went to Marehra, District Etah where a number of his relatives lived, and convinced them to start a school on the same pattern as M.A.O. College. He invited Sir Morrison, a faculty member at M.A.O. College, in 1894, to Marehra to lay down the foundation stone of Morrison Islamia School. Even before the results of B.A. examination were announced Ziauddin became a temporary teacher at the High School section of M.A.O. College at a salary of Rs 16/- a month.[15]

After the exam results were out Mr. Beck, who was then Principal of the College, and Sir Morrison suggested that Ziauddin Ahmed was appointed as a Deputy Collector with U.P. Government which paid Rs. 500/- at that time. Some of his relatives also encouraged him to do that. Yet, he declined the offer and accepted a position as assistant lecturer at the College at a salary of Rs. 60/- per month. Something quite interesting happened at this time. Sir Syed Ahmed Khan had a contract drawn for Ziauddin to sign. The contract stated that Ziauddin would serve the M.A.O. College for a period of no less than five years. Ziauddin told him that he planned to spend his entire life there. He further stated that if a person is forced to stay there because of a contract then it would not be worth keeping him. At this point Sir Syed Ahmed Khan tore up the contract,[15] and thus began the career of Ziauddin as a teacher.

Although he was hired to teach Mathematics, he taught other subjects as well. For example in 1897, Professor Arnold, who taught Logic at the college resigned. The paucity of funds did not permit the College to hire a new faculty member from England. Ziauddin was assigned to teach logic. In addition he coached students who were seeking admission at Roorkie Engineering College. He often left Aligarh to complete his education. For example he went to Europe where he completed Ph.D. at Goettingen University in 1904, then spent two additional years in various countries before returning to Aligarh in 1906.

Sir Ziauddin promised Sir Syed that he would not leave MAO college and met his promise by leaving [4] He established most of the departments of AMU. To remove plight of poor he dreamed of opening a Medical College at Aligarh Muslim University which he carried quite ahead. He collected money for it, which later became Jawahar Lal Nehru Medical College or JNMC. Later on University named Dental College after Sir Ziauddin.He founded Commerce faculty and Polytechnic and other several other departments. On his recommendation Abdullah School was merged with Aligarh Muslim University.[17]

He was the first Indian Principal of the M.A.O. College and became its first Pro-Vice-Chancellor.[4] He was elected Vice-Chancellor in 1934 and remained so until 1946 and thus became the longest serving Vice-Chancellor in the history of Aligarh Muslim University. In 1946 he became Rector of the University and remained so till he died.[18] Dr. Ziauddin Ahmad became an Honorary Professor in the Department, working simultaneously as Vice-Chancellor of the University. Because of his love for the subject, he took his duties in the Department very seriously and even found time to take a number of lectures both at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels.[11] Thus he was the only teaching vice-chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University.

Sir Ziauddin Ahmed spent money out of pocket to bring students to MAO College. One of the most important one was Hasrat Mohani from Kanpur who was planning to go to Lucknow. He had distinction in Math. Sir Ziauddin Ahmed noticed it and went there to prevail upon him and his family to send their bright young man to MAO College.

Maulvi Bashir Uddin who was Dr. Zia Uddin's uncle, spend all of his assets to establish Islamia College, Etawah which was a similar effort to establish another University as happened in the case of MAO College. He was a strong Congressite and wore Khadi and also published a highly respected paper al-Bashir.[5] He was awarded Padam Shri, but he did not go to receive it, just as he did not go to receive the title of Khan Bahadur.[16] Sir Ziauudin gave his full support and time to establish Islamia Inter College, Etawah, Uttar Pradesh.[16]

He helped to establish a Muslim middle class in India.[16] That in itself was a greater accomplishment after the Fall of Mughal Empire that had resulted in the financial and intellectual impoverishment of Muslims in India.

MAO College would not have received University status if inclusion of an Engineering College was not excluded. Higher research in physics was also introduced because of his support.

He wrote most of what was required to receive a charter. Student body at that time was less than 1500, but we did get AMU. Without his efforts, perhaps there would have been no Aligarh Muslim University.[16]

With his efforts, in Lahore Islamia College was established. He laid down the foundation stone of that College. He also laid down the foundation stone of Islamia College Peshawar.

Sir Ziauddin revived the Scientific Society at MAO, which was more or less neglected by

Academic offices
Preceded by
Nawab Mohammad Ismail Khan
Vice-Chancellor of AMU
Succeeded by
Zahid Hussain
  • Sir Ziauddin Hall, from Aligarh Muslim University
  • Dr. Ziauddin Ahmad, a great benefactor of Muslim community by Mubarak Shah Zuberi, from Kambojsociety


External links

  1. ^ a b c d e [1]
  2. ^  
  3. ^ Dasgupta, Uma (2011). "Science and Modern India: An Institutional History, C. 1784-1947".  
  4. ^ a b c d e "Sir Ziauddin Ahmed". 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i "A critical biographical note on Dr (Sir) Ziauddin Ahmad". Aligarh Movement. 
  6. ^ a b "Details of Dr. Ziauddin Ahmed". 
  7. ^ a b c d e f Muhammad, Shan (2002). "Education & Politics from Sir Syed to the Present Day".  
  8. ^ a b c d e "Sir Ziauddin Ahmad Zuberi". 
  9. ^ The London Gazette, 3 June 1915
  10. ^ The London Gazette, 1 January 1938
  11. ^ a b c "International Conference on Algebra and its Applications (ICAA-2010)". 
  12. ^ a b  
  13. ^ "Dr. Ziauddin Ahmed". 2004. Retrieved 2010. 
  14. ^ (ZU), Ziauddin University (2009). "Sir Ziauddin Ahmed". Ziauddin University. Ziauddin University. Retrieved 2010. 
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "APPOINTMENT OF THE COMMISSION". 
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h "Re:A critical biographical note on Dr (Sir) Ziauddin Ahmad". 
  17. ^ "The building where the school was started in 1906". 
  18. ^  
  20. ^ a b c "Pir Pagara: some facts". 
  21. ^ a b "AMU Centres". 
  22. ^ "Dr.Asim Hussain". 
  23. ^ "16 FEBRUARY 1911". 
  24. ^ "Encyclopaedia of Education System in India: William Hunter's commission to 1888 edited by B.M. Sankhdher". 
  25. ^ "Dr. Ziauddin Ahmad". 
  27. ^ Dr. Ziauddin Ahmad Dental College
  28. ^ "Ziauddin University". 
  29. ^ "Zia-ud-din Medical University, Karachi". 
  30. ^ "Dr Ziauddin Ahmed Road". 
  31. ^ "Ziauddin Public School". 


Sir Ziauddin Moved a bill in order to amend the University Act 1920 to empower the Aligarh Muslim University to recognize and affiliate Schools and Colleges outside the Aligarh. This bill got the unanimous support of the whole of the Muslim community as it remove the defect in the existing Muslim University Act. But Nothing was heard after as the government at that time didn't accepted the demand.[7] later on in February, 2011, his long drawn vision was realised by opening of two Centre of Aligarh Muslim University in Mallapuram, Kerala and Murshidabad, West Bengal.[21] Recently in Nov 2013 university started its third centre in Kishanganj, Bihar.

Aligarh Muslim University Centre's

  • Stratchey Gold Medal[5]
  • Tripos Wrangler in Mathematics
  • Sir Isaac Newton Scholarship[1]
  • Secretary Aligarh Muslim University Constitution Committee,1911.[23]
  • Member of Sadler Commission on Higher Education.[24]
  • Moved Indian Foreign Relation Act
  • Worked proactively to establish Reserve Bank of India and pass RBI Act 1935.[5][25]
  • A four Hostel hall is named after Sir Ziauddin at Aligarh Muslim University, in December 1982.[26]
  • Dental College is named after him at Aligarh Muslim University, Sir Ziauddin Ahmad Dental College in 2003.[27]
  • Ziauddin Medical University, Karachi, Pakistan was established in his honour.[28][29]
  • A major street in Karachi, Dr. Ziauddin Ahmed Road, was named in his honour.[30]
  • Sir Ziauddin Public School at Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh after his name.[31]

Honors and recognition

Sir Ziauddin Ahmed's son Zakauddin Ahmad lived in Aligarh in the same house. Zakauddin had three children Anjum Zia (female), Nigaht Zia (female), Ahmad Ziauddin (Ahmad Zia).
Ahmad Ziauddin is survived by his wife Roohi Zuberi who is a leader of Indian National Congress and Children Mohammad Ziauddin (Rahi), Shahbaz Ziauddin, Sheeraz Ahmad[21] and Sadaf Ahmad .
Dr. Ejaz Fitma wife of Dr. Tajammul Hussain is daughter of Dr. Ziauddin Ahmed she have four children (two sons & two daughters namely Dr. Asim Hussain, Former Petroleum Minister and Presidential Advisor of Pakistan,[22] Dr. Rubina Hussain, Dr. Arif Hussain & Sabina Hussain, owner of Dr. Ziauddin University Karachi.

“Dr. Zia Uddin, Sir Yamin Khan, and Nawab Ismail Khan lived in three of the four houses on four corners of the Windsor place. I went there few times to visit my father's cousin Sir Yamin Khan. Nawab Ismail Khan was highly regarded and respected, but he was not an educationist. He was a lawyer and a political leader. His wife also happened to be a Zuberi. His house in Meerut is kitty corner from Janat Nishan, where  Yamin Khan lived and it is family's ancestral home, established by Nawab Khair Andesh Khan, who was a General under Aurangzeb and served as cabinet minister under Farookhseer.  Nawab Ismail Khan was the VC when Zia Uddin's remains returned to Aligarh from London. They (Sir Ziauddin and I) often visited each other.”
----------------Habib A. Zuberi, Ph.D.
Emeritus Professor of Economics,
Detroit, MI, USA.[5]

Family and legacy

Hazarooun Saal Nargis Upni Bay Noori Pay Routi Hay Bari Mushkil Say Houta Hay Chaman mein Deeda Were Paida.

On February 3, 1948, a coffin containing the remains of Dr. Sahib reached Zaka Manzil, his residence in Aligarh. The news spread like wildfire. A large number of people visited his family and arrangements were made for his burial.[7] At that time Nawab Ismail Khan was serving as Vice Chancellor. The University authorities had decided that he should be buried in the University mosque next to late Mr. Zain-ul-Abadin. His body was brought to Cricket Pavilion for viewing. A very large number of people came to see his remains from the city[7] and almost everyone came from the university. The lines were very long, and I was there too. The students who considered Dr. Sahib as the true disciple and successor of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan did not appreciate the decision of the University Court and decided to take matters in their own hands. They prepared his grave next to that of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan. The savior of the university was thus laid to rest, by his students, next to the founder of the university. On his tomb stone is inscribed:

He left for Europe and America in 1947. While he was in plane returning from Paris to London, he suffered a stroke and was rushed to hospital upon reaching London. The stroke was followed by Pneumonia. When his condition slightly improved, he invited Aligarians living in London for tea. He advised them to go back to India upon completing their education. He even requested his Physician, Dr. Ghayas Uddin, to go back to India and work there. Mr. Krishna Menon, India’s High Commissioner in U.K, had also visited Dr. Sahib several times as did Pakistan’s High Commissioner Mr. Ibrahim Rahmat Ullah.When the High Commissioner of India Krishna Menon[7] and High Commissioner of Pakistan visited him he made a wish in case of his death his body should be brought to Aligarh
Sahib did not recover from this illness and died in London on December 22, 1947. His body, as he had requested, was sent back to Aligarh. Mr. Krishna Menon made all the necessary arrangements.


Sir Ziauddin's commitment was not limited to Aligarh. He had helped establish a school in Marehra while he was a student and later succeeded in convincing the people of North West Frontier Province to establish a College in Peshawar. He laid down the foundation stone of Islamia College there as well as the foundation stone of Islamia College, Lahore. Now he devoted the rest of his time in India raising funds for the medical college at Aligarh. M.S. Aney, Governor of Bihar, wrote about Dr. Sahib: “…Last I met him was when he came to Colombo on a deputation of the Aligarh University to collect funds for the Medical College. I believe he made handsome collections there and was received very warmly, not just by Mohammedans at Colombo, but by other communities also. I had great respect for his learning and versatility.” (Zia-e-Hayat, P 101)

In the evening, around 500 -600 students went to his house shouting slogans, “Ziauddin come back.” This time he did not withdraw his resignation though the members of the Executive Council and the Court requested him to re-consider his decision. Eventually they accepted his resignation in March, 1947. The Court unanimously passed a resolution expressing their fullest confidence in his leadership and as a token of appreciation for the meritorious services rendered to the university, the Court recommended to the Lord Rector (Governor General) that he appoint Dr. Sir Ziauddin Ahmed as Rector of the University—an honor which he accepted.

In December 1946, a rumor was spread on campus by some students, encouraged by those who had always opposed him in the past, that Dr. Sahib had confiscated all copies of a magazine in which riots in Bihar were reported and that he was going to hand over the student who had prepared that report to the police. Between 250-300 students marched to Vice-Chancellor’s Office shouting slogans “Ziauddin Must Go.” Dr. Sahib was in his V.C. Office at that time was located above the Victoria Gate. Some members of the staff and faculty suggested that he may go home or call the police. Dr. Sahib, as he had never done that in the past, did not accept this advice and remained in his office and asked student representatives to come and talk to him. When they came up, he asked them what they wanted. They asked for his resignation.
He wrote on a piece of paper: “I served the University in the best interests for the last 50 years. The grandfathers of the present students are my pupils. I do not want to serve as Vice-Chancellor any more. I resign.” (Sd/-) Ziauddin Ahmad, 26.12.46 (Zia-e -Hayat, P.105)

Resignation and appointment as Rector of Aligarh Muslim University

Aligarh by now had become a center of Muslim League activities. Dr. Sahib’s focus remained on education. He picked up from where he had left in 1938. Tibbiya College, received his administration’s top priority. However, the work on College building could not be completed until 1943 due to scarcity of resources. His second priority was the establishment of a full-fledged Engineering College. This goal was achieved by 1945. He made an effort to establish an airport near the University in 1942 for which Nawab Sahib Bhopal contributed Rs 50,000/- to build an aeronautic workshop. The University acquired a plane as well, enabling students to take flying lessons. He proposed to establish a department of applied physics and to attach it with the College of Engineering. His second term as V.C. came to an end in 1943. Dr. Ziauddin was again appointed as Vice-Chancellor for a third term. He served in this capacity from 1944-46. In 1944, he proposed to establish a medical College at Aligarh for which he collected a sum of Rs. 50 Lakh by the end of 1946. In 1945, Commerce College came into existence. He knew it very well, from the very beginning, that most students come to Aligarh to receive a degree that allows them to find employment while there were few who seek scholarship. However, now he focused on improving the quality of education.

These are some of the most important accomplishments of Dr. Ziauddin during his first term in office as Vice-Chancellor. His first term ended on April 30, 1938. He was succeeded by an eminent Jurist and an excellent administrator Sir Shah Suleiman, a Judge of the Federal Court. Unfortunately, he died March 13, 1941. Dr. Ziauddin was then appointed Vice-Chancellor for the second time. He took charge on April 24, 1941. This was, indeed, a very difficult period in the history of India. As a British colony, India was involved in World War II. The nation’s resources were diverted towards war. Hence, the cost of living was rising, black market was prospering and government had imposed rationing on necessities. There was the Great Famine in Bengal, Indian National Army was organized by Subhash Chandra Bose, and Quit India Movement was gaining ground. To crush the freedom movement, the British Government of India was pursuing repressive policies. The Muslim League, which had hitherto demanded only autonomy for provinces in which Muslims constituted a majority, was now demanding a separate homeland for Muslims of India. Dr. Ziauddin had been serving in the Central Legislative Assembly since 1930, and had been a member of the Independent Party, that included Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs. When this parliamentary body was dissolved he joined Muslim League and served as its Parliamentary Secretary. In the Assembly he focused on issues related to finance, railways and labor. His conduct as a legislator was above board. In evaluating his performance in the Assembly Mr. N.V Gadgil wrote: "Dr. Ziauddin Ahmed was a popular figure in the Central Assembly during the period of my membership of that body. He was very well informed on Railway and General Finance…He was catholic in his hospitality, charitable towards friends and a conscientious legislator..." (Zia-e -Hayat, P.100) He was also a member of the East India Railway Companies Board of Director and the Viceroy appointed him as a member of his Defense Council. He had been knighted earlier, and during World War II, he became a Lt. Col. as well. In Official circles he was known as Lt. Col. Dr. Sir Ziauddin Ahmed.

Seven years after he had left Aligarh, he returned to the University as Vice-Chancellor on April 19, 1935. He immediately made plans to improve the Science Faculty. After all, the Aligarh movement began with Syed Ahmed Khan’s Scientific Society. Although plans for constructing a building for Tibbiya College had been discussed earlier, Dr. Sahib took a personal interest in it and moved to make it a reality. The work began in 1938. However the work was not completed until 1940. At that time Sir Shah Sulaiman was serving as Vice Chancellor. The next item on the agenda for Dr. Sahib was to establish technical education on campus. He, therefore, launched a program to establish an Institute of Technology. For the implementation of this program Nawab of Jungadh donated Rs 50,000/-. Nawab Muzzamil Ullah Khan, a great benefactor of the University, in a letter to the Executive Council wrote that he was happy to see a Technical School being established and to make its success he would donate his Johnson Factory Building. He also donated two of his old cars so that students enrolled in motor engineering course could work on those cars. (Iftikhar Alam Khan. P. 149) The Department of Technology received the highest priority in Dr. Sahib’s preferences for the advancement of education at AMU. In 1937, he proposed to establish a College of Technology. This College, he stated, would prepare students for electrical, mechanical, sanitary, civil engineering and agricultural farming. Other related subjects to be developed included applied chemistry, electro-chemistry, and chemistry of textile. Same year, the Technology workshop came into existence. Its foundation stone was laid down by Nawb Sahib of Rampur. At the same time a radio station began to operate from the Technical Institute under the supervision of Mr. Durrani, who was appointed Superintendent of the Technology Institute.
In 1937, Girls Intermediate College became a Degree College and was affiliated with the university. At the same time, upon his recommendation, for the first time, girls were admitted to Teachers Training College. Dr. Sahib proposed to establish a military college on campus. He sent this proposal to the Government of India in October, 1937. He also invited Lord Wellington, Governor General and viceroy of India, to come to Aligarh and receive an honorary LLD degree. At that time His Exalted Highness the Nizam of Hyderabad also came to Aligarh and donated funds for the construction of the Cricket Pavilion.

In 1930, Dr. Sahib was elected to Central Assembly (now Parliament) form Gorakhpur, Banaras, Allahabad and Jhansi Muslim Constituency. He was repeatedly elected from different constituencies and served in the Central Legislature until 1947. In 1931, an individual named Anwer Noor, in the Frontier Province, was so offended by an Assistant Commissioner that he attacked him. The Officer was not hurt in any way, but because Noor had attacked the Officer, he was put to death. This became a political issue in India. A committee was appointed under the leadership of Sardar Patel to investigate the issue and submit the report. However, before the report was published the government seized it. Dr. Ziauddin raised the question in the Central Assembly. He stated in the case of Mr. Noor three questions should be looked at: (a) No harm came to the assistant commissioner, when it is suggested that an attempt was made on his life; (b) now suppose he did intend to attack, then because he merely intended to attack he was put to death and was not given a chance to appeal against this judgment, and (c) the government should provide an answer to what greater punishment will be adopted than death if actual attack takes place. This intervention by Dr. Sahib resulted in the cancellation of repressive laws that were put in operation by the British Government in Frontier Province. (Zia-e-Hayat. pp. 240–41).

The Vice-President (now President) of the Student Union, in his farewell address stated: "If Sir Syed was the founder of this institution, you are beyond a question its savior." After serving the university for 33 years Dr. Ziauddin left Aligarh on April 27, 1928. According to Zia-i-Hayat, almost the entire student body came to bid him farewell at the railway station.

Sakoot-e-Shub Kay Purdey mein Abhi Khurshid Pinha Tha Fiza-e-Dehr Ka Her Zarra Munqood-e-Shabistan Tha Faroogh-e Husn say Her Burg Tha Julwa Ha Der Burr "Zia Uddin" Say Her Zarra Rushk-e Mahay Taban Tha…

In 1925, the University administration decided to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the foundation of Aligarh College. At this time differences between the V.C. and the P.V.C. surfaced. Dr. Sahib decided to take leave and asked the V.C. to appoint someone else as new P.V.C. Realizing Dr. Sahib’s popularity among student and the faculty Sahibzada refused to accept his request and prevailed upon him to stay on as P.V.C. The Jubilee was celebrated on a grand scale, and it was a great success. Over Rs 176,000/- were raised. Dr. Sahib had these funds reserved for the establishment of Engineering College, applied Physics and applied Chemistry. However, by law the university was required to receive permission of the government to establish these departments. It was expected that the government would approve this request as Agra and Allahabad universities had already been permitted to have these departments. However, the government did not approve the establishment of these departments at Aligarh. In February 1926, Dr. Sahib’s term as P.V.C. ended. At this time Sahibzada Sahib, in spite of differences, proposed his name for P.V.C. in glowing terms. Dr. Sahib was re-appointed as P.V.C. However, when his own term as V.C. ended in December 1926, the Trustees appointed Nawab Sir Muzzamil Ullah Khan to serve as V.C. in his place. The Sahibzada, before leaving his post wrote a pamphlet pointing out some irregularities he had encountered on campus for which he held Dr. Sahib responsible. He sent a copy of it to the Viceroy, to Begum Bhopal (Chancellor), and to the Trustees. Dr. Moin-ul-Haque, who was on the faculty in History Department during this period in his biography Moin-Aap-Biti, as cited by Dr. Iftikhar Alam Khan, has given an account of the differences between the two. According to him "Sahibzada Aftab Ahmed Khan had a different upbringing and differed from Dr. Ziauddin on some basic issues. Dr. Sahib worked day and night to quickly solve problems he encountered; Sahibzada Sahib also worked hard, but he paid a great deal of attention to rules and regulations, therefore, his decisions were slow. This created difficulties between the two and made it difficult for him to work with Dr. Sahib. It was the result of his stubbornness. Dr. Sahib often helped students to get their degrees and helped them find employment…Sometimes his actions, to accomplish this goal, undermined the quality of education." (Aligarh Ki Kahani Imaratoun Ki Zabani, pp. 54–56) The pamphlet circulated by Nawabzada Sahib resulted in the formation of an inquiry committee to investigate the issues under the Chairmanship of Sir Ibrahim Rahmat Ullah. The Committee expressed appreciation of the services rendered by Dr. Sahib to the University and the M.A.O. College, but recommended that he take a leave with pay for six months and at the end of that time he would retire. Before the University Court could meet to discuss the issue Dr. Sahib submitted his resignation, with effect from April 27, 1928 which was accepted by the Executive Council on March 30, 1928. Dr. Ziauddin declined to accept the leave with pay. There were numerous farewell parties organized on campus and a number of poems were written on that occasion. A staff member Qazi Jalal Uddin wrote a two-page long poem. A couple of lines from that poem are presented here:

In a relatively short period of time fundamental disagreements developed between the Sahibzada and Dr. Sahib. Some people have suggested that these differences arose because these two individuals had different backgrounds. Sahibzada was a lawyer and was a stickler for rules and regulations, while Dr. Sahib maintained that "rules are made for students; students are not made for rules." Dr. Sahib often bent rules to help students. Dr. Amir Husain Siddiqui states that: "Dr. Ziauddin created educational aids, reduced fees and other expenditure, relaxed the rules for admission and examinations and encouraged extra lectures for those who fell short of attendance." (Zia-i-Hayat. P.18). These policies made him very popular among student as well as among the parents of the students. He even introduced the system of private examinations because the government of India did not permit the affiliation of Colleges and Schools to the University. It was not clear whether students could appear in exams as private candidates, but he continued this practice while he served as P.V.C. He encouraged informal relations between faculty and students. The University emphasized sports, had a Riding School, a unit of U.O.T.C., and an active Student Union, where students elected their leaders and participated in debates.

Dr. Ziauddin had opposed a popular movement and risked alienating himself from the Muslim masses. He had to choose between supporting a popular movement and losing government support (financial and otherwise) or establishing a Muslim University with government assistance. He opted in favor of establishing a Muslim University. However, when classes resumed, a sizeable number of students stayed home. It appeared that due to a sharp decline in enrollment the College would lose the opportunity of becoming a university for which the College authorities had worked so hard. Dr. Sahib visited several towns to convince the people to send their children to Aligarh. He succeeded in his efforts and most of the students returned to Aligarh, and a number of new students joined the College. This was indeed the most difficult period in the history of the College and by opposing a popular movement Dr. Ziauddin earned the wrath of a number of people who continued to oppose him in a variety of ways for the rest of their lives. At the same time he found a solid base that supported him. Eventually his efforts paid off and on December 1, 1920 Muslim University Act passed and thus M.A.O. College became Aligarh Muslim University (AMU). Raja Mahmoodabad became the first Vice-Chancellor and Dr. Ziauddin Ahmed, Pro-Vice-Chancellor. Raja Sahib was not particularly in favor of Dr. Sahib becoming the P.V.C. He would have preferred an English man for the job. When no European was willing to accept this position and no other capable Muslim was available, he accepted Dr. Ziauddin as P.V.C. The University Act stated that the P.V.C shall be "the principal academic officer of the university." It was further stipulated that in the absence of the V.C. the P.V.C will act as the chairman of the Academic Council... Dr. Sahib and Raja Sahib often held differing views on managing the university affairs. After a year, Raja Sahab resigned as V.C. and Nawabzada Aftab Ahmed Khan became the V.C. In 1922, Dr. Sahib was re-elected to the State Assembly.

Dr. Ziauddin had learned from Sir Syed Ahmed Khan that Muslims should not get themselves involved in politics until such time they were at par in education with other communities in India. He, as a loyal follower of Sir Syed, approached the university authorities, and convinced them to keep the College out of this struggle. He, therefore, firmly opposed the actions by the student body and, when the crisis deepened, closed the College for a short time and sent students home.

On October 11, 1920 the Ali brothers descended upon Aligarh with Swami Satya Dev and Gandhiji. They received a tumultuous reception at the railway station. These leaders were invited to address the Student Union. The students passed a resolution in support of non-cooperation with the British government movement and condemned British attitude towards Turkey. The resolution further demanded that the College accept no grants from the government and discontinue affiliation with Allahabad University. Furthermore, the resolution asked to change M.A.O. College into a National University without any relationship with the government.

In 1920, while the College had applied to achieve a university status and its request was under consideration, Muslims in India, led by Maulana Mohamed Ali and his brother Shaukat Ali, two distinguished Aligarians, had launched a movement to restore Khilafat (caliphate) in Turkey. The Turks themselves had no use for Khilafat and had chosen Mustafa Kamal Pasha as their leader, the Arabs did not want it and the British opposed it. Yet, emotionally charged Muslims in India demanded that the British restore Khilafat. In their struggle they were supported by the Congress Party. On September 9, 1920 Congress Party passed a resolution by which non-cooperation movement began. This movement was hailed as a symbol of Hindu-Muslim unity in India.

Dr. Ziauddin rose to the occasion and made great efforts to bring about reconciliation between the members of the Board of Trustees and succeeded in bringing most students back to campus. While Aligarh faced these problems, in 1919, the term of Sir Sunder Lal, Vice-Chancellor Allahabad University, serving as a member of the Provincial Assembly came to an end. The university nominated Dr. Ziauddin as their representative in the State Assembly. Faculty and staff on campus, in honor of Dr. Ziauddin Ahmed who was now known as Doctor Sahib, gave a dinner to which College trustees as well as European Officers of Aligarh and Agra were invited. Several speeches were made at this time praising Doctor Sahib. Khawaja Abdul Majeed, one of the Trustees who did not support him initially, stated: “I was against Dr. Sahib’s appointment as Principal, but the improvements that have resulted under his leadership have convinced me that this will be good for the future of students, staff, honorary Secretary, public and the relations with the government.” (Zia-e -Hayat. P. 234). This event provided a good opportunity to mend fend fences with the trustees as well as the European Officers.

After the partition in 1947 it was the campaign launched by Pir Ali Muhammad Rashidi, through Sindh Observer, that in fact was instrumental in restoration of the Gaddi of Pir Pagara in 1952.[20]

When British rulers of the subcontinent hanged father of Pir Pagara Pir Sabghatullah Shah Rashidi on 20 March 1943, in the Central Jail, Hyderabad, Sindh, and abolished his Gaddi (Spiritual Office), Pir Pagara Syed Shah Mardan Shah-II was hardly 15 years old.During the same year Dr Sir Ziauddin Ahmad, who was at that time the vice-chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University, took him and his brother to Aligarh.[20] At Aligarh both the brothers stayed in `English House` which was a hostel established specially to house the sons of nawabs and rajas of the subcontinent. In 1946 again Dr SirZiauddin arranged for their education at England.[20] Dr Qayyum Pasha, son-inlaw of Dr Sir Ziauddin Ahmad, went to England with Pir Pagara and his brother, through ship from Bombay, and stayed with them as their guardian.

He was a great Indian Railways and later also worked with the Reserve Bank of India. When RBI was founded he was involved in successfully moving the largest amount of amendments for its more efficient functioning.[19] Sir Ziauddin Ahmad was a trusted Lieutenant and Associate of the Muslim pioneers like Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, Nawab Viqar-ul-Mulk Kamboh, Nawab Mohsinul Mulk, Sir Sultan Muhammad Khan Aga Khan, Syedna Tahir Saifuddin.


Habib A Zuberi who was also a student of Dr Ziauddin wortes:
"In 1946-47, when I was a student in Xth class at M.U. High School, he came to teach us Trigonometry. There were three section of Xth class. We all sat downstairs in the Hall at Khanzaman Hostel. He lectured us either once or twice a week for three weeks in October or November, 1946. He was a fine teacher. His goal was to include Trigonometry in High School curriculum. We had an examination at the end of his lectures and with the exception of one or two students everyone passed. At that time we learned about a story that once he went to his class and found that some one had written on the Black board:

Malika Bohut Bara Hay Riazi Mein Aap Ko
Toul-e-Shabe-firaq Zara Naap Deejya
In response, Dr. Sahib simply wrote "infinity" on the board and left."

----Habib A. Zuberi, Ph.D.
Emeritus Professor of Economics
Detroit, MI, USA

He was also known for throwing parties.[7] Indeed, most visiting dignitaries were entertained at his house. He often invited people who were living in Aligarh for dinner. Suppose he invited 10 people for a Friday evening dinner at his house and told his cook, whom he addressed as "My Lord," about the dinner and the number of guests he may expect. Then he would run into another four or five people and ask them if they could join him for the dinner as he has invited a few others as well. By Friday morning he would have invited 20 people. My Lord would ask him, "Dr. Sahib, how many people are expected tonight?" He would say, "Well, perhaps I have invited 15 or 16 people, but you know some of them will not be able to come because they may have some other engagement." Then during the day someone else might also visit him and be invited to stay on for the dinner as well. My Lord would prepare food for 20, but more often than not 22-23 people would show up for the dinner. Pullao (Biryani) was one of the dishes that were always prepared for these parties, and there was always a sweet dish. He threw such parties in Delhi as well.

Dr. Sahib made it a point to visit students in their dormitories. He would go to see a Cricket match for a short time, visit the Numaish (Exhibition) at least once, and eat Kabab Parhatas there. The students would know when he was there. In short he maintained close contacts with students. As it sometimes happens, a group of AMU students would get involved in a quarrel with another group on campus or elsewhere, and Dr. Sahib would appear on the scene, sometimes even at personal risk, to establish peace and would not invite police on campus.
Some people criticized him for that. He chose not to respond to his critics. When asked why he did not respond to these criticisms, he would say that if he did, then there would be no difference between them and him. He had no time to spare to think about their outrageous and often baseless criticism. He cared about students and the faculty, and by and large they loved and respected him.

Sir Ziauddi was a teaching Vice Chancellor and takes classes of Undergraduate and Post graduate students. Besides focusing on the above-mentioned issues, Dr. Sahib was extremely helpful to students in securing government employment. He made long speeches in the Assembly arguing that minorities should have proportional representation in government services relative to their population size. He recommended students for all kind of employment ranging from clerical and administrative to military. He traveled all over India raising funds for the University. Annual Convocation was a big event at Aligarh. All kinds of dignitaries came to Aligarh at that time. In addition to regular convocations that were held at the Cricket Pavilion, special convocations were held at Strachy Hall where visiting dignitaries were awarded degrees. The visiting dignitaries, more often than not, delivered lectures at the Student Union.

Popularity among students

Sir Ziauddin asked the Aligarians in Europe to return to their Alma mater and serve it.

Dr. Zia Uddin and his cousin Sir Muhammad Yamin Khan, and Nawab Ismail Khan lived in three of the four bungalow on four corners of the Windsor place, Lutyens' Delhi. Nawab Ismail Khan was highly regarded and respected person who was a lawyer and a political leader. They hail from the house in khair nagar Meerut, Uttar Pradesh Janat Nishan, where Sir Yamin Khan lived and it is family's ancestral home, established by Nawab Khair Andesh Khan, who was a General under Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb and served as in the court of Mughal emperor Farrukhsiyar.[16]

He is known as the saviour of the University. Had he submitted and earned friendship of powerful political leaders there would have been no Muslim University in India and the National University would have been no different from Jamia.

He was clearly the most outstanding Muslim scholar of his time. [16]

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