Historian Mushirul Hasan no more

Eminent historian and former Vice-Chancellor of Jamia Milia Islamia Mushirul Hasan passed away on Monday, aged 71.

Friends, colleagues and students remembered him for his liberal views, scholarship and leadership in higher education.

In 2002, Hasan was elected as the President of the Indian History Congress. He also served as the Director-General of the National Archives of India.

Hasan was bed-ridden after he met with a road accident a few years ago. He is survived by his wife, political scientist Zoya Hasan. “He started the new centres, brought in new people and improved the profile of Jamia Milia University tremendously, during his tenure as the VC,” said Ranjeeta Dutta, who used to teach history at the university until 2016.

“Prof. Hasan was a prolific writer and a fine historian who worked extensively on colonial records, biographies and literary texts to produce interesting insights into the history of nationalist thought in colonial and post-independent India. Prof. Hasan engaged with the emergence of nationalist self and the reordering of religious identities in accordance with the changing social and community consciousness in late nineteenth and twentieth century. His works provide interesting insights into the nuances of the anti-colonial struggle and the emergence of nationalism in India in general and the making of Muslim religious identities in particular, in colonial North India. His was an attempt to grapple with the making of Muslim self where socio-religious syncretism came to be challenged by the formation of competing religious identities,” said Dr. Burton Cleetus, assistant professor of history at JNU.

His views made Hasan a target communal forces. In April 1992, then pro-vice chancellor of Jamia, he disapproved of the ban on Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses. “The banning of the book or any book for that matter, rarely helps. On the contrary, it lends the book greater notoriety,” he had said. Violent agitators prevented him from entering the university for months, and he was physically assaulted.

"Extremely sad news. One of the most prolific historians of modern Indian history. Saw him decline gradually over the past few years after the terrible accident. RIP Mushir bhai," historian S. Irfan Habib wrote on Twitter. "A Historian, A Teacher, A Vice-Chancellor, An Archivist: Mushir ul Hasan blended all fine qualities of our syncretic culture and scholarship. His work and his books continue to shape our consciousness. Condolences to Prof Zoya Hasan & others in his family," CPI (M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury wrote on twitter.

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Printable version | Jul 29, 2021 2:22:16 PM |

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