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AMU confers emeritus status on Irfan Habib

Special Correspondent



Irfan Habib

BANGALORE: In a long delayed recognition by the university he has brought laurels to, Irfan Habib, the distinguished historian and retired professor of history from Aligarh Muslim University, has been appointed Professor Emeritus in the department of history by Vice-Chancellor P.K. Abdul Aziz. This was where Professor Habib studied and subsequently, taught history to generations of students.

In a citation issued by the Office of the Registrar on December 17, the university paid him glowing tributes. Though Professor Habib formally retired in August, 1991, he “remained associated with the University for all these years without a break, displaying unusual academic interest and scholarly activity that stands out as a model par excellence for every one,” it said.

Professor Habib “remains a towering personality, fully wedded to the secular values of the Indian Republic” and had “illuminated the minds of millions of Indians through his in-depth, path-breaking erudition.” It said his work and insights in Indian history had contributed to the “promotion of secular ideals in India.”

Recalling that Professor Habib became a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, London, in 1998, and is a recipient of the Padma Bhushan (2005), the citation stated that the “presence of such a brilliant scholar in Aligarh Muslim University will add glory to the institution. ”

Although the university’s Academic Council had unanimously recommended that Professor Habib be made Emeritus Professor as early as April, 1994, and the Executive Council had considered the recommendation in 1995 and in 1997, it took 13 years for the honour to be given.

“I consider this the greatest possible honour from my alma mater,” Professor Habib told The Hindu. “I am particularly grateful to the vice-chancellor for his citation in which he has brought in my national secular values.” Said a senior faculty: “It is an honour that he is formally back amongst us. It used to be a matter of shame that he was not made a professor emeritus, something difficult to explain to outsiders. He had to work out of the rooms of his colleagues and was not even able to borrow books from the library in his own name.”

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