Monday, February 26, 2024
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Historian and Educationist Sheik Ali

– Mohammed Atherulla Shariff

Just a year before on this day (1st September 2022) we lost a great historian and educationist Dr. B. Sheik Ali from Mysore, the land of Tipu Sultan. The Karnataka Rajyothsava awardee Professor B. Sheik Ali was the founder Vice Chancellor of Mangalore and Goa universities.

Historian PV Nanjaraj Urs observed that Dr. Ali played an important role in bursting the biases against Tipu Sultan created by British administrators. He visited London and verified the documents in the Persian language. He carried out extensive research on the great ruler. He is rightly described as an authority on Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan, and the history of the Kingdom of Mysore during the British Raj.

According to Prof Gulfishan Khan of Aligarh Muslim University, “There are few people who have had such a profound impact on the way we look at history. His energy and life-long dedication to his academic areas will continue to inspire generations of historians across the country.”

Born on November 10, 1925, in a remote village in Hasan district of Karnataka called Belgode, Prof Ali was a rank holder in under graduation and post-graduation from Mysore University in 1945 and 1946 respectively. He was a faculty member of the University thereafter. He obtained his first Ph.D. from the Aligarh Muslim University in 1954 and the second from the University of London in 1960.

He was the general president of the Indian History Congress at its 47th session in 1986 and the founder president of the South India History Congress in 1985.

He was Editor-in-Chief of Urdu daily Salar, Bangalore in the later years of his life, till his last breath. Having equal command on English, Urdu and Persian, he has worked extensively on philosopher poets Sir Mohammed Iqbal, Jalaluddin Rumi, Ghazali and Umar Khayyam. Translated many of their works into English. Prof. Sheik Ali has authored 55 books, 12 of which are in Urdu. These include, ‘A Leader Reassessed: Life and Work of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan’, a book exploring what all propelled Sir Syed to focus on modern education, and ‘Dr Zakir Hussain – Life and Times, A Comprehensive Biography’, a scintillating array of multifaceted accomplishments of the celebrated educationist. He also translated Maulana Abul Kalam Azad’s ‘Tarjuman-ul-Quran’ and Muhammad Iqbal’s ‘Javed Nama’.

He was recipient of Golden Jubilee Award of the Mysore University for research in Humanities and Social Sciences, Rajyotsava Award for Distinguished Educationist, Mythic Society of India Award for Distinguished Historian and Maulana Jauhar Award in 2003.

Dr. Ali founded the Sultan Shaheed Educational Trust, Mysuru, which established many educational institutions in Mysuru. He was the chief architect of Dar-ul-Umoor, at Sri Rangapatna, the capital city of erstwhile ruler Tipu Sultan. This institution is a blend of theology and modern subjects where the Ulama, graduates from seminaries, Madrasas undergo intensive training.

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