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About Sir Dr. Ziauddin Ahmad

Vice Chancellor and Rector of Aligarh Muslim University, Sir Dr. Ziauddin Ahmad was a renowned Mathematician, a devoted Educationist and above all, a great Humanist of the Indo-Pak subcontinent.

Sir Dr. Ziauddin Ahmad was born in 1873 in Meerut into a well-known Zuberi family of India. He completed his Bachelor of Arts (BA) from Mohammadan Anglo Oriental College (MAO) in 1895, and his Masters in Arts (MA) from Calcutta and Allahabad Universities in 1897 and 1898 respectively. He obtained his D.Sc. in Mathematics in 1901 also from Allahabad University. He enrolled himself in the Trinity College at Cambridge University for earned an Honors Degree in Mathematics in 1903 where he became the first Indian to receive the Sir Isaac Newton Scholarship. His thirst for knowledge took him to Gottingen University, Germany, where he completed his PhD in Mathematics in 1906.

Sir Dr. Ziauddin Ahmad served the Muslims of the subcontinent, by raising the educational standards of the Muslims and by promoting literacy amongst the Muslim community. He was inspired by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan’s approach towards modern education. After the demise of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, Dr. Ziauddin played a leading role in the revitalisation of Muslim education in the subcontinent, where he enlightened the Muslims of India with his liberal thoughts on the educational system. No single individual after Sir Syed did more in the cause of Muslim education than Dr. Ziauddin Ahmad.

After completing his BA, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan offered him a permanent appointment provided he signs a bond of service for five years, but Sir Dr. Ziauddin’s assurance that he would serve the University throughout his life impressed Sir Syed Ahmad Khan so much that he tore the written bond to pieces.

The great Mathematician, Sir Dr. Ziauddin Ahmad took active interest in all movements connected with the promotion of social, educational and political advancement of the subcontinent. He was one of the prolific members of the All-India Muslim League, founded in Dhaka on December 31, 1906. He accepted the position of office of secretary of the newly structured Muslim League Party in the Central Assembly in 1938.

Sir Dr. Ziauddin Ahmed served as the first Pro-Vice Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University, where in 1935 he was elected as Vice Chancellor and served for the same position until 1946, thus he was the longest serving Vice Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University. In 1946 he was appointed as rector of the university and he continued his work till his death in 1947. His association with the University covers a period of more than half a century. During his lifetime at the University, he founded and developed several new colleges including the engineering college. One of his greatest dreams was to establish a medical college at Aligarh Muslim University for which he started a regular campaign for raising funds and by the end of 1946 approximately forty four lac of rupees had been collected including a donation of Rs.10 lakhs rupees by His Exalted Highness the Nizam of Hyderabad. The dream of a medical college at Aligarh could not be realized during his lifetime but came true with the establishment of Ziauddin Medical College in Pakistan. This is the greatest service rendered by his daughter Dr. Aijaz Fatima and his grandson Dr. Asim Hussain. This is a great tribute to Sir Dr. Ziauddin one can pay to Sir Dr. Ziauddin Ahmad.

Aligarh Muslim University was the first University in the subcontinent where students were prepared to join the Army in its different vocation. It was due to personal interest of Sir Dr. Ziauddin that a number of Aligarh students joined the armed forces as commissioned officers, who later joined the Pakistan Army, Navy and Air force and proved an asset to this young country.

It was the far-sightedness of Sir Dr. Ziauddin which made it possible for Pakistan not to beg upon British officers for managing our armed forces. This great service of Sir Dr. Ziauddin to the security of Pakistan still needs its proper recognition. No doubt Quaid-e-Azam and Sir Dr. Ziauddin Ahmad were the real architects of the Pakistan Defence Forces, that guard our frontiers against the evil designs of our arch enemies.

During the Khilafat and Non-Cooperation Movement, when others criticised Aligarh Muslim University; it was Sir Dr. Ziauddin Ahmad who stood as a figure for saving the Muslim University from destruction. Sir Dr. Ziauddin also had a paternal affection for the teachers and students. He was a very capable administrator, an expert on budgetary matters and a voted parliamentarian. In the Central Assembly of undivided India, he always fought for the rights of Muslims and supported the national interests.

Sir Syed Ahmad Khan was the pioneer in the movement of the emergence of the Muslim Nation but if was due to the sagacity and foresight of Sir Dr. Ziauddin Ahmad, that Aligarh became the cradle of Muslim education and a strong support for the freedom Movement. Aligarh and the Muslims of Indo-Pak subcontinent owe a great debt to the services of Sir Syed Ahmad and Sir Dr. Ziauddin Ahmad for their efforts and valuable contribution in the establishment of Pakistan.

He was an associate of Aga Khan III and Syedna Tahir Saifuddin, who were great supporters of the Aligarh Muslim University. The legacy of Sir Dr. Ziauddin Ahmad was carried forward by his daughter Dr. Aijaz Fatima, his son-in-law Late Dr. Tajammul Hussain and his grandchildren. His grandson Dr. Asim Hussain is the Chancellor of Ziauddin University and Chairman of Dr. Ziauddin Trust.

Sir Dr. Ziauddin Ahmad died in London on December 23, 1947 and he was buried beside Sir Syed Ahmad Khan in the Aligarh Muslim University Mosque premise, thus fulfilling the pledge he made to Sir Syed Ahmad Khan to serve Aligarh for his entire life.

May his life ever inspire us in the path of knowledge, human service, virtue and steadfastness.