Ishtiaq Hussain Qureshi

3 Nov 1903
22 Jan 1981
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Ishtiaq Hussain Qureshi (Urdu: اﺸﺘﻴﺎﻖ حسين قریشی ‎) (lived 3 November 1903, – 22 January 1981; popularly known as I.H. Qureshi), SP, HI, was a Pakistani historian, scholar, writer, and a professor a political history at the Karachi University.

An early activist of the historic Pakistan Movement, Qureshi served in the ministries of education and frontier regions as the secretary; in addition, he successfully stood up for the parliament of Pakistan. But, due to his association with the academia, he resigned from his government appointments and joined the academic faculty at the Columbia University as a professor of Soviet history. But soon, he returned to Pakistan and founded the National Language Authority (NLA) in the 1970s. Later, Qureshi joined the faculty of history at the University of Karachi where he remained there the remainder of his life. Qureshi is also credited for editing a four-volume series on history of Pakistan.

Qureshi was born on 20 November 1903 in a noble family of Patiali, District Etah, a town in Uttar Pradesh, British India. He did matriculation in 1916, and joined MAO College Aligarh. At this time, he took active part in Khilafat movement. He did graduation and M.A. in History from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi with distinction. In 1927, he got M.A. in Persian. He served as Lecturer in History at St. Stephen’s College from 1928 to 1944. Between 1937–40, he studied at Cambridge University for a PhD degree. The topic of his thesis was Administration of Sultanate of Delhi. During this period, he also briefly joined the Pakistan National Movement founded by Choudhary Rahmat Ali.

After returning from England, he joined Delhi University where he was appointed Professor of History, and subsequently, the Dean of the Faculty of Arts. He also served as Acting Vice Chancellor of the Delhi University. In 1947, during the Partition riots, when the Muslim students of the St Stephen’s College had to be evacuated to the Purana Qila, Dr Qureshi’s library was completely burnt down by the mobs.

After suffering from riots, he migrated to Pakistan in 1948. There, he continued his academic and political career, and served as a member of the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan. In 1949, he was appointed Professor of History at the University of the Punjab, Lahore. He also joined the Government of Pakistan as Minister of Refugee Rehabilitation, and later as Minister of Education. Later on, he joined the Columbia University, New York where he wrote his famous book, the Muslim Community of the South Asia, as a story of the trials and tribulations of the Muslims in the South Asia. On his return, he played a pivotal role in the establishment of the University of Karachi. He died on 22 January 1981 in Karachi.

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