Remembering Omar Khalidi – A Rare Scholar on India and Hyderabad

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Omar Khalidi

Syed Inam ur Rahman. Ghayur

‘That man Khalidi’ is how he was referred to in the Parliament by L K Advani in the 90s.

Mr Advani was deeply displeased with Omar Khalidi for raising unpalatable questions on the number of Muslims in military and paramilitary services when Justice Sachar was investigating the socio-economic status of Muslims in India.

‘Distinguished member of a scholarly family,’ is how Nasrullah Omar Khalidi – (Muneer), was referred to in his absence by noted historian, litterateur and art critic Dr. Ziauddin Shakeb as far back as 1977. Khalidi was in his twenties then.

Historian Dr Mohammad Safiullah regards himself as a ‘spiritual student’ of Dr. Khalidi.

On the 29th day of November 2010, death snatched him away in a gruesome accident. Its memory brings tears to my eyes once again. It happened in Boston, US of A. Khalidi was still in his fifties then.

Muneer had done the honour of befriending me way back in 1972. At that time, until probably now, I was given to ‘fun and frolic’ as compared to him. Temperamentally we were quite different and yet he probably saw the potential and cast the shadow of his intellectual on me. I too began the investigative approach to matters of history. He indirectly inculcated in me the need to visit and revisit subjects for getting the proper perspective of matters historical.

Khalidi’s Hyderabad After the Fall of 1988, remains the most well-received publication for its sheer novelty of bringing out for the first time substantial parts of the rather explosive Pandit Sunderlal Report. It highlighted post Police Action large scale massacre of and atrocities on hapless Muslim subjects of the Hyderabad State. But I rate his pioneering work of a Bibliography on Hyderabad as an equally notable contribution of academic importance. Both these works opened up a highway to studies on pre and post Police Action Hyderabad.

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