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  Home>> Recalling our Pioneers
  Recalling our Pioneers



Recalling Our Pioneers

A Paper Series of Council of Social Sciences, Pakistan


The Council has started a series of papers ‘Recalling our Pioneers’ to acknowledge the contribution to their field, by erstwhile renowned social scientists of Pakistan. The criterion for the selection of a paper on a pioneer include:

  1. The pioneer is of international renown, belongs to a social science discipline and is not alive.
  2. Has made lasting contribution to his discipline in the form of books and papers published.


A Tribute to (Late) Dr. Sultan Hashmi

Late Professor Dr. C. A. Qadir

Dr. Feroz Ahmed

Late Hamza Alavi

Khawaja Sarwar Hasan (1901-1973)

Dr. Mahmud Hussain


                                                                   by Dr. M. S. Jillani

Dr. Sultan Shah Hashmi, SI; eminent demographer, sociologist and life-long researcher died at Islamabad on August 31, 2000. He was 79. Late Dr. Hashmi had been a close friend for forty three years since we became classmates at the University of Chicago in 1957. Our acquaintance, Professor Phillip M Hasur just wanted two Pakistani students to meet each other when there were very few South Asians around. Shahji, as I called him always, was planning to specialize in social psychology. I coaxed him to work for demography. As it would happen, he stuck to the study of population so assiduously that he became the conscience of demography in Pakistan and one of the most prominent scholars of population in the South East Asian region. Dr. Hashmi spent a very busy life studying and analysing population problems. After his Ph.D. degree, he joined Pakistan Institute of Development Economics at Karachi. He shot into prominence due to his association with the Population Growth Estimation Project which was a pioneering effort to estimate population through simplifying the Census operations. This ground-breaking work stuck with him throughout his life, and he was most well known for population projections; almost every other population estimate that one comes across, is the work of Dr. Hashmi. He was in demand for his flare for demographic estimates and analysis throughout the World. He as such served the Governments of Sudan, Zimbabwe, Iraq, and Pakistan as a United Nations adviser. For many years, he worked with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission at Bangkok. He served the UN, the World Bank, and other United Nations agencies with distinction. Until his passing away, he advised the National Institute of Population Studies in an honourary capacity; he was also a member of its Board of Governors and the technical advisory committee. He was awarded Sitata-i-Imtiaz in 1998 for his meritorious services. He was also a member of the Advisory Board of the Population Welfare Ministry.

We all will miss him in many ways. But he has left behind a legacy in the form of his work, colleagues who were trained by him, and his children brought up with the same love for detail that was his hallmark. Those who have watched his daughter, Nargis Hashmi’s presentations on PTV would endorse my view. He always jokingly addressed me as Makhdoom Sahib. My days of makhdoomship have come to an end with the departure of my dear friend, Sultan Shah Hashmi. May God bless his noble soul.
(Published in COSS Bulletin No. 2, Summer 2001)

Late Professor Dr. C. A. Qadir
by Dr. Ghazala Irfan

Born on November 4, 1909, Professor C. A. Qadir got his M.A. degree in Philosophy from Government College, Lahore in 1932. He taught philosophy in different government colleges including his alma mater. He was appointed as Iqbal Professor and Head Department of Philosophy at the University of the Punjab in 1964. He wrote 27 books and 76 articles. He became President of Pakistan Philosophical Congress in 1975 and held this office till his death in 1987 (eds.).

 Professor Dr. C. A. Qadir was an institution and a magnanimous one at that – one that nourished and nurtured others. The so - called dearth of talent in our society never seemed a constraint to him for he believed in inspiring and motivating others to action. In the process, he was sure, they would find the best in themselves. He believed in the maximum utilisation of his own resources, physical and mental, and challenged his students to optimise theirs. If he himself had not succumbed to age or bereavement, he could not fathom how young people could allow emotional immaturity to drain their energies. He was a synergist if there was any.

 Most of the students of Philosophy in Pakistan owe an intellectual debt to Dr. C. A. Qadir whose academic career spanned more than half a century. He was a devoted teacher, dedicated both to his discipline and to his students. After just a few lectures, no student remained apologetic or felt the need to be defensive about his/her choice of subject, for Dr. Qadir instilled confidence while imparting knowledge. He was no banyan tree as he encouraged his pupils to study and research and grow intellectually. He did not feel threatened as most teachers do who do not want their students to overtake them.

 Dr. Qadir was entirely committed to philosophy which to him stood for "Clarification and Elucidation of Concepts". Later in life, he revised his original thesis and admitted that "clarity is not enough". His personal existential situation necessitated the exploration of the affective element. He lost his eldest son and the heir apparent to his intellectualism at the peak of his youth. Dr. Qadir did not allow this great personal tragedy to bog him down, instead he took it as an opportunity to grow emotionally.

 The value of religion as psychotherapeutic devise is immense. In this catastrophe Dr. Qadir also succumbed and was suddenly enamoured by extra sensory perception experiments, meditation and other spiritual mechanisms of consolation. But the impact of philosophy on his life was in-erasable. In the end philosophy re-claimed him. He taught it and lived it and died propagating it. 

[Published in COSS Bulletin No. 3, Summer 2002]

Dr. Feroz Ahmed
by Dr. Syed Jaffar Ahmed

Dr. Feroz Ahmed’s academic career was intellectually rewarding, as he had vast exposure to the reputable American universities, to which his own contribution was considerable. Apart from teaching and research, another occupation of Ahmed’s was journalism which provided him an outlet for his views on political issues. For two years, starting from 1966, he experienced the joys and woes of an editor when he was invited to edit The Pakistani Student, an organ of the Pakistan Students’ Association of America. Later he started the Pakistan Forum from Canada, which became a prominent radical journal of North America, focusing on the socio-political and economic issues of Pakistan in the global context. 

When Dr. Ahmad shifted to Pakistan in the seventies, he launched an Urdu journal with the same name from Karachi. The Pakistan Forum was banned. Dr. Feroz Ahmed then returned to the US to establish the Pakistan Democratic Forum. He also wrote regularly for various international and national journals and served as a correspondent for Afrique-Asie (French) and Africasia (English), two periodicals published from Paris. To recognise his contribution to journalism and to transmit his ideals of making journalism a liberating device in a subjugated society, his wife Nadera Ahmed built the Rs. 10 million Dr. Feroz Ahmed Institute of Mass Communications at the Karachi University.

But his intellectual vigour did not transform itself into rigidity of outlook. To the contrary, he was always open to dialogue, and prepared to readjust and alter his point of view. In the 1970s, while analysing the socio-political situation in Balochistan, he initially declined to bracket the Brahvis with the Baloch. But later he retracted from this position.

Many of Dr. Feroz Ahmed’s articles addressed the political issues of the time. They are relevant even today in Pakistan’s political context. He had remained a dedicated scholar all his life. His passion for changing society was the core objective of his existence. He died while his ideal was still a distant dream. Nevertheless, the struggle for its attainment must continue

Dr. Feroz Ahmed: Profile

Born: August 5, 1940 (Karachi)
Died: April 5, 1997 (Washington)
Education: M.Sc. Zoology (Marine Biology), Karachi University; MS Public Health, University of Hawaii, 1966, Ph.D. Demography, John Hopkins University (Baltimore), 1968; Post Doctoral Fellow, Harvard University (Boston), 1968-1969
Teaching: East Carolina University, North Carolina, Algoma University, Sindh University, New School for Social Research (New York), Dept of Economics Howard University (Washington DC)
Books: Focus on Balochistan and the Pashtun National Question (1975); Angola ki azadi (1976); Samraj aur Pakistan (1976); Inqilab-i-Afghanistan (1979); Ethnicity and Politics in Pakistan (1998)

[Excerpt from Dr. Syed Jaffar Ahmed, “Dr. Feroz Ahmed—Intellectual and Activist”, Dawn: Books & Authors, August 4, 2002].


On 1st December 2003 one of Pakistan’s leading social scientists passed away. Had someone who had reached the top of the powerful professions --- politics, military, bureaucracy, judiciary, industry __ died the state would have lowered the flag or, at least, made headlines in the official media. But Hamza Alavi was a scholar so he was not showered with awards and plots of land while alive nor was he given the attention of the state when he died. And yet, he was a man who influenced generations of social scientists, especially those working in the progressive tradition, in Pakistan.

He was born in Karachi on 10th April 1921 and he gave up banking to join the academic profession. He taught at some of the world’s best universities __ British, American and Asian __ retiring as professor from the University of Manchester. His articles appeared in many books and in scholarly journals and Dr. Mubarak Ali, the well-known historian, got some translated into Urdu. The books comprising his articles are called Jagirdari aur Samraj and Pakistan: Riasat ka Bohran. They bring the thoughts of this great scholar to those who cannot read English very well.

In 2002 S. M. Naseem and Khalid Nadvi published a book entitled The Post-Colonial State and Social Transformation in India and Pakistan as a festschrift to Professor Alavi. And, indeed, he deserves this honour because it comes from people who sincerely feel that they are intellectually indebted to him. For this recognition Hamza Alavi did not have to sneak into the corridors of power.

Hamza Alavi’s greatest contribution to political theory is the concept of the “salariat”. The idea is that the colonial state, which is a modern state, creates a large ubiquitous bureaucracy. Such a bureaucracy is necessary to control people more effectively and tax them more systematically. The state, therefore, becomes the greatest single employer. Most of the educated people, or at least those who are educated in the educational institutions created by the state, want jobs. These people, who are employed and draw a salary, or who aspire for employment, or their dependants, are the “salariat”.

Such a salariat, says Hamza Alavi, was the product of the British colonial rule in India. This salariat is not one homogeneous whole. Its highest members, in the civil bureaucracy and the military, are extremely powerful. Indeed, they are the rulers, in lieu of elected leaders, in a conquered country. The lowest members can hardly make both ends meet. But all live by the salary which comes from that which the farmers produce from the land, the workers produce in factories, and taxation.

This concept helps us understand both the Pakistan movement and the rise of ethnic movements in Pakistan. The Hindu and Muslim salariats competed for jobs and power in pre-partition India. Thus, in Hamza Alavi’s view, Pakistan was not obtained for Islam but for Muslims. The difference is crucial and relevant today. If Hamza Alavi is right, and all the evidence supports his point of view, the creation of a theocracy is not what the Quaid-i-Azam would have approved of. He was a liberal democrat who wanted the Muslim salariat to live without fear of Hindu domination but did not want a theocracy.

The rise of Bengali, Sindhi, Pashtun, Balochi ethnicity is because the salariats of these groups aspire for their share in power and goods and services the state provides. They resent Punjabi domination while state functionaries justify it. Hamza Alavi, in common with others in Pakistan and abroad, has developed this line of thinking in several papers.

During the course of this analysis he has referred to major developments in Pakistan’s history. He has given an account of how the politicians, because of their weakness and infighting, could not prevent the bureaucracy from consolidating its power. The military also joined a little later and, since then, the military-bureaucratic complex has been the most powerful entity __ called the ‘establishment’ __ in Pakistan. He also tells us that the bureaucracy dominated in the first two interludes of military rule, but during General Zia-ul-Haq’s days, military was dominant. Among other things he tells us about the lives of the peasants of the Punjab and, in general, about women in Pakistan’s male-dominant society. Although papers about politics and society would appeal to more people, the papers on how the transition from feudalism to colonial capitalism took place in South Asia would repay reading.

The latest papers on history, arguing that the communal stridency in Indian Muslims was the result of the Khilafat Movement, are most intriguing. If this is true then Gandhi contributed, however indirectly, towards creating Muslim aggressiveness and assertiveness in India! These are questions which need to be debated at length.

Hamza Alavi has something for everybody. His work should be read and discussed and not ignored as it generally is in our universities.

Hamza Alavi is no more with us but his writings are. Pakistani universities hardly make their students read these writings presumably because they question the false myths laboriously constructed by official spin doctors. The best way to honour this great mind would be to reprint his works, make them known to students and understand our society in the light of the insights they give us.
[Published in COSS Bulletin No. 6, Summer 2004]

Khawaja Sarwar Hasan (1901-1973)

by Dr. Masuma Hasan

Khwaja Sarwar Hasan’s contribution to the study of international relations in Pakistan is legendary. He brought to the discipline his vast vision, understanding of research, and high academic standards. In the Pakistan Institute of International Affairs, he has left behind a remarkable and enduring legacy.

His scholarship was complemented by his engagement in active diplomacy. He was a brilliant analyst and speaker and was frequently Pakistan’s delegate to the UN General Assembly and Security Council. At the United Nations he was an eloquent exponent of Pakistan’s stand on Kashmir, and an ardent advocate of the Palestine cause and the struggle of other Muslim states against colonial rule. He was also Adviser to the Hyderabad delegation to the Security Council in 1948. In 1955 he became Joint Secretary to the historic Asian – African Conference in Bandung. A constitutional expert and firm believer in the rule of law, he was Adviser to the Constitution Commission in 1961. He was Visiting Professor at Columbia University in 1963 and represented Pakistan at conferences and learned gatherings throughout the world.

Sarwar Hasan was born in Panipat in 1902 in a family, which had a long tradition of learning. He was educated at Aligarh and Peterhouse College, Cambridge and was called to the Bar at the Middle Temple. For a few years he practised law in Aligarh but gave up his practice to teach law at Delhi University.

The turning point in his career came in 1944 when he was appointed Secretary of the prestigious Indian Institute of International Affairs in Delhi. The Institute was a non-political and non-official research organisation, established in 1936. Sarwar Hasan’s interaction with similar institutions in Commonwealth countries convinced him of the usefulness of non-official channels of communication between governments and educated publics.

In his youth, Sarwar Hasan had become a staunch supporter of Muslim nationalism in India. When the subcontinent was divided, he contributed studies on the delimitation of frontiers for the consideration of the Punjab Boundary Commission (Radcliffe Commission). Unlike millions of people who left their homes reluctantly during the Partition, he took a firm decision to migrate to Pakistan. With him he took in August 1947, on a Pakistan Special Train, the rare library and movable assets of the Indian Institute of International Affairs from Delhi.

The Institute was probably the only organisation at that turbulent time which shifted to Pakistan on the basis of the majority vote of its members. This transition was managed

by Sarwar Hasan and his associates. With its library and assets he founded the Pakistan Institute of International Affairs in Karachi as a non-government, non-political, non-profit organisation devoted to the scientific study of international relations. It was formally inaugurated by Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan in 1948.

Under Sarwar Hasan’s directorship, the Pakistan Institute of International Affairs became a pioneer in public diplomacy, a new concept in the contemporary intellectual milieu. It provided a forum for debate and discussion on issues of foreign policy, international politics and diplomacy, a two-way process between official policy and public perception, as he had originally conceptualised it. Its platform was used by governments at home and by visiting statesmen from abroad to make formal statements on foreign policy. It was also addressed by renowned scholars, jurists and leaders in public life.

Recognising the value of an institutional journal, Sarwar Hasan started the quarterly Pakistan Horizon, which has been in regular publication since 1948. Pakistan Horizon published the research output of mature scholars, the research staff of the Institute, and articles written by new entrants to the field of International Relations. Keeping the Horizon alive was a major feat of Hasan. In short time, it joined the ranks of respected international reference journals.

Throughout his years of stewardship of the Institute, he gave special attention to the development of its library which became the finest specialised library in the country holding source material on current affairs, diplomacy, international law, and UN publications. Used by people from all walks of life, many eminent foreign and Pakistani scholars have done basic research for their theses and published work in the Institute’s library.

Sarwar Hasan jealously guarded the independence of the Institute and resisted all attempts at encroachment upon its operational autonomy or its conversion into the mouthpiece of government policies. Extremely wary of grants from donor agencies, he used his influence to obtain land for the Institute in the heart of Karachi on which its landmark building was constructed. The income obtained from the premises was though insufficient for the needs of Institute but it provided the core funds, which enabled the Institute to develop its own research agenda.

He brought a modern intellectual outlook to institution building. Belonging to a generation with a strong sense of public service, in which monetary gain was not a consideration, he gave his time and knowledge generously to public causes. Fearless in analysis, he was widely consulted at official and non-official levels on foreign policy issues. He also advised on the study of international relations and the setting of academic standards in that discipline in various universities in the country. He was particularly affectionate to young people and spent long hours counselling and advising the young students who sought his assistance.

As the founder Secretary of the Institute, for 25 years Sarwar Hasan edited Pakistan Horizon. His major work, Pakistan and the United Nations (New York 1960) became standard reference on Pakistan’s foreign policy and is consulted to this day by policymakers and scholars, especially on the Kashmir issue. His other published works include Introducing Pakistan (Karachi 1948), The Genesis of Pakistan (Karachi 1950), Pakistan and the Commonwealth (Karachi 1950), The Strategic Interests of Pakistan (Karachi 1954), Documents on the Foreign Relations of Pakistan (editor), The Transfer of Power, The Kashmir Question, and China, India and Pakistan (Karachi 1966). At the time of his death in February 1973, he had started working on a history of the foreign relations of Pakistan.

(Dr. Masuma Hasan is former Chairperson of the Pakistan Institute of International Affairs. She was formerly Ambassador and Cabinet Secretary to the Government of Pakistan.)

[Published in COSS Bulletin No. 7, Summer 2005]

Dr. Mahmud Hussain

Dr. Zarina Salamat

Dr. Mahmud Hussain was a man with a multifaceted personality: a distinguished educationist, and respected administrator; an eminent scholar, and an accomplished historian.

He was born in a family of scholars in Qaimganj in the Furukhabad district of U.P in 1907. He received his early education at Islamia School Attawah and later at Government High School at Aligarh. He was in the first group of students who got admission in Jamia Milia in Delhi opened by Muslim nationalists under the influence of Khilafat Movement. Hussain came under the spell of Mohammed Ali Johar, and along with his elder brother Dr. Zakir Hussain, he endeavoured to implement the ideas generated by the spirit of Khilafat Movement. In 1932, he did his PhD from Heidelberg, Germany and later received an honorary DLitt from Colorado State College in 1961.

He began his academic career as a Reader in Department of Modern History at Dacca University where he served for fourteen years from 1933 to 1946. From 1947-1949 he became professor in the Department of Communications at the same University. He then moved to Karachi and took up the responsibilities as Pro-Vice-chancellorship of Karachi University. His whole life was devoted to teaching, research, and educational/academic activities.

Besides academic career Hussain had also political career. He became a member of the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan from 1947 to 1953, and from 1949 to 1953 he held charge of several ministries. During this period he combined his ministerial responsibilities with academic activities.

After the dismissal of National Assembly in 1953 when Mahmud Hussain lost his ministerial job, he again became a full time academic. He was twice appointed Dean of Faculty of Arts at Karachi University for about ten years from 1953 to 1957 and then from 1965 to 1971. He served as vice chancellor for seven years, first at Dacca University from 1960 to 1963 and later at Karachi University from 1971 to 1975. He was a visiting professor at the universities of Heidelberg (1960) and Columbia (1964).

He was a pioneer in many fields. He was the first professor that Karachi University appointed in the Faculty of International Relations and History. He opened the Faculties of Journalism and Library Science in the face of much resistance. To fulfil his vision of expansion of departments of Journalism, the Press Commission later recommended that such departments be opened in other universities.

As an educationist Mahmud Hussain firmly believed in the value of libraries for upgrading higher education and research. He opened the first graduate library school in 1956 and thus laid the foundation of library services. Such schools were later established at Dacca and Punjab universities. Before these schools there existed National Library that started in 1950. But it existed in name only. Mahmud Hussain also laid the foundation of the Library Association in 1957 and served as its president for about fifteen years. Later he founded the Society for the Promotion of Libraries (SPILT).

Due to his efforts the countrywide libraries were enabled to get the services of qualified and trained librarians. For Mahmud Hussain it was not enough to set up libraries. It became a lifelong mission for him to assist the libraries in their problems and particularly to provide them with funds so that they were well stocked, catalogued and equipped with microfilms, etc. He actively worked to improve the status and pay scales of the library staff to make them at par with other faculty members in the Karachi University. He laid the foundations of three libraries in Karachi, of which the Liaquat library is a leading library in the country.

Mahmud Husain was actively associated not only in making history but also assisted in writing of history. When the Education Minister Fazlur Rahman, set up two committees to rewrite an historical account of Muslims of South Asia, he appointed Mahmud Hussain to chair both committees.

As chairman of the two committees Hussain initiated two projects: writing the history of Hind-Pakistan for secondary and higher secondary schools, and preparing the history of the Freedom Movement from Aurangzeb to present times. Four volumes of the latter book have been published. He was a founder member of Pakistan Historical Society, which was started in 1950.

In the Educational Conference held in 1947, in which Hussain participated, two important decisions were taken with regard to ideology that should guide education system in Pakistan and about the national language of the country. He alone dissented to the decision that the educational system be guided by Islamic ideology. However he supported the decision of the Conference that Urdu should be the lingua franca of Pakistan and compulsory language in education.

While Mahmud Hussain was actively engaged in the promotion of higher education, his interest lay in early education. His early association with Jamia Milia as a student led him to believe that the education system should sustain as well as reinforce Muslim identity. He believed that Islamic tradition favoured change and forward movement. To put this belief in concrete form he created Jamia Milia Malir, Karachi in 1952, and started doing in Pakistan what his brother Zakir Hussain did earlier in India. Jamia Milia aims at giving the Muslims modern education in their own language and to instil selfless service in them.

Mahmud Hussain had a good command over English, German, Persian, and Urdu languages. He wrote mainly in English and Urdu. Some of his publications are translations in Urdu of well-known books. His first book was an Urdu translation of Rousseau’s Social Contract namely Mahida-i-Imrani (1935) His other books are "The Quest for an Empire" (1937), an Urdu translation of Machiavelli’s Prince "Badshah"(1947), Fatah-i-Mujahideen is an Urdu translation of Zainul Abideen Shustri’s well known Persian treatise on Tipu Sultan’s Art of Warfare, (1950) and a translation in English of a manuscript of Tipu Sultan entitled Dreams of Tipu Sultan (1955). Three of his publications comprise his speeches: Of Libraries and Librarians (1974), Education and Culture(1976) and Khutbat-i-Mahmud (n.d).[Published in COSS Bulletin No. 8, April 2006]


[Published in COSS Bulletin No. 4, Spring 2003]



                                                          by Dr. Tariq Rahman


Late Hamza Alavi


A Tribute to (Late) Dr. Sultan Hashmi

A Paper Series of Council of Social Sciences, Pakistan
 Copyrights © 2006-2007 COSS Council of Social Sciences, Pakistan.