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Monday, October 12, 2009

Seohara Famous Personality

Legendary Urdu scholar Gian Chand Jain

Legendary Urdu litterateur Gian Chand Jain died at Porterville (California) in America on Saturday night. He was 85.An authority on Ghalib and a linguist par excellence, Jain was born in Seohara town in Bijnore district in 1923. He had written his first ghazal under the pen name ‘Ghaafil’ in 1937. Jain’s latest book ‘Ek Bhasha, Do Likhawat’ had invited the collective ire of Urdu world. Urdu writers and readers were hurt with Jain’s sudden outburst and especially the charges of bias againt non-Muslim writers in Urdu. All his life he got tremendous respect from across the Urud world.Another Urdu legend Shamsur Rahman Farooqi had written a scholarly piece, exposing the frivolous nature of charges. However, many scholars felt that Jain, who was ailing, had been used by vested elements, in his old age to create the unsavoury literary controversy. Such errors (found in the book) were not expected of an erudite person like him. Gyan Chand Jain was a recepient of umpteen Urdu awards. He was Head of Department, Urdu, at Hamidia College. Later he taught at Jammu, Allahabad and Hyderabad. He shifted to Lucknow and later to USA. 

Prof. Khurshidul Islam’s ancestry was a prominent family of Seohara in District Bijnore but his great-great-grandfather relocated to Umri in District Moradabad. The family produced luminaries like Dr. Abdur Rahman Bijnori, Maulana Hifzur Rahman, Hafiz Ibrahim, Prof. Riazul Islam, Prof. Maulana Saeed Akbarabadi and Nihal Seoharavi.

His father Sheikh Akhtar Jameel worked in Rampur where Khurshidul Islam was born to Sayera Khatoon on 21st July 1919. He was the only brother of four sisters. His father passed away when he was five years old.
After the death of his father he was brought up by his grandfather Sheikh Tilawat Husain who inculcated in him the fondness for Persian and Arabic and a love for literature. His grandfather also passed away two years later when he was only seven years old. During this time he successfully memorised the Quran and was determined to further his education.
He moved to Seohara for primary education and later proceeded to the Fatehpuri Muslim High School, Delhi, for his secondary education. As a student of the sixth class he won the 'First Prize of All India Oratory Competition' and went on to win many such prizes during his school days.
The Headmaster of Fatehpuri Muslim High School wrote the testimonial ‘if this young boy cannot continue his higher education it will be a national loss’.
Khurshidul Islam joined IA in 1938 at the Aligarh Muslim University, graduating in 1942 and secured First Class with First Position in his masters in 1945. While a student of the Aligarh Muslim University he won the prestigious ‘Harold Cox Prize for Oratory’ in 1942.
He published many leading papers on various subjects, the most outstanding among which was ‘Shibli’ published originally in 'Aligarh Magazine’ and ‘Nigar’. The article was highly appreciated in the academic circles, including by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad who praised it by saying that he had ‘not seen such prose for the past 18 years’.Immediately after completion of his masters he was appointed Lecturer at the Department of Urdu, Aligarh Muslim University.Two years later he married Masuda Khatoon at Seohara in 1947, who accompanied him in the endeavours of his life. They initially lived in Amir Nishan and then in University accommodation at Morrison Court Road before going to England in 1953.Khurshidul Islam was the founding member of the then undivided Communist Party of India Unit at the Aligarh Muslim University and was its first Secretary and continued as such till he went to England in 1953. His residence at Morrison Court Road functioned as an office for the work of the Party and also as a recluse for the comrades who were underground at that time.He was awarded PhD degree by the Aligarh Muslim University in 1953, which was the first PhD on Ghalib and was later published as his book ‘Ghalib and the later Persian Poets’.
He was the first Aligarh Muslim University teacher to be honoured with an invitation to join a foreign University as its faculty. He joined as Overseas Lecturer at School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, from 1953 to 1956. On completion of this assignment he returned to the Department of Urdu, Aligarh Muslim University.
In 1957 he became the Assistant Director in Humanities in the General Education Reading Material Project established by the University Grants Commission at Aligarh to prepare courses and reading material for teaching of general education in all Indian Universities.
He was appointed Reader in the Department of Urdu in 1959.
Subsequently, he was appointed the first Co-ordinator of the General Education Centre established in Aligarh in 1959. He resigned and joined back the Department of Urdu as Reader in 1962.
In 1968 he was awarded Fellowship by the Harvard University for a stay in London to complete the work on ‘Ghalib: Urdu and Persian Verses’.
He returned to the Aligarh Muslim University in 1969 till 1970 when he joined the Oxford University Press as Editor of the Oxford Urdu-English and English-Urdu dictionaries. In 1973 he returned as Professor and the Head of the Department of Urdu at the Aligarh Muslim University.
However, because of his commitment with the Oxford University Press, he kept visiting Oxford to oversee the preparation of the Urdu-English Dictionary. But this did not distract him from his ambition to build up the Department of Urdu at the Aligarh Muslim University. It was his heart felt desire to have a Centre for Advance Studies and Research in Urdu at the Aligarh Muslim University, a project he worked hard at by preparing plans for submission to the University Grants Commission, New Delhi, but could not fulfil it due to his retirement in 1979.Immediately after retirement, he went to Oxford to complete the work on the dictionaries but returned to the Aligarh Muslim University for further two years on re-employment from which he resigned in 1981.He became a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society (FRAS).
Prof. Khurshidul Islam acquired all his academic qualifications from the Aligarh Muslim University and in return brought it an international recognition through his academic excellence and publications. His single mindedness and love for Urdu took Urdu literature to international academic circles.
He constructed a house in Aligarh in 1981 but frequently travelled to England and remained academically active till 1992. After prolonged illness, he passed away at his residence at the age of 86 on 17th June 2006.
He remained an uncompromising and a committed Marxist till his last days.
Prof. Khurshidul Islam is buried at the Aligarh Muslim University Graveyard, the Minto E. He is survived by his wife, two daughters, four sons, nine granddaughters and four grandsons.

Masroor Ali Born in Seohara town of Bijnor district in Uttar Pradesh, Dr Ali did his Bachelor of Science from Aligarh Muslim University and completed his medical studies (MBBS, MS and surgical training) from Lucknow's King George's Medical College (KGMC) in 1965. Thereafter, he went to the UK and then to the United States where he developed a thriving practice.
If you're plagued by high blood pressure, hypertension and diabetes, don't worry.Go seek an appointment with Dr Ali, popularly known as Max Ali. Just ensure that you're dressed in a dark suit (if you're a male) and in an elegant saree or long skirt (if you're a female). And then get ready to dance away your ailments, ballroom and Latin dancing to be precise.
"I just perfected a method of piles treatment with laser. All I did was to fuse local anesthesia treatment which I learnt in Lucknow, with the use of laser. For this, I got a patent in Washington DC under Hemorrhoid Clinics of America (Dr Ali's clinic)."

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