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Hakim Ajmal Khan

(1868 – 1927) – (Delhi)


Hakim Ajmal Khan (Aged 56), born on February 11, 1868, was a physician in Delhi, India, and one of the founders of Jamia Millia Islamia University. He also founded Tibbia College, an Ayurvedic and Unani institution situated in Karol Bagh, Delhi. Khan, who became the university’s first chancellor in 1920, remained in office until his death in 1927. He was the only Muslim to chair a session of the Hindu Mahasabha.

Khan proved to be the most outstanding and multifaceted personality of his era, making matchless contributions to the causes of Indian independence, national integration, and communal harmony. His untiring efforts infused new force and life into an otherwise decaying Unani medical system under British rule. Unlike physicians of the Lucknow school who wanted to maintain the system’s purity, Khan proposed the absorption of Western concepts within the Unani system.

Hakim Ajmal Khan changed from medicine to politics after he started writing for the Urdu weekly Akmal-ul-Akhbar, launched by his family. Khan headed the Muslim team that met the Viceroy of India in Shimla in 1906 and presented him with a memorandum written by the delegation. He actively participated in the Dhaka founding of the All India Muslim League on December 30, 1906, despite many Muslim leaders facing arrest. In 1917, Khan approached Mahatma Gandhi for help, thereafter uniting with him and other Muslim leaders such as Maulana Azad, Maulana Mohammad Ali Jouhar, and Maulana Shaukat Ali in the well-known Khilafat movement.

Khan was the sole person elected to the Presidency of the Indian National Congress, the Muslim League, and the All India Khilafat Committee. He passed away 29 December 1927.