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Hakim Ajmal Khan: Freedom Fighter and a pioneer in the field of modern education amongst Muslims

Hakim Ajmal Khan, born in Delhi on February 12, 1868 was always willing to make any number of sacrifices in order to achieve the common objective of Indian independence, development of communal harmony and promotion of modern education amongst Muslims. Hakim Ajmal Khan was an eminent Indian Unani physician who was a versatile genius, a great scholar, a social reformer, a noted freedom fighter, an Unani medical educationist, and a founder of scientific research in the Unani System of Medicine.

When tensions between the Indian National Congress and the Muslim League flared in 1916, he was instrumental in having the Lucknow Pact formed, which established a reconciliation between the two organizations. After leaving the Muslim League in 1917, he had a strong friendship with Mahatma Gandhi, which prompted him to join the Indian National Congress. He was the Chairperson of the reception committee for the Indian National Congress’s Delhi sessions in December 1918. He took part in the Khilafat, or Non-Cooperation Movement, inaugural ceremony, when he turned down the honorary titles bestowed by the British government, such as Kaisar-e-Hind and Haziqul-Mulk, and so became a role model. He was part of a delegation meeting with the Viceroy to discuss the Khilafat problem. In 1921, he also presided over a session of the Indian National Congress in Ahmedabad. He was the first Chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia National Muslim University, which was established for students who shared nationalist ideologies and cherished the idea of modern scientific education. As Chancellor, he reinforced nationalist ideology and scientifc fervour through developing the institute. He worked hard to promote peaceful ties between Hindus and Muslims, hosting a conference with Hindu and Muslim leaders in his home in September 1924.

Hakim Ajmal Khan was very interested in expanding and developing the Unani system of medicine. He established three essential institutions, the Central College in Delhi, the Hindustani Dawakhana, and the Ayurvedic and Unani Tibbiya College, better known as Tibbia College, in Karol Bagh, Delhi broadened research and studies in the field and secured the Unani System of Medicine from extermination.

Despite retiring from active politics in 1925 due to bad health, Hakim Ajmal Khan worked hard to develop communal harmony between Hindus and Muslims until his death on December 29, 1927. The present day Indian Muslim community is in dire need of towering personality like Hakim Ajmal Khan who can lead the Muslims towards modern education system and help in developing striong nationalistic sentiments. Being the only muslim to chair a session of the Hindu Mahasabha, Ajaml Khan showed that a nation can not develpoe unless communal harmony is practiced in totality. He always advocated the idea of a unified India by overcoming religious fault line. Its time to remember the forgotten hero.

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