IOS on-line condolence meet over the death of Prof. Ishtiyaque Danish
New Delhi: The Institute of Objective Studies organized an on-line condolence meet to mourn the death of the former professor of Islamic Studies, Jamia Hamdard and the finance secretary of the Institute, Prof. Ishtiyaque Danish on April 20, 2021. Presided over by the chairman of the IOS, Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam, the proceedings of the meeting were conducted by the in-charge of Urdu section, Maulana Shah Ajmal Farooq Nadwi.
Speaking as a special guest, the nazim of Jamiatul Falah, Bilariaganj, Azamgarh, Maulana Mohammad Tahir Madni, observed that several Muslim scholars left this mundane world recently. Referring to the personality of Prof. Ishtiyaque Danish, the maulana said that he was the confluence of oriental and occidental knowledge. Besides being an expert on Islamic Studies, he was well-versed in West Asian affairs and Islam in the modern world. His areas of interest included Islam and globalization, and issues concerning West Asia. He authored about one dozen books in Urdu and English. He visited several countries to attend conferences and read papers. He believed in disseminating knowledge and this was the reason why he used to encourage the new generation to acquire it from all sources. He took time off to compose Urdu poems which showed his interest in literature. He published a collection of Urdu poems called ‘Shor-e-Khamoshi’. The maulana said that he was affectionately associated with his family members and close relations. He suggested that Prof. Danish’s unpublished works should be brought out in book form. The vice-chancellor of NALSAR University, Hyderabad, Prof. Faizan Mustafa said that Prof. Danish was his senior at Aligarh Muslim University. He wrote well and his ability to edit the text was superb. He edited the Newsletter and the Journal of Objective Studies brought out by the Institute of Objective Studies for several years. It was sheer injustice with him that he was compulsorily retired by Jamia Hamdard’s management, though he was amongst the top three of the institution. He regretted that the top scholars were sometimes treated very shabbily by the community. Ordinarily, competent people were ignored in selection to important bodies. He said that Prof. Danish sent the papers relating to his compulsory retirement from Jamia Hamdard to him a few days before his death. But he could not spare time to go through the papers and give legal advice to him. Despite being an Islamic scholar, he was best at English novel writing. He disclosed that at one point of time, Prof. Danish urged him to take up the vice-chancellorship of Jamia Hamdard.
Vice-chancellor of Maulana Azad University, Jodhpur and Professor Emeritus, Jamia Millia Islamia, Prof. Akhtarul Wasey, noted that the Covid-19 pandemic had forced the people to only mourn the death of their dear and near ones without taking their bodies to the graveyard for burial. Paying his tribute to Prof. Danish, he said that he imbibed both past and present. He excelled in prose as well as poetry. He explained how Islam could play a role in today’s global perspective. It was regrettable that knowledge was not receiving as much attention as it should have received. He thanked the Jamia Hamdard Chancellor Mr. Hamid Ahmed, for having a re-look at his dismissal from the university. He urged the IOS chairman Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam to consider Prof. Danish’s name for the IOS Lifetime Achievement Award. Prof. Mohammad Saud Alam Qasmi, professor of theology, Aligarh Muslim University, pointed out that a pandemic snatched several scholars, close relatives and dear ones. Referring to Prof. Danish, he said that he was industrious possessed rare qualities. His honesty was no longer a secret and the straightwardness with which he spoke, paid him dearly. He never kept the outcome of his researches and knowledge confined to himself. Rather he transferred them to his students. He seconded Prof. Wasey in advocating IOS Lifetime Achievement Award for Prof. Danish. He concluded by remarking that he established a connect between Islam and the West.
Professor in the department of Islamic Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia, Prof. Iqtidar Mohd. Khan, commented that Prof. Danish was equally popular among seniors and the juniors. His circle of friends was very wide as he kept himself above differences among different schools of thought. His knowledge was research based and did not belong to any particular school of thought. He studied at a madrasa and went to Aligarh for higher studies. At Aligarh, he got an opportunity to study western culture and thought. He did not allowed himself to be swayed by a particular school of thought. He was very strict by nature but very soft by heart. It was in his habit to help others. He wrote several plays and film scripts. He was credited with writing a number of poems in Urdu, besides prose. Prof. Khan too pleaded for the IOS Lifetime Achievement Award for him. Professor of political science, AMU, Prof. Arshi Khan, pointed out that he knew Prof. Danish since 1993. He recalled his association with Prof. Danish at Jamia Hamdard. He was not sensitive to the loss and always accepted it with patience. He was a victim of machinations that led to his discharge from service at Jamia Hamdard. But ultimately truth prevailed and he was re-instated at his post. He died before he could enjoy the benefits of re-instatement. He was very clean-hearted and never nursed a grievance against anybody. He was very intelligent sharp and farsighted. He was insightful too, Prof. Khan added.
Prof. Towqeer Alam Falahi, professor, department of Sunni theology, AMU, observed that he knew Prof. Danish since 1979. He was a jewel of a man who lived for others. Bold and forthright, he had the heart of a noble soul. He did not hesitate to call a spade a spade. Hospitable to the core, he always welcomed guests who visited his place. Prof. Alam said that he would contribute an article on Prof. Danish if the IOS planned to bring out a book on him.
Prof. Mirza Asmer Beg, professor of political science, AMU, held that Prof. Danish was a man of principles who never compromised on them. He risked his job for the sake of truth and never deviated from the course he set for himself. He recalled that his association with Prof. Danish grew stronger during his stay in the same complex in which he lived. Prof. Asim Siddiqui from AMU, remarked that Prof. Danish possessed rare quality of helping others and fighting for a just cause. He was a good host and entertaining guests always gave him a sense of satisfaction. He asked his admirers to impress upon the Jamia Hamdard’s administration to restore his pension and other pensionary benefits, Prof. Siddiqui said.
Head of the department of Islamic Studies, MANUU, Prof. Mohd. Fahim Akhtar Nadwi, observed that Prof. Danish did M.A. in English literature and undertook a visit to London where he saw the West from close quarters. He possessed a multi-dimensional personality which was reflected from his writings. It was due to his deep study that he had grasp over several subjects. He had a strong power of expression that impressed others. Always zealous of doing something new, he was a votary of multi-culturalism. He regularly posted his views on a variety of subjects on social media platforms. Never hesitant to favour his students by recommendations, he was an asset for the IOS. Prof. Nadwi emphasized that his incomplete works should be taken up for completion. Dr. Syed Qasim Rasool Ilyas, president of the Welfare Party of India, said that he had a 40-year old association with Prof. Danish. He described Prof. Danish as a scholar and researcher of a high caliber. Besides Urdu, he had a good command over English. His couplets in Urdu were simple but very deep. He said that the current scenario was very painful as many intellectuals had left the world.
Senior Urdu journalist and voice of America (Urdu Service) representative in India, Suhail Anjum, said that he came to know of his collection of poems called ‘Shor-e-Khamoshi’ in 2015. He did review of his 600-page book, but it could not see the light of the day. He was an expert on the Middle East and he (Suhail Anjum) used to consult him while planning to write on the subject. His sudden death was a personal loss for him, he added. Dr. Najmus Sahar, assistant professor of Islamic Studies, Jamia Hamdard, suggested that the life and works of Prof. Danish should be brought out in book form. He meted out equal treatment to all his students. He was very sympathetic to them and ever ready to help in whatever way he could, she said.
Prof. Danish’s elder son, Nibras Danish said that he came to know of his father’s dismissal from Jamia Hamdard only last year. Despite being out of service, he never made the family feel of it. He never allowed the financial crisis to reflect on the family. He expressed his resolve to follow the path shown by his father and do something tangible to perpetuate his memory.
The secretary general of the IOS, Prof. Z. M. Khan, described the death of Prof. Danish as a big loss and said that it was like a full stop. He remarked that two major incidents in the past hundred years had shaken the country most and caused the maximum human loss. They were, the partition of India in 1947 and the Covid-19 pandemic. He referred to Prof. Danish’s half an hour speech on the state of Muslims in the world at AMU and said that he was virtually weeping while speaking on the subject. Prof. Danish was very bold and never compromised on principles, he added. Assistant Secretary General of the IOS, Prof. Haseena Hashia commented that Danish’s departure from this world came as shock to everybody who was associated with him. He was an alim, intellectual and a star of Islamic Studies. He received his early education at a madrasa and did post-graduation in English literature. He was a confluence of oriental and western studies. In his death, the IOS suffered irreparably, she remarked.
Member of the IOS general assembly, Major Zahid Husain recalled that he listened to his last lecture at the programme in Chennai. Prof. Danish’s friend Rizwan Falahi, speaking from London said that he met him in London where he spent a year to complete his project. He praised him for being upright and a thorough gentleman.
The chairman of the IOS, Dr. M. Manzoor Alam, in his presidential remarks said that only Allah knew the longevity of a man and his usefulness for the world. Thus, one should try to spread knowledge as far as he could. Referring to the contribution of Prof. Danish, he said that Prof. Danish was responsible for starting several projects in the IOS. One of his brain-child was the project on Quranic values. He assured that all the projects started by him would be completed by the IOS. He said that today’s challenges should be faced by using knowledge as a tool. He maintained that his students desirous of working on him were welcome to contact the IOS for support. He also called for undertaking a study of the impact of Covid-19 on human behaviour and its effect on social and economic life. He announced that a committee would be constituted to suggest the modalities for publishing the unpublished work of Prof. Danish. He said that the project on Quranic values would continue to do its job as earlier. He informed that all the suggestions made at the condolence meet on Prof. Danish would be placed before the main body of the IOS to take a call. His death had definitely created void that might hopefully be filled by one of his students. He also announced that Prof. Danish’s lecture on Islam and contemporary challenges delivered at Maulana Azad University, Jodhpur, would be published in book form.
The condolence meet ended with the Dua for the magfirat of Prof. Danish and a raised status for him in Jannah. Prof. Haseena Hashia proposed a vote of thanks to all participants.