Professor Ayesha Jalal calls for more in-depth historical research

Professor Ayesha Jalal, the Mary Richardson Professor of History and Director, Center for South Asian and Indian Ocean Studies, Tufts University, called for more in-depth historical research that explores the links between South Asia with the rest of the Muslim world during the period between 1850 and 1930s. She made these observations during a lecture at The Graduate Institute of Development Studies, Lahore School of Economics on Thursday 12, February.


In her lecture, she discussed the significance of the Indian Ocean as both a uniting factor between the Muslim world, and in turn how Muslim countries created an ocean of cultural and economic influence.


She recalled the travels of renowned scholars including Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, Shibli Nomani, Mahboob Alam (founder of the Paisa Akhbar), Maulana Ghulam Rasool Mehr and Sir Muhammad Iqbal. She reflected on Sir Syed Ahmad Khan’s journeys into neighboring Muslim lands in order to learn how to establish modern scientific schools—before eventually founding Aligarh Muslim University. Dr. Jalal noted that he did not reject or resent European achievements or values, but instead hoped to learn from Europe.


Professor Ayesha Jalal is the author of the definitive work on partition The Sole Spokesman: Jinnah, the Muslim League and the Demand for Pakistan. Her most recent book, The Struggle for Pakistan, looks at the history of Pakistan. It explores the relationship between Pakistan’s Islamic identity and becoming a modern nation-state.