Aligarh: Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) today deeply mourned the sad demise of Prof Riazur Rahman Sherwani, noted scholar, public intellectual, author and editor, who passed away at his Marris Road residence in Aligarh at the age of 96.
Prof Sherwani taught at the Department of Arabic, AMU and later at the Kashmir University before retiring.
Expressing deep sorrow at the demise, AMU Vice Chancellor, Prof Tariq Mansoor said that Prof Sherwani vehemently opposed the partition of India, conservatism and communalism and his worldview shaped by wide studies and deep insights will continue to inspire generations of teachers and students at AMU.
Faculty members from various departments of the University paid homage to Prof Sherwani at his residence.
Prof Sherwani wrote extensively on Sir Syed Ahmad Khan and Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad. His written work against communal hate and on India’s secular democracy articulated the problems of common Indians and displayed a strong optimism that India’s secular democracy offers enough scope to ameliorate all these issues.
During his student life in AMU, Prof Sherwani opposed the two-nation theory and as an Arabic scholar, he argued that Islamic scriptures are against polygamy as they are against slavery in spirit.
Prof Sherwani favoured a rational interpretation of the Quran from the framework of social realities.
He edited two periodicals, Conference Gazette and Fikr-e-Nazar.
He was particularly associated with Urdu newspapers, Naya Hindustan and Jamhoor, while contributing columns to almost all Urdu newspapers of Delhi, UP, and Bihar.
Prof Sherwani wrote around 30 obituaries. These include people of all ideological shades: Acharya Narendra Dev (1889-1956; a Gandhian socialist); K G Mashruwala (editor of Gandhiji’s weekly Harijan), Syama Prasad Mookerjee (1901-1953; the Hindu Mahasabha leader), Gandhiji, Maulana Azad (Azad’s passing was greatest of all tragedies, according to him), Nehru, Rafi Kidwai (1894-1954), Asaf Ali (1888-1953), among others.
He is survived by son, Dr Madihur Rahman Sherwani and two daughters.