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403. Dr. Omar Khalidi

Dr. Omar Khalidi (1953 – 29 November 2010) was born in Hyderabad, India and was an eminent Muslim scholar, a staff member of MIT in the USA and an author. He was educated in India, the United Kingdom, and the United States. He is referred to as the "Chronicler of Hyderabad and as a champion of minority rights". He is considered an international relations builder and his visits to various countries, sponsored by the US State Department, were a part of this effort.
The main subjects of his books are minority rights, history, architecture, economics, demography, politics, Urdu education, military history, library science, cataloging ethnic groups and nationalism. His incisive writings on minority rights inspired the Sachar Committee to seek a community wise census of the Indian armed forces. He had also authored several books and articles on Islam in America and mosque architecture.
His two books, Khaki and Ethnic Violence in India: Army, Police, and Paramilitary Forces During Communal Riots (2003) and Muslims in Indian Economy (2006), had focused on the institutional discrimination against Muslims in India, creating furor in the Indian Parliament in 2006. L.K. Advani had verbally attacked him for allegedly tarnishing the secular credentials of the Indian army and personally held him responsible for the Sachar Committee’s request for a community wide census in India.

Early life and Education

Khalidi was born in 1953 in Hyderabad, India. His father Abu Nasr Muhammad Khalidi was a specialist in Islamic studies and Urdu literature at Osmania University. Omar received his primary education at Madrassa-e-Aaaliyah High School in Hyderabad. He completed his BA in history at Wichita State University in 1980. In 1991 he received a Master of Liberal Arts degree from Harvard University and his PhD from the University of Wales Lampeter, UK in (1994).


In the 1980s he worked at the King Saud University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and from there he moved back to the USA and became a staff member of MIT in Boston. Later in 1983, he joined the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at MIT and worked there as a librarian until his death in a train accident in the same city.


His first scholarly work was The British Residents at the Court of the Nizams of Hyderabad published in 1981. Since then he wrote and edited more than 25 books. The most famous book he edited is Hyderabad: After the Fall published in 1990. The book documents the fall of the princely state of Hyderabad and its negative impact on the Muslim community. He researched excerpts from the Pandit Sunderlal Commission Report which for the first time offered a glimpse into what really happened in 1948 as Hyderabad was amalgamated into the Indian union.

 Media contribution

Khalidi served as a regional Vice-President of American Federation of Muslims of Indian Origin, and was an active participant in the various activities of all other Indian Muslim organizations in the USA and Canada. His articles were published regularly in the MetroWest Daily News and he was an active columnist for various other journals, writing for the Economic and Political Weekly, The Outlook, India Abroad, Two Circles and other print and internet media.


Below are the collection of some of his books.
Published Year Book Name Publisher
1981 The British Residents at the Court of the Nizams of Hyderabad Hyderabad Historical Society.
1985 Hyderabad State Under the Nizams, 1724-1948: A Bibliography of Monographic and Periodical Literature Hyderabad Historical Society.
1987 Deccan Under the Sultans, 1296-1724: A Bibliography of Monographic and Periodical Literature Hyderabad Historical Society.
1988 African Diaspora in India: The Case of the Habashis of Deccan Hamdard National Foundation.
1988 Hyderabad After the Fall Hyderabad Historical Society.
1990 Indian Muslims in North America South Asia Press.
1991 Factors in Muslim Electability to Lok Sabha Harvard University Press.
1991 Memoirs of Cyril Jones: People, Society, and Railways in Hyderabad Manohar Publications.
1992 Shama-e-Faroozan: Chand Ilmi Aur Adabi Shakhsiyatoon Ke Halaat-e-Zindagi Aur Karname Azmi and Sons.
1994 Memoirs of Sidney Cotton South Asia Press.
1995 Islamic Literature in the Deccani Languages: Kannada, Marathi, & Telugu Hyderabad Historical Society.
1998 Suqut-e-Hyderabad: Chashm Deed Aur Muasir Tahreeron Par Mushtamil Manzar Aur Pesh Manzar (Edited with Dr. Muinuddin Aqil) All India Majlis Tameer-e-Millat.
1999 Romance of the Golconda Diamonds Mapin Publishing.
1999 Approaches to Mosque Design in North America MIT.
1999 The Architecture and Campus Planning of Osmania University MIT.
1999 American Architecture of Islamic Inspiration MIT.
2003 A Guide to Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and Urdu Manuscript Libraries in India Middle East Librarians Association.
2003 Khaki and Ethnic Violence in India: Army, Police, and Paramilitary Forces During Communal Riots Three Essays Press.
2004 Between Muslim Nationalists and Nationalist Muslims: Maududi’s Thoughts on Indian Muslims Institute of Objective Studies.
2004 The British Residency in Hyderabad: An Outpost of the Raj (1779-1948) British Association for Cemeteries in South Asia.
2006 An Indian Passage to Europe: The Travels of Fath Nawaz Jang Oxford University Press.
2006 Muslims in the Deccan: A Historical Survey Global Media Publications.
2006 Muslims in Indian Economy Three Essays Collective.
2006 Khaki and Ethnic Violence in India-2 Three Essays Collective.
2006 A Guide to Architecture in Hyderabad, Deccan, India Three Essays Collective.


Omar Khalidi died on 29 November 2010, in a train accident at Kendall Square, MBTA station in Cambridge-Boston. His family published a statement in the Arab News on 30 November 2010: Omar Khalidi drove in his car to the MIT campus and was probably trying to catch a train to buy medicine at the next station. He was diabetic, and it seems his sugar level had reached abnormal levels and he was hit by a train in Boston, United States His funeral prayers were held at the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center in Roxbury.
He left his wife Nigar Khalidi and his daughter Aliya.

Source : Wikipedia

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