Professor Syed Hasan Askari
Distinguished Historian & Eminent Scholar
Professor Syed Hasan Askari was a distinguished historian and eminent scholar of medieval Indian history, active in his field between 1926 to the year of his death in 1990. Professor S. H. Askari’s research encompassed a wide range of subjects including medieval Sufism, the Delhi Sultanate, the Mughals, Bihar’s regional history, and other aspects of cultural and social history between the 12th and 18th centuries.
Professor Askari gained international recognition as one of the foremost authorities on the mystic literature of Indian Sufis. His knowledge of Bihar & Bengal’s medieval and early modern history almost encyclopedic. Prof. Askari was unrivaled in his knowledge of original Persian sources and most learned scholar of Persian manuscripts.
Professor Askari authored more than 250 scholarly articles & research papers, edited historical volumes, and translated Persian manuscripts, which have been published in 21 books and hundreds of journals and proceedings. Professor Askari was awarded Padma Shri in literature by Indian Government & recipient of multiple coveted presidential, national, state, provincial and local awards.
Professor Syed Hasan Askari Historiography Project, Los Angeles, California, USA
It was a great pleasure to know Professor Askari, who was one of the kindest and most informed scholars & always regarded him as one of the foremost scholars ever to have studied precolonial Bihar and Bengal.
Professor Dr. Richard M. Eaton, Author of "India in the Persianate Age, 1000-1765", Department of History, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA
There are few people who remain steeped in their place of birth yet project an influence across time and space far beyond their domicile. Syed Hasan Askari is one such rare, and laudable, individual.
Dr. Bruce Lawrence, Author of "Notes from a Distant Flute" & Marcus Family Humanities Professor of Religion Emeritus, Duke University, NC, USA
Prof. Askari’s translation of the Zain Khan's work is remarkable and extraordinarily useful. I learned a great deal from his many many articles and would like to read a number of them that I hadn’t seen earlier.
Dr. Catherine Ella Blanshard Asher, Author of "Architecture of Mughal India" & Professor of Islamic and Indian Art History, College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA
I had the pleasure of meeting S. H. Askari in 1979, when I spent nearly a year in India doing research on Sufism and visited many of the most important manuscript collections. Patna was of course on the list, because of the Khudabakhsh Library, and when I visited, the library director kindly introduced me to Askari sahib, whose work I was familiar with from my time at Aligarh. I recall a wide ranging conversation that went late into the night, in which his remarkable erudition was displayed in a generous and natural way. An admirable scholar, no doubt.
Dr. Carl W. Ernst, Author of "Refractions of Islam in India" & Kenan Distinguished Professor of Islamic studies, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
Professor Askari, in the only major contribution on the Delhi Sultanate has turned from Sufi sources to a detailed examination of historical information contained in Amir Khusrau’s enormous epistolary manual, the Ijaz-i-Khusravi.
Late Professor Simon Digby, Author of “Medieval India”, University of Oxford, England
Prof. Askari, a leading scholar of medieval Indian History & Culture, combined with a broad-minded readiness to make source-material available to scholars on national and international levels.
Late Professor Gustav Roth, Author of “Discussions about the Patna Dharmapada”, Germany
I have written an article in French on Prof. Askari's works, in "du monde musulm Dictionnaire biographique des savants et grandes figures du monde musulan périphérique du XIXème siècle à nos jours" to make his work known in France.
Late Dr. Catherine Servan-Schreiber, Professor, École des hautes études en sciences sociales (School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences), EHESS, Paris, France
I first had a darshan of Prof. Askari in 1958 at Trivandrum when I attended a session of the Indian History Congress held there. I am sure the translation of Sīrat-i Firūz Shāhī, a difficult text full of information on diverse matters will be of great help to students of medieval Indian cultural history.
Dr. Irfan Habib, Author of "The Agrarian System of Mughal India 1556–1707" & Emeritus Professor, Department of History, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, India
Professor Askari was renowned for his outstanding scholarship as well as his humility, his humanity as well as his very Indian-ness.
Dr. Harbans Mukhia, Author of " The Mughals of India", Emeritus Professor of Medieval History, Centre for Historical Studies, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India
Professor Askari was unarguably most learned scholar of Persian manuscript.
Dr. Imtiaz Ahmad, Former Director, Khuda Bakhsh Oriental Public Library, Patna, India
Professor S. H. Askari was the dean of Bihar medievalists, eminent scholar and authority on Sharafuddin Maneri.
Late Dr. Walter Hauser, Author of "The Bihar Provincial Kisan Sabha, 1929-1942" Emeritus Professor in History, University of Virginia, USA
Professor Askari was truly a fine, indeed an extraordinary, scholar. I certainly recall reading all of Prof. Askari's studies of Sufism as a grad student, and have cited and recommended them since then many times. I hadn’t realized just how many publications Prof. Askari had written, and on so many subjects
Professor Nile Green, Author of "Sufism: A Global History" & Ibn Khaldun Endowed Chair in World History, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, USA
The real pioneering work in the medieval epigraphy of Bihar has been done by Dr. S.H. Askari. On the basis of epigraphic sources, he first surveyed in a paper the history of Bihar in the Turko-Afghān period. Unlike Blochmann, to whom many of the inscriptions were sent by the workers in the field and local officers, Dr. Askari combines in himself the roles of the explorer and the scholar. During the course of his extensive tours in the interior of the State he has discovered and brought to light numerous inscriptions and published their texts, though mostly without plates. Professor Syed Hasan Askari authored more than two hundred fifty articles and edited & translated several historical manuscripts.
Late Professor Qeyamudidn Ahmad, Author of Corpus of Arabic & Persian Inscriptions of Bihar (A.H. 640-1200), & Head of the Department of History, Patna University, India
Professor Askari, was a legendary historian and recipient of numerous presidential awards and honors. His literary work encompassed multifaceted subjects ranging from medieval Sufism, regional history of Bihar and other aspects of cultural history of medieval India.
Late Akhlaqur Rahman Kidwai, Governor of Bihar, West Bengal, and Haryana, India
Professor Askari was not only a distinguished historian and renowned scholar but also a second father and mentor to me.
Late Father Paul Jackson, Author of "Sharafuddin Maneri: The Hundred Letters", Australia
The late Professor S. H. Askari was the leading authority on the history and teachings of the Firdausiya order of Bihar.
Late Professor Dr. Riazul Islam, Author of “Sufism in South Asia - Impact on Fourteenth Century Muslim:", Karachi University, Pakistan
For me it had been very lucky having come in contact with saint scholar Prof.Askari, whom I ever considered an epitome of academic world.I learnt the value of simplicity from him.
I again bow my head to his memory.
Professor Dr. Bharti Kumar, Former Dean & Head of the Department of History, Patna University, India
Prof. Askari was part of an extraordinary generation of scholars who were fluent in English, Urdu, Persian and any number of other languages as well as fastidious scholars. Thanks to their efforts and generosity, entire archives were opened up to subsequent generations of scholars (including myself).
Dr. Munis D. Faruqui, Author of "Princes of the Mughal Empire, 1504-1719" & Associate Professor, Director of the Institute for South Asia Studies, University of California, USA
I express my sincere homage to late Prof. Askari who not only encouraged me to take up research in medieval Indian history but also shared his expertise in the field.
Dr. Syed Ejaz Hussain, Author of "The Bengal Sultanate: Politics, Economy and Coins, A.D. 1205-1576", Professor & Head, Department of History, Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan, West Bengal, India
I have referred to Prof Askari's works per my research requirement & comprise only a small tip of his vast reservoir.
Dr. Sanjay Garg, Former Director of the Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre, Kazakhstan
Prof. Syed Askari was part of a cadre of excellent Indian historians such as Sir Jadunath Sarkar, Govind Sardesi. These were all major figures in the discipline at the height and endtime of colonial rule, and their works. I'd also be interested to read some more of Prof. Askari's works as he was a true scholar and well known among Indian historians and intellectuals.
Dr. Hayden Bellenoit, Autor of "The Formation of the Colonial State in India: Scribes, Paper and Taxes, 1760-1860” & Associate Professor of History, US Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD, USA
Prof. Askari's article on the Taj-ul-Maasir-a verse history written, in florid & complex Persian was of invaluable assistance to me.
Dr. Peter Jackson, Author of "The Delhi Sultanate: A Political and Military History” & Emeritus Professor, Keele University, England
Certainly, one can say that Syed Hasan Askari was an extraordinary scholar who brought to light many sources for the history of Muslim communities in India that are indispensable to our knowledge today.
Dr. Blain Auer, Author of "Persian Historical Works Written in South Asia" & Professor Études de l'Islam en Asie du Sud, Section de langues et civilisations slaves et d'Asie du Sud, Faculté des lettres, Université de Lausanne, Switzerland
Everything I knew about Prof. Syed Askari suggested that he was a first-class gentleman and scholar.
Dr. John Renard, Author of "Historical Dictionary of Sufism" & Professor of Theological Studies College of Arts and Sciences, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri, USA
As a humble tribute, I can say that generations of scholars internationally, including me, have learned so much from Prof. Askari's excellent research and deep insights about key topics and issues in Indian history.
Dr. Michael Fisher, Author of "A Short History of the Mughal Empire" & Danforth Professor of History, Emeritus, Oberlin College, MA, USA
The citation (Askari, S. H., “Dabistan-i-Mazahib and Diwan-i-Mubad, 1977“ in “A storm of songs: India and the idea of the Bhakti movement) reveals my debt to Professor Askari’s work.
Professor John Stratton Hawley, Author of "A storm of songs: India and the idea of the Bhakti movement" & Claire Tow Professor of Religion, Barnard College, Columbia University, NY, USA
Taj al Maathir is quite a long and important article, that provides an extensive summary of the original manuscript.
Dr. Cynthia Talbot, Author of "The Last Hindu Emperor: Prithviraj Cauhan and the Indian Past, 1200–2000" & Professor of History, University of Texas at Austin, USA
Askari Saheb belonged to a generation of dedicated scholars, teachers, and mentors who produced a rich inheritance of scholarship mixed with generous doses of friendship extended freely to all.
Dr. Bernardo Michael, Author of “Statemaking and Territory in South Asia: Lessons from the Anglo–Gorkha War (1814–1816)” & Professor, South Asian, World History, Historiography, Ethnographic History, Messiah College, Mechanicsburg, PA, USA
Prof. Syed H. Askari offers a refreshingly open-minded attitude towards texts deemed “literary” or “poetic” rather than strictly “historical,” an attitude many historians did not begin to adopt until the end of the 20th century.
Dr. Hannah Lord Archambault, Author of "Military Households Across Court and Frontier: Indo-Afghans in South India 1630-1796," (PhD Dissertation, University of California, Berkeley, California, USA), Oregon, USA
I never met Professor Askari Saheb, but have read parts of his large corpus of writings, especially while doing my PhD from JNU, New Delhi, 2000. Some of Professor Askari's works have been cited in my book and listed in the bibliography.
Dr. Raziuddin Aquil, Associate Professor, Department of History, University of Delhi, India
Professor Syed Hasan Askari's, paper “The City of Patna—Etymology of Place-Names,”, was referenced in my book "Provincial Urbanity: Intellectuals and Public Life in Patna, 1880-1930".
Dr. David Boyk, Urdu Language Program Placement Coordinator; Assistant Professor of Instruction, Northwestern University, IL, USA
Referenced article "The Ujjainiya ancestors of Babu Kunwar Singh" of great historian.
Dr. Tahir Hussain Ansari, Author of "Mughal Administration and the Zamindars of Bihar" & Assistant Professor, Department of History, Assam University, Diphu Campus, Diphu, Karbi Anglong, Assam, India
"Tajul-Maasir of Hasan Nizami" was referenced in "Objects of Translation: Material Culture and Medieval Hindu-Muslim Encounter".
Dr. Finbarr Barry Flood, Author of "Objects of Translation: Material Culture and Medieval Hindu-Muslim Encounter", & Director, Silsila: Center for Material Histories, New York & William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of the Humanities, Institute of Fine Arts and Department of Art History, New York University. New York, USA
I have cited his article, "Mughal Naval Weakness and Aurangzeb's Attitude Towards the Traders and Pirates on the Western Coast "in “Trade, Production, and Incorporation. The Indian Ocean in Flux, 1600–1900” and it was a very good article. I would not have used it unless it was very good work.
Dr. Eric Tagliacozzo, Author of “Trade, Production, and Incorporation. The Indian Ocean in Flux, 1600–1900” & Professor, The Department of History, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA
I am a fan of Prof. Askari's voluminous and important works.
Dr. Syed Ali Nadeem Rezavi, Chairman & Coordinator Centre of Advanced Study in History, & Professor of History, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, India
Syed Hasan Askari Sahib 's contributions in enriching historical comprehension are tremendous.
Dr. Tahera Aftab, Professor of History/Founding Director Women's Studies, UoK, Pakistan (retd.) Ed. Pakistan Journal of Women’s Studies, Pakistan
Professor Askari's contribution to medieval Indian studies are tremendous.
Dr. Tanvir Anjum, Author of "Chishtī Sufis in the Sultanate of Delhi 1190–1400:" & Tenured Professor & Chairperson, Department of History, Quaid-i-Azam ,University, Islamabad, Pakistan
I have read some of the works of Prof. Askari and have great regard for him.
Dr. Faraz Anjum, Associate Professor, Department of History & Pakistan Studies, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan
The biography of Syed Hasan Askari will be an important contribution to the historiography on Urdu and Indo-Muslim history writing! I am thrilled to learn about it.
Dr. Andrew Amstutz, Professor of History (India and Pakistan, Islam, Buddhism), Little Rock, Arkansas, USA
It's a very large project, and I congratulate you on the zeal and devotion to his memory.
Dr. Frances Pritchett, Professor Emerita of Modern Indic Languages, Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies, Columbia University, New York, USA
Professor Hasan Askari ‘s articles on extremely complex medieval Indo-Persian texts including Taj-ul-Maasir and Ijaz-i-Khusrawi are his inimitable contribution towards the history of the Delhi Sultanate. His works on the literary and social history of medieval India have helped me greatly in my research.
Dr. Fouzia Farooq Ahmed, Author of "Muslim Rule in Medieval India: Power and Religion in the Delhi Sultanate" & Assistant Professor, Department of History, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan
Professor Askari focused on a time and region that is often neglected in historical research, that is Bihar and Bengal during the 15th and 16th centuries. Because of Syed Hasan Askari, historians started to consider the letters and malfuzat of Sufis as important historical sources as they contain a lot of relevant information on religious, social as well as political aspects.
Dr. Ute Falasch, Author of “Heiligkeit und Mobilität. Die Madāriyya Sufibruderschaft und ihr Gründer Badī al-DīnShāh Madār in Indien, 15. – 19”, & Research Fellow at the Center for Religious Studies at Central European University in Budapest, Hungary (Based in Berlin, Germany)
I’m honored to cite such a great scholar, Dr Askari in my humble piece of writing.
Dr. Adeela Ghazanfar, Author of “Sufi Literature as a Source of Social History: A Case Study of 14th Century Text, Siyar Al-Awliyā” & Assistant Professor, NUST, Islamabad, Pakistan
I have read and learned a great deal from the writings of Dr. Askari - he was truly a rare scholar. A figure worthy of emulation for all of us!
Dr. Abhishek Kaicker, Author of “The King the People: Sovereignty and Popular Politics in Mughal Delhi” & Assistant Professor, Department of History, UC Berkeley, CA, USA, April 14th 2020
Renowned historian Syed Hasan Askari (1901–1990), a scholar of medieval India and Sufism, was considered a walking encyclopedia of Persian documents and Persian manuscripts related to medieval India. Along with serious and research writing, he also did excellent work on the provincial history of Bihar. I am reading Askari sahab's writings particularly essays. They are simply illuminating.
Dr. Shubhneet Kaushik, Assistant Professor, Department of History, Satish Chandra College, (affiliated to Jananayak Chandrashekhar University), Ballia, UP, India
When I was a graduate student, I had read the chapter Sufism in India, then we had reading at a glance of Prof. Askari's work. Now I refer my students of Prof. Askari's work on Sufism.
Dr. Sampa Ghosh, Assistant Professor of History, Haripal College, West Bengal, India
I have fond memories of Askari saheb. I first met him when my father took me to his Sultan Ganj house in my young student days. Askari saheb treated me with affection and encouraged me to read history. He was always talked about by his colleagues and students and had a legendary reputation for simplicity, rigorous research and lucidity. Needless to say I read most of his research and found it to be quite useful.
Dr. Najaf Haider, Professor of Medieval and Early Modern History, Centre for Historical Studies. Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India
I never met Prof. Askari, unfortunately, but his chapter on Indo-Persian music is a pioneer piece on the subject. I simply cited that chapter in my article in 2006 among other earlier works on the subject. His work is now more meaningful to me after I started the Indo-Persian music project at UCLA.
Dr. Mohsen Mohammadi, Ph.D. ,Director of Indo-Persian Music, Department of Ethnomusicology, Assistant Director, Center for India and South Asia (CISA), UCLA, Los Angeles, USA
I adored Prof. Syed Hasan Askari so much. My poem 'Itihasvid' (in Bengali) collected in a book in 1984, was about him. I take this opportunity to show my respects to him, again. Much later I knew, that for Medieval Bihar, his works are the only reference point for historians all over the world. He is the only authority on medieval Bihar.
Mr. Bidyut Kumar Pal, Editor of Behar Herald, Patna, Bihar, India
Professor Askari's series of articles on Raja Ramnarian in the Indian Historical Quarterly are very helpful to my work and I am benefitting from them now. I do see some articles by Prof. Askari beyond those about which I already knew, and some are indeed quite relevant. I am a scholar of the Seven Years' War as a global conflict, and am especially interested in the Bengal campaign of 1756-57. Having worked on this subject before, I believe that Raja Ramnarain's actions and capabilities are one of the "missing links" in the understanding of that war of Anglo-American scholars. Indian scholars, however, like Prof. Askari have done important work on him and Anglo-American scholars really need to integrate his scholarship into the American scholarship on the Seven Years War, which remains unfortunately too myopic. I am hoping to help rectify that, and access to Askari's work from the mid-twentieth century is critical.
Dr. Mark Danley, PhD, Co-editor of “The Seven Years' War, Global Views”, NY, USA
Prof. Askari is an excellent scholar and historian in our research field. His writings display a rare depth of insight and sensitivity, combined with a rigorous scholarly approach. Moreover, his exceptional scholarship has been an inspiration to many aspiring scholars, leading generations of scholars in their academic pursuits.
Lingli Li, Ph.D. Student, University of Gottingen, Germany
Professor Syed Hasan Askari made his mark as a scholar of international repute. Professor Askari was a rare combination of a teacher, explorer and researcher.
Dr. Bijoy Kumar Choudhary, Director, Kashi Prasad Jayaswal Research Institute, India
I am grateful to Professor S.H. Askari. In spite of his old age and frail health, he took pains to guide me to the relevant material, both in the Khuda Bakhsh Library and in his personal collection.
Late Dr. Girish Chandra Dwivedi , Author of "The Jats - Their Role in the Mughal Empire", India
I would like to express my profound gratitude to the late Prof. Dr. Syed Hasan Askari and the authorities of the Kashi Prasad Jayaswal Research Institute and the Bihar Research Society of Patna for kindly having made available their valuable source materials through the good offices of Dr. Gustav Roth and Prof. Raffaele Torella.
Dr. Francesco Sferra, Author of "The Land of the Chosen Deity, the First Chapter of the Hevajratantrapindarthatıka by Vajragarbha", & Professor of Department of Asian, African and Mediterranean Studies, University of Naples , Italy
This official website of Late Professor Syed Hasan Askari serves as an online portal for digital compilation and documentation of his chronological biography, professional career, illustrious presidential awards in addition to cataloging and reviewing his literary works for global access and scholarly references. Here are quick links to the following pages on this website; Home, Biography, Chronology, Awards, Historiography, Books, Articles, Abstracts, Ikhtesar, Reviews, Exploration, Sources, Locations, Photographs, Memories, News & Events, Feedback, Fellowships, Acknowledgments, Links, About and Contact.
Professor Syed Hasan Askari Historiography Project, Los Angeles, California, United States of America