Known as the pioneer of Urdu novels, Deputy Nazir Ahmad was born in 1836. This great man was an advocate of education for women. At a time when the Muslim society was going through a turbulent period, he stood up for the cause of justice for women. He strongly wanted that women should be educated and must be given due respect in the society. It was at this time that the Muslim establishment considered that women should not be educated at all. The life history of Deputy Nazir Ahmad is given below as a short biography. Through his novels he wanted to make people aware of the various social problems that the society was going through. To know more about Ahmad, continue to read this insightful biography on him.
His real name was Shamsul Ulema Maulvi Nazir Ahmad but he was popularly known as Deputy Nazir Ahmad. He was born in the Bijnor district in Uttar Pradesh. Nazir Ahmad studied under the guidance of his own father. His father used to privately tutor to earn some money because their financial condition was not very well at the time. It is said that Nazir, when he was a young boy, was never interested in studies and his father had a really hard time to tutor him. Therefore he was sent to Delhi to continue his education at a small Arabic Madrasah under the supervision of Maulvi Abdul Khaliq. This Madrasah was situated in the Aurangabadi Masjid, Ajmeri Gate. Later on in his life, Nazir Ahmad described staying in this Madrasah as the worst experience of his life. He got married to his supervisor Maulana Abdul Khaliq’s granddaughter. He did his higher education from the Delhi College.
Thereafter, he went to Punjab to earn his living as a teacher there. From there he went to Kanpur and then to Allahabad and it was in Allahabad that he became Deputy Inspector of School. Also in Allahbad, he got educated in English language and joined a team of professionals who were translating the Indian Penal Code from English to Urdu language. After this stage in his life, he rose to the position of Tahsilda and then to the post of tax collector. He had a daughter called Sakeenah. He was not very impressed with the course material of that time and developed a personalized syllabus for his daughter. He wanted to make it more fun to study and useful. Slowly, all the girls of Sakeenah’s age in that area started to follow it and Nazir came up with a training guide for young girls called Mara-tul-Uroos.
He was determined to eradicate the social evils like illiteracy, poverty and the frustration of common man that had risen to alarming proportions. The corrupt society with all its problems was coming to a stage where a burn out was just around the corner. The instability was just adding to the problems. His novels aimed at making people aware of this dangerous situation. He wanted to infuse an innate sense amongst people to eradicate these problems from the root.
Association With Sir Syed: A great development in Nazir Ahmad’s life was getting recommended for the position of Administration Director. Mohsinul Mulk gave him that honor under the personal recommendation of Sir Syed. Nazir was a fantastic orator, a reason why Sir Syed used to take him to Muhammadan Education Conference for the responsibility if a keynote speaker. Nazir used to really admire Sir Syed and the efforts put by him into the Aligarh Movement. This is the reason why he became a close associate to Sir Syed. He accepted Sir Syed as a mentor in his life and even wrote a few poems in his admiration and honor. He also supported Sir Syed’s opinions on Tahzeebul-Akhlaq for the all-rounded progress of Muslims. He used to spend a lot of time with Sir Syed and travel a lot with him for the various purposes of Aligarh Movement.
Hindu-Muslim Unity: Nazir very strongly supported the unity of Hindus and Muslims. He used to believe that the westernized history taught in the school to young children was the primary cause of the spreading of communalism. He took this up so seriously that he suggested the re-writing of the history book to the department of education. He wanted them to include topics like communal harmony. He used to spread the message of unity, peace and harmony amongst Hindu-Muslim. After the death of Sir Syed, Nazim became very depressed and stopped taking lectures or going to the meetings. When asked why he is not actively participating in anything anymore, he replied by saying, “Kya karoon mashgala lecture ka aji ch-hoot gaya, hum se ek yaar ch-hutaa aisa ke ji ch-hoot gaya”.
His novels are considered to be the primary novels in Urdu. Among his famous works are, Mirat-al-Urus and Taubat-un-Nasuh that laid the foundation for future works and novel compositions in Urdu language. This great personality breathed his last in 1912.