The Eqbal Ahmad Award

Eqbal Ahmad

Many students and faculty members at TIP are unaware of the towering personality of our first Chancellor, or how fortunate we were in having his guidance in our formative years.

Eqbal Ahmad was a scholar, a columnist, and a political activist. But above all, he was a teacher whose wisdom and insights influenced two generations of students. He had the great gift of listening to all those who came into contact with him. His aim was always to change and improve society, and to better the lives of the underprivileged. In a collection of his interviews published under the title ‘Confronting Empire’, he spoke forcefully of the need for nations to chart an independent path.

He practised what he preached as his deep involvement in the anti-imperialist struggle led him to fight the French in Algeria, and lead rallies against the war in Vietnam in the United States. He was a close friend of many Palestinian leaders, including Yasser Arafat. Edward Said, the famous Palestinian intellectual and activist, dedicated his last book to Eqbal Ahmad. He also opposed the evil dictatorship of General Zia through a series of stinging articles, and in rallies organised abroad.

After graduating from FC College in Lahore (with a third division, as he was fond of narrating), he went to the United States where he obtained a Ph D in political science from Princeton University. After many years of teaching in the U.S. (where he was once arrested for an alleged plot to kidnap Henry Kissinger, the powerful Secretary of State), he returned to Pakistan in the early Nineties with a dream: he tried but failed to establish a university named after the great Muslim intellectual Khaldunia. Although he had many supporters, he was unable to persuade successive governments in Islamabad to allot him land for the project. But despite his disappointments and the demands on his time, he was always available to help and support TIP in its formative years.

After his untimely death, Mr Abdul Majeed, Chairman ATC Group, and a distinguished member of TIP Academic Council, instituted an Eqbal Ahmad Award to honour his memory. It is intended for the TIP student who most closely embodies the values Eqbal Ahmad stood for. This gold medal carries a cash award of Rs 10,000. But more importantly, it is awarded to the student who shows a deep commitment to improve society, and a desire to help those less fortunate than himself or herself.

In order to have more transparent system of selecting the best graduate for this prestigious award, nominations are being called for from students, faculty and staff. Any student from the graduating classes of all disciplines can be nominated but a detailed case as to why your nomination deserves the award must be submitted in a sealed enveloped personally to the undersigned no later than 15th May 2006.

I look forward to your participation in this very important exercise which will raise the profile of TIP.

Zubair Bandukda

3 Replies to “The Eqbal Ahmad Award”

  1. Dear Dr. Zubair

    The excercise of students submitting their names for the prestigeous award is a good excecise.

    How ever I would like to inquire the following; you worte:

    “This gold medal carries a cash award of Rs 10,000. But more importantly, it is awarded to the student who shows a deep commitment to improve society, and a desire to help those less fortunate than himself or herself.”

    Previously the Iqbal Ahmed Khan Award was defined as an award for students who proved through out their univeristy life “jack of all trades,” being good in extracurricular and academic activities.

    Now; will the definition that you give, allow those students a fair chance who aren’t good in acedemics but have a great influence in many ways over the masses & can bring a good change to the campus society??

    I dont know who got the IAK award in 2004 but i am making this statement remembering those who recieved it in 2002 and 2003.After all being a good student does not only mean getting a 4 GPA every semester and doing a few good student representations in some events.

  2. Dear Zubair sahib,

    On May 11, the world will observe Eqbal’s 8th death anniversary. During my four year stay at TIP, I never attended any seminar/conference on Eqbal’s life. Students don’t know the name of our current chancellor (believe it or not 90% don’t) let alone Eqbal’s achievements and his stature. Apropos this matter, I have the following suggestions:

    • On May 11, a seminar/conference should be arranged under auspices of TISF. The event can be rescheduled on 10th as it will be Wednesday, the day with TISF time slot.
    • At least 3 prominent speakers should be invited to mark the importance of the day, otherwise it will just turnout to be another hackneyed one-man-show.
    • The speakers should be known to all-and-sundry in order to attract the otherwise cafeteria-freak audience.
    • Appropriate names can be obtained from Irfan sahib.

    Kazim Aizaz Alam

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