Akhlaqur Rahman Kidwai

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Akhlaqur Rahman Kidwai
20th Governor of West Bengal
In office
27 April 1998 – 18 May 1999
Preceded by K. V. Raghunatha Reddy
Succeeded by Shyamal Kumar Sen
Personal details
Born (1920-07-01)1 July 1920
Residence Raj Bhavan, Kolkata

Akhlaqur Rahman Kidwai (born 1 July 1920) is an Indian politician. He served as Governor of Bihar, West Bengal, and Haryana states. He was a member of the Rajya Sabha, upper house of the Indian parliament from 2000 to 2004.

Early life and education[edit]

He was born in 1920 in Baragaon village of Barabanki district in Uttar Pradesh to Father Ashfiqur Rehman Kidwai and mother Nasimunnisa.,[1][2]Married to Late Srimati Jamila Kidwai has two sons and four daughters.

He studied BA at Jamia Millia Islamia University, 1940, MSc at University of Illinois, US, 1948 and PhD at Cornell University, US, 1950.[2]

Political and public career[edit]

Dr. Kidwai started his professional career as the Professor and head of Department of Chemistry and Dean of Facvulty of Science at Aligarh Muslim University, India. Kidwai then went on to become the Chairman of Union Public Service Commission-UPSC, Government of India from 1974 to 1977. He was Governor of Bihar twice, from 1979 to 1985 and 1993 to 1998, and Governor of West Bengal from 1998 to 1999.,[1][2]

He was Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, from 1983 to 1992[2] and has also been the director of the Jammu & Kashmir Bank.[3]

Kidwai was a member of the Rajya Sabha from January 2000 to July 2004. He was the Governor of Haryana from 7 July 2004 to 27 July 2009.[1] After Pratibha Patil's resignation as Governor of Rajasthan in June 2007, he was asked to take over that position as well,[4] serving as Governor of the state until S. K. Singh took office on 6 September 2007.[5]

In addition to his political career, he has been a champion for promoting research and development and elevating the status of women by education and self reliance. He continues to serve as the Chairman of Institute of Marketing and Management, New Delhi and President of Vocational Education Society for Women.

Dr. Kidwai served as a Member of the following Committees, organizations and institutions of the country:

(i) National Committee on Science and Technology, 1968-75.

(ii) Perspective Science and Technology Plan Committee of the Department of Science and Technology and the Planning Commission.

(iii) Council and the Governing Body of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) 1970-73.

(iv) Board of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Governing Bodies of Central Drug Research Institute, Lucknow and Central Institute of Chemical Technology, Hydrabad.

(v) Regional Imbalances Enquiry Commission, Jammu and Kashmir State, 1979.

(vi) State Planning Board and Heavy Industries Plan Committees, Government of Uttar Pradesh.

(vii) University Grants Commission (UGC) and Chairman of the Central Universities Review Committee, 1985-86. (viii) Central Advisory Board of Education.

(ix) Central Council of Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).

(x) Committee on New Education Policy, 1986 and Chairman of its Sub-Committee on Non-Formal Methods of Education.

(xi) Member and Patron Delhi Public School Society (1968-continued).

(xii) Honorary Fellow of the Institution of Engineers, India.

(xiii) Chairman, Review Committee on Unani Medicine, Ministry of Health, Government of India.

(xiv) Chairman, Selection Board of Scientists Pool (1968-79).

(xv) Chairman of the Board of Assessment of Educational and Technical Qualification for Employment, Ministry of Education, Government of India (1967-79).

(xvi) The American, British and Indian Chemical Societies .

(xvii) American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Awards and honors[edit]

On January 25, 2011 Kidwai was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, India's second highest civilian award.[3] The award was for his contribution towards Public Affairs[6]


(i) Research Publications:

Over 40 Original Research Papers in Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry in National and International Journals.

(ii) Education: Distinguished himself as a scientist and researcher in the fields of Organic and Natural Products, Chemistry and Biochemistry, has been engaged in Education for over 35 years dealing with problems of Higher Education, specially in the fields of Science and technology, research, education technology, non-formal method of education and vocational education. During his tenure as Governor of Bihar and West Bengal he served as ex-officio Chancellor of all Universities in the two states where he took keen interest in the working and development of university education. He made efforts to modernize Madarasas Education by intergrating them with modern education and technical training. At his initiation the Khuda Baksh Oriental Public Library, Patna was modernized with facilities of Information Technology as an important reference library for advanced studies and research.

(iii) Administration:

Re-oriented working of the Union Public Service Commission by introducing computerized system to expedite promotion and selection processes personnel policies and administrative practices. The most important contribution was replacement of English Language as the only medium of examination for the All-India and the Central Services Examination by introducing a multilingual examination to ensure equality of opportunity for the candidates whose medium of education involved Indian Languages. The new scheme involved a Preliminary Objective Type Screening Test followed by a Written Test, with the option of writing scripts in any of the fourteen Indian languages, besides English and the Personality Test as a basis for selection.

(iv) Political Activities:

As a student Dr. Kidwai took part in all freedom movements initiated by Mahatma Gandhi from 1930 onwards, took active part in the historic August 1942 Quit India Movement; attended the Congress Session in Bombay, was associated with the underground socialist leaders Shri S.M. Joshi, Shri Ashok Mehta and Shrimati Aruna Asaf Ali; played active role in the publication of the Congress News Bulletin and broadcasting news through Azad Radio in Bombay. As Chairman of the Committee for Mahatma Gandhi’s 125th Birth Anniversary Celebration in Bihar he initiated a programme of marking out villages and ashrams where Mahatma Gandhi actively worked for the education and awakening among the downtrodden people. A special programme of development and construction of the monuments related with Mahatma Gandhi at Sadaqat Ashram, Patna, Motihari, Bettiah and Bhiterwa was undertaken in co-operation with Gandhi Sangrahalaya, Patna. These centtes were linked into a “Gandhi Circutt” so that the younger generations could visit them to get inspiration. A centrer for Gandhian Studies was set up at Bhagalpur University.

(v) Social Welfare :

Dr. Kidwai initiated special schemes and projects for employment generation for the educated unemployed in urban centres and rural employment through integrated farming and self-employment schemes in Bihar with the active involvement of the Department of Institutional Finance and Commercial Banks.

Re-organized the Red Cross Society to provide for (i) polyclinics for free medical advice and treatment to the poor; (ii) facilities for free clinical testing and diagnosis, (iii) treatment and rehabilitation of physically handicapped and (iv) Pre-Disaster Preparedness Centres in flood prone areas.

The important centres were set up to provide free maternity and child welfare services, advice and treatment for family welfare programmes under the auspices of Maternity and Child Welfare Society, Bihar with the support of Department of Family Welfare.

(vi) Culture :

Dr. A.R. Kidwai re-activated the Bharatya Niritya Kala Mandir, Patna as a leading centres of traditional Indian and Tribal Dances. As Chairman of North Eastern Zonal Cultural Council he initiated setting up of two important centres of performing arts at Shantiniketan and Calcutta and launched a programme of coordinated cultural activities in each of the members states of the Eastern Zone.

Buddhist Studies : Dr. Kidwai initiated development of (i) the Nav Nalanda Mahavihara as an international centre for advanced studies in Pali language and Buddhist studies, (ii) the historic areas of Vaishali, Nalanda and the International Buddhist Enclave at Bodh Gaya, as part of the “Buddhist Circuit” for tourists and piligrims visiting Bihar. He was awarded, Honorary Doctorate, Vidya Vajaspati by the Institute of Tibetan Studies, Sarnath in 1997 in recognition of his contribution to Buddhist studies.

Jainism : He worked for re-organization of the Institute of Prakrit and Jainology at Vaishali (Bihar), he initiated its revival as a leading centre for higher studies and research in Jain Histroy and culture. Important Jain Monuments around Patna and Mandar Hill, were revived. Special provisions were made to provide facilities for pilgrims at Parasnath (Jharkhand).

Countries Visited[edit]

Dr. Kidwai is a widely traveled personality who participated in a number of scientific, technological and educational conferences in different foreign countries like USA, U.K., Germany, France, Finland, Sweden, Japan and extensively toured South and West Asian countries. He also led Government of India Delegation to Saudi Arabia on the occasion of Haj in 1994 and in June 2004 he was invited to deliver a key-note address at European Conference on Internationalization of Scientific Research and Development at Helsinki.

Fields of Interest[edit]

Administration, Education, Science, Technology and the Industry, Welfare Programmes


  1. ^ a b c Biographical information on Kidwai, legislativebodiesinindia.gov.in
  2. ^ a b c d Biographical information on Kidwai, governor.bih.nic.in
  3. ^ a b A R Kidwai chosen for Padma Vibhushan, Oneindia news, Tuesday, January 25, 2011, 22:01 [IST]
  4. ^ "Pratibha Patil`s resignation accepted", zeenews.com, 22 June 2007.
  5. ^ "S.K. Singh takes oath as Governor of Rajasthan", PTI (The Hindu), September 6, 2007.
  6. ^ List of Padma Awardees, Online edition of The Hindu Newspaper, Wednesday, Jan 26, 2011
Preceded by
Union Deputy Minister, Railways
1974 – 1976
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Union Deputy Minister, Commerce
1976 – 1977
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Governor of Bihar
1979 – 1985
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Governor of Bihar
1993 – 1998
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Om Prakash Verma
Governor of Haryana
July 2004 – July 2009
Succeeded by
Jagannath Pahadia
Preceded by
Pratibha Patil
Governor of Rajasthan (acting)
June 2007 – September 2007
Succeeded by
S. K. Singh