Anthony Hyman

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For the British biologist, see Anthony A. Hyman.
Funerary monument, Brompton Cemetery, London

Anthony Hyman (1946–1999) was a noted British academic, writer and Islamicist. He died in 1999 and is buried in Brompton Cemetery, London.[1]

From his student days at the London School of Oriental and African Studies, the Muslim world was his driving intellectual interest. An expert on Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan and Central Asia, and a commentator for the BBC World Service for more than twenty years, Anthony was a linguist, historian, bibliophile, art lover and traveller. His early work was on the development of Pan-Islamism in early twentieth century India, out of which grew a lifelong interest in Pakistan and the wider Islamic world. A student of Persian, he followed Iranian and Afghan politics closely.

In 1982, soon after Afghanistan took centre stage in global politics, his standard work, Afghanistan under Soviet Domination, was first published. His understanding that the Afghan resistance struggle would throw up challenges to traditional society and produce its own process of radicalisation was well ahead of its time, as were his fears for the disintegration of Afghan unity under pressure from tribalism and sectarianism. In late years, he was particularly critical of the Taliban and of what he saw as their narrow vision of Afghanistan’s future.

In the early 1980s, he was also secretary of the Afghanistan Support Committee and worked with the Afghan Refugee Network and with Amnesty International. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Anthony became absorbed with Central Asia, travelling there, learning Russian, acquainting himself with the politics and cultures of the new states and introducing these countries to a wider audience through his writings. As with Afghanistan, he advocated a higher-profile European interest in these countries and their needs. He was a founding director of the charity Links, which worked to resolve conflict and promoted democracy in the region in the early years of transition.

He was at various times a research associate of the Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House, a senior fellow of the McArthur Foundation in New York and a visiting fellow of Queen Elizabeth House, Oxford. He was also associate editor of the journal Central Asian Survey.

A Memorial Lecture was set up at SOAS, University of London in 2002 and has run annually since that time. Its aim is to encourage discussion and debate about Afghanistan and its neighbours.

Selected publications[edit]

  • Hyman, Anthony (1982). Afghanistan Under Soviet Domination, 1964–81. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 978-0-312-00926-7. 
  • ——; Ghayur, Muhammed; Kaushik, Naresh (1989). Pakistan, Zia and After--. New Delhi: Abhinav Publications. ISBN 81-7017-253-5. 
  • —— (1992). Charles Babbage, Pioneer of the Computer. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-08303-2. 
  • —— (1994). Political Change in Post-Soviet Central Asia. London: Royal Institute of International Affairs. OCLC 481153860.