Tariq Rahman

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Tariq Rahman
Born (1949-02-04)4 February 1949
Bareilly, India
Residence Lahore, Pakistan
Citizenship Pakistani
Nationality Pakistani
Fields Linguistic history

Dean, School of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and Acting Dean, School of Education, Beaconhouse National University, Lahore.

Alma mater
Notable awards

D.Litt University of Sheffield, 2014 (based on examination of all publications for scholarship in linguistic history of South Asian Muslims)

  • Friends of Bangladesh Liberation War Honour, 2013.

Humboldt Research Award, Germany, 2012.

  • Sitara-i-Imtiaz, 2013
  • Pride of Performance, 2004
  • HEC Distinguished National Professor, 2004
  • HEC Lifetime Achievement Award, 2009.
  • Pitras Bukhari Award for language and Politics in Pakistan, 2004.
  • Social Science Award for Language and Politics in Pakistan, (2006

Tariq Rahman is a Pakistani academic, columnist and intellectual. Currently based in Lahore, he is author of many books and other publications, mainly in the field of linguistics. He has been awarded several national and international awards to recognise his research and scholarly work.

Early life[edit]

He was born in Bareilly (U.P.) in India on 4 February 1949. The family moved to Pakistan in 1951. His father, Sami Ullah Khan, served as the head of the mathematics department at the Pakistan Military Academy in Kakul, near Abbottabad.


Educated at Burn Hall School (now Army Burn Hall College), he joined the army as an armoured corps officer in 1971. However, he decided to leave the army—on the grounds of being a conscientious objector to the military action in East Pakistan, now Bangladesh. He finally resigned his commission in 1978. This was recognised by the Government of Bangladesh which conferred upon him the 'Friends of Bangladesh Liberation War Honour' on 1 October 2013 in Dhaka. Meanwhile, he had obtained three master's degrees as a private candidate. In 1979, he won a British Council scholarship, enabling him to obtain master's and doctoral degrees from the University of Sheffield in England.


He joined the academia as an associate professor in the English Department of Peshawar University in 1985. In 1987, he became professor and head of the English Department in the University of Azad Jammu and Kashmir in Muzaffarabad where he introduced linguistics. In 1989, he also got an M.Litt in linguistics from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. In 1990, he joined the National Institute of Pakistan Studies. In 2004, he was given the title of National Distinguished Professor by the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan.[1] In the same year he was awarded the Pride of Performance for research.


He was also the first incumbent of the Pakistan Chair at the University of California, Berkeley in 2004-5. In 2007, he was appointed the director of the National Institute of Pakistan Studies, Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad, and in 2010 he was made professor emeritus there. In September 2011—after the end of his tenure as director of the NIPS at Quaid-e-Azam University—he accepted the deanship of the School of Education at the Beaconhouse National University in Lahore.

In November 2011, he was awarded the Humboldt Research Award for his research—being the first Pakistani to get the research award—though many Pakistanis had been given the Humboldt fellowship earlier. In the award ceremony on 20 June 2012, Professor Dr. Helmut Schwarz, president of the Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung said: 'I am delighted to welcome our first research award winner from Pakistan, Professor Tariq Rahman.' This award was conferred on him for his books such as Pakistani English (1990), A History of Pakistani Literature in English (1991), Language and Politics in Pakistan (1996), Language, Education and Culture (1999), Language, Ideology and Power: Language Learning Among the Muslims of Pakistan and North India (2002), Denizens of Alien Worlds: A Study of Education and Polarization in Pakistan (2004) and From Hindi to Urdu: A Social and Political History (2011) besides a large number of scholarly papers, conference presentations, book reviews and citations to his work in scholarly writing. In 2014 the University of Sheffield awarded him a higher doctorate (Litt. D) after due examination of his total research output in humanities and the social sciences. In 2015-16 he was elected a visiting fellow at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies and Wolfson College, University of Oxford.

Research and Publications[edit]

To write From Hindi to Urdu: A Social and Political History, he travelled to some of the major cities in Pakistan and four countries: England, France, Germany and India. He studied sources in Urdu, Persian, and Hindi. He also got works in Chaghtai Turkish, French and German translated for himself. He learned the Devanagari script on his own and Persian at the Khana-e-Farhang in Rawalpindi at the age of 58.

He has also published three collections of short stories and has edited two books. His research-based published work is mostly on sociolinguistic history, language and politics and educational linguistics with focus on the Muslims of north India and Pakistan. He has also written more than 94 articles in scholarly journals, 12 entries in reference books, 10 encyclopaedia articles, 35 chapters in books and many book reviews. In addition to Oxford University Press, Karachi, his books have been published by Orient Blackswan in India. On 14 August 2013 the Sitara-e-Imtiaz (Star of Distinction) was given to him.[2] Civil awards of this kind are considered a great honour in Pakistan and are conferred by the President on 23 March the following year.

He is also an important columnist and a literary critic. He has commented extensively on Pakistani literature in English. He is a liberal humanist who asserts the desirability of democracy, peace and tolerance as well as the rights of women, minorities and the working classes and peasantry in Pakistan. This makes him one of the few Pakistani intellectuals who advocates such values in a traditional male-dominating society moving increasingly towards intolerance and belligerence.

Selected Bibliography[edit]

  • 1990. Pakistani English
  • 1991. A History of Pakistani Literature in English
  • 1996. Language and Politics in Pakistan
  • 1997. An Introduction to Linguistics. Lahore: Vanguard Books.
  • 1999. Language, Education and Culture
  • 2002. Language, Ideology and Power: Language Learning Among the Muslims of Pakistan and North India
  • 2004. Denizens of Alien Worlds: A Study of Education and Polarization in Pakistan
  • 2011. From Hindi to Urdu: A Social and Political History.[3] Karachi: Oxford University Press.


  1. ^ "Language of the learned". Dawn. 25 October 2009. Retrieved 1 July 2010. 
  2. ^ "Honouring the distinguished: President approves national civil awards". The Express Tribune. 14 August 2013. Retrieved 25 August 2013. 
  3. ^ From Hindi to Urdu: A Social and Political History. 

External links[edit]