Khalifa Mohammad Asadullah

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Khalifa Mohammad Asadullah (6 August 1890 – 23 November 1949)[1] was a pioneer of the library movement in the Indian subcontinent before 1947. He was also the first prominent librarian to opt for Pakistan at the time of independence in 1947.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

He was born on 6 August 1890 in Lahore, British India (now Pakistan) to Maulvi Mohammd Ziaullah and Alam Jan.[3] He received his basic education in Lahore and graduated from Forman Christian College, Lahore in 1913.[2]

Marriage and family[edit]

In 1908, he married Hameeda Begum in Lahore and fathered 14 children.His sons included Khalifa Mohd Iftikharullah TQA, Khalifa Mohd Naseemullah, Khalifa Mohd Hameedullah, Khalifa Mohd Ihsanullah, Khalifa Mohd Zafarullah ( Comander Pak Navy), Khalifa Mohd Aminullah. His sons-in-law included AVM Saeedullah Khan and Pakistani diplomat, Enver Murad; his daughters-in-law included Zaib-un-Nissa Hamidullah and his great granddaughters include the Pakistani novelist, Uzma Aslam Khan.


He studied under the American librarian Asa Don Dickinson in 1915 at the University of the Punjab.[4][2]


In 1916, he became the first qualified librarian of the Government College in Lahore.[5] He then became the librarian of MAO College (now Aligarh Muslim University) in 1919.[1] In 1921, he joined the Imperial Secretariat Library in New Delhi and Simla, a post he held for 8 years.[1][2]

In 1930, he was appointed the Librarian of the Imperial Library (now National Library of India) in Calcutta, a post which he held for about 17 years from 1930 – 1947.[4] While there, he started the library training programme.[6]


In 1947, after the independence of Pakistan, he was made officer on special duty in the Ministry of Education.[1]

Indian Library Association[edit]

In 1933, he was one of the founding members of Indian Library Association and was its first Secretary from 1933 to 1947.[1] He had served as the Librarian and a Director from 1930 – 1947 of the Imperial Library of India in British India.[7]


He was honoured with the title of Khan Bahadur in 1935.[5][4][2]


He died on 23 November 1949 due to a stroke at Lahore, Pakistan.[1] He was buried in his family section of the Ferozpur Road graveyard, Lahore.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Syed Jalaluddin Haider, Pg 3, Online at: Pioneers of Library Movement in Pakistan Retrieved 10 April 2018
  2. ^ a b c d e f Afzal Haq Qarshi (5 November 1999). "Khalifa Mohammad Asadullah: A Pioneer of Library Movement in South Asia" (PDF). Pakistani Librarian (magazine). Retrieved 10 April 2018. 
  3. ^ Biographical Encyclopedia of the World, Institute for Research in Biography, Inc, New York, NY, USA 1st edition, 1940
  4. ^ a b c Libraries and Librarianship in India on GoogleBooks website Retrieved 10 April 2018
  5. ^ a b First Librarian at Government College University, Lahore in 1916 (Read about Mohammad Asadullah on website under Libraries) Retrieved 10 April 2018
  6. ^ Encyclopaedia of Library and Information Science, Edited by: Allen Kent, Harold Lancour and Jay Daly vol 21 1977 Pg 257
  7. ^ K. M. Asadullah listed as Director and Librarian of the Imperial Library of India (1930 – 1947) National Library of India website (Historical Background), Retrieved 10 April 2018