Tariq Rahman

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Tariq Rahman
Born (1949-02-04) 4 February 1949 (age 69)
Bareilly, India
ResidenceLahore, Pakistan
Alma mater
AwardsD.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 (Star of Distinction) in 2014[1]
  • Pride of Performance in 2004[2]
  • 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
Scientific career
FieldsLinguistic history

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

Tariq Rahman (born 4 February 1949) is a Pakistani academic scholar, newspaper columnist and a writer.[3] 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.[2]

Early life and education[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.[4] 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 in 1985.[2]


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 2009, he was given the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan.[2] In 2004, he was awarded the Pride of Performance Award for research by the President of Pakistan.[2]

Awards and honors[edit]

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.[2] In 2015–16 he was elected a visiting fellow at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies. Having been a visiting academic for three consecutive years in order to write a book, he was elected a permanent member of the common room at Wolfson College, University of Oxford in 2018.

Research and publications[edit]

To write his book From Hindi to Urdu: A Social and Political History,[5] 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-i-Imtiaz (Star of Distinction) Award was announced for him.[1] Civil awards of this kind are considered a great honour in Pakistan and are announced and then actually conferred by the President on 23 March the following year. So he actually received it on 23 March 2014.[1]

He is also an important columnist and a literary critic in Pakistan. 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 Islamabad: National Institute of Pakistan Studies, Quaid-i-Azam University.
  • 1991. A History of Pakistani Literature in English Lahore: Vanguards and Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2015.[5]
  • 1996. Language and Politics in PakistanKarachi: Oxford University Press Reprinted Delhi: Orient Blackswan, 2000.
  • 1997. An Introduction to Linguistics. Lahore: Vanguard Books Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2010. Several reprints.
  • 1999. Language, Education and CultureKarachi: Oxford University Press.[5]
  • 2002. Language, Ideology and Power: Language Learning Among the Muslims of Pakistan and North India[5]
  • 2004. Denizens of Alien Worlds: A Study of Education and Polarization in PakistanKarachi: Oxford University Press.
  • 2011. From Hindi to Urdu: A Social and Political History.[6] Karachi: Oxford University Press.[5]
  • 2015 Names: a Study of Personal Names, Identity, and Power in Pakistan Karachi: Oxford University Press.
  • 2018 Interpretations of Jihad in South Asia: an Intellectual History Berlin and Boston: De Gruyter.


  1. ^ a b c "Honouring the distinguished: President approves national civil awards". The Express Tribune (newspaper). 14 August 2013. Retrieved 26 September 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Tariq Rahman's biodata on Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad website, Retrieved 27 September 2017
  3. ^ Mirza Khurram Shahzad (19 February 2014). "Of honorary degrees and awards". Dawn (newspaper). Retrieved 26 September 2017.
  4. ^ 60 foreign friends honoured, The Natiion (newspaper), Published 2 October 2013, Retrieved 26 September 2017
  5. ^ a b c d e Books by Tariq Rahman, goodreads.com website, Retrieved 26 September 2017
  6. ^ From Hindi to Urdu: A Social and Political History., amzn.com website, Retrieved 26 September 2017

External links[edit]