Eqbal Ahmad (1934?-1999)

An intellectual unintimidated by power or authority

Eqbal Ahmad, perhaps the shrewdest and most original anti-imperialist analyst of Asia and Africa, has died, aged 66, in Islamabad following an operation for colon cancer. A man of enormous charisma and incorruptible ideals, he was a prodigious talker and lecturer.

He had an almost instinctive attraction to movements of the oppressed and the persecuted, whether in Europe, America, Bosnia, Chechnya, South Lebanon, Vietnam, Iraq or the Indian Subcontinent. He had a formidable knowledge of history, always measuring the promise of religion and nationalism against their depredations and abuse as their proponents descended into fundamentalism, chauvinism and provincialism. Ahmad was a fierce, often angry, combatant against what he perceived as human cruelty and perversity…

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Himal Southasian