Dr Gulfishan Khan Presents Paper In New Delhi National Conference
Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) Associate Professor, Dr Gulfishan Khan (Centre of Advance Study, Department of History) presented a paper on ‘Indo-Persian and Urdu speaking Elite’s Discourses on the Modern European Science’ at a three-day national conference organised by National Science Commission for History of India and Indian National Science Academy in New Delhi.
During the conference on the theme of ‘Emergence of Modern Science in Colonial India’, Dr Khan presented an overview of scientific thought while pointing out that India in medieval times had a well established scientific and technological tradition of its own which was vigorous and outward looking.
She further pointed out that the Indian intelligentsia was in no respect different from early modern societies of Europe, China and Turkey. “With their own norms, ideals and standards of scholarship, the medieval scientific community of India enjoyed a deep rooted culture of scientific research and enquiry,” said Dr Khan.
“However, it was only after Sir Syed Ahmad Khan’s endeavours that the Urdu speaking elite embraced scientific modernity,” added Dr Khan. She further said that many of Sir Syed’s scientific works are preserved in Maulana Azad Library of AMU.
“Manuscript of Zij-i- Muḥammad Shahi University Collection, Mirza Ulugh Beg’s Zij-i-Ulughbegi and other important documents were a part of Sir Syed’s family collection,” pointed Dr Khan adding that the Sir Syed’s collection was inherited from his maternal grandfather, Khwaja Farid al-Din Aḥmad, who was a scientist and his maternal uncle, Khwaja Zain al-Abidin, a scientific instruments manufacturer.
Dr Khan said that Sir Syed Ahmad celebrated Urdu topographical study ‘Asar us-Sanadid (Traces of the Notables/The Vestiges of the great) is an acknowledged monumental contribution for the preservation of the architectural heritage of Delhi through the ages.
Professor Arnab Rai Chaudhuri (J C Bose Fellow Professor of Physics, Indian Institute of Sciences, Bangalore), Professor Deepak Kumar (JNU), S Irfan Habib (New Delhi), Abha Sur (Massachusetts Institue of Technology, USA), D Balasubramanian (Indian Institute of Astrophysics), Robert Anderson, (Simon Fraser University Canada), Rajinder Singh (University of Oldenburg, Germany) and John Lourdusamy (IIT Madras) were present in the conference.