Mohammad Habib

Indian historian

Mohammad Habib was an Indian historian of medieval India. In 1947, the year of India's independence, he delivered the presidential address to the Indian History Congress. He was a professor, later emeritus, at Aligarh Muslim University.



  • In 1330 the country was invaded by the Mongols who indulged in arson, rape and murder throughout the Valley (of Kashmir). The king and the Brahmans fled away but among the inhabitants who remained… Muslim ways of life were gradually adopted by the people as the only alternative…
    • Mohammad Habib, Some Aspects of the Foundation of the Delhi Sultanate, Dr. K.M. Ashraf Memorial Lecture (Delhi, 1966), p. 20.
    • Attributed in and quoted from Indian muslims: Who Are They, p. 91 & Growth of Muslim population in medieval India, A.D. 1000-1800, p.160; by K. S. Lal
  • The Hindu feels it his duty to dislike those whom he has been taught to consider the enemy of his religion and his ancestors; the Mussalman, lured into the false belief that he was once a member of a ruling race, feels insufferably wronged by being relegated to the status of a minority community. Fools both! Even if the Muslims eight centuries ago were as bad as they were painted, would there be any sense in holding the present generation responsible for their deeds. It is but an imaginative tie that joins the modern Hindu with Harshavardhana or Asoka, or the modern Mussalman with Shihabuddin or Mahmud.
    • Mohammad Habib in Politics and society during the early medieval period: collected works of Professor Mohammad Habib, Volume 1 (1974); p. 12
    • Quoted in Identity and Religion: Foundations of Anti-Islamism in India by Amalendu Misra; published by SAGE Publications, p. 210
  • No honest historian should seek to hide, and no Musalman acquainted with his faith will try to justify, the wanton destruction of temples that followed in the wake of the Ghaznavid army. Contemporary as well as later historians do not attempt to veil the nefarious acts but relate them with pride.
    • Politics and Society During the Early Medieval Period: Collected Works of Professor Mohammad Habib, Volume 2; p. 78
    • Mohammed Habib, quoted in Elst, K. 2002, Ayodhya: the case against the temple. Ch.10.

About Mohammad HabibEdit

  • Shorn of Marxist jargon, the thesis propounded by [Mohammad] Habib is very simple - the Turkish conquest of India was a historical necessity, a fortunate event in the history of its people. ... in short, Habib's "historical" explanation is factually incorrect, his understanding of Marxism faulty, and his interpretation of Turkish rule over India a futile effort to eulogize Islam's advent in the sub-continent.
    • Prabha Dixit, Prof Mohammad Habib's Historical Fallacies, quoted in Devahuti, D., & Indian History and Culture Society. (1980). Bias in Indian historiography. Delhi: D.K. Publications. p. 210
  • [He was] so conscious of the negative aspects of the medieval Islamic civilization or so sensitive to the devastation that the wars and campaigns of the sultans wrought on the inhabitants.
    • Irfan Habib about Mohammad Habib, in : Irfan Habib, Economic History of the Delhi Sultanate, 1978.
    • Attributed to Irfan Habib by K.S. LAL, in Devahuti, D., & Indian History and Culture Society. (1980). Bias in Indian historiography. Delhi: D.K. Publications. p. 215
  • The ideal of Pakistan was launched by Iqbal in 1930, and in 1940 it became the official political goal of the Muslim League. Aligarh Muslim University has often been described as the cradle of Pakistan. From their better knowledge of and appreciation for modern culture, the Aligarh thinkers accepted the modern value of religious tolerance. Not to the extent that they would be willing to co-exist with the Hindus in a single post-colonial state, but at least to this extent that they wanted to do something about the image of intolerance which Islam had come to carry. Around 1920 Aligarh historian Mohammed Habib launched a grand project to rewrite the history of the Indian religious conflict.
  • I was told by [Mohammed Habib] with considerable pride that Nehru had learnt the history of medieval India “at his feet.” I have yet to meet a more arrogant man whose manners were uglier than his syphilitic face. He was an ardent admirer of Stalin’s Russia and Mao’s China. He lost his temper and asked me to “go away” when I told him that I did not accept Lenin’s theory of the state.

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