Ahmad Hasan Dani bigraphy, stories - Pakistani archaeologist, history, linguisticist

Ahmad Hasan Dani : biography

20 June 1920 - 26 January 2009

Professor Ahmad Hasan Dani (Urdu: احمد حسن دانی) FRAS, SI, HI (20 June 1920 – 26 January 2009), was a Pakistani intellectual, archaeologist, historian, and linguist. He was among the foremost authorities on Central Asian and South Asian archaeology and history.Joffe, L (2009). , The Guardian, 31 March, p.37. Retrieved on 4 September 2009 He introduced archaeology as a discipline in higher education in Pakistan and Bangladesh.The Times (2009). , 18 February. Retrieved on 4 September 2009 Throughout his career, Dani held various academic positions and international fellowships, apart from conducting archaeological excavations and research. He is particularly known for archaeological work on pre-Indus Civilization and Gandhara sites in Northern Pakistan. He was also the recipient of various civil awards in Pakistan and abroad. As a prolific linguist, he was able to speak 35 local and international languages and dialects., Ahmed Hasan Dani and his wife's live interview on Pakistan Television. Retrieved on 4 September 2009


Early life

Dani, an ethnic Kashmiri, was born on 20 June 1920 in Basna, British India.Khan, M.N. . Salaam. Retrieved on 15 May 2008. He graduated in 1944, with an MA degree, to become the first Muslim graduate of Banaras Hindu University. He scored highest marks in the exams which earned him a Gold Medal. This also qualified him for a teaching fellowship from the same university. Although he was provided with the grant, he was not allowed to teach owing to his religious beliefs. He stayed there for six months. In 1945, he started working as a trainee in archaeology under the guidance of Mortimer Wheeler. At this time, he participated in excavations at Taxila and Mohenjo-daro. He was subsequently posted at the Department of Archaeology of British India at Taj Mahal, Agra. He received his PhD from Institute of Archaeology, University College London.


After the Partition of India, Dani migrated to East Pakistan. There, between 1947-49 he worked as Assistant Superintendent of the Department of Archaeology. At this time, he renovated the Verandra Museum at Rajshahi. In 1949, he married Safiya Sultana. Together, they had three sons (Anis, Navaid and Junaid) and a daughter (Fauzia). In 1950, Dani was promoted to the position of Superintendent-in-Charge of Archaeology. In the same year, he became General Secretary of Asiatic Society of Pakistan in Dhaka. Later on, in 1955, he took the position of President, National Committee for Museums in Pakistan. For a period of twelve years (1950–62), Dani remained Associate Professor of History at University of Dhaka, while at the same time working as curator at Dhaka museum. During this period, he carried out archaeological research on the Muslim history of Bengal.

Dani moved to the University of Peshawar in 1962 as Professor of Archaeology and remained there until 1971. During this time, he led the resetting and renovation works for the Lahore and Peshawar Museums. He became Chairman of Research Society in University of Peshawar in 1970. In 1971, he moved to University of Islamabad to become Dean of Faculty of Social Sciences. He left the post in 1975 to concentrate on research as Professor of History. Meanwhile, the university was renamed Quaid-e-Azam University in 1976. He continued to work in various positions until his retirement in 1980 when he was made Emeritus Professor. During this period, he also served as President of the Archaeological and Historical Association of Pakistan (1979) and Co-Director of the Pak-German Team for Ethnology Research in Northern Areas of Pakistan (1980).

He received an Honorary Doctorate from Tajikistan University, (Dushanbe) in 1993. During the same year, Dani established the Islamabad Museum. Between 1992–96, he was appointed Advisor to the Ministry of Culture of Pakistan, on archaeology. Between 1994-98, he remained Chairman of the National Fund for Cultural Heritage in Islamabad. In 1997, Dani became Honorary Director at the Taxila Institute of Asian Civilizations. He held the position until the time of his death.

Living octopus

Living octopus

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