HindustanTimes Sun,21 Dec 2014

Delhiites remember late historian ‘amin saab’

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, January 09, 2013
First Published: 00:47 IST(9/1/2013) | Last Updated: 00:50 IST(9/1/2013)

A memorial meeting for Mohammad Amin, an eminent historian and educationist who passed away on December 15, was held at the India International Centre on Sunday.


Affectionately known as Amin Saab, he taught at the Delhi University's St Stephen's College for decades and was awarded a Padma Bhushan in 2010.

The meeting saw a huge gathering of about 400 distinguished people, including Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, several former students, election commissioners, senior bureaucrats, colleagues, media personalities and family. Television journalist Shazi Zaman hosted the event and recounted several stories about the legendary teacher.

He recalled that while teaching the Mughal mansabdari system, Amin Saab was asked by a student as to how the Mughal emperors decided who should be a mansabdar. Amin Saab replied that the Mughal emperor had a knack of figuring out the real worth of a person, something called 'mardum shanasi' in Persian.

Former election commissioner S Y Quraishi observed that Amin Saab himself had the gift of 'mardum shanasi' which is why many believe him to be the last Mughal.

P S Diwedi, who also taught History at St Stephen's, recounted an interesting incident. Diwedi's mother, a devout Brahmin, was recouping after an operation and Amin Saab invited them to his house.

Diwedi explained to Amin Saab that he should not expect her to eat anything at his house. But Amin Saab made sure that Sukhiya (the owner of St Stephen's College dhaba) arrived with a packet of barfi for her, which she ate. That was a unique quality of Amin Saab, said Diwedi, that he accepted his friends with all their sensitivities and superstitions.

Sheila Dikshit too recounted some interesting stories since her husband and son were taught by Amin Saab.

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