Born in Bihar in 1933, Eqbal Ahmed moved to USA for further studies in mid 1950s. He went to Algeria and Tunisia for his PhD. dissertation and joined their liberation struggle against France. In 1967, when Israel took over the territory of Palestine, Eqbal’s solidarity with Palestinians led to his rift with his fellow academics. In 1970s, he was one of the foremost critics of the US government for its involvement in Vietnam war. He was sought by the prominent politicians, intellectuals, journalists from countries as diverse as Chile, Cuba, Iran, Palestine and Algeria. In the early 1990s, Ahmad was granted a land by Benazir’s government in Islamabad to build an independent social sciences university. Unfortunately, he could not complete his dream of building this university because of his death in 1999.

As Stuart Schaar suggested, Eqbal Ahmed was a “Critical Outsider”, who always remained outsider and a critic of such rigorous ideologies as nationalism and religion throughout his life. He was for example a vehement critic of the policies of USA, the country he lived most of his life in; of dictatorships and clerics in Pakistan, the country he was born in. Despite his close association with Ben Bella of Algeria and Fidel Castro of Cuba, he criticized the two leaders when he learnt about their authoritarian rules. In a world where every ideology claims of representing the ultimate, exclusive truth, the life of Ahmed suggests an ethical way of existence; a life which is unconditionally critical of all kinds of authoritarianisms, imperialisms, injustices of these ideologies to open up avenues of love, beauty and justice.

“He brought wisdom and integrity to the

cause of the oppressed.”–Edward Said on Eqbal Ahmed