Readings on Hakim Ajmal Khan from Australian perspective
Syed Ziaur Rahman, Anton Rahmadi & Zahra Hashemi
Muslims in Australia have a long and varied history; their role in making the Australia as a part of multicultural society is very significant. At the same time, these immigrants particularly from Indian subcontinent are also concerned to be familiar with their roots and ancestry. Records on Hakim Ajmal Khan are proof that Indian immigrants study and learn their origins through various literature provided by Australian libraries.
Muslims in Australia have a long and varied history that is thought to pre-date European settlement. Some of Australia’s earliest visitors were Muslim, from the east Indonesian archipelago. They made contact with mainland Australia as early as the 16th and 17th centuries. These early Muslim visitors were the Makassar traders. Muslim immigrants from coastal Africa and island territories under the British Empire came to Australia as sailors and convicts in the early fleets of European settlers during the late 1700s. The first significant semi-permanent Muslim population was formed with the arrival of Afghan camel drivers in the 1800s. Coming from the Indian sub-continent, these Muslims were vital in the early exploration of inland Australia and in the establishment of service links. Since the 1970s, Muslim communities have developed many mosques and Islamic schools and made vibrant contributions to the multicultural fabric of Australian society. Amongst this mixed population of Australian citizens, some are still keen to preserve their own culture and traditions. Muslims particularly from Indian subcontinent like to understand and learn the past Muslims contributions in their own land of Indian origin. Government of Australia also arranged a large number of books and other cultural items for their interest. National Library of Australia (Canberra) is the largest reference library of Australia where manuscript collection of the Library contains about 26 million separate items. In the same Library, a book ‘Hayat-e Ajmal by Qazi M. Abdul Ghaffar (1950), Anjuman Tarraqi Urdu Hind, Aligarh’ in addition to other English reprints on works of Hakim Ajmal Khan are in existence, which will be shared in the present paper apart from excerpts of our personal communication with local persons who keep some thoughts on Hakim Ajmal Khan.
Hakim Ajmal Khan was a versatile figure of international repute! He was an Indian Unani physician, statesman, politician and freedom fighter. Although, his work and contribution have been widely studied in the whole subcontinent of India, but his matchless contributions to the cause of Indian independence, national integration and communal harmony are also being looked with great concern in other parts of the world including Australia.