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Akhlaqur Rahman Kidwai

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New Delhi: Akhlaqur Rahman Kidwai, born 1 July 1920 was a widely respected Indian politician who served as Governor of Bihar, West Bengal and Haryana states. He passed away here on 24 August at Escorts Hospital at the age of 96. He left behind two sons and four daughters.

He was born in Baragaon village of Barabanki district in Uttar Pradesh in the famous “Kidwai” clan which has produced my luminaries in politics and education.

Kidwai did his BA at Jamia Millia Islamia in 1940, MSc at  University of Illinois, US, in 1948 and PhD at Cornell University in 1950.

Kidwai started his career as a teacher and later as head of the Department of Chemistry and Dean of Faculty of Science at Aligarh Muslim University. He then went on to become the Chairman of Union Public Service Commission from 1974 to 1977. Kidwai also served as Union Deputy Minister, Railways, during 1974-1976 and for Commerce during 1976-1977.

He was Governor of Bihar twice, from 1979 to 1985 and 1993 to 1998, and Governor of West Bengal from 1998 to 1999. He also served as governor of Haryana from 7 July 2004 to 27 July 2009. He also briefly held the position of the Governor of Rajasthan in 2007.

Kidwai was a member of the Rajya Sabha from January 2000 to July 2004. He was Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University from 1983 to 1992 and was also a director of the Jammu & Kashmir Bank.

On January 25, 2011, he was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second highest civilian award, for his contribution towards Public Affairs.

In addition to his political career, he has been a champion for promoting scientific research and development and elevating the status of women by education and self-reliance. Until his death, he served on many national committees and commissions for promotion of science and education.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 September 2016 on page no. 12

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