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Lodhi Karim Hyder (1890-1953): The Forgotten Indian Economist #AMUat100

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This piece is written to commemorate 100 years of Aligarh Muslim University

Dr Lodhi Karim Hyder (also known as LK Hyder) was born on July 17, 1890 to Mr. Nadir Ali at Matore, Rawalpindi (British India). After his early education at the Sandeman High School, Quetta, he was sent to Mohamedan Anglo Oriental College (now the Aligarh Muslim University). At MAO College he was elected Vice President of the AMU Student Union in 1909[1] - during those days Principal of the College used to be the President.

After completing his studies at MAO Hyder joined the University of Cambridge as a ‘non-collegiate student’ during the Michaelmas term. In 1910 he was formally admitted to the King’s College in the same University choosing the Economics Tripos. He passed in the first division. After receiving a BA Hons Degree (the formal name for Tripos) in 1912[2] he joined the University of Heidelberg, Germany to study Political Science for a year. He stayed back there to complete PhD in 1914.

When the World-War I broke out the same year with Germany as its epicenter, there was an exodus of British subjects from Germany. Dr Hyder was booked in the last train scheduled to leave from Berlin. Upon reaching the station, he found a woman without confirmed ticket. He gave up his seat to accommodate her was thus left behind and interned for the next two years.

In the runup to the WWI German Federal Foreign Office (known as AA) encouraged formation of several organizations. Two of them deserve mention here. First, “German Friends of India Association "(GFoIA) was established to attract Indian students in Germany to support the revolutionary movement in India against the British rule. Another organization, the News office for the Orient (NfO) was formed to mobilize Muslim youths in the name of ‘Jihad’ against the British. Muslim prisoners of war from North Africa and West Asia were summarized in the “half-moon camp” and granted freedoms. A mosque was built to further appeal to the ‘target group’. The "Indian Independence Committee" (IIC) founded in Berlin in 1915 worked closely with the News office for the Orient (NfO). German authorities tried to rope in Dr Hyder but they could not succeed. The officer who met Hyder eventually described him as ‘not inspiring’ and the one who ‘was afraid of betrayal’.[3] Dr Hyder was finally released in 1916.

Dr Hyder returned to India and joined MAO College as Professor Economics in 1918. In December 1920 MAO College became Aligarh Muslim University after which Dr Hyder served as the Founder - Chairman of the Department of Economics.

In 1923 Dr Hyder married Miss Stephanie Wolfsohn, PhD Berlin. The couple had a daughter Agnes Dorothy Fatima Lodhi-Hyder who was born in Delhi 1926. At the age of 11 she was sent off to England for studies where she attended St. Leonard’s School and Saint Andrew before joining Girton College, Cambridge where she studied classics from 1944 to 1947. She then attended the London School of Medicine from 1947 to 1953. She was a General Practitioner (GP) in Ipswich, Suffolk from 1960 to 1982 the year in which she died.[4]

In 1924 Dr Hyder was elected MLA from Agra Division (Rural).[5] However, Dr Hyder’s most notable work came as a full-time member of the Royal Commission on Agriculture in India from 1926 to 1928.[6] One of the most important work of the Commission was formation of Imperial Council of Agricultural Research in 1929 which later on transformed into the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), an apex body for coordinating, guiding and managing research and education in agriculture, horticulture, fisheries and animal sciences in the country.

After completing his term as member of the Royal Commission he returned to serve his alma mater AMU in 1929 until his retirement in 1947. Mukhtar Masood in his classic Safar-e-Naseeb (1981) writes, “Characteristically, his last day at the University was unremarkable. No emotional farewells, no tearful goodbyes. As usual, he punctually arrived to teach his class, unhurriedly covered his subject and when the bell rang quietly exited for the last time.”[7]

Dr Hyder served as distinguished member of the following:

  • President Duty Society, AMU 1922 to 1924;
  • The Indian Taxation Enquiry Committee 1926;[8]
  • Indian Representative for Agriculture at the International Economic Conference in Geneva held in May 1927;[9]&[10]
  • Member of the Public Services Commission, Government of India from February 1932 to December 1936;[11]
  • Indian Central Banking Inquiry Committee 1931, which recommended the formation of the Reserve Bank of India in 1935;[12]
  • President, the Indian Economic Association, 1944.[13]

Dr Hyder was a recognized authority on economics and agriculture affairs. He was invited to the League of Nations General Assembly as Delegate Representative from India during the Twelfth Ordinary Session of the Assembly.[14] For his exemplary service to the Government of India, he was awarded Companion of the Order of Indian Empire (CIE) in 1932.[15]&[16]

In 1948 he traveled to Paris to attend the United Nations Conference in Paris. While in London he had a stroke, which made him bed ridden for the rest of his life. He died at his London home on May 27, 1953.[17] His burial was attended by Abu Salim (ILO)[18] and Q. H. Farooqui[19], both were at the LSE then. Abdullah Yusuf Ali too was there. Dr Zakir Hussain wrote a small piece on him titled 'استاذ الاساتذہ`.

Dr. P.C. Thomas[20] (Founder Head Department of Economics, University of Guwahati and formerly a teacher of Economics in AMU under Dr Hyder) wrote a piece in the Hindu where he recounted that when in the early 1940s, he joined AMU he told Hyder about his Communist leanings. The reply was, “though I don't care for the ideology that has captured you, I am not going to lose my sleep over it, be a conscientious teacher and I am a happy man as far as I am concerned”.[21]

Dr Hyder published extensively in The Economic Journal. Here are some of his reviews and articles:

  1. L. K. Hyder, The means of transport in India and their influence on economic life, 1921, Yearbook d. Philos. Faculty Heidelberg 1921/22, T. 2. S. 160 - 162
  2. L. K. Hyder, Grundriss der Sozialokonomik: Zweite Abteilung: Erster Teil., The Economic Journal, Volume 35, Issue 137, 1 March 1925, Pages 118–122, https://doi.org/10.2307/2222595
  3. L. K. Hyder, Dr. Radhakamal Mukerjee, Principles of Comparative Economics., The Economic Journal, Volume 33, Issue 132, 1 December 1923, Pages 550–551, https://doi.org/10.2307/2222901
  4. L. K. Hyder, Ludwtg Mises and Franz Klein. Die geldtheorelische und geldrechtliche Seite des Stabilisierungsproblem., The Economic Journal, Volume 35, Issue 137, 1 March 1925, Pages 116–118, https://doi.org/10.2307/2222594
  5. L. K. Hyder, Hermann Levy. Die Grundlagen des okonomischen Liberalismus in der Geschichte der englischen Volkswirtschaft, The Economic Journal, Volume 23, Issue 91, 1 September 1913, Pages 413–414, https://doi.org/10.2307/2222553
  6. L. K. Hyder, The Agrarian System of Moslem India. by W. H. Moreland, The Economic Journal, Volume 41, Issue 162, 1 June 1931, Pages 276–283, https://doi.org/10.2307/2223711
  7. L. K. Hyder, Ltdwig Stein. Die Soziale Frage., The Economic Journal, Volume 35, Issue 137, 1 March 1925, Pages 128–129, https://doi.org/10.2307/2222599
  8. L. K. Hyder, Victor Hoemann. Die Devalvierung des österreicldschen Papier geld im Jahre 1811 : Fine finanzgeschichtliche Darstellung nach archivalischen Quellen., The Economic Journal, Volume 35, Issue 137, 1 March 1925, Pages 113–116, https://doi.org/10.2307/2222593

— Dr Shariq Nisar, Professor at Rizvi Institute of Management, is an AMU alumnus who received PhD in Economics in 2003.


Notes:

[1] The Aligarh Magazine 1934-35 (accessed on November 17, 2020 at: https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.91125/page/n2/mode/2up

[2] John Venn and J. A. Venn (1915) The Book of Matriculations and Degrees: A Catalogue of Those Who Have Been Matriculated or Been Admitted to Any Degree in the University of Cambridge from 1901 to 1912, University of Cambridge, ISBN: 9781107511934 (It is claimed that he received Aga Khan scholarship: http://ismaili.net/histoire/history08/history823.html)

[3] https://crossasia-journals.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/index.php/izsa/article/download/7774/7658/

[4] Agnes D. F. Lodhi-Hyder MB, BS, DOBSTRCOG. (1982). British Medical Journal (Clinical Research Edition), 284(6328), 1569-1569. Retrieved December 10, 2020, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/29506587

[5] https://eparlib.nic.in/bitstream/123456789/760681/1/clad_02_01_30-01-1924.pdf

[6] https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/33155/page/2858/data.pdf

[7] Mukhtar Masood (1981) Safar-e-Naseeb, Sheikh Atta Allah Trust. Retrieved in English from: http://www.aligarhdc.org/january2015/

[8] https://www.indianculture.gov.in/indian-taxation-enquiry-committee-3

[9] https://abhilekh-patal.in/jspui/handle/123456789/265527

[10] https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/1927-03-21/debates/771470dd-101b-475d-9172-2c34f5a1efd5/InternationalEconomicConference

[11] https://www.upsc.gov.in/list-former-chairmen-and-members-commission

[12] Saunders, A. J. "The Indian Central Banking Inquiry Committee, 1931." The Economic Journal 42, no. 165 (1932): 32-41. Accessed November 17, 2020. doi:10.2307/2223734.

[13] https://www.indianeconomicassociation1917.com/pastpresident-venues.php

[14] http://www.lonsea.de/pub/org/1419

[15] https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/33831/supplement/3572/data.pdf

[16] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1932_Birthday_Honours

[17] Obituary published in Cambridge Annual Report 1953, Harvard University.

[18] Dr Abu Salim was attached with the Department of Economics, AMU as Lecturer and Reader from 1948 to 1965. He then joined NCAER as Senior Economist, thereafter he joined the University of Khartoum as Professor. Finally, he joined ILO as Regional Economist at Addis Ababa from he retired in mid-eighties. He died in 2018 at New Delhi.

[19] Prof. Q. H. Farooqui was Dean Faculty of Commerce, AMU from 1958 to 1980.

[20] http://www.palathinkal.org/genealogy/dr-p-c-thomas-m-a-487.html

[21] As told to this writer by Mr. Naved Masood, (IAS Retd.)