“Eqbal Ahmad, perhaps the shrewdest and most original anti-imperialist analyst of Asia and Africa, has died, aged 66, in Islamabad following an operation for colon cancer. A man of enormous charisma and incorruptible ideals, he was a prodigious talker and lecturer.
He had an almost instinctive attraction to movements of the oppressed and the persecuted, whether in Europe, America, Bosnia, Chechnya, South Lebanon, Vietnam, Iraq or the Indian sub-continent. He had a formidable knowledge of history, always measuring the promise of religion and nationalism against their depredations and abuse as their proponents descended into fundamentalism, chauvinism and provincialism.
Ahmad was a fierce, often angry, combatant against what he perceived as human cruelty and perversity. During his last years, he dedicated himself - quixotically it would sometimes appear - to the creation of an alternative university in Pakistan, named Khalduniyah after the great Arab polymath and historian whose comprehensive view of the human adventure Ahmad sought to embody in a curriculum solidly based in the modern humanities, social and natural sciences.”