My grandfather Ziauddin Shakib, who died of pulmonary edema at the age of 87, was a historian of Indo-Persian relations and a global expert on Persian and Arabic manuscripts, a consultant at Christie’s auction house in London for 30 years. Worked as He was born in India and moved to the UK in 1980 to pursue a career at the University of London.
He helped lay the foundation for the study of the Deccan. Study of the history, language, arts and culture of the Deccan, an ancient region covering most of modern southern and western India. Living in Hyderabad, he compiled, translated and cataloged thousands of old manuscripts in Persian and Urdu, and set up the Mughal Record Room in the city, now known as the Telangana State Documents.
In 1977 he published an explanatory catalog of documents relating to the reign of Shah Jahan, 1628-1658, an important part of the work which led him to invite to teach in Switzerland. From 1980 to 1987, he was a lecturer in the Department of Hindi Studies, teaching Indian history and the history of Indo-Islamic art.
In London, where he and his wife and family lived in Queen’s Park, he preserved and cataloged Mughal manuscripts, including the Batala collection of Mughal documents for the British Library in 1990. From 1981 to 2015, he worked for Christie, a consultant in the Department of Indian and Islamic Manuscripts and Manicures.
Born in Hyderabad, Muhammad Zia-ud-Din Ahmed was the son of Muhammad Mushiruddin Ahmed, an Islamic scholar and head teacher, and Obaida Khanum, a housewife. The city was educated at Asafia High School and Ottoman University, after which he received an MA in Aligarh Muslim University in the 16th and 17th centuries on relations between the Kingdom of Golkonda and Iran, and a PhD in 1976 at the University of Pune. Certificate of . In the 1950s, my grandfather was an Urdu poet and used “Shakib” (meaning patience) as a pen name. It was widely known by that name, and was formally incorporated in the 1960s.
Shakib also had authority over Indian poets, including Mirza Ghalib and Allama Iqbal, to publish books and hold conferences in Delhi, Tehran and London. He would start regular conversations with friends with poems or conversations, and even when he was ill he would enjoy hours of reading and classical poetry.
In 2018, he was described as “burning Urdu candles in London for the last 50 years”. His love of language meant that he participated in numerous programs for BBC Urdu at the BBC World Service, and at Urdu at Middlesex University. Graduate curriculum developed for the training of good Urdu teachers. He was determined that the second generation would speak Urdu fluently at home. So much so that he joined me, my siblings, cousins and many friends.
My grandfather was a family man, and regularly went to India to take care of his mother, who died in 2014 at the age of 103. He is survived by his wife, Farhat Ahmed, whom he married in Hyderabad in 1966, two daughters, Yusra and Kulsoom, a son, Manzoor, nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
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