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Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Ahmad Hasan Dani
1920--2009

Ahmad Hasan Dani (Urdu: احمد حسن دانی) Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society, Aizaz-i-Kamal (Award of Excellence) Sitara Imtiaz (Star of Excellence), Hilal Imtiaz (Crescent of Excellence), all of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Bundesverdienstkreuz erster Klasse (Order of Merit, First Class, of the Federal Republic of Germany),  Chevalier de Légion d'honneur (Knight of the Legion of Honour, Republic of France), Knight Commander of the Republic of Italy, was born in Basna, British India, on 20 June 1920 and died in Islamabad, Pakistan, on 26 January 2009. Dani was an archaeologist, historian, and linguist and was one of the foremost authorities on archaeology and history in South Asia. He was Emeritus Professor in the Quaid-i-Azam University and founding director of Taxila Institute of Asian Civilizations. Throughout his career Dani held various academic positions and international fellowships, in addition to conducting archaeological excavations and research. He was also the recipient of various civil awards in Pakistan and abroad. A prolific linguist, he spoke more than fourteen local and international languages and dialects.

 
Born June 20, 1920(1920-06-20)
Basna, British India
Died January 26, 2009
Islamabad, Pakistan
Residence Islamabad, Pakistan
Nationality Pakistani
Fields Archaeology, History, Linguistics
Institutions Quaid-e-Azam University
Alma mater Banaras Hindu University
Known for Research on the Indus Valley Civilization
Notable awards Hilal-e-Imtiaz, Sitara-e-Imtiaz, Bundesverdienstkreuz, Légion d'honneur, Palmes Academiques
Early life

Dani, an ethnic Kashmiri, was born on 20 June 1920 in Basna, British India. He graduated from Banaras Hindu University in 1944, with an MA honors degree in Sanskrit, becoming the first Muslim graduate of the university in Sanskrit. In 1945, Dani worked as a trainee in archaeology under the guidance of one of the greatest archaeologists of all times, Sir Mortimer Wheeler (1890--1976). At this time he participated in excavations at Taxila and Mohenjo-daro. He was subsequently posted in the Department of Archaeology of British India at the Taj Mahal, in Agra.

After the Partition of India, Dani migrated to East Pakistan. There, between 1947--1949, he worked as Assistant Superintendent of the Department of Archaeology. At this time, he re-arranged the Verandra Museum at Rajshahi. Later, in 1950, he was promoted to the position of Superintendent-in-Charge of Archaeology. For a period of twelve years (between 1950-62), Dani remained Associate Professor of History at the University of Dhaka, East Pakistan, while, at the same time, working as curator at the Dhaka Museum. During this period he carried out archaeological research on the Muslim history of Bengal and earned a doctorate in Archaeology at the University of London in 1955.

Dani moved to the University of Peshawar in 1962 as Professor of Archaeology and remained there until 1971. During this time, he led the re-arranging and renovation works for the Lahore and Peshawar Museums. In 1971, he moved to Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, and remained there in various positions until his retirement in 1980 when he was made Emeritus Professor, while continuing to serve as honorary director of the Center for the Study of the Civilizations of Central Asia, the predecessor institute of the Taxila Institute of Asian Civilizations.

Prof. Ahmad Hasan Dani received an honorary doctorate from the Tajikistan University, Dushanbe, in 1993. In the same year Dani established the Islamabad Museum. Between 1992 and 1996 he was Advisor on Archaeology to the Ministry of Culture of Pakistan. Between 1994-1998 he remained Chairman of the National Fund for Cultural Heritage in Islamabad. From its re-naming in 1997 until his retirement from active service in 2007 Dani was honorary director of the Taxila Institute of Asian Civilizations. On the occasion of his birthday in 2007 Prof. Dani accepted the honorary post of Life Time Advisor of the Taxila Institute.

 

Visiting, research and honorary fellowships

During his associate professorship at Dhaka University, Dani also worked as a Research Fellow at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (1958–59). Later, in 1969, he became Asian Fellow at the Australian National University, Canberra. In 1974, he went to the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia as a visiting scholar. In 1977, he was Visiting Professor at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. In the course of his long career Ahmad Hasan Dani was awarded honorary fellowships of Royal Asiatic Society of Bangladesh (1969), German Archaeological Institute (1981),  the Istituto italiano per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente (IsMEO), Rome (1986), and Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (1991).

Research expeditions

Dani was extensively engaged in excavation works on the pre-Indus Civilization site of Rehman Dheri in Northern Pakistan. He also made a number of discoveries of Gandhara sites in Peshawar and Swat Valleys, and worked on Indo-Greek sites in Dir. From 1980, he was involved in research focusing on the documentation of the rock carvings and inscriptions on ancient remains from the Neolithic age in the high mountain region of Northern Pakistan along with the late Prof. Dr. Karl Jettmar (1918--2002) of the South Asia Institute of Heidelberg University and, from 1990, with Prof. Dr. Harald Hauptmann of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences who (quite literally) followed in Jettmar's footsteps. In 1990–91, he led the UNESCO international scientific teams on the Desert Route Expedition of the Silk Road in China and the Steppe Route Expedition of the Silk Road in the former Soviet Union.

Dani was awarded the title of Distinguished National Professor in 2004 by the Higher Education Commission in recognition of his life-long contributions and achievements

 

Awards
 
  • 2000 Hilal-e-Imtiaz, Government of Pakistan
  • 1998 Chevalier de Légion d'honneur, awarded by H.E. Jacques Chirac, the President of the French Republic
  • 1997 Aristotle Silver Medal, UNESCO
  • 1996 Order of the Merit, First Class, awarded by  H.E. Roman Herzog, the President of the Federal Republic of Germany
  • 1994 Knight Commander, Government of Italy
  • 1992 Aizaz-i-Kamal, Government of Pakistan
  • 1990 Palmes Academiques, Government of France
  • 1986 Gold Medal, Asiatic Society of Bangladesh
  • 1969 Sitara-e-Imtiaz, Government of Pakistan
  • 1944 Gold Medal, Banaras Hindu University
 
Publications
Prof. Ahmad Hasan Dani had 57 books and innumerable journal articles to his credit. He was fluent in Bengal, French, Hindi, Kashmiri, Marathi, Pashto, Persian, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Seraiki, Sindhi, Turkish and Urdu. He also published various texts in most of these languages.
Books
  • Historic City of Taxila. Sang-e-Meel Publications. 2001. ISBN 978-9693509472
  • History of Northern Areas of Pakistan (Up to 2000 AD). Sang-e-Meel Publications. 2001. ISBN 978-9693512311
  • Romance of the Khyber Pass. Sang-e-Meel Publications. 1997. ISBN 978-9693507195
  • New Light on Central Asia. Sang-e-Meel Publications. 1996. ISBN 978-9693502947
  • Central Asia Today. Sang-e-Meel Publications. 1996. ISBN 978-9693507065
  • Human Records on Karakorum Highway. Sang-e-Meel Publications. 1995. ISBN 978-9693506464
  • Peshawar: Historic City of the Frontier. Sang-e-Meel Publications, (2nd Revised edition). 1995. ISBN 978-9693505542
  • A Short History of Pakistan, Book One: Pre-Muslim Period. University of Karachi. (3 editions, 1967, 1984, 1992). ISBN 969-404-008-6
  • History of Northern Areas of Pakistan (Historical studies). National Institute of Historical and Cultural Research. 1989. ISBN 978-9694150161
  • Perspectives of Pakistan. National Institute of Pakistan Studies, Quaid-e-Azam University. 1989. ASIN B0000CQNUB
  • The Historic City of Taxila. Centre for East Asian Cultural Studies. 1986. ISBN 978-4896565003
  • Chilas: The City of Nanga Parvat (Dyamar). 1983. ASIN B0000CQDB2
  • Thatta: Islamic Architecture. Institute of Islamic History, Culture & Civilization. 1982. ASIN B0000CQD43
  • Indus Civilization: New Perspectives. Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad. 1981
  • Indian Palaeography. Oxford University at the Clarendon Press 1963. ASIN B0000CM0CB
  • Dacca: A Record of its Changing Fortunes. S.S. Dani (Publisher). 1962. ASIN B0000CQXMU
  • Prehistory and Protohistory of Eastern India: With a Detailed Account of the Neolithic Cultures. K.L. Mukhopadhyay. 1960
  • Bibliography of the Muslim Inscriptions of Bengal. 1957
 Co-authored works
  • With J-P. Mohen (eds.), History of Humanity, Volume III, From the Third Millennium to the Seventh Century BC. New York: Routledge/Paris: UNESCO. 1996. ISBN 0415093066.
  • With B.A. Litvinksy, The Kushano-Sassanian Kingdom, in: History of Civilizations of Central Asia, South Asia Books. 1999. ISBN 978-8120815407
Notes
  1. ^ Khan, O (1998). An interview with Dani in Islamabad, on 6 January. Retrieved on 15 May 2008
  2. ^ a b Khan, M.N. Biographical Data. Retrieved on 15 May 2008.
  3. ^ Iqbal, M. (2002). Archaeological site discovered in Dir, Dawn (newspaper), 21 May. Retrieved on 6 March 2007.
  4. ^ Shahid, J. (2006). Dam threatens ancient remains, Dawn, 5 December. Retrieved on 6 March 2007.
  5. ^ HEC (2004). HEC Announces list of "Distinguished National Professors, HEC Press Release, 10 March. Retrieved on 6 March 2007.
 External links
Acknowledgement
Much of the above information can be found in a different form in the Internet Wikipedia.