Eqbal Ahmad was a peace activist and scholar. He was born to a family of wealthy Muslim landowners in Bihar, India. In 1947, he left with his brothers for the newly created state of Pakistan. He was active in the civil rights movement and the anti-Vietnam War movement in the United States.
Here are some opinions about him:
"Inevitably, reading Eqbal Ahmad's words evokes the presence of the person — treasured friend, trusted comrade, counsellor and teacher. The unforgettable voice, beautifully captured in these interviews, is rich with learning, understanding, and compassion." —Noam Chomsky
"Eqbal Ahmad, perhaps the shrewdest and most original anti-imperialist analyst of Asia and Africa…[was] a man of enormous charisma and incorruptible ideals…. He had an almost instinctive attraction to movements of the oppressed and the persecuted…[and] a formidable knowledge of history. Arabs, for example, learned more from him about the failures of Arab nationalism than from anyone else.… Ahmad was that rare thing, an intellectual unintimidated by power or authority." —Edward W. Said, author of Culture and Imperialism, eulogizing Ahmad in The Nation and The Guardian
"[Eqbal Ahmad] was a shining example of what a true internationalist should be.… Eqbal was at home in the history of all the world’s great civilizations. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of states past and present, and he knew that states had a rightful role to play. But he also knew that states existed to serve peoplenot the other way aroundand he had little to do with governments, except as a thorn in their side. To friends, colleagues, and students, however, he gave unstintingly of himself and his time.… His example and his memory will inspire many to carry on his work." —Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations
Ahmad died suddenly in Islamabad on 11 May 1999.
Read this obituary and this one.