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Hakim Ajmal Khan

Ajmal Khan or Hakim Ajmal Khan (I863-1927) was a physician and Indian Muslim nationalist politician and political leader.


Early life

Hakim Ajmal Khan sahib was born in 1863. Ajmal Khan’s ancestors, a distinguished line of physicians, had come to India during the reign of Babar, the founder of the Mughal Empire in India. All members of the family of Hakim Ajmal Khan were Unani doctors. The family had been practicing this ancient form of medicine from the time of the Mughal rulers. They were then known as the Rais of Delhi. He learnt Quran by heart and studied traditional Islamic knowledge including Arabic and Persian in his childhood, before turning his energy to the study of medicine under the wise guidance of his senior relatives, all of whom were well-known physicians. His grandfather Hakim Sharif Khan sought to promote the practice of Tibb-i-unani or Unani medicine and for this purpose, had setup the Sharif Manzil hospital-cum-college that was known throughout the subcontinent as one of the finest philanthropic Unani hospitals that charged no fees from poor patients.

Once qualified, Hakim Ajmal Khan was appointed chief physician to the Nawab of Rampur. No praise is too high for Hakim Sahib, hailed as "Massiha-e-Hind" (Messiah of India) and "a king without a crown". He could effect miraculous cures, like his father, and is said to have possessed "magical" medicine chest, the secrets of which were known to him alone. Such was his medical acumen that it is said that he could diagnose any illness by just looking at a person’s face.. Hakim Ajmal Khan charged Rs.1000 for a visit. That was his daily fee if he went out of town, but if the patient came to Delhi he was treated free, even if he was a Maharaja.

Hakim Mohammed Ajmal Khan proved to be the most outstanding and multifaceted personality of his era. His contribution to the cause of India’s freedom, National integration and communal harmony is matchless. A sound and far cited statesman and an educationist of highest caliber.

Hakim Ajmal Khan took much interest in the expansion and development of the native system of Unani medicine. Hakim Ajmal Khan built three great institutions - the Central College in Delhi, Hindustani Dawakhana and the Ayurvedic and Unani Tibbia College, in order to expand the research and practice hence saved Unani System of Medicine from extinction in India. His untiring efforts in the field of Unani medicine infused a new force and life into an otherwise decaying Indian Unani medical system under the British regime.


The life history of Ajmal Khan changed its course from medicine towards politics after he started writing for an Urdu weekly 'Akmal-ul-Akhbar' that was launched by his family. Khan was also heading the Muslim team, who met the Viceroy of India in Shimla in the year 1906 to give him a memorandum made by them. The following year, he was present at Dhaka when the All India Muslim League was formulated. At a time when many Muslim leaders were arrested, Dr Ajmal Khan approached Mahatma Gandhi for help. As such, Gandhiji united with him and other Muslim leaders like Maulana Azad, Maulana Mohammad Ali and Maulana Shaukat Ali in the famous Khilafat movement. Ajmal Khan is also the sole person who has had the honor to be elected the President of the Indian National Congress, the Muslim League and the All India Khilafat Committee.


Hakim Ajmal Khan’s whole life was a portrayal of altruistic service and sacrifice. Hakim Ajmal Khan died of heart problems on December 29, 1927.Hakim Ajmal Khan had renounced his government title, and many of his Indian fans awarded him the title of Masih-ul-Mulk (Healer of the Nation). He was succeeded in the position of JMI Chancellor by Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed Ansari.

Dawakhana Hakim Ajmal Khan Private Ltd

After partition

After the partition of India Hakim Khan's grandson Hakim Muhammad Nabi Khan migrated to Pakistan. Hakim Nabi learnt Tibb (medicine) from Hakim Ajmal Khan and opened 'Dawakhana Hakim Ajmal Khan' in Lahore which has its branches throughout Pakistan. The motto of Ajmal khan family has been Azal-ul-Allah-Khudatulmal, which when translated means that the best way to keep oneself busy is by serving humanity, which his descendants are following since ages.

Further reading

  • Hakim Ajmal Khan by Zafar Ahmed Nizami, Publications Division [1]




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