Akhtar Hameed Khan
Akhter Hameed Khan was a Pakistani development practitioner and social scientist. He promoted participatory rural development in Pakistan and other developing countries. His particular contribution was the establishment of a comprehensive project for rural development, the Comilla Model. He died in a car crash in Lahore, Pakistan, in 1999 at the age of 80.
About Akhtar Hameed Khan in brief
Akhter Hameed Khan (15 July 1914 – 9 October 1999) was a Pakistani development practitioner and social scientist. He promoted participatory rural development in Pakistan and other developing countries. His particular contribution was the establishment of a comprehensive project for rural development, the Comilla Model. In the 1980s he started a bottom-up community development initiative of Orangi Pilot Project, based in the outskirts of Karachi, which became a model of participatory development initiatives. He also directed many programmes, from microcredit to self-finance and from housing provision to family planning, for rural communities and urban slums. Khan was fluent in at least seven languages and dialects. Apart from many scholarly books and articles, he also published a collection of poems and travelogues in Urdu. He was among the four sons and three daughters of Khansaahib Ameer Ahmed Khan and Mehmoodah Begum. His father, a police inspector, was inspired by the reformist thinking of Syed Ahmed Khan. Khan’s mother introduced him to the poetry of Maulana Hali and Muhammad Iqbal, the sermons of Abul Kalam Azad, and the Sufist philosophy of Rumi. He died in a car crash in Lahore, Pakistan, in 1999 at the age of 80. He is survived by his wife, Shafiq Khan, and a daughter, Ayesha. He had a son and two daughters with his first wife, who he married in 1940. Khan also had a daughter with his second wife, Hameeda Begum, who died in 2005.
He has a son with his third wife, Zainab Begum; he had a grandson with his fourth wife, Faisal Khan; and a great-grandson with his fifth wife, Nadeem Khan. He wrote a book about his experiences in Pakistan, which was published in 2008. He later died in Karachi, Pakistan; he was buried in a private ceremony. He will be remembered for his contributions to rural development and the development of Pakistan. His work was widely published in Pakistan; his work was also published in the UK and the U.S., and he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of law from Michigan State University. Khan is buried in an unmarked grave in a suburb of Karachi. He worked as a lecturer at Meerut College before joining the Indian Civil Service in 1936. In 1950, he was invited by the Government of Pakistan to take charge as Principal of Comilla College, East Pakistan. In 1958, he went to Michigan to acquire education and training in rural development. In 1959, he established the Pakistan Academy for Rural Development on 27 May 1959. In 1960, he became the President of the East Pakistan Non-Governmental Teachers’ Association. He retired from this position in 1961. He went on to work as director of the Industrial Development Programme at the Jamia Millia, Delhi, where he worked for three years. In 1965, he took up a teaching position at Islamia Islamia College, Karachi.