Zakir Husain Delhi College holds the distinction of being in existence well before the establishment of Delhi University. It carries within itself a history of nearly 300 years as an institution of learning. In the closing years of the 17th C, the Madrasa Ghaziuddin, as it was then called, was established by one of Emperor Aurangzeb’s leading Deccan commanders and was famous for education in Literature, Science and Arts. The upheavals that weakened the Mughal Empire during the 18th C resulted in the closure of the Madrasa in the early 1790s, but with the support of the wealthy citizens of Delhi, an oriental college for Literature, Science and Art was established at the site in 1792. Instruction was provided in Prose, Literature, Rhetoric, Logic, Philosophy, Jurisprudence, Astrology and Medicine.
The British East India Company, in 1824, declared the institution to be a center for higher education in the country where the medium of instructions were Persian, Arabic and Sanskrit. It was now called The Delhi College, and it received support through an endowment of Rs. 1,70,000 by Nawab Itmadudduala, the Oudh Vazir in 1829. Soon after that, Urdu or Hindustani gained importance and became the chief mediums of instruction not only for oriental Sciences and Literature, but also for the study of Astronomy and Mathematics based on European principles, which had been introduced and enthusiastically received by teachers and students as early as 1827. The translation of scientific treatises, Greek classics and Persian works into Urdu was taken up by the Vernacular Society which was set up in 1832. Within the space of two decades it published works covering a range of subjects including Mathematics, Science, Philosophy, History, Surgery, Geography, Political Economy, Civil Law and Principles of Legislation. Its remarkable achievements were later supplemented by the Society for the Promotion of Knowledge in India.
Throughout the 19th and early 20th C, a diverse socio-cultural and secular community evolved around Urdu culture and etiquette. The Delhi College was the focus of this composite urbanity in northern India’s premier city because of its proximity to both the geographically, historically and culturally rich old and new aspects of Delhi. A distinguished group of its teachers and student-educationists, mathematicians, historians and literatures - became the center of a scientific and literary flowering that would be referred to as the ‘Delhi Renaissance’. They founded schools, wrote books and textbooks, translated works into Urdu and edited journals.
Apart from preserving traditional systems of knowledge, Delhi College was one of the pioneers in offering English education in the country, providing a constructive engagement between the oriental and western intellectual traditions, particularly before the 1857 revolt. Its popularity can be gauged by the fact that, in 1845, of a total strength of 460 students, 418 were studying in the oriental section, while 245 students were learning English. They included 299 Hindus, 146 Muslims and 15 Christians, demonstrating even then, that the college answered to the needs of the city as a whole by providing a distinctly diverse cultural ambience that cherishes composite culture and a spirit of mutual accommodation.
On May 11, 1857, the revolutionaries plundered the college, then located at Kashmiri Gate, because it provided Western education. However, British authorities closed it down after the defeat of the revolt because they suspected the loyalties of its teachers and students. In 1862, the institution sent candidates for the entrance examination of the Calcutta University. Between 1864 and 1871, intermediate, B.A. and M.A. classes were started with creditable results. Ultimately the imperial government decided to close down the institution, transferring its staff and library to Lahore, despite vociferous protests from the citizens of Delhi.
In 1924, the Anglo-Arabic Intermediate College was started almost 50 years later to answer the “very definite loss to the city occasioned by the transfer of the Delhi Oriental College to Lahore in 1877.” The college was affiliated to Delhi University in 1925, and became one of its constituent degree colleges in 1929.
Following the partition of India, the college was attacked and set on fire by incendiary mobs. Courageous staff members managed to save the Library and office records. Supported by Dr. Zakir Husain and others, the Delhi College was revived as a non-denominational institution in 1948, and was renamed after him in 1975 and managed by Dr. Zakir Husain Memorial College Trust. As principal, the legendary Beig Saheb moulded the institution with a deep sense of its historical past, and a culture that even today gives it a distinctive quality. Within the next decade and a half, the college was shifted to its present location in 1986 outside the Turkman Gate; a location which geographically and symbolically unites Old Delhi with New Delhi, merging old traditions with a constant striving towards progress and modernity. However, what remained unchanged was the institution’s commitment to the dissemination of knowledge and the creation of a scientific temper, together with promoting secular, progressive values.
After a repeated request from the alumni, faculty and students the members of the Dr. Zakir Husain Memorial College Trust agreed to change the name of the College to Zakir Husain Delhi College. The College was renamed on 7th January 2012.
|Dr. Sulekh Chandra (Acting Principal)|
|Zakir Husain Delhi College
Jawaharlal Nehru Marg,
(Opp. Ramlila Ground)
Prof. S. P. Singh
Chairman & University Representative
|Mr. Zafar Kamal||Administrative Officer||9868853918|
|Dr. R. Prabhakar Rao||Officiating Principal||011-23232218|
|M. Zafar Kamal (Administrative Officer)||9868853918|
|Samia Farid, Section Officer (Accounts)||9873180050|
|Ayaz Ahmed, Section Officer (Admin.)||9899718808|
|Mohd. Javed Asif||9811005372|
|Mumtaz Ali Hashmi||9891397234|
|Mohd. Asif Alam||9971811629|