Tafazzul Hussain Khan

March 15, 2006

From 3quarksdaily

Khan-e-Allama Nawab Tafazzul Hussain Khan (1727-1800), a man who embraced and promoted modernity and the scientific outlook in the formative phase of British imperialism in the sub-continent. In his lifetime he was acknowledged as the harbinger of a new age and given the high accolade of Khan-e-Allama.

I have never heard of him before. And, in fact very few people seem to know him. (And before you set off to google, I should tell you that I’ve tried that already without much success.) What sparked my curiosity was his interests.

Tafazzul’s interests were in both modern and ancient literature, but his first love would always remain mathematics and astronomy. Reuben Burrows, the mathematician, writes: ‘ Tofuzzel Hussein continues translating the Principia of Newton (from Latin to Arabic) and I think we shall soon begin to print it here in Arabic….He has likewise translated Emerson’s Mechanics, and a treatise on algebra (that I wrote for him) in Arabic. He is now employed in translating Appollonius de Sectione Rationis. The fate of this work is singular; it was translated from Greek into Arabic, and the Greek original was lost; it was afterwards translated from Arabic into Latin, from an old manuscript in the Bodleian library; the Arabic of it is now totally lost in Asia. I translated the Latin version into English and from the English Tofuzzel Hussein is now rendering it into Arabic again.’

William Jones would write to a friend “….Tafazzul Hussain Khan is doing wonders in English and Mathematicks (sic).”

Apart from his work in the rational sciences he ‘contributed a number of discourses on works related to the Hadis, the tradition of the Holy Prophet and jurisprudence and on Islamic philosophy and sciences; these studies were so numerous and varied that something of their kind had rarely been attempted by other scholars.’

Learning also involved a process of un-learning and the new scientific verities were publicly discussed and debated. One recorded instance concerns Copernicus’s theory that the earth revolved around the sun instead of the earth being the centre of the universe. Tafazzul publicly stated that Copernicus was right, leading to the orthodoxy raising a hue and cry when their traditional beliefs were disputed. Tafazzul’s response was that the Prophet had said that you must seek knowledge even if you have to go to China. Such was his standing that the matter rested there.

Anybody out there who can tell me more ?

5 Responses to “Tafazzul Hussain Khan”

  1. Mirza Mustafa JAmal Says:

    On going through your post, I came to know that you are related to Khan-e-Allama Nawab Tafazzul Hussain Khan sahab. My grandfather Nawab Mirza Dilawar Husain Sabah was also a decedent of Khan-e-Allama Nawab Tafuzzul Husain Khan Sabha, who after marrying the daughter of Janab Mir Afzal Ali Alias Nawab Shifaudaula Sabah Bahadur, migrated to Faizabad. This fact, I came to know from the Autobiography of my cousin, Hon’ble Justice Mirza Murtaza Husain sahab, who passed away on April 26, 2012 in Lucknow. We share the information about Allama as I am also very much interested to explore the real link between my grandfather and Allama Tafazzul Husain Khan sahib.

    Mirza Mustafa Jamal

    Jeddah Saudi Arabia

  2. Mirza Mustafa Jamal Says:

    ALLAMA TAFAZZUL HUSAIN KHAN
    TAJAMMUL HUSAIN KHAN IBTEHAAJUNNISA BEGUM

    TAJAMMUL HUSAIN KHAN HAD 4 SONS AND 3 DAUGHTERS.THE NAMES OF HIS SONS ARE GIVEN ABOVE.

    “ALI HUSAIN KHAN” THE ELDEST SON OF TAJAMMUL HUSAIN KHAN HAD ONLY ONE DAUGHTER NAMED ‘FATIMA BEGUM’ . SHE WAS MARRIED TO ‘MASEEUDDAWLA BAHADAR’.

    AHMED HUSAIN KHAN HAD 5 DAUGHTERS AND FOUR SONS.ONE OF HIS SON WAS MOHAMMAD MIRZA KHAN , WHO WAS THE FATHER OF JAFAR HUSAIN KHAN .

    JAFAR HUSAIN KHAN HAD TWO DAUGHTERS AND TWO SONS. ONE OF HIS DAUGHTER’S NAME WAS JAAFRI BEGUM. SHE WAS THE MOTHER OF ‘JAFAR ALI KHAN ASAR’.ONE OF HIS SON’S NAME WAS DILAWAR HUSAIN KHAN , WHO WAS MARRIED TO THE DAUGHTER OF “SHAFAUDDAULA”. AFTER MARRIAGE, HE LEFT LUCKNOW AND SETTLED IN FAIZABAAD.

    MOHAMMAD HUSAIN KHAN ,THE THIRD SON OF TAJAMMUL HUSAIN KHAN WAS CHILDLESS.

    MY MOTHER IS IN THE LINEAGE OF HAIDER HUSAIN KHAN , WHO WAS THE FOURTH SON OF TAJAMMUL HUSAIN KHAN.

  3. Mirza Mustafa Jamal Says:

    Ammendment : MY FATHER LATE MIRZA MOHAMMAD RAZA WAS IN THE LINEAGE OF HAIDER HUSAIN KHAN , WHO WAS THE FOURTH SON OF TAJAMMUL HUSAIN KHAN.

  4. Arif Abid Says:

    Mustafa Jamal Saheb: I read your comments with interest. I wanted to research THK’s life and in fact appointed a researcher in Delhi who went back on his commitments. I consider THK’s life to be important from many aspects, one of them being an understanding of early colonialism and the reaction to it in India. Indians are still traumatized by this experience. I now live in Karachi and am unable to do this research.
    My mother was the daughter of Nawab Jafar Ali Khan Asar and it was through her sister that I first heard of THK. History has forgotten THK and the reasons for that are in themselves very interesting and revealing of both early colonization and contemporary sub-continental attitudes to the experience of being colonized.
    The article at 3Quarks daily is an abbreviated version of a introductory paper I wrote on THK.

  5. Mirza Mohsin Mahmood Says:

    Im trying to find my relatives from lucknow. My grandmother from my fathers side was related to Nawab Mirza Murtuza Husain Khan. I have a photo of his standing with lord Halifax and edward VIII. Kindly do send me a reply….


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