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Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Institute of Asian Studies

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Title: Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Institute of Asian Studies  
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Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Institute of Asian Studies

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Institute of Asian Studies
Established 1993
Type Research Institution
Director Sreeradha Dutta
Location Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Campus Urban
Website Official website

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Institute of Asian Studies is an autonomous research institute under the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, based at Calcutta. It is devoted to Area Studies, with special reference to South Asia, Central Asia and West Asia, especially dealing with social, cultural, economic, political and administrative developments in Asia from the nineteenth century to the present. M.Phil. and Ph.D. level students of the University of Calcutta and Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi are also associated with it. The institute is named after Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the nationalist leader and India's first Education Minister. The Institute was founded by Professor Saiyid Nurul Hasan, the eminent historian who was then the Governor of West Bengal. The eminent historian Professor Barun De became the Founder-Director.


The need for a research institute devoted to area studies, especially to the study of secular Islam in Asian countries was felt in the late 1980s, with few such institutes and universities existing in India at that time. The Governor of West Bengal, Prof. Nurul Hasan, took the main initiative in founding such an institute in Calcutta. He was the founder of the institute. It took a few years before such a plan could be fully implemented, and the foundation stone of the Institute was laid on a newly acquired plot close to the Salt Lake stadium in Calcutta in 1993 by the then President of India, Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma, in the presence of the then Human Resource Development Minister Shri Arjun Singh, Prof. Nurul Hasan, the then Chief Minister of West Bengal, Shri Jyoti Basu, the Deputy Chairperson of the Rajya Sabha, Dr. Najma Heptullah, and the then Minister for Higher Education of the Government of West Bengal, Shri Satyasadhan Chakraborty. Prof. Barun De, formerly Founder-Director, Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta, was given the responsibility of organising the event.

Prof. Nurul Hasan, was the Founder-President of the institute's Society and the Executive Council. Professor Satish Chandra, formerly Chairman, University Grants Commission, Delhi, was appointed as the Founder-Vice Chairman of the Executive Council and Prof. Barun De was appointed as the Founder-Director of the institute.

At this time the former residence of Maulana Azad at 19, Ballygunge Circular Road, presently 5, Ashraf Mistry Lane (better known locally as Lovelock Lane of Ballygunge Circular Road), was handed over by the Government of West Bengal to the Institute. It was meant house a museum. Soon the Institute shifted to 567, Diamond Harbour Road, Calcutta, where it temporarily occupied two large floors of a rented house. Later, at the turn of the present century, it was shifted to Maulana Azad's house, where both the Institute and its museum were located until 2010. A new building, named 'Azad Bhavan', has been subsequently built on the one acre plot given to it in Salt Lake, where the Institute has now been shifted. The museum will remain in Maulana Azad's house, now renamed Azad Museum.


It is registered as a Society under the West Bengal Registration of Societies Act, 1961. It is mainly financed by the Ministry of Culture and also the Government of India. His Excellency, Shri M.K. Narayanan, the Governor of West Bengal is the President of the Society of the Institute. Shri Sitaram Sharma is the present Chairman of the Executive Council. Dr. Sreeradha Datta is the Institute's present Director.


Maulana Azad's home is an example of twentieth century colonial architecture. It is situated off the Ballygunge maidan and close to landmark buildings of the city. The location of the new building is also well-appointed, given its centrality in Salt Lake. It is close to other educational institutions, such as the Calcutta campus of the Institute of Hygiene and Public Health, Calcutta, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, the S.N. Bose National Centre for the Basic Sciences, Calcutta, the Salt Lake campus of the University of Calcutta, the Salt Lake campus of Jadavpur University, Calcutta, the National Institute of Fashion Technology, Calcutta, the College of Leather Technology, Calcutta and the National University of Juridical Sciences, Calcutta.

Notable faculty

External links

  • Official website

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