Prof. B. Sheik Ali, a historian of international repute and Founder Vice Chancellor of Mangaluru and Goa Universities, breathed his last at a private hospital in Mysuru on September 1 following a brief illness. He was 98.
Born in Belgoard, a small village in Hasan district, on November 10, 1925, Prof. Ali obtained B.A. (Hons.) with first rank and gold medal from the University of Mysore in 1945 and M.A. from the same university in 1946. Inspired by Mohammed Habib, a renowned mediaeval Indian historian at the time, he started his research on Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan in Aligarh in 1949. He did his first Ph.D. on ‘International Relations of Shaheed Tipu Sultan’ from Aligarh Muslim University in 1954, and the second from the University of London in 1960. Thus, he emerged as an authority on Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan.
After doing M.A. in 1946, he became the youngest lecturer in History. He was also a lecturer in Maharajah College and Yuwa Raja College, Mysore.
During a period of 40 years of his active life, he set up 150 educational institutions. He was also responsible for emergence of a number of scholars in History from the University of Mysore. In addition to being the author of 40 books, he also wrote more than 100 researched treatises.
Some of Sheik Ali’s works include History: Its Theory and Method, Macmillan, New Delhi; History of the Western Gangas (Comprehensive History of Karnataka, Vol. 1), University of Mysore, Mysore, 1976; Goa Wins Freedom: Reflections and Reminiscences, Goa University, 1986; Tipu Sultan, A Great Martyr, ed. B. Sheikh Ali, 1992, I.C.H.R., New Delhi (Papers presented at a seminar organised by the Bangalore University in collaboration with the Indian Council of Historical Research, New Delhi, 1992); Tipu Sultan, National Book Trust, New Delhi; British Relations with Hyder Ali (1760-1782), 1963; A Great Teacher, 1997, Prasaranga, University of Mysore; Islam, A Cultural Orientation, 1981, Macmillan, Delhi; and Essays on Indian History and Culture: Felicitation Volume in Honour of Prof. B. Sheikh Ali, Ed. H.V. Sreenivasa Murthy, 1990, Mittal Publications.
Some books on Prof. Ali have also been published. A book, Prof. B. Sheik Ali, A Vision Beyond based on the life and services of this historian and educationist of eminence was released by Dr. P.K. Abdul Azis, former Vice Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University at Dr. Zakir Husain Hall of Al Ameen College Campus on 10 November, 2012. In 1999 he became chief editor of the Daily Salar and Salar Weekly.
Prof. Ali founded the Karnataka History Conference. He also presided over the 47th Session of the Indian History Congress in 1986.
He was the recipient of various awards and honours, including the Karnataka Rajyotsava Award, the Sir Syed Award by the American Federation of Muslims of Indian Origin, and the Golden Jubilee Award by Mysore University, among others.
He is survived by his son, daughter and relatives and friends. His funeral services were held at Muslim Hostel Majid in Mysore and he was buried at main graveyard behind Mysore Jail at Tipu Circle.