Abdul Hai Habibi
From Explore Afghanistan with Afghan Wiki - Afghanistan History
Educator, historian and representative of Kandahar in parliament. Self educated, he started as a teacher and became editor of Pashto daily Tulu-yi Afghan (Afghan Surise) in 1931. He was a Pashtun Nationalist and a member of Weekh Zalmian (Awakened Youth). In 1940, he was appointed the president of Pashto Academy and in 1941 dean of faculty of literature of Kabul University. He was forced to live in exile because of his opposition to the government of Shah Mahmud and published Azad Afghanistan (Free Afghanistan). In 1961 he was permitted to return to Afghanistan and became professor in the faculty of letters of Kabul University. He was appointed president of the Afghan Historical Society in 1966, and published a number of books on Afghan history as well as a purported Pashto record of early poetry, the Pata Khanzana (Hidden Treasure). Shortly before he died in Kabul in 1988, he published a book on the constitutionalists movement in Afghanistan Junbesh-I masrutiyat dar Afghanistan which described the movement as nationalist, rather than Socialist.
Professor Abdul Hai Habibi was born in 1910 in Kandahar. He is the great grandson of Alama Habibullah, the eminent scholar who was famous as the “Kandahari intellectual” and well versed in Arabic, Dari and Pashto. Alama Habibullah authored a large number of books in religious sciences, ethics, philosophy, logic, geometry, mathematics, and astronomy. Born in a family of scholars Habibi’s father died when he was a child. In his early years he studied in the mosques of Kandahar and in 1920 was admitted to the primary school of Shalimar and received his diploma five years later. At the age of 15 he started working as a teacher in the primary schools of Kandahar.
From his youth Habibi had a keen interest in the constitutional movement of Afghanistan. As a supporter of justice he was active in politics. While working as the president of Education Department in Kandahar in 1946 he established close ties with the people of Kandahar. This was a move which disgruntled the ruling class and as a result he was sent to Quetta as the commercial attaché to distance him from his support in Kandahar. Upon his return to Kandahar a few months later he was elected as representative from the city to the 7th session of parliament. This was a time when the injustices of the ruling class were openly debated by members of parliament. Habibi left the country and went to Pakistan and started the Free Afghanistan movement. In 1952 he announced a republican political system for Afghanistan based on the values of democracy with a president as head of state.
As an Academician
As an academic Professor Habibi worked diligently throughout his life. He is the author of 115 books and over 500 papers and articles on the literature, history, philosophy, linguistics, poetics and the culture of the people of Afghanistan. He was the founder of the Faculty of Letters at Kabul University. His major works are in Pashto and Dari.
Summary of official positions
Teacher in the primary schools of Kandahar, 1925 to 1927.
Deputy editor of Tuloo-e Afghan newspaper,1927 to 1931.
Editor of Tuloo-e Afghan,1931 to 1940.
President of Pashto Academy (Pashto Tolana) in Kabul, 1940 to 1941 (at the same time he served as the deputy president of the Department of Publications).
Advisor to the Education Ministry in Kabul,1941 to 1944.
Chairman of the first College of Letters of Kabul University, and president of the Pashto Academy and professor of history of Pashto literature, 1944 to 1946.
President of the Education Department of Kandahar, 1946 to 1947.
Commercial attaché in Quetta, Baluchistan, 1947.
Elected representative of the people of Kandahar during the 7th session of the national parliament in Kabul,1948 to 1951.
Residence in Pakistan, 1951 to 1962.
Return to the homeland in 1962 and continuation of academic work in Kabul.
Received the rank of professor from Kabul University in 1965.
President of Afghan Historical Society, 1966 to 1971.
Advisor on cultural affairs to the prime minister, 1972 to 1973.
Professor of literature and history, Kabul University, 1970 to 1977.
Advisor to the Ministry of Information and Culture, 1978 to 1982.