Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Institute of Asian Studies, Kolkata

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Institute of Asian Studies, Kolkata
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Institute of Asian Studies
Established 1993
Type Research Institution
Director Professor H.S.Vasudevan
Location Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Campus Urban
Website Official website

The Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Institute of Asian Studies, Kolkata 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.



  • Barun De, 1993-1997
  • Mahavir Singh, 2000-2005
  • H.S.Vasudevan, 2007-Present

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, Professor Saiyid Nurul Hasan, took the main initiative in founding such an institute in Calcutta. 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 off J.B.S. Haldane Sarani, in Salt Lake 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, Professor S. Nurul Hasan and the then Chief Minister of West Bengal, Shri Jyoti Basu. Professor Barun De, formerly First-Director, Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta, was given the responsibility of organising the event.

The Institute was founded with Prof. Nurul Hasan, as the First-President of its Society. Professor Satish Chandra, formerly Chairman, University Grants Commission, Delhi, was appointed as the First-Chairman of the Executive Council and Prof. Barun De was appointed as the First-Director of the Institute.

The Institute started functioning out of the library of Prof. Barun De in his house on Ballygunge Circular Road. At this time the former residence of Maulana Azad at 5, Ashraf Mistry Lane (better known locally as Lovelock Lane, off 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 has been subsequently built on the plot given to it in Salt Lake, where the Institute has now been shifted. The museum will remain in Maulana Azad's house.


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 Shyam Saran, a former Foreign Secretary of India, is the present Chairman of the Executive Council. Professor H.S.Vasudevan, Professor of History, Calcutta University, is the Institute's present Director.

Some members of the Society are Barun De and Krishnan Srinivasan.


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 Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, the S.N. Bose National Centre for the Basic Sciences, Calcutta, the Salt Lake campus of Jadavpur University, Calcutta, the National Institute of Fashion Technology, Calcutta and the National University of Juridical Sciences, Calcutta.


External links

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