|Biographical detail : ||Diarist
Amir Ahmad Alawi, who made a pilgrimage to Makkah, in 1929, wrote a meticulously accurate diary of his experiences that he published under the title of Safar-I-Sa’adat (Propitious Journey), a fascinating travelogue.
Appalled by the poverty of Makkah’s inhabitants, Amir Ahmad was particularly hurt to see the sight of girls begging in the streets.
Nevertheless, Amir Ahmad carefully observed the habits and manners of Muslims from various parts of the world – from vastly different ethno-geographic areas such as Anatolia, Egypt, Somalia, Nigeria, Java, Bengal and Afghanistan. His diary and frank comments are an invaluable sociological document.
Born in Kakori, some miles north of Lucknow (India) where his forefathers settled in 16th century, Amir Ahmad Alawi, after initial education in Arabic and Persian was sent to Aligarh from where he took his BA. He joined the civil service and rose through the ranks to become a District Magistrate, a rank that not many Indians attained during the British Raj.
(‘Journey to the Holy land’, by Amir Ahmad Alawi: Translated and introduction by Mushirul Hasan and Rakhshanda Jalil, Oxford University Press, India, is available for further study).