Ayesha Jalal

Ayesha Jalal (Punjabi, Urdu: عائشہ جلال‎) is a Pakistani-American historian who serves as the Mary Richardson Professor of History at Tufts University, and was the recipient of the 1998 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship.[1][2] Ayesha is married to Indian historian and politician Sugata Bose. [3]

Ayesha Jalal
Born1956 (age 64–65)
NationalityPakistani, American
Alma materWellesley College
Trinity College, Cambridge
Spouse(s)Sugata Bose
AwardsMacArthur Fellows Program, Sitara-i-Imtiaz
Scientific career
FieldsHistory and Sociology
InstitutionsUniversity of Wisconsin–Madison
Columbia University
Lahore University of Management Sciences
Tufts University
Harvard University


Born in Lahore in 1956,[4] Ayesha Jalal studied at Wellesley College before moving to Trinity College, Cambridge[1][4] where she received her doctorate in 1983.[4] She stayed at Cambridge until 1987, working as a fellow of Trinity College and later as a Leverhulme Fellow. She moved to Washington, D.C. in 1985, to work as a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center and later as Academy Scholar at the Harvard University's Academy for International and Area Studies. In 1999, she joined Tufts University as a tenured professor.[5][6][7][8]

The bulk of her work deals with the creation of Muslim identities in modern South Asia.[9]

Early lifeEdit

Ayesha Jalal was born in Lahore, Pakistan in 1956 to Hamid Jalal, a senior Pakistani civil servant and Zakia Jalal, who was Saadat Hasan Manto's wife Safia's sister. Therefore, she is related to the renowned Urdu fiction writer Saadat Hasan Manto.[4][9] She came to New York City at the age of 14 when her father was posted at the Pakistan Mission to the United Nations.

She obtained her BA, majoring in History and Political Science, from Wellesley College, USA, and her doctorate in history from Trinity College at University of Cambridge, where she wrote her Ph.D. dissertation: 'Jinnah, the Muslim League and the Demand for Pakistan'.[4]


Ayesha Jalal has been Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge (1980–84), Leverhulme Fellow at the Center of South Asian Studies, Cambridge (1984–87), Fellow of the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington, DC (1985–86) and Academy Scholar at Harvard University's Academy for International and Area Studies (1988–90). She has taught at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Tufts University, Columbia University, Harvard University and Lahore University of Management Sciences.[5]

Ayesha Jalal is among the most prominent American academics who write on the history of South Asia.[9] In her book, The Sole Spokesman (Cambridge University Press, 1985 and 1994), Jalal gives her perspective of what happened in the years between the 1937 elections in British India and the Partition of the Indian subcontinent, identifying the factors which led to the creation of Pakistan and provides new insights into the nature of the British transfer of power in India. In particular, she focuses on the role of Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the leader of All-India Muslim League, and the main proponent of the Two Nation Theory on which the demand for Pakistan was based. Jinnah claimed to be the sole spokesman of all the Indian Muslims, not only in provinces where they were in a majority but also in the provinces where they were in a minority. Yet given the political geography of the subcontinent, it was clear that there would always be as many Muslims outside a specifically Muslim state as inside it. This book investigates how Jinnah proposed to resolve the contradiction between assertions of a "separate Muslim nation" and the need for a strategy which could safeguard the interests of all Indian Muslims. It does so by identifying Jinnah's real political aims, the reasons why he was reluctant to bring them into the open, and his success or failure in achieving them.[9]


A leading historian of Pakistan as well as South Asia, Ayesha Jalal has received numerous awards and acknowledgements:


A major newspaper of India calls her, "...one of Pakistan's most acclaimed historians..."[9] An important Pakistani newspaper states, "...Jalal is revered globally as a historian of meticulous methods."[1]

On April 16, 2016, Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistani ambassador to the UN, said that she was the “the greatest historian Pakistan has produced.”


  • Jalal, Ayesha (1990). The state of martial rule: the origins of Pakistan's political economy of defence. Cambridge England New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521051842.[4]
  • Jalal, Ayesha (1994). The sole spokesman: Jinnah, the Muslim League, and the demand for Pakistan. Cambridge Cambridgeshire New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521458504. First published 1985.[1][9][4]
  • Jalal, Ayesha (1995). Democracy and authoritarianism in South Asia: a comparative and historical perspective. Lahore, Pakistan: Sang-e-Meel Publications. ISBN 9789693506297.[9][4]
  • Jalal, Ayesha; Bose, Sugata (1997). Nationalism, democracy, and development: state and politics in India. Delhi New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195639445.
  • Jalal, Ayesha (2000). Self and sovereignty individual and community in South Asian Islam since 1850. New York: Routledge. ISBN 9780415220774.
  • Jalal, Ayesha (2008). Partisans of Allah: Jihad in South Asia. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674047365.[9][6]
  • Jalal, Ayesha; Bose, Sugata (2011). Modern South Asia: history, culture, political economy (3rd ed.). London New York: Routledge. ISBN 9780415779432.[9][4]
  • Jalal, Ayesha (2013). The pity of partition: Manto's life, times, and work across the India-Pakistan divide. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691153629.[1]
  • Jalal, Ayesha (2014). The struggle for Pakistan: a Muslim homeland and global politics. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674052895.[7]

Chapters in booksEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Faiza Rahman (20 April 2014). "Ayesha Jalal: Borderline politics". The Express Tribune (newspaper). Retrieved 8 August 2019.
  2. ^ Hasan Zaidi (2 July 2017). "Interview: "There Was Nothing 'Inevitable' About The July 1977 Coup" - Dr Ayesha Jalal". Dawn (newspaper). Retrieved 9 August 2019.
  3. ^ https://reviewit.pk/indo-pak-weddings/
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Ayesha Jalal — MacArthur Foundation". MacArthur Foundation website. 1 July 1998. Retrieved 9 August 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Department of History - Tufts University". ase.tufts.edu website. Retrieved 8 August 2019.
  6. ^ a b "Ayesha Jalal - Nonresident Senior Fellow, South Asia Center". Atlantic Council website. Retrieved 9 August 2019.
  7. ^ a b Chishty-Mujahid, Nadya (1 February 2015). "COVER STORY: The Struggle for Pakistan by Ayesha Jalal". Dawn (newspaper). Retrieved 9 August 2019.
  8. ^ Chotiner, Isaac (26 December 2014). "Pakistan: The Land of the Pure". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 9 August 2019.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i Book Review (18 October 2016). "Pakistan needs to breed more historians: Ayesha Jalal". The Hindu (newspaper). Retrieved 8 August 2019.

External linksEdit