ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Noble First

Abdus Salam, the founder-director of the Third World Academy of Sciences at Trieste, was the first Indian Muslim Nobel Laureate.

Abdus Salam (1926-96) was the founder-director of the International Centre for Theoretical Physics, at the scenic Italian Alpine town of Trieste. Concerned about the age-old unscientific belief systems prevailing in the Arab-Islamic world, Salam sought to help young scientists from the developing countries of Asia and South America through the Third World Academy of Sciences that he founded at Trieste.

The first Muslim Nobel Laureate was born in the humble village of Rabhwa (meaning “Divine Blessing”) in Punjab in the then undivided India. Ironically, the birthplace of the genius scientist, a son of Indian soil, was also the headquarters of the Ahmadiya sect of Islam. In 1974, the Ahmadiya sect was declared “un-Islamic” by the military dictator, and anti-minority and anti-Ahmadiya violence was unleashed in the Muslim-majority Islamic state. Since Salam was born to Ahmadiya parents, the scientist sage was hounded out of his homeland. He was exiled from Pakistan, and took up teaching at Imperial College, London. The loss to the Indian subcontinent was to prove to be a gain for the West.

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