The preparation of this biography was assigned to me by the Zakir Husain Memorial Committee at the suggestion of Dr V. K. R. Rao, who was then Minister of Education. I learnt from Dr Zakir Husain's son-in-law, Khurshid Alam Khan, that he had himself hoped, even expected me to write it. I have taken more time over it than was proper, if the book was to have what is called a topical interest. It may have been written more competently by someone else, who was better equipped or could devote more time to it. Now I can only say that I am deeply conscious of the honor that has been conferred on me, and have done my best to prove not entirely unworthy of my task.
I do not make any claim to have been closer than others to Dr Zakir Husain. He accused me quite often of trying to avoid him, and he was not wrong. His standard of conversation was so high, his interest even in the trivial so amazingly lively, his per ception of the significant so deep that I seldom felt entirely at home in his company. But the common task which brought us together also kept us together, and he could depend on me because I was willing to carry my load of teaching, administrative work and writing with full recognition of the fact that I was not to prescribe the nature or the weight of this load. I never asked him for anything except work that I could do, and that, for me, was companionship enough.
I confess that I have been rather harsh in applying my criterion of relevance. Contemporary events have been referred to only where they affected the course of Dr Zakir Husain's life and activities, and I have omitted all his speeches except those which have biographical significance.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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