Dr Kalim Siddiqui was a writer for all his adult life. He became involved in journalism in Karachi in the late 1940s, before travelling to London in 1954. In London he also worked as a journalist, in both the mainstream press and the Muslim community press. He also became involved in Muslim community affairs through various organizations. In the 1960s he decided to return to education in order to make up for the deficiencies of his education in India and Pakistan, which had been disrupted by political developments. Throughout this period, he was interested in both Pakistani affairs, and Islamic ones. Unfortunately relatively few of his writings survive from this time, although one example is given below.
In academia, he studied political science and international relations, and when the time came to undertake postgraduate research, he decided to do a PhD on Pakistani political development, under the supervision of John W. Burton, a prominent International Relations theorist who was then Reader in International Relations at University College, London. In 1969-1970, he traveled to Pakistan for fieldwork for this research.
He was there at a crucial time in Pakistani politics, in the run up to the civil war that resulted in the break-up of Pakistan and the secession of Bangladesh. While there he both worked on his research and filed stories on breaking events for the Guardian newspaper and other publications. This was a traumatic time for Pakistanis and their friends around the world, and he was no exception. After his return to London, it was from discussions on the failure of Pakistan that emerged the group that was to become the Preparatory Committee of the Muslim Institute a few years later.
A selection of his writings during this period are given below:
- Eid Milad un-Nabi Address on the Seerah (1958)
This is the text of an speech that Dr Kalim Siddiqui gave at the Islamic Cultural Centre, London, in October 1958. It confirms his life-long interest in the Seerah and its socio-political elements. He was planning research into the political dimensions of the Seerah at the time of his death nearly 40 years later. Two versions are available, the original typescript and, because this is not very clear, a re-typed version.
- Writings on Pakistan discussed by the PRPI in 1971-72
The discussions that led to the establishment of the Muslim Institute were originally focused on the failure and break-up of Pakistan. In 1971-72, the initial idea that emerged was to establish a Pakistan Research and Planning Institute (PRPI). A number of these meetings were based on writings by Dr Kalim. These writings included:
- The Road to Development in Pakistan (PRPI, 1971)
- Pakistan: Experiment in Nation Building (PRPI, May 1972)
- Pakistan’s external environment (PRPI-6, June 1972)
- After 1971: Towards a New Destiny (PRPI-8, August 1972)
This final paper is particularly interesting for reflecting Dr Kalim’s interest in wider Muslim issues than just Pakistan, and including several themes that would crop up again, including anti-sectarianism, criticism of nationalist Islamic movements, and the destructive role of the West contemporaneously as well and historically.
- Conflict, Crisis and War in Pakistan (1972)
This is a full-length analysis of the reasons for the break-up of Pakistan that Dr Kalim Siddiqui wrote in 1971-72, and which was published by Macmillan in 1972. In it he focuses on the failures of the leaders of Pakistan, and the reasons for those failures, dating back to the colonial period, rather than blaming external forces.
- Functions of International Conflict: A Socio-economic Study of Pakistan (1975)
This book, published by the Royal Book Company in Karachi in 1975, was based on Dr Kalim’s PhD thesis, for which he had been awarded his doctorate by University College, London, in 1971.