Muhammad Asif Khan

Muhammad Asif Khan (1929-2000): Perhaps the best research scholar of the Punjabi language and literature, well versed in Hindi, Sanskrit, Pushto, Balochi, Sindhi, and even Japanese, Muhamamd Asif Khan did more serious research work during his lifetime than would be possible to produce by a well-endowed large institution or a university department.

He did manage a so-called institution, Punjabi Adabi Board, single-handedly, for the last 18 years of his life. Punjabi Adabi Board received a meagre government grant that was not enough to rent a proper office or hire a peon to assist him. Yet, this essentially one-man institution published more than 200 books, including edited and corrected versions of almost all classical poets with Muhammad Asif Khan’s thoroughly researched introductions that are the finest examples of scholarly work in Punjabi. He penned more than 100 research articles that raised the bar for such academic scholarship in Punjabi for a long time to come.

A huqqa, an occasional cup of tea that he made himself, an inquisitive mind and a burning desire to serve his language was all that he needed to work tirelessly for more than 50 years to provide a deeper understanding of Punjabi literature.


1. Nik Suk
2. Hor Nik Suk
3. Punjabi Boli Da Pachokar
4. Mudhli Lafzali, 1976
5. Kan Lekha (on the roots of Punjabi words), with Tanveer Bukhari, 1984
6. Ajoki Kahani, 1962