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Asaf Ali

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Preceded by
V. P. Menon


Succeeded by
V. P. Menon

Preceded by
Kailash Nath Katju

Succeeded by
Fazal Ali

Asaf Ali

Asaf Ali

1 April 1953(1953-04-01) (aged 64) Bern, Switzerland

Freedom fighter aruna asaf ali s birth anniversary

Asaf Ali (11 May 1888 – 1 April 1953) was an Indian independence fighter and noted Indian lawyer. He was the first ambassador from India to the United States. He also worked as the Governor of Odisha.


Asaf Ali Arunapishi A Personal Look at the Life of Aruna Asaf Ali The Quint


Asaf Ali was educated at St. Stephen's College, Delhi. He was called to bar from Lincoln's Inn in England.

Indian National Movement

In 1914, the British attack on the Ottoman Empire had a large effect on the Indian Muslim community. Asaf Ali supported the Turkish side and resigned from the Privy Council. He saw this as an act of non-cooperation and returned to India in December 1914. Upon his return to India, Asaf Ali became heavily involved in the nationalist movement.

He was elected to the Central Legislative Assembly in 1935 as a member of the Muslim Nationalist Party. He was re-elected as a Congress candidate against a Muslim League candidate and was chosen as deputy leader.

The last of several spells of imprisonment which Asaf Ali courted during the freedom movement was in the wake of the 'Quit India' resolution adopted by the All India Congress Committee in August 1942. He was detained at Ahmednagar Fort jail along with Jawaharlal Nehru and other members of the Congress Working Committee.

Post 1946

He was in charge of the Railways and Transport in the Interim Government of India headed by Jawaharlal Nehru from 2 September 1946. He served as the first ambassador of India to the USA from February 1947 to mid-April, 194

Asaf Ali rose to become one of the most respected lawyers in the country. He defended Shaheed Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt as a lawyer, after they threw a bomb in the Central Legislative Assembly on 8 April 1929, during the passage of a controversial ordinance.

In 1945, Ali came to be the convener of the INA defence team established by the Congress for the defense of the officers of the Indian National Army charged with treason later in November 1945.

Personal life

In 1928, he married Aruna Ganguli, a marriage that raised eyebrows on the grounds of religion (Asaf Ali was a Muslim while Aruna was a Hindu) and age difference (Aruna was 21 years junior to him). She is widely remembered for hoisting the Indian National Congress flag at the Gowalia Tank maidan in Bombay during the Quit India Movement, 1942.

Death and legacy

He died in office in Bern, while serving as India's ambassador to Switzerland. In 1989, India Post brought out a stamp in his honor. His wife Aruna Asaf Ali was honored with India's highest civilian award- Bharat Ratna.


Asaf Ali Wikipedia

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