Arif Mohammed Khan is an Indian politician who was appointed the 22nd Governor of Kerala by the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind on 1 September 2019. He is also a well-known writer and columnist, who has advocated religious reformation, especially in the Muslim community.
Arif Mohammed Khan was born on Sunday, 18 November 1951 (age 71 years; as of 2022) in Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh. Arif Khan completed his schooling at the Jamia Millia School, Delhi, and GS Inter College, Bulandshahr. He attended the Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, to pursue a BA (Hons.) (1972-1973). He completed his Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) at Lucknow University (1974-1977).
Hair Colour: Salt and Pepper
Eye Colour: Black
Arif Mohammed Khan’s family hails from Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh.
Parents & Siblings
Arif Mohammed Khan’s father, Ashfaq Mohammad Khan, was a freedom fighter. Ashfaq Mohammad Khan passed away in 2016 (aged 93). Arif’s brother, Asif Muhammad Khan, is a former Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) who represented the Okhla assembly constituency of Delhi (2013). His brother is a member of the Indian National Congress.
Wife & Children
Arif Khan got married to Sayyada Reshma Arif on 14 October 1977 and has two sons, Mustafa Arif and Kabir Arif. Mustafa Arif is a lawyer, and Kabir Arif is a pilot and pursuing his passion for organic farming in Uttar Pradesh.
— Kerala Governor (@KeralaGovernor) January 26, 2020
Arif Mohammed Khan’s niece, Ariba Khan, is an Indian politician. Ariba Ariba contested the Delhi Municipal Corporation Election (2022) on a Congress ticket and emerged victorious.
Arif Mohammed Khan started his political career as a student leader at the Aligarh Muslim University, Uttar Pradesh. He was the General Secretary of the AMU Students Union during 1972-1973; he was the President of the AMU Students Union during 1973-1974. Arif Khan was part of the Bharatiya Kranti Dal (BKD) party of Chaudhary Charan Singh, which later merged with the Janata Party after the 1977 Uttar Pradesh legislative assembly elections. After leaving BKD, he joined the Rajiv-led Indian National Congress (Indira) and was part of the Congress party from 1980 to 1986. He was the Joint Secretary of the All India Congress Committee (Indira) [A.I.C.C.(I)] during 1978-82. Arif’s career-defining moment came in 1986 when he was the Minister of State in the Rajiv Gandhi cabinet. He was highly critical of the government’s move to bring in the legislation to overturn the Supreme Court’s judgement in the Shah Bano case (differences over the passage of the Muslim Personal Law Bill); Arif was expelled from the Indian National Congress by Rajiv Gandhi after Khan’s stand angered his party and colleagues. He was briefly associated with the Janata Dal party after leaving INC and was given a ticket to contest the Lok Sabha elections, which he won and became a minister in the V P Singh government, after the V P Singh ministry fell, Arif joined the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and became its general secretary. He opposed BSP’s decision to join with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2002 to form the government in Uttar Pradesh and left the party; however, in 2004, he joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and left them three years later in 2007. He later rejoined BJP and has been an advocate of the party ever since.
Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA)
Arif Khan unsuccessfully contested his first legislative assembly election on a ticket of Bharatiya Kranti Dal (BKD) from the Siyana constituency of Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh. Arif was 26 years old when he became a member of the legislative assembly in Uttar Pradesh in 1977. He was made deputy minister in charge of Excise, Prohibition, and Wakf of the Janata Party government, but Arif submitted his resignation after he disagreed with how the government handled the Lucknow riots between Shias and Sunnis in 1977.
Member of Parliament (MP) Lok Sabha
Arif was given a ticket by the Indian National Congress (Indira) in 1980 to contest the Lok Sabha elections; he contested from the Kanpur Lok Sabha constituency in Uttar Pradesh and emerged victorious. Arif Khan was then appointed as the Deputy Minister in charge of Information and Broadcasting in Indira Gandhi’s cabinet. In 1984, Arif, contested from the Bahraich Lok Sabha constituency in Uttar Pradesh and won the election. He was part of the 9th Lok Sabha (1989) as a Janata Dal party candidate representing the Bahraich Lok Sabha constituency and became the Union Minister for Energy and Civil Aviation. Arif Khan was part of the 12th Lok Sabha (1998) representing the Bahraich constituency on a ticket of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). He unsuccessfully contested as a BJP candidate from the Kaiserganj Lok Sabha constituency in 2004.
Governor of Kerala
Arif Mohammed Khan was appointed as the 22nd Governor of Kerala on 1 September 2019.
Arif Mohd Khan on being appointed as Guv of Kerala: It's an opportunity to serve. Fortunate to be born in a country like India which is so vast&rich in diversity. It's a great opportunity for me to know this part of India, which forms boundary of India&is called god's own country pic.twitter.com/LZmF1FRN3Y
— ANI (@ANI) September 1, 2019
Expelled from Congress in Shah Bano Case
Arif Khan was part of the Rajiv Gandhi-led Congress government from 1980 to 1986, he was a Minister of State, holding different portfolios of Energy, Industry and Company Affairs and Home. Arif welcomed the Supreme Court’s judgement in the Bano case in which the divorced husband was ordered to pay alimony to Shah Bano. This ruling was not welcomed by the Muslim clerics; the Rajiv Gandhi government brought in the legislature to overturn the judgement. Arif voiced his concern and resigned from his ministerial role, protesting against the government’s decision. He was expelled from the Indian National Congress following this outburst, but he never changed his stance and stressed that reformations were essential for the Muslim community. He welcomed the Supreme Court’s judgement, declaring the practice of triple talaq as unconstitutional and void, and demanded that the people who practice triple talaq should be jailed for at least three years. These observations did not go well with the pundits and clerics of Muslim communities. The New Indian Express The Indian Express
Raj Bhavan vs Kerala Government
Arif Mohammed Khan was appointed as the 22nd Governor of Kerala in 2019; after the first few months, disagreements between him and the Kerala government became common. Arif Khan has been at loggerheads with the CPIM-led Kerala government since the anti-CAA resolution was passed by the assembly. Arif Khan initially refused to read out the references of the resolution (paragraph 18) passed by the Kerala legislative assembly; he later confirmed that he would read the paragraph only to honour the chief minister’s request to read that paragraph, even though he had differences and reservations over the subject. Arif Khan’s actions were observed as politically motivated by the CPIM, who accused him of functioning and using his power to please the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). Arif Khan questioned and cancelled the appointment of Priya Varghese, the wife of K K Ragesh who was the private secretary to the Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, as an associate professor at Kannur University, Kerala, in 2022. Khan accused the state government of nepotism, and the Kerala High Court found that Priya did not possess sufficient teaching experience as mandated by the University Grants Commission (UGC) norms and ordered a reexamination of her appointment as an associate professor. Malayala Manorama The feud between the governor and the state government intensified when Arif Khan sought the resignation of 11 Vice-Chancellors (VC), citing that the government appointed them against the ruling of the Supreme Court, which had invalidated the appointment of the Kerala Technological University (KTU) Vice-Chancellor after the court found that the University Grants Commission (UGC) regulations were violated in the appointment of the Vice Chancellor. The Kerala government then tabled the University Laws (amendments) Bills in the state assembly to revise the laws related to the governance of state universities and to remove the Governor as the Chancellor of state universities. Later, the LDF-led government passed a bill in the assembly to put an end to the governor’s watchdog role in the administration of universities in the state and to ensure that the state government should have more control over the administration of universities in the state.
Referring to Media Houses as ‘Cadre Media’
Arif Mohammed Khan refused to speak to 2 media outlets during a press meeting at the Raj Bhavan in November 2022. He referred to the two Malayalam media, Kairali News and Media One as “cadre media” and alleged that they organised a campaign against his position as the Kerala Governor. He asked the representatives of these media to walk away or he will leave. Arif’s actions were heavily criticised by the media and the public.
Assets & Properties
- Bank Deposits: Rs. 250,000
- Jewellery: Rs. 15,00,000
- Agricultural Land: Rs. 15,00,000
- Houses: Rs. 20,00,000
- According to Arif Khan, he developed an interest in politics while he was studying at the Aligarh Muslim University, where he was also elected as the student leader.
- He is the author of ‘Text and Context: Quran and Contemporary Challenges,’ published by Rupa Publications; this is a compilation of Arif Mohammed Khan s thought-provoking articles published in various newspapers and magazines.
- Arif Mohammed Khan is against minority appeasement, he opposes minority commissions and advocates for strengthening the National Human Rights Commission, which can take care of anybody and everybody.
- In January 2023, while speaking at a Hindu conclave in Thiruvananthapuram, he said that he didn’t consider ‘Hindu’ as a religious term but as a geographical term. He said,