Salim Ali (Pakshi Rajan) Age, Death, Family, Biography & More

Salim Ali

Full NameSálim Moizuddin Abdul Ali
TitleBirdman of India
Known For'Pakshi Rajan' played by Akshay Kumar in the film '2.0' (2018)
Profession(s)Ornithologist, Natural Historian
Personal Life
Date of Birth12 November 1896
BirthplaceBombay, (now, Mumbai) Bombay Presidency, British India
Date of Death20 June 1987
Place of DeathBombay, (now, Mumbai) Maharashtra, India
Age (at the time of death) 90 Years
Death CauseCancer
HometownMumbai, Maharashtra, India
SchoolZenana Bible and Medical Mission Girls High School, Girgaum, Bombay Presidency, British India
College/University• St. Xavier's College, University of Bombay, India
• Davar's College, Mumbai
Educational Qualification• A Degree in Zoology
• A Degree in Commercial laws
CasteSulaimani Bohra
HobbiesRiding Motorcycles
Awards/Honours1958: Padma Bhushan
1975: J. Paul Getty Award for Conservation Leadership
1976: Padma Vibhushan
Salim Ali was awarded Padma Bhushan in 1958
Famous Books1941: The Book of Indian Birds
1964: Handbook of the Birds of India and Pakistan (co-written by an American Ornithologist, Dillon Ripley)
1967: Common Birds (co-authored by his niece Laeeq Futehally)
1985: The Fall of a Sparrow (Autobiography)
Autobiography of Salim Ali
Relationships & More
Marital Status (At the time of Death)Widower
Marriage DateYear- December 1918
ChildrenNot Known
ParentsFather- Moizuddin
Mother- Zeenat-un-nissa
Siblings8 siblings
Favourite Things
Favourite Motorcycle(s)Sunbeam, Harley-Davidsons, Douglas

Salim Ali image

Some Lesser Known Facts About Salim Ali

  • Salim was the youngest child of his parents. When he was only a year old, his father died and after some years, his mother also died after which, he was raised by his paternal and maternal uncle.
  • In his childhood, he was taught the Quran, an Islamic Holy book, however, later, when he was adult, he denounced it; meaningless and hypocritical practices of prayer.
  • When he was 10 years old, he shot a bird with his toy air gun and showed that bird to his uncle, Amiruddin Tyabji. They took that bird to the secretary of Bombay Natural History Society, W. S. Millard where Millard inspired him to study Ornithology.
  • Ali received his primary education with his two sisters in Zenana Bible and Medical Mission Girls High School and after that, he went to Bombay and when he turned 13, he suffered a chronic headache. [1]Real Bharat
  • In 1913, he completed his High School from the University of Bombay.
  • Initially, he wanted to study the books related to hunting, however, later, he made up his mind in sports-shooting because shooting competitions were held in his neighbourhood regularly.
  • Having completed his course at the University of Mumbai, Ali went to Germany to further study where he was trained under renowned ornithologist, Stresemann, whom Ali considered his guru.
  • He was a playmate of Iskander Mirza, who was his distant cousin, After the partition of India, Iskander Mirza became the first President of Pakistan.
  • Ali worked together with J. C. Hopwood and Berthold Ribbentrop in the Forest Service of Burma (Now, Myanmar).

    Salim Ali in Burma

    Salim Ali in Burma

  • In 1917, he returned to India from and continued his further education.
  • Because he lacked an Ornithologist degree from a University, he couldn’t manage to get a job as an Ornithologist in the Zoological Survey of India.
  • Ali studied the reproduction of Baya weaver birds and discovered its sequential multilateral reproduction system.
  • In 1939, his wife died, causing him to become very depressed. Seeing his position on this, his brother-in-law took Ali with him.
  • Ali received the Honorary Doctorate from Aligarh Muslim University in 1958, from Delhi University in 1973 and from Andhra University in 1978.
  • In the 1960s, when there was a consideration in the Indian Parliament over selecting National Bird of India. Ali wanted the Great Indian Bustard to be selected as the National bird, but Indian Peafowl was picked.

    Ali wanted Great Indian Bustard as the national bird

    Ali wanted Great Indian Bustard as the national bird

  • In 1967, he became the first non-British citizen to have been given the Gold Medal of the British Ornithologists’ Union. The same year, he won the J. Paul Getty Wildlife Conservation Prize consisting of a sum of $100,000.
  • Ali was bestowed upon the John C. Phillips memorial medal of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources in 1969.
  • In 1973, he received the Pavlovsky Centenary Memorial Medal from the USSR Academy of Medical Sciences, and the same year, Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, appointed him as Commander of the Netherlands Order of the Golden Ark.
  • In 1985, he was nominated to the upper house of the Indian Parliament, Rajya Sabha.
  • In the late 1980s, he worked for the conservation of birds and headed a BNHS (Bombay Natural History Society) project to reduce bird killings in India.
  • Ali died in 1987 after a long battle with the prostate cancer.
  • The Government of India established the Sálim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON) in his honour in 1990.
  • In 1996, the Government of India issued postal stamps in his honour.

    Salim Ali on postal stamp

    Salim Ali on a postal stamp

  • In 2018, Indian filmmaker S. Shankar directed a film 2.0, starring Akshay Kumar and Rajinikanth. In the film, the role of Akshay Kumar is inspired by Salim Ali.

    Akshay Kumar in the role of Salim Ali

    Akshay Kumar in the role of Salim Ali

  • Click Here to view the video of Salim Ali‘s biography.