Arif Mohammad Khan was born in 1951 in Bulandshahr of Uttar Pradesh. He is a former cabinet minister in the union of India who has had several portfolios ranging from energy to civil aviation. A former Congress leader, Arif Khan had walked out of the Rajiv Gandhi government in 1986 over differences in the Shah Bano case. When the Modi government moved to abolish triple talaq and, he asked the Congress to extend support to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
After completion of his education at Jamia Millia School, Delhi, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh and Shia College, Lucknow University, Arif Mohammad Khan who had already started his political career as a student leader, contested the first legislative assembly election from Siyana constituency of Bulandshahar on Bharatiya Kranti Dal party’s banner but was defeated. He became a member of the legislative assembly of UP in 1977 at the age of 26.
Khan joined the Indian National Congress party and was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1980 from Kanpur and 1984 from Bahraich. In 1986, he quit the Indian National Congress due to differences over the passage of Muslim Personal Law Bill which was piloted by Rajiv Gandhi in the Lok Sabha. He was against the triple talaq legislation and resigned because of differences with Rajiv Gandhi on this issue. Arif Mohammed Khan joined the Janata Dal and was re-elected to the Lok Sabha in 1989. During the Janata Dal rule Khan served union Minister of Civil aviation and Energy. He left the Janata Dal to join the Bahujan Samaj Party and again entered the Lok Sabha in 1998 from Bahraich. Khan held ministerial responsibilities from 1984 to 1990. In 2004, he joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha election as a BJP candidate that year from Kaisarganj constituency. Khan quit the BJP in 2007 to remain non partisan.
Mohammad Arif Ahmad has always supported reformation within Muslims. He resigned from position of Minister of state protesting against Rajiv Gandhi Congress Government stand on Shah Bano case in 1986. He defended Supreme Court judgment on Shah Bano case in Parliament. Arif opposed triple talaq and said that it should be punishable with 3 years in jail.
He is actively involved in policy making and Islam reformation. He has written various books and given multiple lectures. He is also associated with various think-tanks.
On Sunday, after President Ram Nath Kovind appointed him as the next Governor of the LDF-ruled Kerala, Arif Khan said, “It’s an opportunity to serve. I am fortunate to be born in a country like India which is so vast and rich in diversity. It is a great opportunity for me to know this part of India, which forms the boundary of India and is called god’s own country.”