A great patriot - Dr A Q Khan - Sunday, February 27, 2011

Source : http://thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=33373&Cat=9

For many years I was a member of the board of governors of Hamdard University in Karachi. I was personally invited to join this excellent educational institution by the late (shaheed) Hakim Mohammad Said. This association lasted for many years and only came to an abrupt end when Gen Musharraf, behaving like a tail-wagging poodle to President Bush in order to gain US sympathy, and legitimacy for his illegal rule, placed me under house arrest.

It was always a pleasure to attend the meetings at Madinat-ul-Hikmah, a beautiful campus, and to see beautiful buildings, flowerbeds, green lawns and many fruit trees. I was also pleasantly surprised to find a site marked for the graves of the last Moghul Emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar and his wife and daughter. Hakim Sahib had always hoped that the Pakistani government would be able to bring back the remains of the royal family from Rangoon, where they were incarcerated by the British and where they died and are buried.

Probably in the early 90s, a dear old friend of mine, Air Vice Marshal Abbas Mirza, was appointed ambassador to Burma (Mayanmar). He once wrote to me that the tomb of Bahadar Shah Zafar and structures related to it were in bad shape and needed repair and renovation. I asked him to send me the estimated cost. It came to about $21,000. I approach some of my friends who donated $25,000, which I sent to Air Vice Marshal Mirza. He promptly had all the work done, of which he sent me photographs—it was a job well done. That Hakim Sahib had reserved a place for Zafar and his family’s reburial showed his great love and respect for the last Moghul Emperor and our renowned ancestors.

I have the honour of having been a good and close friend of Hakim Sahib. He used to come to Rawalpindi regularly to see patients there and to look after his social activities. He always made it a point to ask another of my dear friends and colleagues, Prof M D Shami, to join him and see me. I could never entertain him as, whenever he came to visit me, he was always fasting. My friendship with Prof. Shami is decades old—as Fellows of the Pakistan Academy of Sciences (PAS) and the Islamic Academy of Sciences, and then while I was president of PAS and Dr Shami was secretary general for a record period of six years. Before that, Dr Shami himself had been president of PAS. Presently he is vice president of the Islamic Academy of Sciences.

I decided to write this column about Hakim Sahib because during my last visit to Madinat-ul-Hikmah (the Hamdard University campus) I was shown a section in the administrative building solely dedicated to him. It was very nicely arranged and showed various aspects of his life, activities, clothing, shoes, etc, even those he was wearing when he was brutally assassinated in Karachi on 17th Oct 1998, while on the way to his Dawakhana.

Hakim Sahib was born in Delhi on Jan 9, 1920. He was the son of the famous Hakim Abdul Majeed, founder of Hamdard Dawakhana in Delhi. He received his basic education in Eastern medicines at the Ayurvedic and Unani Medical College in Delhi in 1940. Hakim Sahib migrated to Pakistan in 1948, established his Dawakhana and started manufacturing herbal medicines. He turned it into a Waqf (endowment) in 1953 and never looked back. Today, Hamdard is one of the largest manufacturers of herbal medicines in Pakistan.

Hakim Sahib was advisor to Gen Ziaul Haq (1979-1982) and in 1993 was governor of Sindh. He was also a recipient of many national and international awards, including the highest civil award of Pakistan, Nishan-e-Imtiaz.

In the words of Ms Lily Anne D’Silva and Mr Syed Mohammed Yaqub of Idara-e-Said, Hakim Sahib was a man of vision and was endowed with many virtues. His was a multifaceted personality—a physician, a prolific writer (author of more than 200 books), editor of journals, a bibliophile, a top-class organiser, an idealist, an innovator, an educationist and, above all, a great patriot. He made invaluable contributions in the field of health, science, education and culture.

The most important and invaluable accomplishment of his life, and the greatest gift to the people of Pakistan, is Madinat-ul-Hikmah in the suburbs of Karachi. It is spread over more than 300 acres. This city of education, science and culture encompasses many educational institutions such as the Hamdard Public School, the Hamdard Village School and Vocational Centre and the famous state-of-the-art Hamdard University. Colleges, institutes and departments affiliated with the University include the Hamdard Al-Majeed College of Eastern Medicine, the Hamdard College of Medicine and Dentistry, the Dr Hafiz Mohammad Ilyas Institute of Pharmacology and Herbal Sciences, the Hamdard Institute of Education and Social Sciences, the Hamdard Institute of Management Sciences, the Hamdard Institute of Information Technology, the Hamdard School of Law and the Faculty of Engineering Science and Technology. Also, a constituent part of Madinat-ul-Hikmah is the Bait-ul-Hikmah, one of the finest and best-stocked libraries in Pakistan for scholars and researchers. Its beautiful interior, wood-carving and arches are worth seeing.

Hamdard University has campuses in Faisalabad, Lahore and Islamabad. The total number of students—both boys and girls—is approximately 7,000. They are currently enrolled in undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate programmes while the faculty is more than 550—an excellent faculty/student ratio. At the moment the chancellor of Hamdard University is my respected dear friend and noted senior lawyer, Sen S M Zafar. The vice chancellor is also a dear friend of long standing and a very competent engineer, Prof. Nasim Ahmad Khan. After Hakim Sahib’s death, his only daughter, Ms Sadia Rashid, who is like a sister to me, became the president of the Hamdard Foundation. She is a very knowledgeable and competent lady and is keeping the torch of knowledge burning, this with the help of her very able lawyer husband, Barrister Rashid Munir Ahmed, and their two daughters. They always attend th meetings of the board of governors and lend a helping hand.

There are three personalities in my life for whom I had the greatest respect—Mr Ghulam Ishaq Khan, Mr Agha Hasan Abedi and Shaheed Hakim Mohammad Saeed. They were all great patriots and always had the interests of Pakistan at heart. I knew them all quite well and if we had a few more people like them, Pakistan would be a different country. There are some others, Abdus Sattar Edhi for example, who are also doing highly commendable work.

Before concluding, I would like to quote Hakim Sahib’s vision in his own words: “It has been my endeavour to prepare Pakistani youth for the challenges of tomorrow. I would like to see the youth studying at our campuses to develop the qualities of devotion, love, determination and service to mankind.» Hakim Sahib’s dream was fulfilled during his lifetime.

Email: ali4drkhan@gmail.com

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