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Dr KA Hamied: Scientist, industrialist and patriot

Urdu Scientific society Lucknow organised a seminar in memory of Dr KA Hamied, scientist, industrialist and freedom fighter. The new generation is generally unaware of his contribution to the freedom movement and nation-building.

He was one of the Muslim leaders who opposed the partition of the nation. In this connection he wrote a strongly worded letter to Mahatma Gandhi when he unwillingly surrendered to the decision of Nehru and Patel. Founder of the pharmaceutical company Cipla(Chemical Industrial Pharmaceutical Laboratory), Dr. Hamied was a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi. He established this company at the mahatma's advice who asked him to leave Sabarmati ashram and devote more time and energy to the pharmaceutical industry. 

Gandhiji wanted to show the Britishers that an Indian was capable of manufacturing modern medicine at lower price, and that Indians too were as enterprising as Britishers and other Europeans and Americans. Mahatma Gandhi kept showering his blessing on Dr Hamied and his company Cipla and visited many times its premises along with other stalwarts of Freedom Movement like Pandit Nehru, Maualana Azad, Sardar Patel, Asaf Ali and SC Bose, according to Dr Mansoor Hasan, Dr Hamied’s relative and renowned cardiologist. Dr Hasan is professor emeritus at King George Medical College of Lucknow and president of Urdu Scientific Society. 
During the World War-II Cipla became the leading manufacturer of certain medicines, particularly for Malaria and provided it in the market on very competitive prices. After the war he visited several European countries as the leader of Indian delegation from the pharmaceutical industry. 

Slides of his letters written to Mahatma Gandhi and photos were shown at the seminar. The letters showed how deeply he was involved with the Freedom Movement and how deeply he loved his country. The letter he wrote to the mahatma advising him never to agree to the partition of the country is a historical document which, unfortunately, is not getting due place in the history of our Freedom Movement. He predicted a great tragedy if the country was divided on communal lines. 

Later events showed how prophetic his predictions were. Though his efforts to keep India united failed, he continued to work to protect the national fabric with stalwarts like Maulana Azad, Maulana Hifzur Rahman Seoharwi, NA Sherwani, Abdul Majeed Khwaja and others. He was vehemently opposed to the fragmentation of Indian society on the basis of caste, creed and religion. In 1955 he became the sheriff of Bombay and was one of the founding fathers of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). 

Chief guest of the seminar Dr Akhlaqur Rahman Qidwai, former governor of West Bengal and presently Rajya Sabha member, recalled his association with Dr Hamied. He paid glowing tributes to this great son of India. He recalled his contributions to strengthening the social fabric and solving problems of Aligarh Muslim University and Jamia Millia. 

Mayor of Lucknow and renowned surgeon Dr SC Rai recollected his meetings and association with Dr Hamied who gave Lucknow two great centres of scientific research, Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI) and Industrial Toxicology Research Centre (ITRC). Dr Hamied, who was born in 1898 in a noble family of Aligarh, died in 1973 at the age of 75. 

His life is to be remembered as a role model for youngsters. His love for the country and science is a model for those who want to develop a scientific temper. His two sonsYusuf Hamied and Mukku Hamied have carried forward the pharmaceutical industry in India.

¯ Obaid Nasir

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