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Rich tributes paid to Saiyid Hamid

New Delhi: Thinker, educationist, visionary, reformist, leader, activist, committed member of the Muslim community and one who unfailingly performed his duties towards the nation and community, including his religious obligations. With these words, participants paid their tribute to Saiyid Hamid, former Vice-Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University and Chancellor of Jamia Hamdard, who died here on 29 December.

The seminar on the life and services of Hamid Sahab, as he was fondly called, was organized by India Islamic Cultural Centre (IICC) on 4 January.

Saiyid Hamid, one of the prominent Muslim figures of modern India, who all his life  strove and stood for social reform and educational uplift of Muslims, will always be remembered for his efforts to create among Muslims and others awareness about education, health and hygiene and for his services to get Muslim youth selected in the administrative services.

Worried about the low presence of Muslims in administrative services, Saiyid Hamid encouraged educated Muslim youth to appear in competitive examinations and also tried to strengthen the Hamdard Study Circle, one of the pioneering Civil Services Study centres established for this purpose.

Hamid, who is survived by two sons and a daughter, founded and headed many educational institutions and was an important member of the Sachar Committee.

During an academic programme, Saiyid Hamid spoke about introducing modern subjects in madrasas but vehemently opposed those who opposed provision of religious education to school and college-going Muslim students.

Sirajuddin Qureshi, President of IICC, said that in the field of education Saiyid Hamid occupied prominence among his contemporaries. His death is a wound which would not heal soon. He stands out alone for the great services he did during his life.

Justice Rajinder Sachar said that the sacrifices made by Saiyid Hamid were way beyond others. When retired from government service, he was offered to be India's ambassador to Saudi Arabia which he declined. He recalled that it was not the government but Saiyid Hamid who had approached him to head the Committee that prepared the historic report about the social, economic and educational status of Muslims in India.

Senior journalist Kuldip Nayar said that one of the biggest achievements of Saiyid Hamid was taking out education caravans in early 1990s. The nationwide campaign did not look very impressive then, but history cannot discount its continuing impact on minorities, especially Muslims of the north India.

Paying glowing tributes to Hamid Sahab, Shaz Hamid summed up the principles which he thought his grandfather lived by. These among others included institution-building, pursuit of excellence, preference of collective good to individual advancement, tolerance, self-introspection and avoidance to be swept away by emotions.

Prof. Talat Ahmad, VC of Jamia Millia Islamia, Advocate Mushtaq Ahmad Alig and S Zafar Ali also spoke on the occasion.

It maybe noted that Saiyid Hamid brought out an English magazine "Nation and the World", credited for its thoughtful editorials and balanced opinions and analyses. He desired to bring out an English daily but could not do so for want of resources.

Saiyid Hamid remained active till the last days of his life and tried to bring different communities together through peace caravans and intellectual discourses. He has left innumerable legacies continuing which would be the real tribute to him. This was one of dozens of such programmes held across the country in which rich tributes were paid to Saiyid Hamid     

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 January 2015 on page no. 13

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