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the-south-asian Life & Times               July - September 2010

 

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Saiyid Hamid

- A Tireless Educationist

Extraordinary energy and tireless commitment epitomize the 90-year-old educationist and former bureaucrat Saiyid Hamid. His twin obsessions remain education and communal harmony, and his first love hockey!

After retiring from a long and distinguished career in the Indian Administrative Service, he was appointed Vice Chancellor of his alma mater Aligarh Muslim University, and later succeeded Hakeem Sahib as the Chancellor of Hamdard University in Delhi. In 2005, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh appointed him Member of the high level Sachar Committee, to prepare a report on the social, economic and educational status of the Muslim community of India.

These are merely the headlines the story becomes more fascinating especially as narrated by him in first person. Born in 1920, Saiyid Hamid saw, as a student, the highly charged pre-Independence era, the promise of a free India. As a civil servant he served in several districts of United Provinces, later Uttar Pradesh, and learnt the British traditions of governance. It has been a journey through time, both tumultuous and satisfying.

Ram Prasad and Sulaiman are two fictional characters he created as a nightly story-telling ritual solely for his children, who followed the fortunes of the two friends from two different communities for a long, long time. The story carried on the children grew up and moved out but Ram Prasad and Sulaiman remained within Saiyid Hamid.

Read the entire article in the print edition of The South Asian Life & Times

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