Hakeem Abdul Hameed Remembered for His Services to Medicine and Education in India

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A memorial lecture on Hakeem Abdul Hameed was held at Ghalib Academy in New Delhi. — Photo: Caravan Daily

Abdul Bari Masoud | Caravan Daily

NEW DELHI — Rich tributes were paid to Hakeem Abdul Hameed (1908 – 1999), who founded more than a dozen institutions including Hamdard University with his own resources, on his birth anniversary. Hakeem sahib was a great philanthropist, thinker, visionary and to top it all, he was an institution himself whose services to the nation are unparalleled in the Independent India

The Ghalib Academy, an educational and cultural institution of national importance, which was also founded by Hakeem sahib, organised a memorial lecture on Hakeem Abdul Hameed at its auditorium on Sunday evening.

Delivering the lecture on ‘Hakeem sahib: His Services to Medicine and Education’, Dr Ghazala Javed, a Research Officer at Central Council for Research in Unani Medicine (CCRUM) and alumnus of Jamia Hamdard, said Hakeem sahib’s services in the promotion of Unani medicine and education were matchless. She noted that all the institutions he founded were built without any help from any individual or the government.

Highlighting his achievements and contributions, Dr Ghazala said Hakeem sahib’s life was full of struggles. His father, Hakim Abdul Majeed, died in 1922 when he was just 13. At this tender age he shouldered the responsibility of carrying forward his father’s mission.

His mother played a significant role in shaping the life of Hakeem sahib. She supported him in running a small Unani clinic set up in 1905 by his father in Hauz Qazi area of New Delhi and named it “Hamdard” which literally means a sympathiser and the one who shares pains and problems.

Tracing history, Dr Ghazala said the first phase of Hakeem sahib’s life was from 1922 to 1947. During this period he established himself as a renowned Unani physician of the country. He was inclined towards education and research since childhood. Transforming the Unani system of medicine into a scientific discipline, she said was his extraordinary achievement.

Hakeem sahib set up several institutions funded by Hamdard Wakf Laboratories and made Hamdard a tibbi (related to Unani system of medicine) pharmacy.  With classical formulations, patent and proprietary, Hamdard became an international brand and its overseas business today spans over key countries like the US, Canada, Nepal, Australia, Mauritius, Kenya, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Japan, Singapore and New Zealand.

Speaking on the occasion, Jamia Hamdard vice-chancellor, Prof (Dr) Syed Ehtesham Hasnain, paid glowing tributes to Hakeem Sahib saying he was a great visionary and philosopher. He said Jamia Hamdard stands out among all the institutions run by religious minority communities and pointed out that with the strength of 9,000 students it is among top ten institutions of the country.

Terming simplicity as a trademark of Hakeem sahib’s personality, Dr Hasnain said when he went to see him for the first time he found him in a lungi, a simple unstitched piece of cloth.

Aqil Ahmad, secretary of the Ghalib Academy, said Hakeem sahib was against taking any monetary benefits from the government or any other organisation. It was Hakeem Sahib‘s considered view that the government’s doles can curtail the autonomy of an institution. Throughout his life he neither sought for government aid nor did he ever go for crowd funding. He founded the Ghalib Academy in 1969.

In his presidential remarks, noted Urdu critique and chairman of the Ghalib Academy governing council, Prof Shamim Hanfi highlighted the human qualities of Hakim sahib saying he used to speak softly and measured his words well before speaking.  On his achievements, Prof Hanfi said Hakeem sahib was an institution in himself and a great human being.

It is worth mention here that the founder of the Hamdard had donned many hats in is lifetime. He was chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University before becoming the founder chancellor of Jamia Hamdard and founder and chief trustee of Hamdard Laboratories.

In 1991, the government of India conferred Padma Bhushan, conferred the country’s third highest civilian award, on Hakeem Abdul Hamid. The nation in general and the Muslim community in particular will remember the selfless services of Hakeem sahib for long time to come.

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