Syed Ahmed Quadri (Urdu: سيد احمد قادري ) was an administrator, educationist, and senior officer in the government of the Nizam of Hyderabad and later on in the government of India and the UNO.
Syed Ahmed Quadri was born in Tekmal in 1908. He was the son of the sufi Syed Mahmood Pasha Quadri and Amatul Fatima Shahzadi Begum.
His lineage traces back to the fourth Caliph Ali ibn Abi Talib. He was also a direct descendent of the famous Sufi Shaykh Abdul Qadir Gilani (1077–1166) and his great grandfather was the sufi shaykh of Tekmal Sayyid Sahib Husayni (1805–1880). Thus, he was brought up in a sufi tradition.
His ancestors migrated from Baghdad first to Allahabad in north India, and then shifted south to Tekmal adopting this town as their permanent native place.
Early life and educationSyed Ahmed was barely ten years old when his parents died. His eldest sister Ghousia Begum and her husband Mr. Syed Abdul Quader Hussaini, ex-Collector Gulbarga became his immediate guardians henceforth and he spent his youth at their home.
Immediately after his schooling, he pursued higher education in science at Aligarh Muslim University and Osmania University, Hyderabad. With an excellent educational record, he was sent then to England for further higher studies, where he received B.Sc.(Hons) degree in Physics from Manchester University in 1933.
In university sportsQuadri also enjoyed some success in sports. He was captain of the hockey team, a member of the Football Team, and swimming champion of Aligarh Muslim University during 1924-1929. He held records in long distance swimming and represented the Muslim contingent in a quadrangular All India Water Polo Championship between Muslims, Christians, Hindus and Others (including Parsis).
He won 7 Gold Medals as a part of the Aligarh Muslim University hockey and football teams in All India Championships.
He was also the Tennis Blue of Manchester University in 1933. Thereafter, he was presented with the honour of "BLUE" of all English Universities in 1933.
Career in educationImmediately on his return from England in 1933, he opted to go into the field of education. He was appointed a Lecturer in Physics at Osmania University.
Syed Ahmed Quadri was more than six feet tall. WThe Osmania University entrusted him with additional responsibilities as Warden of "A" Hostel and President of University Games. He was successful in this position as he commanded discipline and trained a number of good sportsmen at the university. Both of his own sons eventually gained national prominence in cricket and tennis.
The credit of introducing paramilitary training to the students at Osmania University goes to Mr. Quadri alone. Once the program was approved, he was appointed as the first officer commanding of University Training Corps. After the independence of India in 1947, the Osmania University Training Corps model was adopted all over India at all colleges and universities under the name of National Cadet Corps or NCC in 1948.
In 1939, at the break of World War, his services were acquired as an expert in education and training by the Hyderabad State for heading “Technical Training and Recruitment Scheme”. During this period, he developed this program on an institutional basis. As a result, these schemes were converted into permanent government departments in the Nizam’s government. After 1947, the government of India adopted this model and this exists in the form of the ITI (Industrial Training Institute) and Employment Exchange.
National award of “Khan Saheb”Syed Ahmed Quadri’s contribution was recognized beyond the boundaries of the Hyderabad State. In view of his services in the fields of education and allied areas, the British Government of the time in 1943 awarded him the title of “KHAN SAHEB”. This title was given to him in 1943 by the British government of India, which is equivalent to the title of “Padma Shree” of India today. After independence of India, Syed Ahmed Quadri decided to return this title in deference to the newly independent state of India.
Career in government1943 brought a major change in Syed Ahmed Quadri’s career. He oved on from the field of education to government service. That year, there was a food shortage in Hyderabad State and all over India, which created famine like circumstances. Syed Ahmed Quadri was chosen by the government of Hyderabad to form a new organization called “Hyderabad Commercial Corporation” to develop a strong logistics service for the movement of food grains and other commodities. He was appointed as the Chief Transport Officer of the corporation. With meritorious services over three years, the government honoured him with “NIZAM MEDAL” in 1946.
By that time, he was recognized as an expert in transportation and logistics. In 1947, he was moved to the Nizam’s State Railways. His services were specifically transferred to “Road Transport Department” which is currently known as Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC).
Government career after independenceIn 1948, the State of Hyderabad was invaded by the Indian troops, and annexed to India. Syed Ahmed Quadri subsequently became a part of the Indian government and continued to function in a similar capacity in the Road Transport Department.
During State reorganization scheme in 1957, he was transferred from Hyderabad State to Mysore State and appointed to the post of Chief Traffic Manager of Mysore State. It was during his tenure that he reorganized road transport in the state, and was instrumental in nationalizing the road transport and converting it into “Mysore State Road Transport Corporation” (MSRTC), which is now known as “Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation” (KSRTC).
At the age of 58, he retired from Mysore government service in 1966, and opted to return to his native Hyderabad city. He was already well known for his performance, and the Andhra Pradesh government offered to take him as Director of APSRTC to reorganize the passenger services in Andhra Pradesh. He served in this position for nearly a year until 1967 when he joined the UNO.
Career with UNOIn the meantime, he was already being considered as a key technocrat by the United Nations Organization. In January 1967 United Nations Organization (UNO) obtained his valuable services as the “World Food Project Officer”. His first assignment that year was based out of Yemen.
During the course of 1967, the security siutation in Yemen went out of control with the rebellion against the British in South Yemen, which also led to independence of South Yemen in November 1967. As a result, Mr. Quadri was evacuated from Yemen with other UN staff to Cairo. During the next few months, he was posted temporarily to Cyprus and Rome before he was posted to Amman, Jordan where he remained for three years until 1971. He was then posted to Baghdad until 1975 when he retired from the UNO.
During this period, he was also appointed as UN Advisor to the developing countries of the Middle East of Yemen, Egypt, Jordan and Iraq.
He thus served in the Middle East for a period of 8 years. During this period, he developed a number of schemes which were approved and implemented by United Nations as well as the concerned countries.
While he served in the Middle East, he performed Hajj thrice. During the Hajj of 1972, he was pained to see the loss of lives of some pilgrims due to indiscipline and disorder. As a service to the Hajj authorities and the Muslims at large, he prepared a detailed report in English and Arabic with suggestions on a number of issues to improve services for the Hajj pilgrims. This report was sent through the offices of the United Nations to Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries. In subsequent years, most of his proposals were accepted and implemented by the Saudi government. Some of his suggestions included:
1. Construction of two floors over Al-Safa and Al-Marwah to allow maximum number of pilgrims to perform the ritual with ease. 2. Establishment of separate paths for the passage of to and fro traffic between Al-Safa and Al-Marwah. 3. Arrangement of wheel chairs for aged, elderly, weak and handicapped pilgrims for their rituals inside the holy mosque. 4. Construction of a number of roads to Mina and Mount Arafat instead of only one that existed then, by carving different obstructing hillocks to for ease of the ever-increasing Hajj traffic. 5. Establishing separate incoming and outgoing paths and constructing floors over the Jamarat at Mina. 6. Packaging the sacrificial meat for distribution to poor people in other Muslim countries.
One suggestion of late Mr. Quadri has yet to been fulfilled. He wanted to develop a mini-train running over a circular rail fixed around holy Kaaba with special type of compartments facilitating aged, weak and handicapped Hajj pilgrims during their Tawaf around the Holy Kaaba. This suggestion is in line with his great experience in the field of transportation
Back to Sufism and Voluntary ServiceIn 1975, the life of Late Mr. Quadri took a new turn when he retired from the UN “World Food Project”. He was in Baghdad at the time. He narrates in his autobiography that his holy ancestor Hazrat Ghous-e-Azam Abdul Qadir Gilani appeared in a dream and directed him to take care of the spiritual project of Tekmal Dargah and shrine. The masjid, shrine of Sayyid Sahib Husayni and other sufis, the school and other buildings were in ruin. The minarets had been dismantled due to disrepair and the town was in poor shape.
Thus, upon his return, he dedicated his entire attention and efforts towards the rehabilitation of Tekmal. He spent the rest of his life to bring about a transformation in this small remote town which was his greatest achievement in many ways. Not only did he convert the Tekmal shrine and its environments into a booming area spiritually and intellectually, but he also rendered immense socio-economic services through reforms, public welfare projects and construction of schools, hospitals and other facilities for the poor people of the area.
He raised funds for the projects through family members and friends which helped in alleviating poverty, and providing means of livelihood to orphans, widows and other poor people of the area. He also arranged stipends and other forms of assistance to the aged and the handicapped people, arranged funds for marriages of poor girls and for the burial of the dead.
One of the key projects he undertook was the rehabilitation and extension of the Madrassa-e-Hussainia Tekmal, free education and vocational training institution for boys and girls. This was a step in building such institutions for the children of tomorrow.
There are many other services that he developed and provided for that area. It was due to his efforts that bank facilities were introduced at Tekmal for the first time in its history providing a means for farmers to obtain seasonal loans and to flourish agriculture. In addition, regular RTC bus services were established with a bus terminal at Tekmal. Electricity, water and telephone infrastructure was laid at his behest by the authorities.
Syed Ahmed Quadri had a number of mosques also constructed in the nearby areas. Apart from reconstruction and extension of Tekmal Dargah Masjid, he also constructed the Neechay Gali Masjid and other new Masjids in the nearby villages of Salajpalli, Timplur, Chitlur and Raipahad. New religious schools were opened attached to each of these masjids.
Syed Ahmed Quadri died of natural causes after a short illness on Wednesday, 16 May 1990 at Hyderabad, and was buried at the ancestral graveyard at Tekmal
PublicationsSyed Ahmed Quadri wrote a number of books on Tekmal, astronomy and numerology in Urdu and English. Some of his books include:
- History of Takemal Dargah, Hyderabad, 1985
- A New Lease of Life to Tekmal, Hyderabad, 1982
- Shajar-i Ghawsiya Tekmal mein, Hyderabad, 1977
- Karamat o Halat, Hyderabad, 1978
- Mysteries of the Hand (a book on palmistry)
FamilySyed Ahmed Quadri was married first to Mehrunnisa Begum (d. Dec 10, 2001), who was a British woman. He had met her during his days as a student in England and brought her back to Hyderabad as his wife in 1933. She bore him three children: Amina, Syed Asif Quadri, and Syed Arif Quadri. Mehrunnisa Begum returned to the UK after 18 years of marriage, and the couple were divorced in 1950.
Subsequently, Syed Ahmed Quadri married Azeemunnisa Begum (a distant cousin of Mr. Quadri and a widow) in 1953 who remained his life partner until her death on 21 February 1983. They were inseparable, and she brought up his sons as her own. Azeemunnisa Begum had a son from her previous marriage who died at the age of 17 shortly before she was widowed.
His third sister was married to Kazi Zainul Abedin.
Source : Wikipedia