Educationist and founder of BS Rahman University passes away

By Mudassir Rizwan,,

Chennai: B S Abdur Rahman, educationist and founder of B S Abdur Rahman University, passed away here on Wednesday.

He was 88. He leaves behind four sons and two daughters.

B S Abdur Rahman (Courtesy: The Hindu)

Buhari Syed Abdur Rahman was an Indian serial entrepreneur, philanthropist and educationist. He had a range of business interests in the UAE and India including maritime shipping, real estate and insurance. But later, he concentrated on building and running educational institutions.

In recognition of his services in the field of education, business, health care, social service and communal harmony, the Sathyabama University had conferred an Honorary Doctorate on him in 2005.

“He was an affectionate person who built people. The University is in the hands of qualified professionals as he promoted excellence. Also, our university has more women faculty than men,” Prof Arockia Doss, who had earlier worked with an engineering college Rahman founded, told The Hindu.

Rahman, born in Kilakarai, Tamil Nadu, came from a middle-class family. He was the son of Bhukari Aalim, a prominent Pearl Trader in South Asia. He completed his Secondary School from Schwartz School, Ramanathapuram and Hameedia High School, Kilakarai.

At the age of 15, he first went to Colombo with just Rs149 (USD 2.5 and started his business in Sri Lanka with his elder brother Abdul Cader, prominently called as Thaika Vapa in Tamil Nadu. After the accidental death of his sister, Rahman started a Women’s College in his sister’s name Thaseem Beevi Abdul Cader Women’s College in his home town. He had started several schools and colleges in Tamil Nadu.

He worked as an errand boy for diamond merchants, carrying their diamonds and other gems from sellers to buyers and back. He was at the time staying with some traders from Kilakarai and neighbouring villages. They allowed him to stay with them without any payment, but he had, instead, to fetch tea for them from a nearby hotel, clean the rooms and perform other menial tasks. From trading in diamonds, he moved to education, when he set up Crescent Engineering College in 1984. It was upgraded as B S Abdur Rahman University in 2009.

Abdur Rahman was the founder of United Economic Forum through which he has organized number of economic development activities and encouraged social work. Stressing that “education is the key that opens the solutions to the socio economic problems of the society”, he founded the following Institutions: The Seethakathi Trust; All India Islamic Foundation; B S Abdur Rahman University; Islamic Studies & Cultural Centre and B S Abdur Rahman Zakat Foundation Trust.

He also founded and financially aided a number of orphanages across Tamil Nadu.