Dr Mumtaz Khan deserved Padma award, but successive Govt’s failed to recognize his contribution until his death

Dr Mumtaz Khan

The Al Ameen Movement founded by Dr Mumtaz Khan has produced thousands of doctors, engineers, lawyers, pharmaceutical scientists, journalists, professors, judges, IAS and IPS officers. Al Ameen educational society runs 35 nursery and primary schools, 25 high schools, 3 Degree Colleges, 2 teacher training colleges, one law college and college of education each, a management college, one pharmacy college, arts and science college plus an orphanage.

Dr Raja Muzaffar Bhat | TwoCircles.net

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The founder of the Al Ameen movement Dr Mumtaz Ahmad Khan is no more with us. Also known as Baba e Taleem or Sir Syed of the 21st century, Dr Mumtaz left for heavenly abode on May 27 at Bangalore. When I see his contribution to society, especially in empowering Muslims through education, I feel successive governments haven’t recognized his stature and contribution?

Every year the Government of India gives away Padma awards to eminent people for their work in various fields which includes social service and education as well. After doing some research I found that Dr Mumtaz was not even recommended for Padma Shri which is the category III award among Padma awards. If we compare many Padma awardees of the recent past, the work done by Dr Mumtaz is immense.

The Padma Awards are one of the highest civilian honours of India announced annually on the eve of Republic Day. The Awards are given in three categories: Padma Vibhushan (for exceptional and distinguished service), Padma Bhushan (distinguished service of higher-order) and Padma Shri (distinguished service). The award seeks to recognize achievements in all fields of activities or disciplines where an element of public service is involved. The Padma Awards are conferred on the recommendations made by the Padma Awards Committee, which is constituted by the Prime Minister every year. The nomination process is open to the public. Even self-nomination can be made.

I won’t criticize the present BJP Government at the centre for having failed to recognize the services of Dr Mumtaz Ahmad Khan. However, I would like to question the Congress that remained in power for so many years but could not even confer the Padma Shri award on Dr Mumtaz Ahmad Khan?

As I pay my tribute to Dr Mumtaz Ahmad Khan through this article, had Dr Khan gone through this piece in his lifetime he would have been shocked. The reason is I had a heated argument with him long back at the Al Ameen Medical / Dental College campus in Bijapur. This was way around February 14 2000 when I was a student of the institution having just finished my Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) degree. I can never forget that fateful day. I am sure until his death Dr Mumtaz Khan would also have remembered that day and the incident. I was young at that time and my argument was not wrong, but the way I argued with him, I should not have done that. Paying him tribute through this article will be like seeking an apology from him because I never got a chance to meet him again until he left us. For a few years, after I came back to Kashmir I had a strong grudge against Dr Mumtaz Khan but when I got myself involved in social service and started working for the empowerment of people I realized how great his contribution was for the society at large and Muslims in particular.

Dr Mumtaz Ahmad Khan was born on September 6 1935. He belonged to a well off and educated family in Tiruchirappalli city in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. His father Y. Ismail Khan was a well-educated man and had done his law degree from Aligarh Muslim University (AMU). His mother Sadathun Nissa Begum was also an alumnus of AMU who had done her graduation around the early 1930s. Dr Mumtaz Khan’s grandfather was a rich man who owned huge land in Tiruchirapalli and other places. He was also a visionary man who gave good education to his children.

Jamal Mohammed College Trichy
Dr Mumtaz Khan’s early education took place at Bishop Heber High school, a reputed Christain Missionary school in Tiruchirappalli city also called Trichy which was his hometown. He completed his medical degree (MBBS) from Stanley Medical College under Madras University in 1963. Dr Mumtaz was appointed as a lecturer in the same medical college and later on got admission in the Master of Surgery (MS). He had to discontinue his master’s degree because of his marriage and subsequent migration to Bangalore.

In Trichy local Muslim businessmen Haji Mohammed Jamal sahib and Janab N M Khaja Mian Rowther had set up a beautiful institution in the year 1951, The institution was named Jamal Mohammed College. The college operates under the Society of Jamal Mohammed College is spread over 87 acres of land. This college had a great influence on Dr Mumtaz Khan’s life. The Jamal Mohammed Khan College was not only a place of learning but it acted as a centre for intellectual development among educated Muslims. The educated Muslims of Trichy and surrounding places would come to the college campus and then discuss and deliberate upon various socio-economic and educational issues of people especially the Muslim community which was living in abject poverty and was educationally backward as well those days. The Jamal Mohammed College has played a pivotal role in the educational upliftment of people in Trichy and other areas of Tamil Nadu. Not only have the Muslims been benefited from this college but even thousands of Non-Muslims have also been educated from this college. From the year 1963 post-graduation courses were also started at Jamal Mohammed College. Dr Mumtaz Khan would often attend meetings at Jamal Mohammed College during his student days and even later. Those meetings strengthened his intellectual capacity which later on gave birth to Al Ameen Educational Society.

Shifting to Bangalore
After completing his MBBS, Dr Mumtaz Ahmad Khan shifted to Bangalore in 1965. The reason to shift to Bangalore was to start practising medicine in the city. Pertinently Dr Mumtaz’s in-laws also belonged to the same city plus his mother also hailed from Bangalore. But after spending a year or so in Bangalore Dr Mumtaz found that there was not even a single college managed by Muslims. He could not find an institution like Jamal Mohammed College in Bangalore. In the entire Bangalore district (urban and rural) there was only one school managed by Muslims those days. Initially, Dr Mumtaz Khan and few like-minded people set up the Bangalore Education Society which later on became Al Ameen Educational Society on the advice of Janab Qadir Hussain who was Dr Mumtaz Khan’s close associate.

Al Ameen Arts & Science College
In 1967 Al Ameen educational society set up its first college namely Al Ameen Arts & Science College in Bangalore city on a half-acre land that belonged to Dr Mumtaz’s in-laws. There were some houses on the land which were converted into classrooms. In an interview with a TV channel some years back Dr Mumtaz said that 23 students (19 boys and 4 girls) were enrolled in Al Ameen Arts and Science college in the first batch. In the next few years, the college roll rose to 300 which included Muslim and non -Muslim students both.

In 1967 Karnataka state Wakf board allotted its land near Lalbagh to Al Ameen educational society. The land had earlier been encroached by some people, but despite the land being allotted to Al Ameen society, the matter went to court as some people filed fake cases against Dr Mumtaz. After almost 12 years a decision came in favour of the Al Ameen movement.

Dr Mumtaz had to sell his and her wife’s property to run the college affairs. Even the affiliation of the college with Bangalore University was also initially rejected due to a paucity of funds. Things became better after 1970. Many affluent businessmen and elite Muslims of Bangalore came to support the Al Ameen Movement. After the college got affiliation with Bangalore University, Government grants started coming which helped the management to pay salaries to the teaching staff and non-teaching staff. Dr Mumtaz was a great thinker and visionary Muslim. He paved a way for an educated woman of Bangalore namely Begum Abbasiya Mecci to be the first President of Al Ameen Educational Society in 1966. Begum Abbasiya was also a member of the Karnataka legislative council those days. She died in 1970 at an age of 48 years only.

Medical, Dental & Engineering Colleges
In 1984 Al Ameen Educational society under the aegis of Al Ameen Charitable Fund Trust established Al Ameen Medical College at Bijapur in north Karnataka. Bijapur is a historic city that remained the capital city of Adil Shahi kings for almost 200 years between 1489 to 1686. Bijapur now known as Vijayapura is more than 500 km from Bangalore. The idea behind setting up the medical college in Bijapur was to spread the wings of Al Ameen to other areas. Bijapur had a 60 % Muslim population but they were very backward both educationally and economically. When I joined the Al Ameen Dental college in 1995-96, Bijapur was still a backward area but it continued to develop day by day. In 2016 when I visited this place after many years, I could not believe I was in Bijapur. Al Ameen campus has brought an economic boom in the area surrounding the campus. After establishing a Medical College in 1984, Al Ameen management established a Dental College on the same campus around 1991. In 1999 a Nursing college was also set up there. The college provided not only education to students from Kashmir to Kanyakumari but it was a major source of employment as well for the local population. There are locals in the teaching faculty of Medical, Dental and Nursing colleges, plus dozens of people are employed as non-teaching faculty as well. Indirectly hundreds of people get employment through the Al Ameen campus as I mentioned already. Dr Mumtaz Khan some years back revealed that Al Ameen Medical College happens to be the first privately managed Medical Colleges in the world. As many colleges and schools affiliated with Al Ameen Movement were going through a financial crunch Dr Mumtaz Khan handed over affairs of Al Ameen Medical, Dental and Nursing Colleges in Bijapur to one of his friends namely Ziaullah Sheriff some 15 years back. Some old trustees continue to be there on Al Ameen Medical & Dental College trust. Mr Ziaullah Sheriff is a noted businessman from Bangalore who wanted to dedicate his rest of the life to the welfare of people especially for the educational empowerment of the Muslim community. Ziaullah Sheriff is efficiently running affairs of the Al Ameen campus in Bijapur.

Al Ameen educational society runs an Engineering college namely Ghousia College of Engineering and Technology at Ramanagaram in the outskirts of Bangalore. The college was established in 1980 by Haji Nabi Sheriff under the aegis of Ghousia Industrial & Engineering Trust (GIET). This trust was established in 1962 under which an Industrial Training Institute (ITI) was established by Haji Nabi Sheriff to promote quality technical education. In 1985 Ghousia Women’s Polytechnic College was established in Bangalore. Dr Mumtaz Khan was the founding Honorary Secretary of Ghousia trust. Presently Janab Ahmed Sheriff Siraj is the Chairman of Ghousia Industrial & Engineering Trust. Umar Ismail Khan son of Dr Mumtaz Khan is the Honorary Secretary. There are 8 trustees which included Dr Mumtaz Khan who acted as its treasurer as well until his death on May 27. There are many other professional and technical institutions affiliated with the Al Ameen movement. I am planning to write a book on the Al Ameen movement in the future and I will mention all the institutions affiliated with the Al Ameen educational society.

The Al Ameen Movement has produced thousands of doctors, engineers, lawyers, pharmaceutical scientists, journalists, professors, judges, IAS and IPS officers. Al Ameen educational society runs 35 nursery and primary schools, 25 high schools, 3 Degree Colleges, 2 teacher training colleges, one law college and college of education each, a management college, one pharmacy college, arts and science college plus an orphanage. Several other institutions operate directly or indirectly under the Al Ameen movement this includes Medical College, Dental College, Engineering College, Nursing College etc. These institutions are located in Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Telangana, Bengal, Assam, UP and many other states. Dr Mumtaz Khan in past served as pro-chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University (AMU). He has been a member of the central panel (India) of the Jeddah based Islamic Development Bank. Dr Mumtaz Khan has been the recipient Karnataka Rajyotsava award (1990), Kempegowda award. He well deserved the Padma award but the way it was denied to him in his lifetime will continue to pinch many of his admirers.


Dr Raja Muzaffar Bhat is an Acumen Fellow. He is Kashmir based social activist, columnist and independent researcher. He can be reached at [email protected]