Hakim Mohammed Saeed- Crème de la crème of Pakistan

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Even the greatest of all men are nothing but mortal. No matter how much greatness they achieve, they eventually slip into oblivion. It is basically their legacy which makes them great and this legacy is what preserves their eminence in the world. Its most apt example is of Hakim Mohammed Saeed. Hamdard Foundation has kept Hakim Sahib’s vision, values, beliefs and all that which he stood for alive in Pakistan.

Mohammed Saeed who possessed a multidimensional personality was a man of diverse capabilities. He was a physician, scholar, philanthropist, author, travelogue writer, herbalist, educationist, Hafiz-e-Quran and a true patriot- all in one. He was born in the house of Hafiz Abdul Majeed and Rabia Begum on January 09, 1920, in Delhi. His father was also a hakim and had established a pharmacy and clinic under the name of” Hamdard Dawakhana” in 1906. After his father’s demise his eldest brother took charge over it.

Following the footsteps of his forefathers, Hakim Sahib also studied Tibb (medicine) and acquired the degree of BEMS from The Ayurvedic and Unani Tibbi College Delhi, in 1940. After graduation he joined Hamdard Dawakhana as a junior researcher.  After the creation of Pakistan, Mohammed Saeed migrated to Karachi in 1948 with his family to serve the newly born Muslim country. Here, he laid the foundation of a new Dawakhana called Hamdard Pakistan. It should be noted here that Hamdard Pakistan is not a branch of Hamdard India, it’s a separate institution.

Hakim Sahab served humanity and this country with utmost enthusiasm and devotion. Pakistan was just created then; need of educated and pious people was dire. He contributed to the progress and advancement of the country like no other. In 1953, he declared Hamdard, a ‘Waqf’ (trust), to propagate education and science in the society. The revenue generated from this trust is entirely spent on the promotion of education and all the institutes of Hamdard Foundation like university, college, school, library, research centre, etc.

The biggest legacy of Hakim Mohammed Saeed is “Madina-tul-Hikmat”, a city of Ilm-o-Hikmat. This comprises of Bait-ul-Hikmat, Hamdard Library, Hamdard University, Hamdard College, Hamdard Public School, Al-Furqan Youth Centre, Stadium, Hospital and Jamia Masjid. Another remarkable feat is that he got Alternative Medicine recognized by World Health Organization. Apart from this, he participated in more than 92 international conferences and presented his research papers. He was associated with more than 30 international associations and learned bodies.

He was a prolific writer. He has authored and edited more than 189 books both in English and Urdu languages. He has penned around 500 articles on medicine, Islam and History. He also edited many research journals, periodicals and launched two world-class journals, “Hamdard Medicus” and “Hamdard Islamicus”.  To illuminate the lives of the younger generation, he launched a magazine, “Hamdard Naunehal”; and established a separate division, “Naunehal Adab”, for producing quality books for children. Apart from this, he also edited two monthly publications “Hamdard-e-Sehat” and “Akhbar-ul-Tibb” and “Payami”- the Urdu version of UNESCO’s Courier.

He possessed extraordinary writing skills in English as well. The English publications that he edited include Hamdard Medicus (Quarterly), SPEM- Bulletin of the Society for the Promotion of Eastern Medicine, Medical Times (Fortnightly), Hamdard Islamicus (Quarterly) and Endeavour- Newsletter of Madinat al-Hikmah.

Due to these outstanding contributions and illustrious services which he rendered to humanity, he has been appreciated not only in Pakistan but all over the world. He has been honored by a number of awards by different organizations. In 1981, Istanbul Technical University gave him the Certificate of Merit from the Institute of History of Science and Technology. He was given Islamic Medicine Prize by Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences in 1982. He was the winner of the Novosti Press Agency’s Abu Ali Ibn Sina (Avicenna) International Prize for 1989, U.S.S.R.  WHO awarded him a medal on World No-Tobacco Day. Pakistani government praised his accomplishments by awarding him Sitare-e-Imtiaz in 1996. In the same year he was honored by an award by the Pakistan League of the United States of America, New York, for the services in the fields of health, education and social work. He was also awarded Nishan-e-Imtiaz (Posthumous), the highest civilian award by the President in 2000.

Some say his greatest service was the establishment of Madina-tul-Hikmat, some say it was the recognition of alternative medicine by WHO (World Health Organization) and some claim his vast publications. According to me the most magnificent service was the representation of the newly formed country on international platforms through his remarkable accomplishments in the field of health, education and medicine.  The other notable contribution was the mental and educational upbringing of the inexperienced state.

Clichéd but true, great men are not born every day. Among many, the one reason behind the creation of extraordinary men like him is for ordinary men to learn from them. One belonging to any walk of life can take inspiration from Hakim Mohammed Saeed. He was a man of numerous skills and excelled in almost every field which he joined. His greatest emphasis was on education. He has summarized the secret of a successful country through his quote “An illiterate nation can never hold its head high”.

Like many others, he was also silenced for his goodness. This steadfast man was assassinated on October 17, 1998 in Karachi while he was on his way to Hamdard Laboratories.

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Zahabia is an aspiring journalist pursuing a degree in Mass Communication from the University of Karachi. She tweets @zkmotorwala and can be reached at zahabiakhuzema@gmail.com

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