Dr. Hamid Hussain: A Lone Wolf Social Entrepreneur of Bihar

Dr. Hamid Hussain

By Danish Reyaz for Maeeshat, Mumbai

It was 15 March 2015, the day when Janseva Cooperative Credit Society Limited had organized an inaugural program to launch its branch in Gaya city of Bihar. From Mumbai, they had invited the founder director of society Doctor Rahmatullah. I was also invited to participate in this program by the regional caretaker of the Janseva Cooperative Credit Society Limited Mr. Tameemuddin Humble and I could not refuse this invitation, so I left for Gaya. The city of Gaya in Bihar was not unfamiliar for me but it was first time when I was about to explore the city very closely. My host Mr. Tameemuddin Humble had arranged accommodation for me and it was the house of Doctor Hamid Hussain. When my train arrived at Gaya railway station around 11 o’ clock with a delay of five hours, I found all the organisers eagerly waiting for me, especially Dr. Hamid Hussain.

It was the first time when I was meeting Dr. Hamid Hussain and I got an opportunity to see, understand and listen to him closely. Despite the travel fatigue of thirty hours, when I reached to the breakfast table, I got to know that while waiting for the arrival of train, breakfast was prepared and got cold several times. Even Hamid Hussain who usually gets his breakfast early in the morning, has not yet eaten anything for his Mumbaiya guest. The interesting part was that when we finished the breakfast, an overall picture of the Gaya city was placed in my mind.

Hamid Hussain was born on 25 October 1956 to Haji Abdul Wahab and Bibi Maimoona Khatoon of Gewal Bigha, Gaya. He is fourth among total eight siblings, out of them six were his sisters and one brother. He got his primary education from the best school of Gaya city Nazareth Academy where he studies from class one to six. It is said that boys were not allowed after class seven in Nazareth Academy while girls could continue their studies. For this reason, his father Mr. Abdul Wahab got him admitted to a boarding school in Ranchi called Bishop West Cott Boy’s School. Here he completed his education till class eleventh and then finished his intermediate from Christian College in Allahabad. Being a bright student, he was not only a great hope for his family but his own interest too got him move ahead in the journey of life and he got admitted to MBBS program in 1973 at Rajendra Medical College and Hospital in Ranchi to strengthen the cause of social service. At a time when there was not much focus on education among Muslims and there was a scarcity for higher education, Dr. Hamid Hussain got success in the Indian Railway Medical Services through Union Public Service Commission and started his employment in South Eastern Railway of Nagpur. When Dr. Hamid Hussain was climbing the stairs of successes, it was not an age of social media which could highlight his achievements. Back then higher education was rarely valued in society and getting success in UPSC by a person coming from a backward region such as Bihar was also a rare phenomenon. It was the time when Hamid Hussain was going through golden period of his life. He was getting all the joy and happiness from all sides when suddenly a bad eye caused such a horrific incident which not only changed the life of Hamid Hussain but of all those who were around him, forever.

It is said that the sun on 3 October 1988 rose for Hamid Hussain with such an eclipse which completely changed the course of his life. The house named after his mother ‘Maimoona Manzil’ was attacked around 5 o’clock in the early morning by some anti-social elements. They just entered the house and opened fire indiscriminately which resulted into brutal killing of his father Haji Abdul Wahab, mother Maimoona Khatoon, grandmother Majeeda Khatoon and one servant Ghani Khan. Kashif Hussain, the elder son of Dr. Hamid Hussain who was just six years old then and residing with his grandparents, went into shock after witnessing this unfortunate event. As the almighty perhaps wanted to save his life, so he somehow survived from being a victim of the inhumane act of assault. This was such a horrific incident that forced Hamid Hussain to immediately leave Nagpur and come to his home in Gaya. People advised him to leave his employment which he accepted and also broke his relation with his profession. Thenhe dedicated himself to look after his ancestral property.

Other people in his house, relatives, friends and neighbours started feeling some sort of comfort and strength when they saw that Dr. Hamid Hussain is continuously living in the same Maimoona Manzil the memories of which create fear in the mind. It was his courageous character which gave a sense of togetherness and safety among people. After that Dr. Hamid became a strong wall in favour of the people who were continuously oppressed being vulnerable.

The chairman of Janseva Cooperative Credit Society Limited Dr. Rahmatullah says, “Dr. Hamid Hussain has a kind heart, brilliant character and good nature. All credit goes only to Dr. Hamid Hussain for the establishment of Janseva Cooperative Credit Society Limited in Gaya city. The way he has developed the society and introduced it in his circle is itself very unique and highly appreciable. I have heard that during lockdown in Bihar he went extra miles with his son to help the people walking on foot on highways and arranged drinking water on a daily basis by providing water tanker to the poor people and labourers without caring the scorching sun on their head. This can be done only by a person who feels and understands the severity of thirst”. Dr. Rahmatullah further adds, “Janseva Cooperative Credit Society Limited too is an institution established for the welfare of common people and the need for such an initiative can only be felt by a person who is able to understand and empathize with the pain of common people. The way Dr. Hamid Hussain feels the pain of common people is a very rare example in the community.” Talking about his love and friendship, Dr. Rahmatullah says, “Dr. Hamid Hussain is a very dear friend of mine and he always values our friendship. However, it can be said that his business activities are quite diverse and shattered which require him to consistently be engaged in different ventures. It also leads, to some extent, to a lack of attention and concentration one always looks for in their life. Despite that, his achievement of bringing Janseva Cooperative Credit Society Limited to a new height and managing its affairs efficiently even in the toughest circumstances are some of his remarkable successes, which are truly acknowledged and admired by the local people who know his work.

The famous social activist from Gaya Badiul Akhtar is one among those people who have seen Dr. Hamid Hussain very closely. Badiul Akhtar has been on the forefront of community movement since 1992-93 and he has contributed a lot in ensuring governmental support for the backward Muslim community Kalal- Eraqui. While talking about the personality of Dr. Hamid Hussain, he says, “In 1992-93 when people suggested my father Aale Nabi to dedicate me for the social work, my father agreed to this suggestion and since then I have been working with Dr. Hamid Hussain. Although, I can remember hundreds of incidents happened during this period of 30-35 years which describe the greatness of Dr. Sahab but the incident that influenced me for the first time was the issue of fortification of Gewal Bigha Qabristan. The Gewel Bigha Qabristan situated inside AP colony was being affected by the filth and dirt of the surrounding areas and its sanctity was being broken by this sheer carelessness. Dr. Hamid Hussain discussed this situation with local people and told that why not this open field be fortified so that the Qabristan could be safe and filth could be avoided. Together they decided that no contribution from outside will be taken for this work and this noble work will be carried out by local contribution only. When a 12 feet height wall was constructed around Qabristan after fighting through several hindrances, another issue arose and it was about removing filth from the holes in Qabristan. No one had a courage to come forward for this task but eventually Dr. Hamid showed courage and in no time all the filth and dirt were removed and holed were filled. It was the day when collectively the leadership of Hamid Hussain was emerged and since then people started knocking the door of Maimoona Manzil whenever they faced any issues.”

“Whether it’s a marriage ceremony of poor people or a casual meeting of the rich, Dr. Hamid Hussain is invited everywhere and he takes care of the people accordingly to their status. It is said that when there is a marriage in a poor family in the locality or vicinity, doctor sahab reaches their house early in the morning and takes an overview of the arrangements. If he finds any gap or necessity, he fulfils that from his own pocket and ensures the family that the daughter being married is not just theirs but also of him. This is the kind of ownness and purity he possesses towards people and this is the reason he is considered to be the guardian of most of the houses in his area. Even people do not finalize any affair without his consultation.

This is an undeniable fact that the city of Gaya is famous throughout the country for its academic and literary activities. Gaya is also considered to be one of the oldest cities of India. Gaya usually makes headlines for a diverse range of characteristics but it is particularly famous among Muslims of Bihar for having a tradition of knowledge and literature. On the other hand, several initiatives are taken in the interest of the community which attract public attention. It is said that Dr. Hamid Hussain is also one of torch bearers of these academic, intellectual and social activities. Whether it’s the presidency of Anjuman Falah e Milli or a membership of the governing body of Majeeda Urdu Girls High School, Dr. Hamid Hussain keeps doing his own share of work without longing for the acknowledgment or praise from anyone.

Founder of Aines Way Learning Institute Ainain Shahidi says, “It was 1982 when for the first time I heard the name of Dr. Hamid Hussain in my house from my father Dr. Shahid Ahmad Shoib. My father was telling about him that this young man will brighten the name of community and then local people witnessed that how he gathered the intellectual and social jewels of Gaya and worked on different ventures in such a way that people from all of Bihar were attracted towards his fame. My father used to believe that Dr. Sahab is a visionary leader and eventually circumstances have proved that his vision about bringing community to a height is too broad and inclusive and his actions are the best proof of his vision.”

I don’t have any hesitation to say that when I decided to conduct 9th All India Minorities Business Summit in Kolkata, Dr. Hamid Hussain was one of those people who encouraged and supported me on this mission. Utilizing his contacts spread over states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa and Bengal,Dr. Sahab convinced a lot of business people to be a part of this conference. The love and hard work extended by Dr. Sahab brought its fruits and people travelled even from several remote regions to participate in the program. Guiding new generation and suggesting initiative after analysing upcoming phase have been the major characteristic of the personality of Dr. Hamid Hussain. In today’s world when people consider it a good deed to embarrass others by doing acts of charity, Dr. Hamid Hussain has been following the famous saying of Hazrat Ali “Keep safe from the evil of those who are the beneficiary of your charity”.So, he keeps his mouth shut and does not reply to the misbehaviours ofshallow people. Despite living in a small city like Gaya, he has got a big heart and the waves of his deeds can be felt from very far.

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