Saturday, March 20, 2021

Quaid-e-Millat Muhammad Ismail: Leader who played important role in post-independent India, Madras State and later Kerala

Shams Ur Rehman Alavi 

Quaid-e-Millat M Muhammad Ismail was one of the most important leaders of modern India. 
He played a key role in leadership of Muslim masses after independence and was the leading statesman and politician in South Indian.
A member of constituent assembly, member parliament and leader of IUML, he was a towering figure, who championed the cause of Muslims, built bridges with other communities and leaders, and voiced concerns of the downtrodden, as well as fighting to secure their rights. 
The photograph shows a DMK ministry in Tamil Nadu in 1980. The big portraits above include photographs of Dr BR Ambedkar and Quaid-e-Millet Muhammad Ismail. The photo on the left shows Anna holding hands of MGR. 
The stage also had portraits of Rajaji and Kamaraj. Either in debates on rights of minorities or language in constituent Assembly or his lifelong political struggle for equal rights and identity, Muhammad Ismail's role is second to none. 
In the era when Muslims were down and depressed, Quaid-e-Millat not only established IUML despite attack by North Indian press, but when Muslim institutions were targeted by right-wingers in Congress, he fought it courageously and set up institutions.  He battled the communal forces, never compromised on identity and from constituent assembly to Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, he voiced the concerns of Muslims. 
Though he is termed as the tallest Muslim leader in South India, he can't be limited to one region. After independence, he led Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) and the party remained a potent force in erstwhile Madras State.
M Ismail Sahib, who was born in 1896, had taken part in freedom movement. He was president of Madaras State Muslim League too before independence, he was elected as president of Indian Union Muslim League that was formed after independence and remained its chief till his death. 
Later, the party became a formidable force in Kerala. On his 125th anniversary, DMK chief Stalin said that he was termed Quaid-e-Millat as he was the guiding light who ensured harmony and state autonomy. 
Stalin recalled Quaid-e-Millat's friendship with Periyar and Anna Durai, and how he helped DMK form the government in Tamil Nadu in 1967. A lot comes to mind, especially, Raja Ji's famous statement when IUML had won seats in Madras presidency after independence. But that's for another day, perhaps!
There are institutions, colleges and schools after his name. A district in Tamil Nadu was named 'Nagapattinam Quaid-e-Millat' for a while, though when all districts named after personalities lost their names, it again became Nagapattinam.
In fact, Quaid-e-Millat's political journey, lifelong struggle, services and leadership role, the impact he had, his statesmanship and the respect he commanded from all sections of the society, requires a long essay. 
"When Thiru K Madhavamenon, Minister for Education, by a special order, changed the name of the Government Mohammedan College, Mount Road, Madras into Government Arts College, Madras,  Quaide-Milleth made forceful pleas and requested the Government to honour the rights of minorities but fell on deaf ears', mentions the QeM Trust.
"Quaide-Milleth accepted the challenge with grace and dignity and called upon the community to rise up to the occasion. Within three years Quaide Milleth had been able to establish the following erstwhile institutions with the active co-operation and support of the Muslim Philanthropists", it adds.
The New College, Madras
The Jamal Mohammed College, Trichy,
The Farookh College, (Kerala)
Also, he was the driving force behind setting up many institutions--Haji Karutha Rowther Houdia College, Uthamapalayam and The Khader Mohideen College, Adirampattinam, Wakf Board College, Madurai, Nawab Abdul Hakeem College, Melvisharam, Sadaqathullah Appa College, Palayamkottai, Mazhar-ul-Uloom College, Ambur and The Zakir Hussain College, Ilayangudi.