From producing visionary leaders to promoting education in the subcontinent, Sindh Madressah will always be the place that reminds us of the presence of the Father of the Nation, Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah.
Sindh Madressatul Islam (SMI) is one of the oldest historical educational institutions in the country, founded in 1885 by Khan Bahadur Hassanally Effendi on the model of the Aligarh school of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan. The history of SMI begins with the movement for educational reforms in the South Asian subcontinent during the last quarter of the 19th century under the leadership of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan. The main objective of the movement was to provide contemporary education to Indian Muslims while integrating it into their social and religious practices. This movement arose out of the realization among Indian Muslim intellectuals as well as British colonial officials that the widespread lack of knowledge among the Muslim masses was not only detrimental to the development of the Muslim community, but also to Indian politics. In July 1887, less than two years after the establishment of Sindh Madressah, Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah was enrolled in the institution and studied there for the longest period of his academic life, from 1887 to 1892. The File available at Sindh Madressatul Islam shows that he was admitted to the secondary school section, in Standard 1 (the fifth year of education … after four years of primary) in the English branch on July 4, 1887. Khoja has been mentioned as his sect and Karachi has been recorded as his birthplace. In the file kept at the SMIU, it was stated that he had completed his four primary education classes in Gujrati in the âprevious instructionsâ column of his previous school certificate at the time of his first admission here. His date of birth has not been communicated, although he would have been 14 years old when he left the institute (SMIU). On January 30, 1892, while enrolled in Standard 5 English (grade 9), he left the institution, noting in the general record that he “was leaving for Cutch to marry.”
SMI left a deep imprint on Quaid’s mind that he enjoyed all his life. As is evident from his last will, he gave a third of his personal property to Sindh Madressah. In paragraph 12 of his will dated May 30, 1939, he wrote and declared: bequeath part to Aligarh University, part to Islamia College, Peshawar and part to Sindh Madressah in Karachi â.
Although he left this institute at a young age and continued his studies later, he never strayed from his great alma mater. He was part of the ceremony when his alma-mater was raised from school to college level. He personally came to inaugurate the âSindh Madressah Collegeâ on June 21, 1943. On this occasion, he was overwhelmed by his feelings. While recalling his school years, he informed the public that he knew every inch of the magnificent grounds of the institution where he had studied and played in his youth fifty-five years earlier. The account of the event as published in the Daily Morning News and the following day’s Daily Star of India read as follows:
âKarachi June 21: Mr. MA Jinnah, President of the All India Muslim League, today inaugurated the first Muslim college in Sindh.
âThe college is located on the premises of Sindh Madressah, a leading Muslim educational institution in Sindh. Mr. Jinnah was born in Karachi and himself died of this school 55 years ago. Recalling this fact, Mr Jinnah said: “I know every inch of the magnificent grounds of this institution and it is no wonder that I am a little sentimental opening a college here although after 55 years.” Mr. Jinnah added that after the death of the founder of the Madressah, there was no one to take care of its creation with the care it deserved. It must not happen. There should always be continuity in the work program of any institution. Continuity must be maintained not only in education but in all departments of Muslim life, âhe said. Speaking in an evocative mood, Mr Jinnah said he was overwhelmed by the sense of being present in development at a college his Alma Mater where 55 years ago he had performed and studied as a schoolboy. “Every inch of these beautiful grounds where I have participated in various games, I know it,” said Mr. Jinnah. He especially emphasized the importance of building a strong endowment fund for the college and he hoped that the education bosses would come forward to provide funds not only for the new college but for many other such colleges. . Mr. Jinnah himself led with a donation of Rs 5,000 and a total of Rs 62,000 was pledged locally by other donors â.
Finally, after about a century and a quarter since its creation at the hands of Khan Bahadur Hassanally Effendi and sixty-nine years after achieving college status at the hands of Quaid-i-Azam, Sindh Madressatul Islam has been elevated to the level of d ‘a university on February 21, 2012.
While highlighting the institute’s significance, historical significance and affiliation with the great leader, Sindh Madressatul Islam University Vice-Chancellor Prof. Dr Mujeebuddin Sahrai Memon shared his thoughts on the importance of .
âWithout a doubt, it is one of the historical institutes of Pakistan. During the 1880s the literacy level of Muslims was quite bad, not even a single Muslim student passed the exams at that time. After reviewing this situation, the founder of (SMI) Khan Bahadur Hassanally Effendi informed Sir Syed Ahmed Khan that he and his colleagues were considering setting up a school in Karachi. Sir Syed Ahmed Khan advised him: âDon’t just think of a school. Aim for a college to extend it into a university â. Just after two years, Quaid-i-Azam joined the institute, further enriching its historical significance. He went straight to higher studies after completing his first studies at this institute.
âAs the Vice Chancellor of this institute, I have always emphasized the importance of this institute in producing such great leaders and its affiliation with the Father of the Nation to my students who join this institute,â explained Dr Sahrai.
Speaking of the captivating architecture of the alma mater of Quaid-i-Azam, he highlighted the upkeep and preservation of this historic structure. âThis building is declared heritage by the government of Sindh, but it requires a good sum of money, 10 times more than any normal building to preserve and maintain its architecture. We need special funds for that but despite its historical importance, it unfortunately did not give the importance it deserves â, he affirmed.
Along with the beautiful architecture, Sindh Madressatul Islam has a separate room dedicated to Quaid-i-Azam where all his academic records are kept. IN the same room, a large corner is dedicated to the founder of the Hassanally Effendi institute. While sharing the information relating to the Jinnah Museum and the Archives Room, the Vice Chancellor mentioned some important facts. âAll the educational details of Quaid-i-Azam are there, from the attendance register, from school registration to original certificates where every detail of his academic life has been archived. There are two parts of the museum, one is dedicated to Hassanally Effendi and the other to Quaid-i-Azam. Even the classrooms where Quaid-i-Azam used to take lessons are still there and used by our students now â. It overwhelms a visitor to visit the Quaid Museum and see the General Register of Sindh Madressatul Islam where Quaid admission details are mentioned. One of the greatest gifts Quaid-i-Azam got from his studies at Sindh Madressatul Islam was his fluency in English. In the last year of his studies, Sindh’s educational inspector, Mr. HP Jacob, said: âThe Madressah has made satisfactory progress during the year. In the secondary classes, there is an improvement across the board. I was particularly struck by the animated recitation by the boys of English and Persian verse. Obviously, the teachers had taken great care to ensure clear and correct pronunciation â.
Quaid-i-Azam had countless opportunities to connect with the most senior British officials in colonial India during his time in Sindh Madressah. At least four major programs took place during his time in Sindh Madressah, attended by the Viceroy and Governor General of British India, the Governor of the Bombay Presidency and the Commissioner of Sindh, among others. In addition to his education, his school also helped him hone his skills in the field of sports. By his own admission, “it was on the sands of Karachi that I played marbles in my childhood.” Indeed, it is a sense of pride for everyone associated with this institute that they are a part of this place where Quaid has spent quality time and left his footprints behind to learn great things.
In addition to Quaid-i-Azam, Sindh Madressah produced several other rulers who were educated here. Some of them include: Sir Shahnawaz Bhutto, Sir Abdullah Haroon, Sir Ghulam Hussain Hidayatullah, Khan Bahadur Mohammad Ayub Khuhro, Shaikh Abdul Majid Sindhi and others. It has also produced great educators, jurists, soldiers and men of letters. Syed Ghulam Mustafa Shah, former SMI student and prominent educator, used to call SMI “the child of Sindh and the mother of Pakistan” in this context.
According to its historic motto, “Come in to learn – Go forward to serve”, the alma mater of Quaid-i-Azam Sindh Madressatul Islam aspires to improve society by providing high quality education and conducting research all around. by promoting national integration, inter-cultural harmony and respect for diversity.