In the memory of Sir Syed of Pothohar

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By Prof Dr Riaz Ahmad

Engr. Mian Hayyat Bakksh whose 37th death anniversary falls on 28 march 2019 was one of the most outstanding and multi-dimensional social figures of Pothohar region who was given the title of sir Syed of Pothohar by the prominent academic, socio cultural organization of Rawalpindi (present Islamabad Inclusive) Attock, Chakwal, and Hazara for his purposeful and outstanding contribution in various fields of social, cultural and political life.

He was an engineer by profession serving as chief engineer of Rawalpindi electric company. While fulfilling his professional commitments he was deeply involved in the promotion of education, social welfare, Islamic values amongst the social fabric of not only Rawalpindi but the whole of Pothohar society.

He was born in a well-to-do family of Rawalpindi in 1899. His father Mian Pir Bukhsh was also an engineer by profession. After receiving early education up to F.Sc. from Rawalpindi he started service in the ordinance factory. As he was interested in pursuing his advance education in engineering and there was not an engineering college in the country, he was sent to England for two years wherefrom he earned an engineering degree from Wolwich. On his return he started his job at the Rawalpindi Electrical Co. as Chief Engineer wherefrom he retired in 1967. Although the head of the company was usually English or Hindu, Sikh or Parsi, still he was given time to work for the welfare of the Muslims.

Under the British Raj, the position of Muslims was very weak because they were given meagre representation in the services. As President of the All India Muslim employees association (Anjuman-i-Ittehad-I Karegaran, Rawalpindi Division, Mian Hayyat Bakhsh fought for the rights of the Muslims and went to Delhi in 1930 to attend the all-India employees convention where he pleaded the case of Muslim representation in the British Government services at all-India level. In 1935 after the earthquake in Quetta, many families left in panic. Mian sahib organized a relied camp at Rawalpindi Railway Station where the refugees were fed and later rehabilitated; suitably in different areas of Rawalpindi. Along with it he also functioned as secretary, Anjuman-e-Islamia, Rawalpindi an organization which was running four Islamia schools in Rawalpindi under the President-ship of Khan Bahadur Mohammad Ismail.

Actually this Anjuman e Islamia was formed as result of Sir Syed Ahmead Khan’s movement for establishing Islamic school for imparting modern education to the Muslim children in an Islamic environment. This was made possible in pursuance of the goals of the all India Muhammadan educational conference in 1886.

Mian Hayyat took up this cause further during 1930s and 1940. When in 1943 the Anjuman

Faizul Islam was founded as on orphanage on the direction of Quaid-e-Azam, Mian Hayat Bakhsh was the vice-president and Syed Mustafa Shah Gillani was the secretary General of Rawalpindi Muslim League. The great contribution of Mian Sahib was that most of the meetings of Rawalpindi Muslim League as well that of Anjuman –e- Faizul Islam were held and hosted at his house. Though Mian Hayat Bakhsh was not president of the Anjuman but he functioned as the main pillar of the Anjuman. In recognition of his services he was appointed as the life president of the Anjuman Faizul islam in 1948, a position he continued in until his death in March 1992.

During his tenure as president, various educational institutions and the orphanage progressed; a large number of orphans were taken from all parts of Pakistan without any discrimination. Initially the Anjuman faizul Islam functioned from a small building in Trunk Bazar. But because of the role and dedication of Bakhsh the assets of the Anjuman tremendously increased and the present campus at Faizabad covering about 100 Kanals was procured during his presidency. This campus further helped in the growth of educational and orphancare services of the anjuman by the time when Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto became prime minister.

The number of Anjuman’s Educational schools had increased from two to six. Though, most of them were nationalized by the Bhutto regime in 1972.

During the movement for Pakistan, he also rendered marvellous services. When Quaid-i- Azam came to Rawalpindi to address a public meeting at Islamia high School, Murree Road in the first week of May, 1936, Mian Hayyat Bukhsh, as Secretary Anjuman-i- Islmaia, not only received the Quaid at the Rawalpindi Railway Station but also made arrangements for holding public address. As a matter of fact when Quaid reached Lahore on 29th April 1936 and he was planning to go to Kashmir, Quaid-i-Azam wrote a letter to Khan Bahadur Muhammad Ismail, president of the Anjuman Islamia, Rawalpindi. He was entrusted the job of receiving the Quaid at Rawalpindi Railway Station and organizing the function. As mentioned before, he was also vice president of Rawalpindi Muslim League and most of the meeting of the district Muslim league were hosted and arranged at his house at the committee Chowk, Murree Road Rawalpindi. When the famous Lahore session of 22-24 March 1940 was held when the Pakistan resolution was passed, Mian Hayat Bakhsh not only led a sizable delegation from Rawalpindi Division but helped in the construction of the stage at Minto Park with the help of Sajjad Hussain Quraishi, later Governor of the Punjab, who has asked by the Quaid to do so. The climax of all these activities for the cause of Pakistan was anti Khizar Hayyat demonstration in January-March 1947 when on a call from the Quaid-i-Azam the Muslim League and workers started the movement against the Chief Minister of Punjab. Actually as a result of 1946 elections, Sir Khizr Hayat Khan Tiwana was appointed as the Punjab Chief Minister because of British- Congress nexus, whereas the majority of 88 members in a house of 175 were with Nawab of MamdoT, leader of the Muslim League. Mian Sahib took active part in this movement. Mian Sahib led anti-Khizar movement in Rawalpindi as an organizer.

He held a number of the demonstrations from the city to district railway on a number of days. Forced by the pressure of the movement, finally Tiwana resigned towards the end of March 1947. A number of demonstrations were also organized in Rawalpindi as a part of this anti- Khizar movement by the Muslim League Rawalpindi. Even on 14 Feb 1947 the ML workers blocked for some time the Frontier Mail at the Rawalpindi Railway Station. The workers blocked trains for number of days in other parts of Punjab but this matter was condemned by Raja Ghanzanfar Ali Khan and Khawaja Nazim-Ud-din who were touring different cities of the Punjab and watching the agitation. Before this also when the elections were held in Rawalpindi in early 1946, Mian Hayyat Bakhsh along with his son Main Siddique Akbar, presently president of Anjuman-i-Faizul Islam Rawalpindi, who was a student at the time, also participated in a number of meetings for canvassing for the Muslim league candidates for the Punjab Assembly. The Rawalpindi Division had the privilege of securing 100 % victory for the Muslim League candidates from the Rawalpindi division.

On 14 August 1947 Mian Hayat Bakhsh led a contingent of Muslim League National Guard to the Committee Chowk ground and saluted the Pakistan flag.

After the establishment of the Pakistan when thousands of Muslim refugees came from Hindustan to Rawalpindi, Mian Hayat Bakhsh volunteered his services and he was appointed as honorary settlement commissioner to help the government to solve the problems of incoming refugees.

In recognition of his services he was later appointed Minister of Social Welfare and Religious Affairs by the Government of Punjab during 1980s and functioned as member of Majlis-i-Shura for a number of years. Moreover, in recognition of his meritorious services he was awarded Tamghai-i-Quaid-i-Azam by the Government of Pakistan.

He helped in the growth of Muslim culture through Anjuman Faizul Islam educational institutions and largest Faizul Islam orphanage in the country. It was because of his foundational works that Anjuman Faizul Islam has emerged not only the largest orphan house in the whole of Pakistan, but with its six campuses in and round Rawalpindi/ Islamabad is imparting modern education to thousands of children both in general, science and technical fields spread over various branches. In this way Main Hayat Bakhsh has rightly been named as the Sir Syed of Rawalpindi/ Islamabad.