Some are born great. Some achieve greatness. And some have greatness thrust on them. He clearly belonged to the first two categories.
DOB – February 24, 1936,
DOD – September 29, 2008
Some are born great. Some achieve greatness. And some have greatness thrust on them. He clearly belonged to the first two categories. He opened eyes into a family known for its piety, spirituality and wisdom. And as time wore on he achieved greatness sheer dint of his abilities. The fourth decade of the 20th century saw the birth and fosterage of a ‘Sultan’ in a prominent family of Hyderabad. He was named Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi by his maternal grandfather. Hazrath Shah Mohammed Abul Qasim Abul Alai, a great spiritual and personality saintly legal luminary well known religious scholar and visionary leader, Maulana Abdul Wahid Owaisi, With his political acumen leadership qualities, intuition of a true believer and provoking speeches, Salahuddin Owaisi ruled the hearts and of people for close to half a century.
Out of love and reverence everyone called him ‘Salar-e-Millat’. Owaisi sahib had in him the dignity and commanding presence of a Sultan and the spiritual uprightness and integrity of Salahuddin Ayubi. He inherited the Owais Qarni kind of love for the Prophet of Islam. These noble qualities and intrinsic virtues made him distinguished, awesome and influential. For 22 years Salar-e-Millat served as the member of Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly and for another two decades, six terms continuously, he remained the Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha). In 2004 he voluntarily bade adieu to electoral politics.
In his long political career, Salar-e-Millat saw several Chief Ministers and Prime Ministers come and go. All of them respected and consulted him on national issues as also community matters. Opposition leaders grudgingly acknowledged his capabilities and political foresight. Among the country’s Muslim leaders, he had a towering presence. His efforts and concern for unity and integrity of the community received the appreciation and admiration of Ulema and Mashaideen. Salar-e-Millat turned Hyderabad into a beautiful flower vase of Muslim brotherhood and a strong fortress for the community. For resolution of problems facing Muslims and to secure their Constitutional rights, he shook the Assembly and Parliament with his forceful speeches laced with irrefutable evidence. He spared no efforts to strengthen national integration and to ensure justice to the weaker sections of the society. He gave a practical example of secularism by appointing a Dalit as the Mayor when the Majlise Ittehadul Muslimeen stormed to power in the Hyderabad Municipal Corporation for the first time.
Salar-e-Millat was very concerned about eradication of educational and economic backwardness among Muslims. After acquiring Dar-us-Salam, he converted it into a political empowerment of the community. At the same time he set up an ITI which paved way for launch of a string of educational institutions. The political upheaval in Andhra Pradesh during 1984 saw horse-trading with leaders being lured with power and pelf. Taking advantage of the situation, Salar-e-Millat set up professional institutions like Deccan and Deccan College of Engineering and Technology with a view to remove educational backwardness among Muslims. They were the first minority educational institutions in the State and to destroy them the powers-that-be and opponents hatched conspiracies. But the prudence, affirmative action and legal steps taken by Salar-e-Millat forced the opponents to bite dust. These colleges grew in name and fame and soon a network of other educational institutions like Deccan College of Management, Deccan College of Pharmacy, Deccan College of Physiotherapy, Deccan College of Nursing, Deccan College of Hospital Management and Deccan College of Architecture came into being.
Doctors, engineers and others who passed out from these colleges are doing exceedingly well both within and outside the country. While the city got a gift in the shape of Owaisi Hospital and centre for Research Centre, one of the finest in Asia, people in the Old City benefitted with the state-of- the-art Princess Esra Hospital near Charminar. Salar-e-Millat spent a whopping amount to upgrade this facility. Everyday hundreds of poor persons avail treatment at affordable rates at these hospitals run under the name of Owaisi Group of Hospitals.
Apart from education and health, Salar-e-Millat set up the Dar-us-Salam Cooperative Urban Development Bank to improve the economy of the community and to make Muslims self sufficient. At a time when cooperative banks in the country have failed with scandalous regularity, Dar-us-Salam bank has succeeded in winning the confidence and trust of people by sincere and straightforward functioning. Today it has nine branches in different parts of the city.
It would be unfair to confine the activities of Salar-e-Millat to just politics and socio-educational sectors. He reached out to distressed people both within and outside the country and rendered them all possible help.
Salar-e-Millat deep lov for the Urdu language. And he remained steadfast in helping Urdu medium students. It was this passion for Urdu language and its journalism that forced him to establish the Urdu daily, Etemaad.
The noble mission embarked upon by Salar-e-Millat under the guidance of his father, is now progressing in the right direction under the able leadership of his sons.