Hassan Ali Effendi - great grandfather of Asif Ali Zardari & founder of Sindh's modern educational system
Considering the gruesome attack on a school in Peshawar, it felt apt to talk about educational system of the country with of course a focus on Sindh. When we talk about Sindh or Sub Continent’s educational system, one name takes the limelight over others - Hassan Ali Effendi. Effendi and his founded institute is a household name in not only Sindh but all over the Indian region.
Effendi was born on 14th August 1830 and belonged to the family of Akhunds from Hyderabad; his ancestors were from Turkey. Little does our younger generation know that the ex-President of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, is Effendi’s great-grandson.
Hassan Ali Effendi was a self-made person as he lost his father in a very early age. He took admission in a local madrassa for studying Quran and Persian language as this was traditionally done by his family. After completion of traditional studies, he studied English by dedicating all his leisure hours in it as it was usually avoided by sub-continent’s Muslims, however, Effendi was motivated by his Christian colleague.
Effendi started working in Indus Flotilla, a shipping company. In 1860, a British judge from Karachi named Middleton saw him reading an English book by the dim light of an oil lamp. He was inspired by Effendi and offered him a job of translator in the district court of Karachi on splendid salary of sixty rupees. After some time judge Middleton allowed him to practice law before the court without passing any formal degree and this proved the turning point in his life as he was the first Muslim Advocate in the province. Soon after that he was appointed as the public prosecutor and was the first non-European in Sindh on charge of that post.
He became one of the great educationists in sub-continent. He arranged Anjuman-e-Islam in Karachi. Later after striving extremely hard, he founded a Muslim school in British India which is famously known as Sindh Madressatul Islam (I would write more about this institute in a later post) in 1885 and is among one of the first Muslim schools in the sub-continent.
Sindh Madressatul Islam gained high popularity and produced many great scholars, leaders, intellectuals, and, poets including Muhammad Ali Jinnah - the founder of Pakistan.
After a full life of service, Hassan Ali Effendi breathed his last on 20th August 1895 in Hyderabad. Due to his non-tiring efforts for the cause of Muslims of Sindh and more for his educational system which he introduced in the region, he is known as Sir Syed of Sindh.