Dr. Syed Farooq: A Man of All Seasons, All Days and All Hues
Dr. S. Farooq, one of the most notable Muslim figures of Northern India, may very well be called a “vibgyor”, the abbreviation of seven colours that form light. His personality has umpteen hues, each one of which is no less bright than the other. Equipped with the highest degree in academics, D.Sc, he is as conspicuous by his presence in Mushairas and other cultural events as in high level conferences, seminars and enclaves. He is an excellent orator, a passionate lover of Urdu poetry, a preacher of Islam, a vibrant horse rider, a successful industrialist, a keen social activist and a great socialite. His tastes for fine arts also are multidimensional. He has a collection of more than a dozen old vintage cars and a beautiful collection of Qur’anic manuscripts, tasbihs and calligraphic arts.
If even the headings of some of the write-ups from newspapers are repeated, these would be enough to give a glimpse into the persona of Dr. Syed Farooq. “Man of All Seasons”, says Hindustan Times; “Standing High and Tall”, says Times of India and “Man with heart purer than Gold” says Garhwal Times. He is Pride of Uttarakhand, Pride of the country and of course Pride for the Muslim community. Cool, calm, smiling, cracking jokes, reproducing ashaar on almost every subject, and in the midst of all, a thinking man- Dr Farooq is in fact much more than what words can describe. To be short, he is suave, sophisticated and serene. And more than anything else what embellishes his personality most is his emotional attachment with the Creator of the World and His choicest representatives on the earth. Coming from a family and business background where Natural products become remedies, he combines his strengths into love for Allah (Huquq-Allah) and love for people (Huquq-al-Ibaad). President of Himalaya Drugs, the leading Ayurvedic Products Company of the country, he is known both for his various tastes and his many services.
Summing up his charms, a magazine, Islam, Muslims & the World says,
“He has the calm and robustness of a sportsman, heart of a sensitive poet, mind of an intellectual and spirit of a Sufi. In conversation, he can keep you engaged for hours and hours, without initiating a semblance of boredom. When he talks, at one moment, he would make you burst with laughter with his witty remarks and sharp jokes and the next moment he would take you to a higher intellectual level with a beautiful Urdu couplet. He is aesthetic in lifestyle, and yet he is known for his charitable disposition and community welfare.”
Describing extraordinary personality, a newspaper wished him happy birthday in style,
“There goes a saying that miracles do not fly in the air, or walk in the water, but walk on earth. Dr Farooq has a multifaceted persona. Today he is a national figure who is tall not in height but in stature also. ….Deonites (a term used for the residents of Dehradun) from grass root to most affluent consider him as their own. His philanthropy needs no mention that extends helping hands to everyone. He is an impeccable orator in Hindi and Urdu. His heart-touching couplets make one wonder the memory of this pioneer social worker who despite possessing massive wealth is very simple in living and high in ideals and continues to inspire one and all. ….Dr Farooq believes that the moment one serves, one connects himself to God and it is his firm belief that Nature always helps those who serve others…...A true follower of Mark Twain, he says, whoever is happy will make others happy too. That is what he is doing in true sense. “
Dr. S Farooq was born on 9th January, 1955 in the family of Janab Syed Rashid Ahmad, a renowned researcher of Ayurvedic remedies and a freedom fighter. He took his early education in Dehradun itself. The earliest notable incident he remembers about his school gives a hint of the personality he was going to develop into. While teaching, one of the teachers made a remark that “Muslims are dirty people who do not bathe and lick their fingers after eating”. The young Farooq could not digest it and immediately raised his hand to speak. Permitted, he said, “Madam, this is wrong. I am a Muslim and take bath daily.” Visibly angry, she retorted, “You are an exception.” Later on his inquisitive mind came to understand that if Muslims lick their fingers after eating, it was for a specific purpose. They wash their hands properly before eating and after eating they lick their fingers because they want not to let even a bit of the provision of God to go waste. And he remembered every bit of the incident when after years he became the Chief Guest in a function in the same school.
Dr Farooq did his schooling from St Thomas School and higher studies at DAV College. He obtained his M.Sc, PhD and D.Sc degrees from HNBG University (DAV PG College Dehradun). He also holds a postgraduate Diploma in Business Management. He has published and presented more than 200 papers in national and international conferences. He is the Chief Editor of the Universities Journal of Phytochemistry & Ayurvedic Heights. He is also the author of “555 Medicinal Plants:, “101 Herbal remedies for Cough & Cold” and “Aap Yaad aate Hain”, a biography of his father. His name was listed in Marquis Who’s Who in the World (USA) in 1997in recognition of his Academic works in the year 2000, in International Who’s Who of Intellectuals 13th Edition of IBC (England) in recognition of his scientific research work in Phytochemistry.
He is associated in different capacities with a large number of organisations and institutions, some of which are listed below:
Dr. Farooq’s love for Quran is also evident from the amount of pain he has taken in collecting the manuscripts of Quran. Every year in the month of Ramadhan, people of Dehradun throng the Tasmia Academy on Inder Road to witness the exhibition that brings together around 2,000 Korans and artefacts engraved with verses from the holy book. A report on the exhibition says,
“Even though he has earned praise for the unique exhibition, he, with humility, says, “In my family, there is a tradition of passing over the holy books. My father took special care of the books that were passed to him from his great grandfather. Inspired, I decided to set up a corner dedicated to our family’s collection of holy books. Soon the collection grew, with friends and relatives donating rare pieces and the passion took shape of a library”, said Dr Farooq.
“Now every year, Dr Farooq brings to the public the collection that gives a glimpse into the many facets of calligraphy as set in the Koran. “The Arabic calligraphy found an artistic expression while depicting the word of God as conveyed in the Koran,” said Dr Farooq..”
Another report says:
“The Tasmia All-India Education and Social Welfare Society organised a two-day exhibition on the Arabic calligraphy here today. The title of the exhibition was ‘Holy Koran in the mirror of the calligraphy’.
This year, the centre of attraction was the Qur’anic verse laboriously engraved on handmade paper (scrolls) measuring 8.50 feet by 6.50 feet.
“There are chests on which verses from Koran have been engraved on ‘bhoj patras’, wooden doors and animal skins. Some of these are very old and trace the history of calligraphy as an Islamic script,” said Dr S Farooq, patron of the Tasmia All India Education and Social Welfare Society.
A special section was dedicated to the Koran written in different Indian languages and of the world, including Japanese.
The first coloured Koran having the assent of Afghan King Ameer Saheb Bahadur and printed in Ludhiana in 1908 is also a part of the Tasmia Library.”
A newspaper captures Dr. Farooq’s craze of vintage cars and Polo in style. It says:
“The gate wide opens to the sight of a majestic Bungalow at Clement Town and you get a warm welcome by a man in his 50s. Age doesn’t seem to be catching up with this man named Dr S Farooq, who with his quintessential smile, elegance and humility draws respect and love from his guests. What matters to him is the person who has come to meet him and how better he can be of help to him. Among the scores of people who come to meet Dr Farooq are his students, who look up to him for support and guidance. “I have inherited benevolence from my father and passion for helping people by virtue of my profession,” says Dr Farooq, who besides being a guide to his students doing higher studies in Phytochemistry is also the President of Dehradun based Himalayan Drug Company.
“Dr Farooq is not only known as a diplomat, industrialist and social activist but his sprawling and magnificent residence at Clement Town houses a unique collection of Vintage Cars dating as back as 1926 and Motor Cycles dating as back as 1942. He says that it gives me a sense of pride, when I see a car once owned by Late Subhash Chandra Bose’s colleague and fellow Indian Civil Services Officer A M Jha, parked in the courtyard of my bungalow. “It is a Plymouth model of 1954, which cost me Rs 80, 000. I also have an Austin car dating as back as 1930, which cost me Rs. 5, 000,” says Dr Farooq. He further adds that I have a collection of 15 such cars and five motorcycles dating as back as 1942.
“Taking pride in owning the first commercial vehicle with the name Hindustan, Dr Farooq says, “I nurtured the dream of owning a personal car since my school days. Fortunately, I could buy it in Rs 1200 in the year 1972, when I was just 14 years old.” His unique collection also includes rare collection of fossils of animals and plant herbariums. Having the credit of being the first and only person for being awarded Doctor of Science for his exemplary work in Phytochemistry from H.N.B Garhwal University, Dr Farooq finds thrill in horse riding and polo, which is conspicuous by the well maintained horse stable and a sprawling polo field just behind his bungalow. “I treat my horses as my friends and I am emotionally attached to them,” says an elated Dr Farooq. He further goes on to explain that many of these horses are through breed of British and Arabian decent.
Dr. Farooq has the rare honour of giving Ghusl (Bath) to Ka’ba. Capturing his feelings a magazine interview says,
“”Hajj is a special mercy of God”, says Farooq, “as a Hadith says: Perform Hajj, as Hajj washes sins as water washes dirt.” He quotes a couplet to stress his point, “Gunaahgaar to aise the hum ke bas tauba (I was such a big sinner that one needs to say “never again”/Khuda kareem na hota to mar gaye hotey (If God were not kind on me, I would have got destroyed” He continues, “Hajj is a time when one’s love for God must reach its zenith, a time when he must not think of anything other than God, and must give up all other loves and inclinations.” Farooq said that Hajj is also a proof that “if people are following the rules, even massive gathering does not fall into chaos.” He remembers that when he returned from Hajj last year, the Governor of Uttarakhand was all surprise when he came to know that 4 million people gathered to perform Hajj and there was hardly any need for the police to act. “This was possible,” he told the Governor, “only berceuse Hajj brought into their hearts and minds a sense of discipline which is not visible anywhere else in the world.”
The magazine further continues with his religious inclinations:
“Farooq misses no opportunity in conveying the message of truth that Islam preaches and to remove the misgivings about the great religion. He tells that “Prophet Muhammad SAW did not hide his intentions of carrying the message of God to the whole mankind, and he true tries not to deceive the people telling them the half truths.” He often organises programmes for non-Muslims. He recounts how he convinced an important personality of Dehradun, Mr S C Jain about the importance of slaughter of animals on Eidul Adha, which was a message to mankind that through Prophet Abraham, God put a ban on human slaughter forever. Such gatherings, he believes, go a long wa6y in establishing communal harmony, which is essential if India has to survive as a peaceful nation.
His father, Late Janab Sayed Rashid Ahmed, was a Freedom Fighter; a hard-working person and a complete family man and a legend who lived his life in the simplest manner, shouldering and contributing to the biggest epoch-changing movement of our nation; THE FREEDOM STRUGGLE.
During the Freedom Movement, late Sayed Rashid Ahmed worked very closely with Sri Jawahar Lal Nehru, and at his behest organized several meetings/programmes in Dehradun. His contribution was recognized and appreciated by many of the known personalities of Indian history, including the following; Srimati Vijay Laxmi Pandit, Sri H.N. Bahuguna, Mr. Mahavir Tyagi, Vaid D.S. Raturi, Maulana Hussain Ahmed Madni, Brahma Dutt and many others.
Unlike most leaders he was adored by his entire family and the society at large. The latter is very briefly captured in the book ‘Aap Yaad Aatein Hain’, a biography on revered Sayed Rashid Ahmed, authored by Dr.S.Farooq. At the time of publication of ‘Aap Yaad Aatein Hain’ the then President of India, Sri K.R. Narayanan, Shri A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Justice Mohd. Shamim, Chairman Minority Commission, Shri Sudarshan Agarwal, the then Governor of Uttarakhand, Shri Suraj Bhan, the then Governor of Uttarpradesh, Shri M.S.Bitta, Chairman of All India Anti Terrorist Front, Mohd. Farooq, Minister of Civil Aviation, Mr. Saidul Hassan, Labour & Freedom Fighter Pension Minister and many others expressed their deep appreciation for the lifetime contribution made by Janab Sayed Rashid Ahmed.
In recognition of his selfless patriotic service to the Nation, Rashid Sahab was awarded several distinguished awards posthumously.
The Indian Cambridge School’s denotes the vision of our revered inspiration Janab Sayed Rashid Ahmed, to establish an institution that imparts quality education, which is un-biased and inclusive for the all-round-development of every child, thus, producing good citizens and leaders who lead by example.
His mother Sayyida Noor Jahan was a pious lady devoted to God and homely pursuits. His wife, Naghma Farooq is a product of Aligarh Muslim University, and apart from her home management duties, she keeps herself engaged in Islamic studies.
Dr Farooq is President of Himalaya Drug Company. His association with Ayurved is right from his birth, describing his journey in the field he says,
“My father was an Ayurved doctor. He tried to do a lot of Ayurvedic herbal remedies and he used to make concoctions, decoction out of herbal medicated oil. Secondly, we have long association with Himalaya Drug Company. I used to go with my father to visit the company. I used to see a lot of people crushing and grinding herbs. The whole process was fascinating. ..
“Still, many people think, especially in US, yoga is Ayurved. But Yoga is only a part of Ayurved. In fact 15-20 years ago when Himalaya Drug was not a brand, we conducted a survey asking people whether are aware of any Ayurvedic Company and its product. Most of them knew about Dabur and Chaywanprash. They had no other idea about Ayurved. Ayurved, literally translated from Sanskrit as the “Science of Life” is the ancient traditional medical system of India. It is largely based on lifestyle including diet, sleep, bowel movements, day-to-day activities, emotions, spiritual practices and the way one deals with the energy of spirit. Ayurved means a strong relationship between mind and body. When the mind is not balanced, the physical body becomes mechanical and a person begins to have problems.
“Understanding what total health is as simple as understanding Vata, Pitta and Kapha – the three fundamental principles of Nature which govern all the activities of mind and body. Vata is quick, cold and dry by nature. It governs motion, breathing, circulation, elimination and the flow of nerve impulses to and from the brain. Pitta is hot and precise. It governs digestion and metabolism and the processing of food, air and water throughout the body. Kapha is cold and steady by nature. It governs structure and fluid balance and forms muscles, fat, bones and sinew. We all have a certain amount of Vata, Pitta and Kapha in our constitution and while all three are active, one or two usually dominate.
“But today due to scientific and technological advancement we have blood chemistry, EEG and ECG, etc. Very few people have the required knowledge of Tridoshas.
“Nature has a system. Take for example a cow’s body. It has no canine teeth and its digestive tract is long, suitable only for grass. The body of cow cannot digest meet. Similarly every animal has a special body design suiting different kinds of food. We humans have canine teeth and our digestive tract is relatively small. The Ayurved does not say that we should not eat meat. Living beings live on other living beings. A big fish will eat small fish. But yes, we should not eat meat like carnivorous animals, not raw but well cooked. Also, according to Ayurved, the whole concept of food revolves around the food which is grown around us, its nutritional value for our physical and mental activities and our occupation. In the cold Arctic and Antarctic cities where you cannot eat any vegetable for about 9 months a year, meat remains the only option. Even in Canada and America, fresh vegetables and fruits are scarce in winters. Similarly, occupation affects the eating habits. Soldiers have to take meat to remain physically strong.
“Allopathic medicines only focus on giving you immediate relief, which is why people go to Allopath. But people are getting more and more aware of the value of Ayurved. Moreover, in India we do not invest much in research and development. For example, even China is known for ancient herbs and it is much more popular because of their research development. If China comes out with 100 research papers a year, India comes with just 2.
“Himalaya Drugs are the only company coming out with a variety of Ayurvedic Products.”
Dr. Farooq is an eminent social activist and philanthropist who always remains engaged in socially useful activities. The programmes he has been involved in are related to many areas such as:
The objective of education was to learn the three arts - those of expression, earning and living. Later Discip0linbe is prerequisite to career development. It helps the modalities and strategies of maintaining good employee-employer relationship in the organisation.
We should take Right to Education as a patriotic duty of getting education and to teach others if we are educated. Maulana Azad was chosen by Mahatma Gandhi as the First education Minister of India due to his views on the Education Policy for Children.
Sir Syed and Education
Sir Syed Ahmad was one of the greatest visionaries of modern India. During the British Raj, Hindu and Muslim clergy were both reluctant to adopt English language, dress and articles. It was believed that Indian culture would be ruined by adopting British Education. All this was to preserve the heritage and force Britishers to quit. Sir Syed was the first leader to have taken the bold step in 1876 to start Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College to persuade Indians to abandon this approach to acquire knowledge, and adopt English language for Sciences. It was against the will of Muslim clergy and Muslim League.
Importance of Elders
Society ought to realise the importance of elders and the elders should also know their changed role in the family. Elders should be paid utmost respect. In their hands is the key to Paradise.
Save the Girl Child, ought to be a national mission for all citizens
UK is full of cynic beauty, religious sanctity and full of weather resources. In just more than a decade after its formation in 2000, it has emerged as one of the fastest growing states in the country. Industry and manufacturing in particular have played a key role in the development. The per capita income of UK is 52125 which is higher than national average of 37.851. It has around 2000 manufacturing units with an investment of more than 20000 crores. CII has been operating in the state since its inception with full-fledge office at Dehradun.
There is a need for maintaining Indian traditions instead of going for Westernised ideas of Safe Sex. One ought not to indulge in illicit relationships or immoral acts and persons need to be loyal to their legitimate partners.
Minority Rights are to be protected before chanting “Bhai Bhai”. We must learn from animals and plants the art to benefit one another.
The People have become Rights’ conscious. The Government must change accordingly.
No religion permits animals’ abuse. Environmental protection also means animal protection.
We have to save Planet Earth by keeping it green because a healthy and clean environment today is key to the health of our generations tomorrow.
Jim Corbett Park in Uttarakhand is the pride of the nation with 300 tigers and more than 600 species of birds including migratory birds. .
A society will called cultured only if it gives due respect to women and they are also given freedom of movement without fear of assault.
Only a happy family produces good citizens and builds a strong nation. The children who look after their parents get their blessings and are more likely to lead a happy life.
Art of Expression
The first requirement for any task is Art of Expression which should be simple4 and effe3ctive. Motivation adds to productivity and pleasure.
What worries me most is the disunity of Ummah based on masaalik. And the intriguing part of this unity is that this is despite the fact that all Muslims, Sunnis, Shias, Deobandis and Bareiolvis, believe in oneness of God, have unshakeable belief in nabuvvat of Prophet Muhammad SAW, have the same Quran and all turn towards Ka’bah while praying. Even if you ask a person who apparently seems to bow before a mazaar, he would tell that this was a sajdah-e tazeemi, and he worships God alone. The differences are more due to misconceptions about one another. There is a need to bury the differences forever. The Hadith that talks about72 firqas with only one being Jannati is in fact about the firqaas that have their own prophets. All Muslims who believe in One God and Finality of Prophethood of Muhammad SAW will enter Paradise provided their conduct has been good.
I am concerned about Economic Disparity. There is a couplet of Bashir Badr, to convey my feeling of frustration at the economic situation:
“MaiN tamaam tare uTHa uTHa ke Ghareeb logon meiN baaNT dooN (Let me pick up all the stars of the heavens and distribute them among the poor)/kisai eik raat ko wo aasmaan ka nizaam dey mere haath meiN (Just for one single night let God give the4 system of vheave3ns in his hands.).
But rather than giving simply the charities, NGOs should instead be created, which should help the people.
Tourism in Uttarakhand needs to explore new dimensions and develop them so that pressure can be taken off Mussourie and Nainital. We have such exotic places in the hills. If facilities are created and people are made more aware of these dimensions, the potential of tourism can be fully realised.
Dehradun used to be such a beautiful town. My father and uncles used to tell me how till 1930s, it was a “no lock” town. No one used to lock their homes. And even up to a couple of decades ago, people had small wooden gates just to ensure that animals did not get into the gardens. The Gujjars in the in the forest in the valley lived in the midst of animals, and yet their houses had no doors.