‘Na Sataish Ki Tamanna, Na Kisi Sile Ki Parwa’
(Harboring no hope for praise or any reward)
Prof. Mir Athar Ali MA (English, Urdu & Persian) BT LLB,
Founder President, Society For Science and Nature, Bhopal India.
This has been the simple philosophy of a man who has dedicated his entire life for education and its dissemination to the needy. Prof. Mir Athar Ali, born 16th May 1924, was the son of Dr Mir Gauhar Ali, who got his basic school education from the prestigious Government Mohammedan High School in the foothills of Amravati, MS, established in 1866 by the British. Being a versatile pupil, sports in him, (hockey, football, volleyball, cycling, river and well swimming), he was a brilliant student, a teachers delight with poetries,‘shayries-bait-baziz,’ debates, extempore elocutions, dramatics and finally the bookish studies in that order of that pre-partition era.
Prof Ali always uses to give rich credit to his school teachers of repute in those golden days where he often uses to remember the fact that, adversity was the main challenge for survival, as a single paisa comprising of sub-units the kaudis, could buy you a whale of things. There was extreme value for money and time and people, of course. Teaching was by morals, examples of life and its struggle, depicted by great men of character and determination, who were living legends and institutions in themselves. All of his teachers were real hard taskmasters, a proof of those classic school periods, he remembered innumerable quotes and couplets of great scholars of English, Urdu and Persian till his untimely demise at the age of 95, on the 1st January 2019. Though old, but was young and energetic, with a lively heart and intellect mind.
It was difficult to match his great prowess of a power-pack memory, his perfect recalls and remembrances. He remembered innumerable people, his all-time neighbors of a dozen cities, hundreds of students, colleagues and friends, spanning a huge period of ninety years not only by faces but by names, their history and geography as well. And of course, one could hardly win over his vocabulary; he almost had The Oxford University’s English Language Dictionary memorized, unbelievable, Almighty’s Grace! The precise and timely use of idioms, phrases, proverbs and couplets of great poets in three languages was a matter of Providential Grace!
Prof. Ali obtained his first Master’s degree in English, almost seven decades back in the late 1940s, followed by two more MAs in Urdu and Persian, a triple MA in those hard days of learning by sheer earning. He continued his quest for education earning further degrees in Education and Law, obtaining the latter professional degree after his retirement in 1985, when he fought and successfully won his own legal case, setting an example of how a professor of principles can turn into a brilliant lawyer, when in dire need. His outstanding arguments in impeccable English in the Honorable High Court and the Supreme Court, New Delhi, even left the Learned Judges in awe! Some of them used to address him with respectful humor, a tribute to a petitioner who fought relentlessly for his rights, amidst flaws of the system.
Prof. Mir Athar Ali for the whole of his life believed that education is the best medium to inculcate high morals and social values among all of us. He taught thousands of students during the last 70 years and continued to do so with the same vigor, despite his 95th year of age. He had a firm belief that students can become ambassadors par excellence of goodwill for the community, state and the country. He has truly envisioned an institution where students would learn an approach especially suited to confronting many of the hugely complex challenges of life that face us.
Prof. Ali’s love for Nature and Science and Technology, despite being a man of Art’s with Maths in his high school, led to the birth of the non-profit Society For Science & Nature (SSN) in 2008, for the cause of serving humanity with science . He was instrumental in launching of an International Peer Reviewed Journal, Bioscience Biotechnology Research Communications (2008) and opening of the Athar Institute of Health and Management Studies (AIHMS) in 2009 in New Delhi India for the downtrodden and the needy. A man of Herculean intellectual and organizational capabilities, Prof. Athar with his half a dozen degrees and decades of practical experience strived hard to bring real and lasting improvement in the lives of the poor and people in need, leaving a rich legacy to be followed.