Allama I.I. Kazi

Imdad Ali Imam Ali Kazi
I. I. Kazi
Born (1886-04-18)April 18, 1886
Village Paat (now Dadu District), Bombay Presidency, British India
Died April 13, 1968(1968-04-13) (aged 81)
Hyderabad, Pakistan (buried at Jamshoro)

Imdad Ali Imam Ali Kazi (Sindhi: علامه آء آء قاضي) (b. 1886 - d.1968), was a scholar, philosopher, jurist, and educationist. He is considered[by whom?] to be a founder of the University of Sindh at its present location at Jamshoro. Many works for Sindhi Art, literature, mysticism, education and history are attributed to him. He was a prolific writer, and along with his wife Elsa, he wrote a book on comparative religion, The Adventures of the Brown Girl in her Search for God, which was published by Arthur H Stockwell Ltd., England, in 1933.[1] Kazi and his wife also worked on the translation of the verses of Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai.

Education and early life

Kazi was the second son of the second wife of Kazi Imam Ali Ansari, the District Magistrate of Hyderabad, and was born on April 18, 1886, at Hyderabad. His family was originally from Paat of Dadu District. He gained his early education from Mian Abdul Aziz. Then he joined a school and passed his Sindhi vernacular final examination in 1904. He matriculated from High School in 1905. He went abroad for higher education, where he studied Economics at the London School of Economics and Psychology at King's College. While in London, he married a German woman, Elsa Kazi, in 1910. She was a philosopher, writer and poet. Kazi was called to the bar in 1911, after which he returned home to Hyderabad with his bride. Subsequently, they left for London the next year and remained there until The First World War was over. Returning to India in 1919, Kazi had to cope with the death of his father and searched for a suitable appointment.


The British offered the young barrister the post of Civil Judge of Tando Mohammad Khan. He was later sent as District and Sessions Judge Khairpur. He was appointed Home Member of the State also, but not happy with the British policy towards the States, he left Khairpur and took up the post of Public Prosecutor Tharparkar. He proceeded on leave and resigned that post from London in 1931. The couple returned to India in 1935 at the persistent requests of His Highness the Mir of Khairpur. The Anjuman Tabligh Islam nominated him as their President, but, upset over the quarrelling amongst the religious scholars, the couple left again for England in October 1935. After returning home in 1938, Kazi regularly delivered Friday prayer sermons at Sir Leslie Wilson Muslim Hostel, now known as Jinnah Courts opposite the D. J. Science College in Karachi. Amongst his listeners were students who later rose to be government ministers, judges of the superior judiciary, renowned scholars and civil servants. Incidentally, Abul Kalam Azad also attended some of his sermons.

In an effort to earn his livelihood or Rizq-i-Halal, Kazi experimented with a poultry farm and a dairy farm but both failed. The British Government meanwhile entrusted to his care wards from jagirdar or major land-owning families such as Akbar Bugti and some others who had the good fortune of receiving schooling and training directly from Allama Sahib.

Kazi left for England in 1947 but returned to take up the job of Vice Chancellor of the University of Sindh in 1951. Till that time the university, which had been in existence since April 1947 was serving as an examining body only. Upon the appointment of Prof. A B A Haleem as Vice Chancellor of the Karachi University, Kazi was requested to take over the Sindh University.[2] At that time only five colleges and thirty-four high schools were affiliated with University of Sindh. Karachi having become the capital territory, the headquarters of Sindh were shifted to Hyderabad. Very soon the university was converted into a full-fledged centre for higher education that was awarding Masters and Doctoral degrees in its various faculties and disciplines. The first teaching faculty of Education started working as early as September 1951. Within four years, the grant of the University was increased from Rs. 100,000 to Rs. 500,000 upon Kazi’s insistence with the then Governor, Justice Din Muhammad in 1955. Kazi continued his practice of Friday sermons to the staff and students of university.


After the imposition of the first Martial Law in the country in October 1958, Army officers came to the Registrar and made inquiries of him. On receiving the report of this external interference in university affairs, Kazi tendered his resignation on 25 May 1959 and never accepted a government assignment again.

Kazi's wife Elsa died on 28 May 1967 after a brief but painful fight against a kidney problem. At a convocation of the University of Sindh around this time, Kazi was conferred with the honorary degree of Doctorate of Laws. Towards his end, Kazi would pray to God like Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai: “On what account am I still in this world when I should revert to my Creator?”[this quote needs a citation] He expressed his sentiments thus: “When you have no need of life you will go smiling out saying like Jami, Hafez and other great poets that I have known that my home was not here. I am going home where I shall live. I am a bird of some other world thrown in this cage. The sooner I go out the better. They have all said that when we have done our task, why need we be here?”[this quote needs a citation]


Kazi died on 13 April 1968. His final jottings detail a vision of the Creator he had during his last night. Inspired by that vision, he traveled to a favorite spot on the banks of the Indus where he lost his footing and fell to his death. Kazi's death was marked by condolences from Zakir Hussain (then president of India) and Ayub Khan (then president of Pakistan), the latter broadcast on Radio Pakistan. Kazi was mourned by Indians and Pakistanis alike.


Several books and articles and have been written on Kazi and tributes are paid to him annually on the anniversary of his death[3][4][5][6][7]


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