I finished reading ‘A. M. A. Azeez – Reminiscences’. The book written by his daughter Marina Ismail is interesting and good reading. It is like a biography, sketches of Dr. Azeez’s achievements, about her father, an illustrious gentleman, involved in many fields; education, administration, social welfare. etc. in a bygone era. Dr. Azeez was the first Muslim Civil Servant, Principal of Zahira College, Senator, Member of the University Court, Council and Senate and Member of the Public Service Commission.

It is easy reading and very informative. Dr. .Azeez was an inspiration to all Muslims and of course a role model for any patriotic Sri Lankan.

Marina does not boast about her father, we get a peep into his activities in many fields I mentioned earlier. She relates many unforgettable memories of interest.

Late Dr. Azeez was a rare personality. He got involved in the grow more food campaign of Hon. D.S. Senanayake during World War II which was a tremendous success. He saw the backwardness of Muslims in the Eastern Province, realizing the importance of education he set up the Ceylon Muslim Scholarship Fund which has helped poor Muslim students to pursue higher education. He formed the All Ceylon Young Men’s Muslim Association Conference which is a leading youth organization with many branches.

He gave up a promising civil service career to become the Principal of Zahira College. Under him Zahira became a leading boys’ school with Sinhalese and Tamil students, besides Muslims.

The book reveals a bygone era where communities lived in harmony, following their religions and cultures peacefully.

The calibre of people like Dr Azees are rare today

Metta Kodikara

(former AGM, Bank of Ceylon)

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