BRIEF HISTORY

 

Dr. A.M.A. Azeez expired on 24th November, 1973. Although he died at the comparatively young age of 62 years, he contributed immensely to the education and welfare of the community in general and the Muslim community in particular, which need no elaboration here.
 
The ‘Haji A.M.A. Azeez Memorial Committee’ was formed in the year 1975 on the initiative of the All-Ceylon YMMA Conference. Mr. M.A.M. Hussain, former District Judge, was elected as the President. The first Azeez Memorial Lecture was delivered by Justice Dr. A.K. Brohi of Pakistan on 6th January, 1976. The meeting was presided by Al-Haj Badiudin Mahmud, Minister of Education, and held at the Zahira College Hall.
 
Since then the Committee in collaboration with the YMMA organised Memorial Lectures annually by prominent persons. Radio talks and newspaper articles were also arranged.
 
However, the activities of the Committee were minimal except for the annual lectures organized by the YMMA. Numerous requests were made by past students and well wishers of Haji Azeez to revive the Committee, and a meeting was held on 24th July, 1990 presided by Mr. M.A.M. Hussain. The name of the Committee was changed to ‘Dr. A.M.A. Azeez Foundation’. Mr. Hussain was elected as President and Mr. S.M. Kamaldeen as Secretary.
 
The activities of the Foundation were curtailed with Mr. Hussain moving to his home town of Kalmunai. At a meeting of the Foundation held in 1994, Prof. M.T.A. Furkhan was elected as President and Mr. A.M. Nahya as Secretary. The anniversary celebrations continued annually with orations by prominent persons, newspaper articles and radio talks. Few years ago appeals for funds were made through Ramazan Appeals, and scholarships to needy undergraduates continue to be granted. In early 2007 Prof. Furkhan requested that he be relieved of continuing as President and Mr. S.H.M. Jameel was elected to succeed him.
 
From the very inception it was the intention to publish the annual orations, speeches, writings and other academic and literary contributions of Dr. Azeez, which will be of great benefit to the academic and intellectual world as well as to the general readers locally and internationally. An attempt was made in 1989 which did not materialise fully. Mr. Jameel insisted that a start be made in this respect and the Ramazan Appeal 2007 conveyed this message. The response was encouraging and the publication of this booklet is the maiden attempt sponsored by a distinguished and ever grateful student of Dr. Azeez.
 
The main intention of this publication is to portray a Profile of Dr. Azeez from different perspectives for a start.
 
Childhood Memories of Dr. Azeez are written by his daughter Mrs. Marina Ismail, which give an insight to his early life in Jaffna.
 
The efficient handling by Dr. Azeez in a short span of time of the accelerated food production programme of the Government in the Kalmunai District, to overcome food shortages and starvation during the war years was a great achievement, if not his greatest achievement. This needs to be recorded vis-à-vis the current “Eastern Resurgence” project and a comprehensive study is made by Mr. S.H.M. Jameel.
 
The tribute to Dr. Azeez in the form of a Poem in Tamil by the well known Poet from Kattankudy, Marhoom Abdul Cader Lebbe, is reproduced in this publication.
 
Another grateful student Prof. K. Sivathamby remembers Dr. Azeez in his article, portraying his contribution to the community in every sphere. In fact Prof. Sivathamby’s publication “Being a Tamil and Sri Lankan” is dedicated to Dr. Azeez by the words, ‘He more than any one else ensured the continuity of my academic career’.
 
A great honour was bestowed on Dr. Azeez by the Institute of Objective Studies in India by including him in their publication in 2005, “100 Great Muslim Leaders of the 20th Century”. The article is reproduced in this publication.
 
It is our intention to publish in the future all of Dr. Azeez’s scholarly speeches in the Senate and other important academic and literary contributions.

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