By Nikhat Fatima, Muslim Mirror
When Dr. Fakhruddin Mohammed passed away on 5th May, 2021, at the age of 61, he left behind many friends, students, staff and family in shock. He had a huge fan following and admirers among his staff and friends whose lives he touched with his kindness and guidance.
Dr. Fakhruddin had a dream to uplift the Muslim community which is still lagging behind in all fields especially education. So he along with his friends during his college days founded MESCO (Muslim Educational social and Cultural Organisation) in 1983 in Hyderabad. What started with just a coaching center for students aspiring to be doctors has now become a hub of educational institutes from KG to PG catering to more than 10,000 students.
I met him while doing a feature on MESCO institutes at the diagnostic centre at Malakpet. He was soft spoken and polite which made it hard to believe that he was the towering personality behind all these MESCO institutes and activities; because I imagined someone haughty with a thundering voice. After all managing the diagnostic centre, the schools, colleges needed someone with a sharp tongue and iron hand. But when I met and spoke to him, he shattered this myth. And I realized that one could control and rule stoically and with a soft heart, which explained all the philanthropic activities he was involved in.
He was a visionary whose dream was to serve not just the Muslim community but all the poor and oppressed in Hyderabad and other places. The MESCO diagnostic centres which charge nominal fees have been set up not just in Hyderabad but also in Amravati, Amroha and Bhopal.
His secretary, S Shymala who has been with MESCO from 2009, said, “Dr. Fakhruddin was a hub of knowledge. He was enthusiastic and active in everything he did. He was always there to guide us not just in our day to day work but also in our personal matters whenever we needed him. He supported me financially and morally during the demise of my mother and when I had to send my children for higher education. With his death I feel like I lost a family member and can’t get over it”.
Dr. Fakhruddin, son of Dr. Shamsuddin Mohammed, was a professor at the Osmania Medical College and Gandhi Medical College and also superintendent at Sir Ronald Ross Institute of tropical and communicable diseases, is survived by his wife, who is the director of MESCO schools and 4 children – 2 sons and 2 daughters who are all doctors. Dr. Fakhruddin hails from a family of doctors which has nearly 55 doctors in it.
Mohammed Mujtaba, a member of MESCO, who knew Dr Fakhruddin from childhood says, “ Fakhruddin was a very able leader who led the entire team of MESCO in a very professional manner with kindness and understanding. Being of a very helpful nature, he helped several people by giving them employment in MESCO according to their capacities. Some of the MESCO employees are people from his youth. He ensured that they all had secure employment. He was a true friend who never forgot his old buddies even after becoming a successful doctor and entrepreneur. He tried to absorb the not so fortunate ones in his organisation even if it was for the post of a driver or cook. It is going to be a difficult task to fill his void and appoint a new Secretary.”
Dr. Fakhruddin was also responsible for getting Muslim doctors from all over the world on a single platform. He orchestrated many importantseminars, conferences and academic activities at both national and international levels.
Maqbool Mateen, President of United Citizens Forum, who also knew Dr. Fakhruddin from a long time shared, “ When Dr Fakhruddin heard about our activities especially the protests we organised against CAA, NRC and NPR he was very much interested to support us. And when we organised a protest meeting and were looking for a conference hall, he offered us the Ultra-modern air cooled Dr. Hyder Khan Memorial Hall that belonged to MESCO for free of cost”.
Another activist Shiba Minai said, “The biggest challenge of our community is that we don’t have the kind of leadership the way Islam has designed. For a person to be a leader the way Islam demands, you need to be highly capable. And Dr Fakhruddin was that type of a leader under whose leadership we can feel the community is being taken care of. I would describe him as an angel warrior type who carried the load of our community on his shoulders. His loss is not just to the Muslims of Hyderabad but also all over India. He was a genuine person who helped not just Muslims but everyone in need.”
He was also a consultant for other educational institutes run by Muslims whether it was medical colleges or junior colleges. Dr. Abdul Qadeer, chairperson of Shaheen Group of Institutes in his obituary to Dr. Fakhruddin said that ‘Dr Fakhruddin was a staunch supporter of Shaheen Group and stood by us in all our difficult times’.
He served the Muslim community in whatever way he could, guiding and mentoring schools, colleges that were set up by Muslim management, providing scholarships, concessions, educational aid and loans. At the same time he also emphasised on ‘deeni’ ( religious aspect) knowledge by introducing Quranic courses and seerat un Nabi in the educational institutes run by MESCO.
During the COVID times in 2019 Dr Fakhruddin Mohammed in collaboration with Al Hamd Foundation started 24 hours service to covid affected persons and their families by providing relief services and also ambulance services.
Another friend of his from school days, Mohammed Azam Qadeer, who also shared the same birth date with Dr. Fakhruddin, says, “ Fakhruddin had several praiseworthy qualities but one that I want to mention that stands out is that he made every person he was associated with feel special. Every person who knew him felt like they were a special associate of Dr Fakhruddin, irrespective of his class, his education or job. Such was his large heartedness”.
Dr. Mohammed Iftekharuddin, another founder member of MESCO and friend of Dr. Fakhruddin right from their days of medical college till date, said, “ Fakhruddin and I have known each other from the last 45 years. We worked together to develop MESCO and it is hard to imagine MESCO without him”.
Condolences poured in from all over India and abroad as Dr. Fakhruddin was a member in several medical, philanthropic and educational organisations.
An online condolence meeting was held by the MESCO team at Bhopal which was attended by dignatories like the governor of Kerala Arif Mohammed khan, former ministers and head of institutions like Salman Khursheed, K Rehman Khan, Sirajuddin Qureshi, SM Khan, Dr. Abdul Qadeer, Naved Hamid, Kamal Faruqui, Khwaja Shahid, Prof. Akhtarul Wasey, Prof. Iqbal Hasnain, Feroz Bakht, Quaiser Mehmood, Dr. Salman Asad, Mohammad Naushad, Dr. Rihan Khan Suri, Dr. Mohammad Iftekharuddin and many more dignitaries apart from his immediate family.
To keep alive Dr. Fakhruddin’s legacy alive the participants have proposed to have a scholarship, a memorial lecture and an award in his name apart from publishing his biography and starting a centre in his name in MANUU (Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad).