Monday, January 3, 2011

Legends--Sir Adamjee Haji Dawood

Jetpur is a small town presently in India. In the latter half of eighteenth century a boy was born to Hanifa bai and Haji Dawood, parents named this boy ADAM. Though not much is known about his early age but it is learnt through some people, Adam was sent to Calcutta as was custom at the time
Adam was in his early teens and Calcutta was a big city. The boy from the small town was confident enough to face hardships of a big city. After spending a few days there, he noticed that most of the businessmen in Calcutta were illiterate and they hardly knew a few words of English. They had to hire persons who knew English for correspondence. But in doing so, their business secrets were leaked and they lost money. Young Adam who was ever wondering in business areas had keenly noticed this situation and took it as a bright chance. He was educated enough to write a few short lines in English. The young man offered the businessmen to handle their correspondence at very nominal charge. The boy handled his work very nicely and easily. As most of this work was done in the evening, some well-wisher told Adam that he should do some work in the spare time. He suggested the business of collecting empty jute bags. Adam did not waste any time and started this business.

He used to go to the streets of Calcutta and started collecting empty jute bags. He used to collect two or three bags and ran to the market to sell these bags at a very small profit. After some time he established his credit in the market and was offered some advance. Now he was able to collect 10 or 15 empty bags at one go. This burden was too much for him so he managed to buy or borrow a bicycle in junk condition. He repaired the bicycle and started his daily rounds on it. His business grew and in a little time he became a whole sale dealer.
He not only collected bags himself but also bought from other street vendors. All this business started sitting on a footpath. He already has gained enough experience to contact banks and machinery suppliers through correspondence. He tried contacting them and got some favorable replies. He knew that the demand of jute bags was increasing many folds, so he decided to establish a jute factory in Dhaka (presently Bangladesh Capital). It was in those days when the word Jee was added to his name (a word showing respect). This was perhaps how the Adamjee Jute Mills was established. This mill soon grew up to be the largest jute mill in the whole world.
Now Adamjee was a wealthy and an important person of business community. An incident of this period is worth mentioning which shows the honest nature of this great man. A Hindu Marvari, who was financially in trouble, contacted Adamjee for help. Adamjee offered him loan to support his business. The Marvari refused, and offered to sell a stone quarry that was running at loss. The deal was finalized then and there.
Adamjee Jute Mill Bangladesh
Adamjee went to the quarry next day and announced, though the ownership has changed but no body would be sacked out, everyone would work as usual.
Fortunately, workers discovered gold nuggets from the mine the same day. It was a gold mine. As Adamjee was informed about this discovery, he went to the Marvari, told him everything and offered him to return the mine.
The marvari also shown honesty and refused to take it back, saying that it was Adamjee’s luck. He told that he could not mine even stones and just as the ownership was changed gold was mined. This mine provided gold for many years. The whole matter is recorded in British Archives.
Accumulating significant wealth, Adamjee went on to establish schools, colleges and hospitals in various parts of India and Burma. A philanthropist to the core, Adamjee never refused to support a deserving cause. In 1933, realizing the overriding need for education in his own ethnic Gujarati Memon community, he established the Memon Education & Welfare Society (MEWS) to support the financially deprived students. His charitable activities were greatly appreciated by Muslims in India and they demanded that he be officially recognized for it. Finally on 9th June 1938 Lord Bradbourne Governor of Bengal, On Order of British Empire (OBE), conferred the title of Knight Commander of Indian Empire (KCIE) to Adamjee. Thereafter he was known as Sir Adamjee Haji Dawood.

Adamjee Science College Karachi

Adamjee Cantonment College, Dhaka Cantonment

When Pakistan was established there were no funds available to support the newly independent country. Extremely worried Quaid e Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah asked the newly appointed Finance Minister Ghulam Mohomad to search down Adamjee. Amidst migration and transition chaos, Ghulam Mohomed searched hectically to appraise Adamjee of Quaid's message. Finally, a few days later, at the Palace Hotel in Karachi, the gentlemen were able to discuss the issues. Adamjee then spoke to his banker M.A. Habib and then turned to Ghulam Mohomed and said "your problem is solved". Singlehandedly Adamjee had financed the new nation by arranging a bridge finance secured on his personal assets. This has come to be known as the "blank cheque offer" which Sir Adamjee is remembered for today.

Adamjee died on 27th January 1948 but he is still alive in every Pakistanis heart. On Adamjee's death, The Quaid mentioned in his address to the nation: "that if I had a dozen men like Adamjee, Pakistan would have been achieved earlier. It is truly a national loss to Pakistan".

Sir Adamjee's family continued with the legacy of charities, and established educational institutions like Adamjee High School in Dhaka, Adamjee Science College, Sir Adamjee Institute of Technology ,The Adamjee Academic Center and Lady Mariam Adamjee girls School in Karachi
To pay respect and recognition to Sir Adamjee, governments of Bangladesh and Pakistan named various streets and neighborhoods in Dhaka, Karachi, Peshawar and Rawalpindi after him. In year 2000, Government of Pakistan initiated and issued postage stamps with image of Sir Adamjee.
A Shrewd businessman , a great philanthropist , an unmatched politician people like Sir Adamjee are Pride of every nation and community


1880 Born at Jaitpur, Kathiawar (India) on Wednesday,30th June, 1880.
1895 Joined M/s. Salehmohammed Gnaziani & Co. at Rangoon (Burma) at the age of 15.
1896 Joined the family Business at Rangoon (Burma) at the age of 16.
1898 Got married with Mariam Bai at the age of 18.
1901 Established his own business & expanded the business and became one of the largest Exporter of Rice and Matches. One of the largest Importer of Jute & Jute goods in Burma.
1904 Opened a branch office at Calcutta (India).
1916 Establish a Rice Mill at Rangoon (Burma).
1918 He gave the financial help to Jamia Tibbia, Dehli (India).
1919 His mother Hanifa Bai died.
1920 Appointed as Member of Advisory Committee of Central Bank of India (Burma Branch).
1923 Established a Largest Match Factory in Asia at Rangoon (Burma).
1924 His father Haji Dawood died at Calcutta (India).
1925 Founded Burma-India Chamber of Commerce at Rangoon (Burma).
1925 Founded Burma-Muslim Chamber of Commerce at Rangoon (Burma).
1925 Appointed as Director, Rangoon Electric Tramways, Rangoon (Burma).
1925 Elected as President of “Rangoon Memon Jamat”, Rangoon (Burma).
1928 Sir Adamjee Haji Dawood met Quaid-e-Azam Mohd. Ali Jinnah first time at Dehli.
1928 Establised a Jute Mill at Calcutta (India).
1932 Settled Permanently at Calcutta (India).
1933 Fouded the Memon Educatioal & Welfare Society on 29th May, 1933 at Calcutta (India).
1934 Memon Relief Society carried out relief operation under the guidance of Sir Adamjee for Bihar Earthquake victims.
1935 Carried out Relief operation for Quetta Earthquake victims.
1938 The British Government Awarded the Knighthood title “ SIR” in recognition of his services to Humanitarian causes as well as to Business & Industry on 21st June, 1938 on Birthday of King George VI.
1941 Established “Adamjee Muslim High School” at Jatpur (India).
1943 Founded “Muslim Educational Society” in Calcutta (India).
1944 Federation of Muslim Chamber of Commerce & Industry was founded. Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah Proposed the name of Sir Adamjee Haji Dawood as its first President on 9-7-1944.
1947 Establish Muslim Commercial Bank in Calcutta (India) on the introduction of Quaid-e-Azam on 9-7-1947.
1947 Establish adamjee Boarding House at Karachi.
1947 Founder Member of Orient Airways Sponsored by Quaid-e-Azam.
1948 Came to Karachi on the call of Quaid-e-Azam Mohd. Ali Jinnah for the establishment of the State Bank of Pkistan on 25-01-1948 from Calcutta (India).
1948 He had Heart Attack while attending the meeting in connection with the establishment of State Bank of Pakistan on26-1-1948.
1949 He died on Tuesday, 27-01-1948 at 10: 30 PM at Karachi, Pakistan.


noman said...

sounds like a fairy tale,
great work MM

Memon Po!nt said...

Excellent presentation of the historical facts.

Ghaffar Variend

Magnificent Memons said...

Thankyou sir,your appreciation means a lot to us.We have tried to contact you many times via face book.your site is a great help and guidance for us

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Nobody talks about the vulture side of a businessman. Gujjus are not that generous, by he way

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