Tuesday, February 06, 2024

‘We have to walk with the government and reach out to the last person'


Noted radiologist and president of the 150-year-old educational organisation Anjuman-I-Islam, Dr. Zahir Kazi was among the recipients of Padma Shri awards, announced on the eve of the Republic Day. In an interview with The Navhind Times, the Mumbai-based educationist whose heart is firmly rooted in Goa, shares his impactful journey in promoting education, especially among the minorities for the past 40 years, and how his days as a student in Goa Medical College shaped his philanthropic outlook


A Lifelong Commitment

Mumbai-based educationist and a noted radiologist Dr Zahir Kazi traces his roots to Ponda where he was born and raised. On the eve of the Republic Day the government of India announced his name for the fourth-highest civilian award, the Padma Shree, in the Literature and Education category. For Kazi, the award may have been unexpected, but the timing of its announcement was perfect for two reasons: it was the eve of his birthday and also marked 150 years of Anjuman-I-Islam, which runs around 97 schools, colleges, hostels, orphanages, and other educational organisations across Maharashtra, catering to over one lakh students, the majority of them Muslims.

“This is not just a personal award but a recognition of collective efforts for Anjuman-I-Islam, which I have been associated with for the past 40 years,” says Kazi.

“The institution stands as an inclusive space for people of all castes, communities, and religions. With a strong commitment to education, it has 10,000 students and 3,500 teachers, besides overseeing orphanages and homes for the destitute and catering to the underprivileged.”

Prior to his association with the organisation, Kazi was attached to several hospitals, besides having his own private setup, and Kazi says it was his conscience that led him to Anjuman-I-Islam.

“During my interactions with patients, I realised that there was a need to address the educational disparities faced by underprivileged children. Many couldn’t afford education, and those who sent their children to municipal- or government-run schools didn’t get the best education they deserved, and that pinched me,” says Kazi, who started as a member of the organisation before being elected to the governing council.

He has also served as chairman of the Unani Medical College for about 12 years, where he held the posts of general secretary, chairman, and president.

Talking about Anjuman-I-Islam, he says the organisation has grown exponentially in the past 15 years. “We have undertaken several collaborations and brought about excellence. We were in the national mainstream with all our students. So much so, we went beyond India and have had collaboration with MIT Boston.” This was the first such collaboration in India. The organisation also went on to collaborate with Westminster University, Central London, with talks presently under way with Oxford University, the University of Maryland, and the University of Tampa for similar collaborations.

“We have plans to take our campuses beyond Maharashtra, and I think the first campus will be in Goa,” says Kazi.

Roots and dreamsClick here:https://www.navhindtimes.in/2024/02/04/magazines/panorama/we-have-to-walk-with-the-government-and-reach-out-to-the-last-person/