Prof Jahangir Hamdani
By Ras H. Siddiqui
of the leading voices of reason, intellect, Muslims and Pakistanis
here in the San Francisco Bay Area, Professor Syed Hasan Jahangir
Hamdani passed away on Friday, July 28, 2006. His funeral
was held the following day at the Rolling Hills Cemetery,
4100 Hilltop Drive in El Sobrante. Professor Hamdani was 66
years of age. He had been hospitalized for several days, and
reportedly died of heart and lung problems and kidney failure.
During his many years of service to our Pakistani and Muslim-American
community in California, Professor Hamdani touched several
aspects of our lives in his own unique way. He was a speaker
at what seemed like an infinite number of our cultural, political
and religious gatherings during the past 25 years. His oratory
skills, depth of analysis and affection for the people around
him will be long remembered.
Professor Hamdani possessed excellent linguistic diversity
and we often lost count of the languages that he spoke. He
had a great grasp of Muslim and South Asian history and was
considered a local authority on the Urdu language and some
of its writers. His own poetry in Urdu was widely appreciated
and we will certainly miss his presence at local mushairas
and programs which he contributed to with the passion of a
Hamdani Sahib had many interests. He spoke at India-Pakistan
peace rallies, Muslim gatherings, Sikh events, Urdu language
promotion programs and Pakistan Independence Day functions
in northern California, to the delight of many. And he spoke
from a scholarly authority which many of us had a chance to
learn from. Pakistan Link reports covered some of these events.
As mentioned above, Hamdani Sahib’s range of interests
covered a great deal. But beyond that he was a fine gentleman
whom we will always remember for his cultured demeanor. Hamdani
Sahib and some of us had politically opposite viewpoints.
And even though we disagreed and were vocal about our differences,
we never could turn down an invitation by him to the Hamdani
family’s annual Naat Competition gathering to celebrate
the Prophet’s (PBUH) birthday. He could make his point,
strongly disagree with someone and then shake his hand. We
could all learn a great deal from his example.
An obituary is often unfair while attempting to squeeze a
short description of a person’s rich and accomplished
life, into a few sentences. That is very much the case here.
And since we must now leave to others to write their own remembrance
of Hamdani Sahib’s life, let us end by expressing our
deep sadness to Mrs. Sohab Maqbool Hamdani, the Hamdani children
and his siblings. This is indeed a great loss for not only
them but our entire community. Inna Lillahe Wa inna lillahe