Dr. Anis A. Quidwai Passes away
By M. Owais Jafrey
Dr. Anis A. Quidwai, President of Bazm-e-Adab and professor-emeritus, vice chancellor Eastern Washington University, passed away at Spokane in the early morning hours of Friday, November 11, 2008 of pneumonia.
He was born in the princely state of Daadraaj, Barahbanki. His father Nawab Aziz A. Quidwai, a disciple of Maulana Shibli Nomani, an ardent Muslim League worker and a graduate of Nadwat-ul-Ulama, Lucknow and MAO College, Aligarh, wanted his son to excel in both religious and secular education. Maulana Mufti Aslam Ansari Farangi Mehli taught Qur’an and theology to young Anis, English was taught by a British teacher Mrs. Elizabeth Cook, while Maulana Abdul Bari Aasi taught him Persian.
Having graduated from the Islamic High School, Itawah, he joined the Lucknow University for his BA, BEd, did his MA from Muslim University, Aligarh, and MEd from the University of Dhaka, where he served as Dean of the College of Education. He came to the US on a merit scholarship and completed his MA and EdD.
Dr. Quidwai served the Fort Wright College, later Heritage University, as vice president for Educational Affairs and as president. His services were acquired by the Eastern Washington University from where he retired as vice chancellor.
His teaching and administrative services were recognized by many awards including Distinguish Teaching Award, Life Time Teaching Award, and Multicultural Teaching Award by the National Association of Teachers’ Education. He was also given the Leadership in Education Award by the Deans’ Association of Washington State Universities. He was on President Reagan’s Task Force and was awarded the Medal of Merit.
Being a philanthropic and supportive of the cause of education, IMRC (Indian Muslim Relief and Charities) invited Dr. Quidwai to attend the inauguration of the Jahangirabad Institute of Science & Technology, Barahbanki (India) in February 2003. He also served on the Committee of Consultants for the curriculum development and revision of the King Abdul Aziz University, Saudi Arabia. The Inter-Faith Council of Spokane had nominated him as its president. Dr. Quidwai was instrumental in raising funds for the recently built spacious Jama Masjid of Spokane.
Passionate love for Urdu literature was in Dr. Anis Quidwai’s blood. His grandfather, poet Ahmed Ali Shauq Quidwai, is known for his famous masnavi “Aalam-e-Khayal.” His mother, Mrs. Nafees-un-Nisa Quidwai, sister of Maharajah Sir Eijaz Rasul Quidwai, was also a celebrated poet. Mr. Aziz Quidwai, his father, played host at times to Mir Usman Ali Khan, Nizam of Hyderabad, and had close relations with Lucknow’s elite writers and poets providing a supportive environment for a budding poet. Dr. Quidwai was married to Begum Shaukat Quidwai, daughter of Begum Shafi-un-Nisa Nomani and the leading advocate of Lucknow, Maulana Azeemuddin Nomani.
He was blessed with five sons and one daughter. All are well placed and either hold leadership positions in academia or are corporate executives.
An unassuming poet and writer, Dr. Quidwai was published in a number of literary magazines and journals of the Indo-Pak subcontinent. In addition to his autobiography “Bayaz-e-dil”, selection of his poetry was also published in Jaras-e-Caravan, an anthology of Washington State’s Urdu poets compiled by Mr. Jafar Amir. Dr. Anis Quidwai had also published a biography and collection of his mother’s poetical works “Hayat-o-Kalam”.
Accompanied by his sons Mr. Yusuf Quidwai and Ishtiaq Quidwai, Dr. Anis Quidwai was a regular visitor to Seattle and presided over literary functions and international musha’iras arranged under the auspices of Bazm-e-Adab. On the invitation of Mr. Manzoor Ghori, president of IMRC, Dr. Quidwai had visited Seattle to preside over a musha’ira on February 29, 2008 to raise funds for IMRC. He fell sick on his return to Spokane and could never recover.
Mr. Zafar Rizvi and Mr. Eijaz Samad, founder members of Bazm-e-Adab along with others, have sent a message of condolence and sympathy to the bereaved family and prayed for the departed soul. “The passing away of Dr. Anis Quidwai is an irreparable loss to the Bazm, and his death is mourned not only by his relatives, but many friends, writers, poets and literary circles he was known to and admired by in the USA and abroad”, they said. “He represented the best of East and West and we have lost a generation of nobility in him,” said his long time friend professor Dr. Ahmadullah. Inna LilLahi wa Inna Ilaihi Raji’oon.
Umr ek din ho ke sow saal guzar jaati hai
dosh pe kamli ho ke shawl guzar jaati hai
go ameeroN ki ba’iqbal guzar jaati hai
hum ghariboN ki ba’her haal guzar jaati hai.
--- Anis Quidwai