Prof. Abdul Qayum

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Prof. Abdul Qayum:

A silent Soldier of Aligarh Movement

On behalf of Aligarh Alumni Association of Arizona, when I issued a press release on AMUNetwork regarding Sir Syed Day and International Mushaira in 2004 in Phoenix AZ, I received an email from Portland Oregon from Prof. Abdul Qayum, who expressed his intention to attend the event and wanted to buy ticket of the event. I was surprised as well as overwhelmed by his generous gesture to travel more than 1300 mile just for the sake of this event. I was sure; he must be a passionate Aligarian. He came to attend the event and that’s when I first met him. He was very nice, humble and soft spoken. He presided over the Sir Syed Day celebration and visiting poets received Plaques from him and one of the recipients was his own student Dr. A. Abdullah who came from Washington DC to deliver the Keynote address. He was one of the sponsors of of Sir Syed Day Celebrations organized by Aligarh Alumni Associations of Northern California in San Francisco area and attended personally few times. Last time I met him in 2011 in one of this Sir Syed Day Celebration and International Mushaira. To my surprise, he was a very good poet too, so we asked him to preside over the Mushaira and recite his poetry. Recent email from Beenish Zia, one of the recipients of Abdul Qayum Fellowship at the Portland State University was tough to read that one more soldier of Aligarh Movement left this world. But his work will live forever and his Abdul Qayum Fellowship at the Portland State University for Alumni of his Alma Mater, Aligarh Muslim University and Shibli College Azamgarh will go a long way and will benefit many more.

Prof. Abdul Qayum with Dr. A. Abdullah at Sir Syed Day 2004, Phoenix AZ

Prof. Abdul Qayum with Guests and Members of AAA of AZ at Sir Syed Day 2004, Phoenix AZ

Prof. Abdul Qayum was born on January 25, 1926 in village Bamhur of Azamgarh district of United Province in British India, received his early education in Hobert Government School and Shibli National Inter College, Azamgarh. For Higher studies, he joined Aligarh Muslim University and completed his B.A. in 1949, Masters in 1951. After completing his Masters, he joined his Alma Mater as a faculty to serve at the same time continued to finish his Doctoral Degree and was awarded Ph.D. in 1956. After his Ph.D. he joined Rotterdam School of Economics, Rotterdam, Holland (Now Erasmus University) and completed his D.Sc. in 1959. He continued his teaching career at the Aligarh Muslim till 1963. His primary subject of teaching and research in Aligarh Muslim University was Macroeconomics, Public Finance, Mathematical Economics, Statistics and International Trade.

In 1964, Prof. Abdul Qayum moved to Cairo Egypt and got associated with Institute of National Planning, Cairo and American University in Cairo till 1967. Once again he got associated with American University in Cairo Egypt For a period of 2 years from 1972 to 1974. From 1967 to 1970, he served as visiting Professor in University of Iowa and Indiana University and taught Micro-Theory of Economics, Economic Development and Economics Planning. In 1970, he joined Portland State University Oregon USA as a Professor of Economics and later emeritus Professor and remained associated with it till he passed away in his sleep on the 16th of January, 2016.

Prof. Abdul Qayum specialized in the fields of microeconomic theory and cost-benefit analysis. He authored six books and around forty research papers in peer reviewed Journals. He was academically active till the very end and some of his writings are yet to be published. His published books are Private and Public Investment Analysis, with Thomas Palm, (South-Western Publishing Co., 1985), Social Cost-Benefit Analysis, (Hapi Press, Portland, 1978), Techniques of National Economic Planning, (Indiana University Press, 1974), Numerial Models of Economic Development, (Rotterdam University Press, 1967), Theory and Policy of Accounting Prcies, Contributions to Economic Analysis Series, No XX (North-Holland Publishing Co., Amsterdam, 1960) and Ettevotte Juhtimis kowoomika Alused with Thomas Palm Vols I, II, III, Tallin 1991.

In addition to his many social commitments, he instituted the Abdul Qayum Fellowship at the Portland State University, USA. The Fellowship provides for a student, every year, from the Aligarh Muslim University or Shibli National College, India to apply for support to pursue any graduate degree offered with the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Portland. Prof. Abdul Qayum will be remembered for his scholarship, his kindness, his sincerity, his love for family and friends, and also students and colleagues, many of whom over time also became friends. He worked very hard all his life, up until the very end and made a difference in the lives of many. He is survived by his wife Ismat Qayum daughter Seemin, and sons Hisham and Azam. May his soul rest in peace.

Prof. Abdul Qayum presiding over the Mushaira at Sir Syed Day 2011, Milpitas California

Prof. Abdul Qayum with Guests and Members of AAA of Northern California at Sir Syed Day 2011, Milpitas California

Prof. Abdul Qayum

Dear Afzal Usmani saheb,
I am shocked and saddened by this news. I know Dr Qayum since my days as a student in Cairo while he was teaching in the American University in Cairo. Both he and his Begum were epitome of humility, good nature and nobleness. A great soul indeed. May Allah grant him maghfirat and award him a high station in Paradise.


Editor, The Milli Gazette

[AMUNetwork] Dr Abdul Qayyum Economics Department

Sad to hear of the passing away of Qayyum Sahib whom I remember seeing in the 60s and 70s when he was still in Aligarh and later when he would visit Aligarh briefly during interludes of vacation from Cairo and US. He was possibly the rare Aligarh Economics man to have been recognized as a quantitative economist. I remember Dr Ashok Mitra, for long the Finance Minister of West Bengal ('AM' of Calcutta Diary fame - once a regular feature in the Economic and Political Weekly) asking me about Dr Qayyum who was his junior at Rotterdam. Unfortunately no one in the University Economics Department could enlighten me about his whereabouts in the early 1990s.

This brings us also to the fact that a lot of illustrious names in Indian Economics were associated with the Economics Department of the University either as teachers or students or both. Without claiming to be exhaustive and with apologies for names I might forget let me draw attention to some.

1. Mohammed Yunus Qazi who taught from 1939 to 1944 and later played a significant role in setting in motion the Planning Commission. Though from Sindh, this once left leaning intellectual chose to remain this side of the divide.

2. Hamza Alavi, also a Sindhi, amongst the most erudite of Social Scientists of Pakistan.

3. Abu Salim to be later the lead Economist for the ILO in Africa had briefly worked with the National Council of Applied Economics Research after leaving Aligarh having found no scope for legitimate career advancement.

4. Abdul Hasib the Executive Director, Reserve Bank of India.

5. Ahmad Raza also of the Reserve Bank and later World Bank.

6. Khaliq Ahmad Naqvi, the Marxist Economist who functioned as the Director of the Delhi School of Economics.

7. Mahfooz Ahmad, Economic Adviser in the Ministry of Finance.

8. Wahiduddin of Hyderabad who later became the founder of the Economic consultancy Group of the Administrative Staff College of India.

9. Nejatullah Siddiqui who was later to be associated with Islamic banking in Saudi Arabia.

10. Ehsan Rashid who left the University in 1961 to head the department at Karachi University and later became Vic Chancellor of the same University and Islamabad International University apart from being the Ambassador of his adopted country in Jordan.

I am not sure if the trend continues though I hope I am ignorant of a number of bright alumni making their presence felt all over the world. If that is not so then let the passing away of Qayyum Sahib be the occasion for the students and faculty and powers that be of the University to also ponder over how to revive the lost tradition of providing first rate economists to the country and the world at large.

Naved Masood
New Delhi

[AMUNetwork] Prof. Abdul Qayum is no more


With utmost sadness I inform you all that Dr. Abdul Qayum is no more.

Dr. Abdul Qayum did his BA, MA PhD from AMU in 1956 and then went on to do his DSc from Netherlands School of Economics. He was lecturer at AMU in early 1950's and was professor at American University of Cairo before becoming professor of economics at Portland State University, US in early 1970s.

I heard of Dr. Qayum first time in 2009 when I was applying for graduate schools in US. Dr. Qayum had established Abdul Qayum Fellowship at Portland State University (PSU), through the PSU Foundation. I was the first fortunate student to be awarded that fellowship to pursue MS in Electrical Computer Engineering from PSU. When I had received the fellowship, I was overjoyed and hardly knew about Dr. Qayum except that he was a benevolent person and an amazing Aligarian who was giving back to his alma mater in a huge way.

The fellowship was turning point in my life and is the major reason why I came to US for my graduate degree and I am where I am today. I can't thank Dr. Qayum enough for his generosity and for changing my life positively. His fellowship initiated a unique never ending process of education.

I met Dr. Qayum his wife Ismat Qayum few days later when I arrived in US 6 years ago. He his wife were one of the most humble, beautiful and radiant folks I have met. He was equally happy to meet the person who came on his fellowship as I was to meet the person who had established the fellowship. Since then I had always stayed in touch with Dr. Qayum his wife and had learnt a lot about his life.

Dr. Qayum apart from being a highly intelligent, educated economist was a great poet and used to compose beautiful poems in Urdu. He often told me stories about his father , who was a "lambardaar" and about his mother who was a house maker. He spoke of the humble childhood he had and of his days in Aligarh. He often reminded me of my grandfather and I enjoyed chatting with him and listening to his thoughts. I clearly remember him coming to my MS thesis presentation and gleaming with happiness to see the result of his fellowship.

There is a sinking feeling in my heart tears in my eyes when I realize that Dr. Qayum is no more with us. I can't bear to think what suffering pain Ismat aunty must be feeling right now. They were a lovely couple and were like grandparents to me.

Dr. Qayum has touched changed many lives through his education. He was one of the exemplary luminary of AMU , who carried the message of Sir Syed forward.

I will never forget Dr. Qayum like many of us. My deepest sympathy goes out to his family. May Allah give them comfort peace. May Allah grant Dr. Qayum jannat-ul firdaus.

Dr. Qayum's profile at PSU:


​ Zia
B.Tech. 2009
Portland, OR

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