Dr. Masarrat Ali


Dr. Masarrat Ali



By Afzal Usmani*


This evening Dr. Shaheer Khan sahab's call broke my heart when he broke the news to sad and untimely demise of Dr. Masarrat Ali from San Antonio Texas USA. Aah... Dr. Masarrat Ali is no more with us. Inna Lillahe Wa Inna Elaihe Raajeoon. We pray to Allah to shower his mercy on him and grant him highest place in Jannah and give patience to the family and friends. (Aameen).


Dr. Nelson Mandela said it very correctly; "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world". Dr. Masarrat Ali proved this quotation right and if not the world, but change the course and future of his immediate family. Born in a lower middle class family of Jhansi (UP), India, used education as a weapon to establish himself and the family in United States.


Dr. Masarrat Ali was born in a small district of Jhansi (UP) India. After completing his primary education in Jhansi, he joined AMU in Pre-University in 1971 and lived in Osmania Lower Hostel of historical Sir Syed Hall. Tried his luck for Medical but could not made it and completed his B.Sc. in 1975 and M.Sc. in 1977 and registered for PhD. He completed his research work from Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI), Lucknow. After completing PhD he moved to France for Post Doctoral research and lived in France for 4-5 years and from there he joined Louisiana State University (LSU) Medical Center in mid 80's and finally in 1994 he established Alpha Diagnostic International Incorporation, a Biotech Company in San Antonio, TX, USA. He became life member of oldest AMU Alumni Association established in North America and joined Aligarh Alumni Association, Washington DC. Later on he established AMU Alumni Association in San Antonio Texas and the AAA-San Antonio joined Federation of Aligarh Alumni Associations (FAAA) in 2008 and Dr. Masarrat Ali planed to contest the election of FAAA President ship against Mr. Ali Rizvi of AAA- New England (Boston). In the last minute resignation of President (Elect) Dr. Shaheer Khan averted the election and Dr. Masarrat Ali opted for his job and took over the rein of FAAA for 2008-09. This also gave him the opportunity to represent FAAA in First World Alumni Summit organized by Aligarh Muslim University during 18-19 October 2008. The Summit was addressed by H.E. Mohammad Hamid Ansari, Vice-President of India. His presidency lead to a turmoil and tough of war of powers in FAAA but this is not the time to talk about it. Later on in 2010, he contested election on Democrat party ticket to represent District 122 in the Texas House of Representatives. District 122 was a very strong Republican district so Dr. Ali Lost the election. He has a strong interest in Urdu literature and poetry. On and off he recorded poetry of famous poets including Allama Iqbal and his personal commentary and uploaded to youtube. I do not have much knowledge about his professional ventures but for sure he was a successful businessman and entrepreneur. His sudden death is a heart breaking news for AMU fraternity specially based in USA.


I first met Dr. Msarrat Ali during 3rd annual Convention of The Federation of Aligarh Alumni Associations (FAAA) in July 2004 in New York. This was my first participation in FAAA Convention and I was the youngest participant as well as youngest delegate. I was fortunate enough to get attention of majority of my seniors including Dr. Masarrat Ali. We had a brief discussion about few of his ideas and projects and I pledged to be in touch with him to talk more and extend my help to make his project as a reality. In 2004 I was in Phoenix Arizona USA. During 2004 and 2005 I lived in Denver Colorado, San Francisco California and Austin Texas due to my work and got ample opportunity to talk to Dr. Ali regarding his projects which he envision for Sir Syed and Aligarh specially his "Sir Syed Digitalization" project in which he wanted to digitize every piece of written literature about Sir Syed and Aligarh. After July 2004, I met him again in December 2005 when I travelled to San Antonio to attend Sir Syed Day Mushaira. He was kind enough to host me and I stayed at his house. Finally I accepted a new job offer in Austin Texas and permanently moved to Austin in February 2006 stayed till June 2012 and got many opportunities to meet him in San Antonio as well as in Austin. He used to attend almost every Mushaira in Austin organized by any organization. His daughter was studying in UT Austin so he was visiting her and many times we had lunch and dinner and discussed the affairs of AMU Aligarh and FAAA. I left Austin Texas in June 2012 and moved to Southern California and family and work life kept me busy and did not got a chance to connect with him. Never thought that I will never be able to talk to him.


I will always remember him for The Federation of Aligarh Alumni Associations (FAAA) Project Sir Syed Digitalization and www.sirsyedtoday.org which was started and completed under his leadership. There are still some open issues with the project but I will talk about it at some later stage. I was closely associated with this project "Sir Syed Digitalization" since its inception in 2005. I gave him list of Books written by Sir Syed, written on Sir Syed. I had decent collection on Sir Syed in my personal Library in Austin and I shared with him for this project. The most distinct or probably only distinct feature of this project was digitization of "Aligarh Institute Gazette" which is a pioneering work of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan in the field of Journalism and Urdu and now because of www.sirsyedtoday.org , its accessible to masses.



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