M. BASHEER AHMED, M.D.
Samarkand & Bukhara
See the photo gallery of my trip to Uzbekistan
Please see the write up on the "Great Scholars and Scientists of Samarkand and Bukhara."
In the mid-1950s, I stayed with my grandmother for two years during my undergraduate studies in Osmania University, Hyderabad. It was during this time that I learned about my great grandfather who traveled from Bukhara to India in mid 1850s. I had no idea where Bukhara was located, in fact, I thought that Bukhara was located somewhere in Afghanistan. As I got older, I found that Bukhara and Samarkand were one of the most important cities of the world during the medieval years. These cities were located at the cross road of famous ‘SILK ROAD’ connecting China with eastern and western hemisphere. Great warriors, such as Genghis Khan, Timur, and Babar, the founder of Moghal Empire in India, ruled Samarkand and Bukhara. Timur and Babar were born in Samarkand. The great theologian Imam Ismail Bukhari, the great Sufi of the Naqshbandi order Bahauddin Naqshbandi were born in Samarkand. Similarly the great physicians and scientists Ibn-e-Sina (Avicena) and Ulug Beg were from Bukhara and Samarkand.
From my grandmother, I learned that my great grandfather’s brother became a Dervish of the Sufi order of Naqshbandiyah, which originated in Bukhara. Although earlier in my life I had a desire to visit Bukhara, I had forgotten all about it during my medical school and my post-graduate studies in England and the USA. It was until the 1990s when I heard that Bukhara, Samarkand and Tashkand were now part of the newly independent Uzbekistan that I once again started thinking about going to Bukhara to see the place of my ancestors. In 2010, there was an opportunity to go there with a medical group, but due to some political turmoil the trip was cancelled. In 2011 another trip was announced and I was determined to take advantage of the opportunity to visit Samarkand and Bukhara. Finally in October 2011, I was able to visit these places, which I had been dreaming to see for a long time.
In mid 1800, my great grandfather Mr. Saifuddin left Bukhara (Uzbekistan) when he was in his mid thirtees and went to Kabul- Afghanistan. His father was the commander of the Royal Guards of the Amir of Bukhara. My great grandfather attended many functions with his father in the royal palace but he was disenchanted with the Amir’s temperament and the political situation in that region. This was the period when Russia invaded Uzbekistan and the Amir of Bukhara signed a treaty with Russians. Mr.Saifuddin did not stay in Kabul for very long and headed towards Delhi where the Moghal emperor- who was one of the descendants of Taimur (a great emperor who was born in Samarkand) was still ruling India. He did not realize that India was facing a similar situation as in Uzbekistan where the British were trying to take over the country. By the time he reached Delhi, he found a great unrest in that part of the country. Many residents of Delhi were leaving and going to the south and other parts of the country. With a group of some newly acquainted friends he headed towards Hyderabad State in southern part of India. During those days, Hyderabad was a relatively peaceful state. The Nizam, the ruler of the Hyderabad, also signed a treaty with the British and remained a semi-independent monarch of the state. Many residents of North India were moving to Hyderabad as this state was welcoming immigrants and giving them the opportunity for employment and settlement. My great grandfather knew Farsi and the Turkish language, and his expertise in these languages helped him gain a position teaching Persian in the school. He felt very comfortable in Hyderabad and, in 1860’s, married a lady from a respectable family and they settled down in Hyderabad. They had three children; the youngest Mohammed Murad, who was my grandfather, was born in 1872. The other two children died at a younger age. My grandfather followed his father’s footsteps and studied Arabic and Persian and eventually taught Persian in Dar-ul-Uloom high school in Hyderabad. During the late 19th and early 20th century, this school had an excellent reputation and produced many scholars in linguistics and sciences. Mr. Murad also married a Hyderabadi lady, my grandmother, and they had three children. Unfortunately, my grandfather passed away when my father was just fourteen years old. My father also graduated from Dar-ul-Uloom high school. Two of my father’s classmates in Dar-ul-Uloom High School achieved notoriety due to their scholastic ability and became well known throughout the world. They were Dr.Hameedullah and Dr.Raziuddin Siddiqui. My father wanted to pursue his education in his favorite subject, mathematics, but was unable to do so because of family responsibilities which primarily consisted of taking care of his two younger siblings so he started working as an accoutant soon after completing high school to support his family. Dr.Hameedullah and Dr.Raziuddin Siddiqui received their Bachelors Degree from Osmania University and proceeded to Europe for their Doctorate degree. Dr.Hameedullah completed his Doctorate from Bon Germany and also from Sorbonne University, France. He returned to Hyderabad and served as a professor at Osmania University until 1946, when he was sent by Nizam to represent Hyderabad in the League of Nations, which later became the United Nations. After the fall of Hyderabad in 1948, he went to France as a refugee from Hyderabad and never returned. He remained in France as a scholar in Islamic studies, translated the Quran in French and published over 400 books in French and English. Dr.Raziuddin Siddiqui completed his Ph.D. in Cambridge University and later in Germany and France. He was a student of Albert Einstein in Germany where he studied quantum physics. He was also nominated for the Nobel Prize. He became the voice chancellor of Osmania University, and later went to Pakistan where he was Vice Chancellor in many universities. My father stayed in Hyderabad where he worked hard to send his children to college and to ensure that they get good education.
I have prepared this short note for my children and family members to make them aware of their heritage.