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SIR RAZIK FAREED Kt. OBE, JP UM (1893-1984),

Arasi Marikar Wapchi Marikar 1829-1925

About the year 1016 A.D., a few Arabs, among whom were expert physicians and master masons, settled in Ceylon. One of them was called Sheikh Fareed. They were welcomed by the natives and settled themselves in different vocations. Their history was maintained orally until about the year 1770. In the "Thombu" of 1770 (the Government record), there is reference to one Paridoe. It is a custom of the Muslims to carry the name of theor ancestors in the line of genealogy and this Paridoe is the name carried from Sheikh Fareed.

There lived a wealthy lady, possessiung vast extents of land at Ambagahawatte, in the lineage of this Fareed. When she passed away, Arasi Marikar Wapchie Marikar, was the heir left behind to inherit this property.

After collecting his own share, Arasi Marikar Wapchie Marikar bought the shares of several other heirs of this land and donated a portion of it to build a mosque and later built another mosque called the Fareed Thakkiya. He had started off his career as an apprentice working under expert builders. His flair for Islamic architecture can be seen in the many arches used in his architecture. He mastered the building profession and undertook the erection of buildings independently as a building contractor.

So long as brick and mortar endure his name will be long remembered as the builder of the General Post Office in Colombo, the Colombo Museum, Colombo Customs, Old Town Hall in Pettah, the Galle Face Hotel, Victoria Arcade, Finlay Moir building, the Clock Tower, Batternburg Battery etc. The Old Town Hall in Pettah, which is now a busy market, was built on a contract for the sum of 689 Streling Pounds.

In January 1877, the completed building of the Colombo Museum was declared open by His Excellency, Governer Gregory, in the presence of a large crowd, amongst which there were many Muslims present. At the end of the ceremony His Excellency asked Arasi Marikar Wapchi Marikar what honour he wished to have for his dedication. The same question was asked by His Excellency from the carpenter who assisted Wapchi Marikar with the wood work of the Museum who desired a local Rank and was honoured accordingly. Wapchi Marikar, noticing the large number of Muslims present, feared that they would spend their time at the Museum on Friday during the Islamic congregation prayer, and requested that the Museum be closed on Fridays. This request has been adhered to by all authorities in charge of the Museum to this day.

When the throne of the last Kandyan King was to be exhibited at the Museum, the then Prime Minister, Mr. D.S.Senanayake, obtained the consent of Sir Razik Fareed, Wapchi Marikar’s grandson, to keep the Museum open on the intervening Fridays only.

Endowed with wealth, Wapchi Marikar contributed to the development of his communities wefare, religious, economical, social, and educational needs and searched for more avenues and opportunities to help them in every way possible. He resided in the vicinity of Marakkala Palliya Watta, the present Maradana Mosque grounds and patronized the mosque. His family residence was acquired by the state for railway extensions thus compeling him to build a large house at Vauxhall Street where he moved in subsequently. He continued to contribute towards the development of the Maradana Mosque by being a prominent member of the congregation. He also joined hand with and financed M.C.Siddi Lebbe, from Kandy, who started the Muslim educational movement in 1880.

Siddi Lebbe, in his "Asrarul A’lam" on page 199 writes,

"I have two friends in Colombo, one who takes great interest in educational matters, opening up schools and spending liberally his money is Arasi Marikar Wapchi Marikar philanthrophist, who comes forward to spend in all good causes. The other is Ghulam Mohiyadeen Sahib Bahauddin of Tanjore (Kashwat Alim)".

Wapchi Marikar and Siddi Lebbe set about looking for a place to establish a school for the Muslims and eventually selected the abandoned portion of the Maradana Mosque grounds. Since Wapchi Marikar was, at that time, the Vice President of the Management Committee of the Maradana Mosque, he urged the committee to grant a lease of the land in order to build the school.

A society, called the "Jamiyathul Uloom" (Muslim Educational Society) was thus formed.

Wapchi Marikar, at his own cost, erected a building for the school and also built four houses that would be rented and the income utilized for the maintenance of the institution.

During this period, Wapchi Marikar was involved in the construction of Masjid-E-Careem at 4th Cross Street, Pettah, for Carimjee Jafferjee. At his request Jafferjee contributed money for an additional building at the Maradana Mosque grounds for the cause of Muslim education.

When the Kuppiyawatte burial grounds was given to the Muslims (Crown grant 3325 dated 18-8-1879), a condition was laid down by the Government that a boundary wall must be erected within three years of that date. The Mussalman’s United Assembly had insufficient funds and approached Wapchi Marikar who negotiated with Careemjee Jafferjee for building the wall in exchange for a portion of land for use of burial of the dead of the Borah community.

When the Muslims of Ketawallamulla needed a mosque they approached Wapchi Marikar who bought a house at Clifton Lane and converted it into a mosque. A.L.M. Meera Lebbe Marikar, who lived opposite the mosque, was made the Trustee. M.L.M. Ahmed, JP of Ahmed Brothers, 3rd Cross Street, Pettah, is the son of A.L.M. Meera Lebbe Marikar.

The school building was finally completed and Madarasahul Zahira ( Zahira College) began to function. Arabi Pasha conducted the opening.

The houses constructed for the purpose of revenue for running the school were acquired by the government in 1906. Using the compensation received from the acquisition, Wapchi Marikar built a row of houses facing Darley Road, presently T.B.Jayah Mawatha.

Wapchi Marikar was also the Treasurer and Manager of the Colombo Muslim Educational Society.

In 1907, Wapchi Marikar was relieved of the burden of management and Advocate Abdul Cader was appointed as Manager of Zahira College. However, Abdul Cader had to relinquish his position on account of relocating himself to Batticaloa in the Eastern Province.

An address presented to Wapchi Marikar by the Moors (Muslims) of Colombo in 1907 reads as follows:-

ARASY MARIKAR WAPCHI MARIKAR ESQ.

The late Manager of the Muhammadan Boys’ Maradana School, Colombo.

(MADARASATHUL ZAHIRA)

Sir,

We, the members of the Colombo Muslim Educational Society, have the pleasure of conveying to you our warm appreciation of the work done by you, with zeal and energy, in managing the Muhammadan Boys’ Maradana School for the last fourteen years; and of expressing to you, on your retirement from the said managership, heartfelt and sincere gratitude, on our own behalf and on behalf of the Muhammadan Community of Colombo, for the said work as well as for the pecuniary assistance generously rendered by you for establishing the said school to impart religious abd secular education to the Muhammadan youth of this country; for your liberal endowment towards its upkeep; and for your enthusiastic cooperation with which we have so long controlled and conducted the affairs of the said institution. While announcing our hope that you will find health and strength to continue to cooperate with us for long, as a member of the Treasurer of our Society, in conducting the said afairs for the future, we beg to state that we have resolved to place in the upper storey (which will, in the future serve the purpose of a Muslim Reading Room or Library and Lecture Hall) of the new wing of the Madrasah, which has now been constructed through your eterprise, an enlarged photograph of yourself as a memento of your benevolent acts.

In conclusion we pray that Almighty Allah may be pleased to grant you long life, good health, happiness and prosperity.

                                                               Yours affectionately,

                                             Cassim Lebbe Sheikh Abdul Cader Marikar

                                             President Colombo Muslim Educational Society

                                             (Uncle of the late N.D.H. Abdul Caffoor)

1. Muhammad Ismail Abdul Rahman Mudaliyar (Trustee Maradana Mosque 1902) (Father of A. Cader A. Raheman)

2. M Abdul Cader, Advocate, Jaffna

3. Colande Marikar Meera Lebbe Marikar (VP & Treasurer, Maradana Mosque) (Father of M.L.M. Reyal)

4. Idroos Lebbe Marikar Abdul Azeez (Trustee Maradana Mosque 1903-1913) (Father of Rishard A Azeez)

5. Sulaiman Lebbe Noohu Lebbe (Trustee Kuppiyawatte Burial Grounds, 1903) (Grandfather of M.U.M. Saleem)

6. Ismail Lebbe Marikar Muhammad Usoof Alim (Katheeb, Maradana Mosque) (Father of M.Y.M. Hamza)

7. Oduma Lebbe Marikar Ahmed Lebbe Marikar Alim (Father-in-Law of W.M. Hassim, JP)

8. Wapu Marikar Abdul Jabbar (Treasurer, Maradana Mosque) (Father of A.J.M. Jameel)

9. Assena Lebbe Muhallam Segu Lebbe (Katheeb, Maradana Mosque) (Father of S.L.M. Hashim)

10.Aboobucker Lebbe Marikar Oduma Lebbe Marikar (President, Executive Committee, Maradana Mosque) (Brother of A.L. Ibrahim Lebbe)

The descriptions of the signatories are later interpolations for better understanding of the persons involved in relation to presently known persons amongs the Muslim Community.

In 1907, Wapchi Marikar built, at his own cost, an extension building to the existing first school building. A section of the Educational Society collected a sum of Rs. 12,750 and entrusted it to Wapchi Marikar for the construction of houses along the street adjoining the New Olympia Theatre in Maradana. Unfortunately, the Colombo Muslim Educational Society did not function for very long and it became incumbent on Wapchi Marikar to manage the affairs of Zahira College all by himself as a single individual using his own personal finances and the welfare of some other Muslim philanthrophists.

Finding the income from rents of the Darley Road properties insufficient to manage the school he offered the income from his own properties at Wellawatte to augment the revenues of Zahira College. In 1921, being physically unfit to attend to the daily affairs of Zahira College, Wapchi Marikar discussed the matter with two of the members of the now defunct Education Society and handed over the management to the Maradana Mosque.

He was a devout and pious Muslim who built, served and developed mosques spending liberally for all religious affairs. His maxim was "cut ones coat according to the cloth". He passed away on May 14, 1925 at the ripe old age of ninety six. His only son was the Hon. W.M. Abdul Rahman, M.L.C. and his daughter was Mariambu Natchar.

Hon. W.M. Abdul Rahman 1868-1933

Hon. W.M. Abdul Rahman was born at Colombo on 26-Mar-1868, educated at the Government School at Gasworks Street and later on at Wesley College, Colombo. He joined his father’s building enterprise in 1888. In 1900 he was nominated to the Legislative Council as the Muslim member. In his honor the Moor’s Union hosted a dinner party presided over by Abdul Azeez. He died on 6-Apr-1933 and was buried at Kuppiyawatte Muslim Burial Grounds, Maradana.

On November 14, 1902 a Committee of the Legislative Council was appointed to consider the treatment of criminals. The committee comprised of Hon A.J. Lascelles, Attorney General, Hon Loos. Hon H.H.Cameron, Hon H.L. Crawford, Hon S. Bois, Hon W. M.Abdul Rahman. Another committee was appointed on January 23, 1903 to consider the Customs Duties Amendment Bill. composed of the Attorney General, Auditor General, the European Member, the Mercantile Member, the Principal Collector of Customs and the Muhammadan Member, the Hon. W.M.Abdul Rahman.

On February 10, 1943, Abdul Rahman supported the enlargement of the Executive Council in the Legisltive Council. On December 15, 1905 the Attorney General moved that the bill for the consideration of the Tariff amendments be undertaken by a committee consisting of the following:- Attorney General, Auditor General, PCC, Hon J.Ferguson, Hon M.F.Walker, Hon Abdul Rahman. On November 22, 1906 the hon Treasurer moved that the following sub-committee be appointed to reply His Excellency the Governor’s address: The Hon Treasurer, Hon Director of Works, Hon Registrar General, Hon Low Country Sinhalese Member, The Planting Member, The Hon General European Member, and the Hon W.M.Abdul Rahman, the Muhammadan Member.

On December 12, 1906, in the Legislative Council, The Hon member for the Muhammadan Community, Hon W.M.Abdul Rahman expressed the condolences of his community at the death of Sir Alexander Ashmore, the Colonal Secretary. On February 10, 1909, the Hon W.M.Abdul Rahman opposed the expenditure of large sums of money on the lake Scheme from Loans on account of many other urgent works that were of higher priority and were being kept in abeyance.

In the Legislative Council, on February 25, 1909, Hon W.M.Abdul Rahman desired that His Excellency the Governer should have the power to appoint deserving members in Government service to some of the higher posts without having to take competitive examinations. He claimed that it was unfair to expect senior Government servants to compete with boys fresh from school.

Abdul Rahman was a member of the Agricultural Society, Orient Club, Ceylon Turf Club and Liberal League. He was also the Vice President of the Social Reform Society and a keen supporter of sports. He was a member of the Executive Committee of the Maradana Mosque and the President of the Ceylon Muslim Educational Society Ltd., Muslim Spiritual Society and the Moor’s Sports Club.

In 1905 a massive public meeting was held at the Maradana mosque grounds to protest against the action of the Supreme Court in refusing to hear M.C.Abdul  Cader address the court as an Advocate because he wore a Fez cap, the national headgear of the Ceylon Moors, on his head. The Hon W.M. Abdul Rahman presided at this meeting. Subsequently permission was granted by the Colonial Secretary for Muslims to wear the Fez cap in court provided they also wore the long black coat which they normally wore at ceremonies.

In 1912  Abdul Rahman presided at the mass meeting of Muslims to protest against the Italian invasion of Tripoli, then ruled by the Turkish Sultan.

At an interview by a news reporter of the "Ceylon Independent" in 1917 Abdul Rahman said,

"English education among the Muslims was at a low ebb and considering the population the percentage of really educated men was awfully small. We have the Zahira College, started about tenty six years ago by my father...."

"... and there is every possibility of enlarging the building, improving the school by the addition of a Science Laboratory and employing a larger and more efficient staff of teachers ...."

Speaking on the conditions of the Ceylon Muslims, Abdul Rahman said,

".. it was deplorable. The apparent prosperity of the people was due to the fact that they possess ancestral property on which they live at ease. There was great competition in trade now and the trade that used to be in the hands of the Moors is now shared with others. For the past seven or eight years a revival was noticeable and young Muslims were taking to the professions and the Clerical Service and evincing a greater interest in English education. If that was not followed up with energy, the Muslims, he feared, would, in another twenty or thirty years, be only rawers of water and hewers of wood".

In 1924, N.H.M.Abdul Cader submitted a Bill to the Legislative Council for incorporating the body of the Maradana Mosque management. Abdul Rahman objected and suggested certain safe-guards for the congregation who are permanent residents of Maradana. his suggestions were included in the Bill.

Abdul Rahman passed away on April 6, 1933, leaving three children. One was Sir Razik Fareed and the other two were daughters, Mrs. Razeena Mohideen (wife of Ghouse Mohideen), manageress of the Muslim ladies College, Colombo and the first Ceylon Moor woman Justice of the Peace, and Mrs. Rakeeba Fuard (mother of M.F.A.Jaward, Private Secretary to Sir Razik Fareed).  

According to a memo issued by the Department of Income Tax, Estate Duty & Stamps, dated Colombo, 29 january 1936, it is mentioned that an estate duty amounting to Rs 10,591.70 was paid in full on account of the estate of  Abdul Rahman as per Estate No: ED/A 72 – DC Colombo Case No.6456 – Hon Mr Wapchi Marikar Abdul Rahman – Deceased

In the matter of the Last Will and Testament of the Hon Mr Wapchi Marikar Abdul Rahman of “Razeendale” Bambalapitiya South in Colombo, under Testamentart Jurisdiction No 6456, where Abdul Rahman Abdul Razik (son of Abdul Rahman and later referred to as Sir Razik Fareed), the inventory of the estate of WM Abdul Rahman was declared as follows:-

MOVEABLES

Amount in Imperial Bank of India                                                                                                    Rs        69.52

Amount due on promissory note dated 14 December 1927                                                            Rs   3,000.00

Household furniture etc.                                                                                                                 Rs   3,179.00

Rents outstanding at date of death                                                                                                 Rs      914.00

Total                                                                                                                                             Rs   7,162.52

IMMOVEABLES

1. Premises bearing assessment No.423 (formerly No.54) Galle Road, Bambalapitiya being Lot B in

Plan No.610 in extent 1A.1R.7.54P                                                                                                Rs 35,000.00

 

2. Lot B of premises bearing assessment No 24/1 Temple Road, Maradana in extent 0A.1R.9.11P   Rs    5,000.00

 

3. Premises Nos.713D/54, 713C/55, 713B/56, Third Cross Street, Pettah, in extent 0A.)R.1.57P   Rs 25,000.00

 

4. Premises bearing assessment No 483B/55 (being a divided portion of Lot 10 of No 55 Kensington

Gardens) presently 6 Foenander Place, Wellawatte, in extent 0A.1R.0P                                            Rs 15,000.00

 

5. Premises bearing assessment No 30/14, now No 3 Turner Road Wellawatte, in extent 

0A.0R.12.75P                                                                                                                                 Rs    7,000.00

 

6. Mylagama Estate situated at Mahagalboda Megoda Korale of Waudawili Hathpattu in the

Kurunegala District, North Western Province:

         Bearing coconut                       – 250 acres

         Coconuit about to bear             -   25 acres

         Coconut young plantation          -100 acres

         Paddy Field                             -   25 acres

         Jungle                                    -    75 acres                                                                            Rs 87,000.00

 

7. Kahinda Kutikarambee Hena at Eriyagama in Yatinuwara, Central Province, in extent 3A.0R.25P  Rs    1,000.00

 

8. Dandeniya and Dandeniyahena situated at Nugawela in Pannil Pattu of Atakalan Korale in the District

of Ratnapura, Sabaragamuwa Province, in extent 14A.1R.4P                                                           Rs       700.00

 

9. An undivided half share of 80 acres at Meepitiya in the Hiryala Hatpattu of Ihala Visidekay Korale in the

District of Kurunegala, North Western Province, value unknown                                                                 Unknown

 

10. An undivided 5/6 share of 80 acres of land at Dompe in the Uda Pattu of Kuruwita Korale in the District

of Ratnapura, Sabaragamuwa Province, value unknown                                                                             Unknown

 

11. An undivided ¼ share of 777 acres 3R.23P at Kosgahakanda Atulugama Korale of Three Korales in the

District of Kegalle, Sabaragamuwa Province                                                                                    Rs    1,000.00

 

12 An undivided 2/3 share of 0A.2R.29P Galapolakapalla Galapitiya situated at Bandarawela in the

Mahapalata Pattu of Udakande in the District of Badulla                                                                  Rs    1,000.00

 

13 Allotment of land in the Plan of David Dewapura in Wellawatte in the extent of 0A.2R.64P – to the

value of Rs 12,000 (STRUCK OFF THE LIST)

 

14. An undivided 2/3 share of No 10 Temple Road, Maradana being lot No 10 Temple Road, Maradana

beong lot No 8 in Plan of Chas Schwallie dated 25/9/1871 containing in extent 0A.0R.18.75P         Rs    4,000.00

 

15 An undivided 2/3 share of No 38 Ward No 1306 Colpetty in extent of 0A.0R.6.15P according to

Plan No 348 dated 30/7/1924                                                                                                       Rs    4,000.00

 

16 An allotment of land marked Lot 9 and bearing assessment No 17, 19th Lane A situated at Wellawatte

in extent 0A.0R.77.85P as per plan No 4118 dated 25th July 1933 by MJ Theideman, Surveyor      Rs 12,650.00

 

Total                                                                                                                                            Rs 204,632.52

Sir Razik Fareed Kt. OBE, JP UM (1893-1984)

Sir Razik Fareed Kt. OBE, JP UM (1893-1984), was born on 29-Dec-1893 and educated at Madrasathul Zahira and Royal College, Colombo. He held the prestigious positions of President, All Ceylon Moors’ Association, Member CMC, HR, Senate, First Member Colombo Central, High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in Pakistan. Gifted lands to establish Muslim Ladies College. Founder Member Moors’ Islamic Cultural Home in 1944 and held the position of its first President. Established Maternity Homes in the City of Colombo and rural hospitals in predominantly Muslim areas. Died:23-Aug-1984

He also held the prestigious positions of Minister in several Sri Lankan governments and served as the Sri Lankan Ambassador to Pakistan.

SO Aug 22 2004

Sir Razik Fareed's 20th death anniversary is tomorrow: 

Flame that lit lives of thousands

by P. P. M. Saheed

Twenty years ago today, a flame that lit the lives of thousands in this country was extinguished. But the light of the great are never really snuffed out. They continue to fire our spirit, our wills, give us courage, help us to sacrifice and continue to illumine every dark corner if our lives... as long as we continue to remember and honour that great goodness of soul that make such men unique.

This is why today, I stand in testimony to this great light and recall that surging spirit of a man who served his country so well, so ably, so dedicatedly. He was as Dr. W. Dahanayake called him, "the uncrowned king of the Moors of Sri Lanka." He was Sir Razik Fareed, a man so towering in mental stature, so noble in word and deed, that all honour sat lightly upon him and the minutes of his everyday moved in slow, measured tread, as though time itself passed and paused at his feet in order that he could make the fullest use of every ticking second.

Acknowledgement

I pen this note to acknowledge him... not to merely remember him. We in Sri Lanka, will always remember. not only the Muslim community but the people of all races and creeds. We have all of us benefitted from this one life; and I may well quote Shakespeare in saying that this, indeed, was a man......." whence cometh such another."

His long years of national and community service are studded with many milestones. Member of the Central Muslim Youth Conference in 1913....Lieutenant of the Colombo Town Guard in the civil strife of 1915.....President of the All Ceylon Moors Association for nearly 40 years.....President of the Moors Islamic Cultural Home for over 30 years.....Founder member of the United National Party....Member of the Colombo Municipal Council for 16 years....Member of the then State Council and Senate.....Member of the House of Representatives for Colombo Central for three terms.....High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in Pakistan in 1968.......President of the Ceylon Kennel Club.....President of the Ceylon Poultry Club and Orchid Circle.... steward of the Ceylon Turf Club.

He straddled the political scene of our country for over a generation and was also a distinguished member of the Peace Council of Sri Lanka. Above all, he put country first evidenced by what he maintained both publicly and privately many times over. When Great Britain wanted to give us our independence, he said:

Let us (Muslims) not think of our own selfish interests. We join hands with the majority community and we say we want independence: we want freedom for Sri Lanka". All his life, he also worked for the amelioration of the conditions of the Muslims of this country.

His doughtly efforts saw the establishment of schools for Muslims all over the island as well as Muslim Teacher Training Colleges at Addalaichenai and Aluthgama. He gave Muslim education the massive impetus that has put it in seven-league boots today, and furthermore he never detracted from his great vision of a united Sri Lanka - a nation of multi-racial, multireligious, multi-cultural unity where all communities lived in harmony, equality and peace.

Sir Razik Fareed was also the "Father of the UNANI system of Medicine in Ceylon." In paving the way for our independence he said on the floor of the House in 1945:

"It is our political sanctity if I may say so, and a sense of justice, that made us stand up and fight side by side with the Sinhalese in the course of obtaining Dominion Status". To Sir Razik, Sinhala-Moor unity - Sinhala Yonaka Ekamuthukama was almost an article of faith. He was, above all, a great bridge-builder between communities, and here, above all, in his loss felt most keenly.

Many of us remember Sir Razik as the last surviving Sri Lankan knight... for he was the link with British honours. But Royal conferment only served to emphasise the true nature of the man. He had been a true knight all his life with all those knightly qualities impelled him to serve, alleviate pain, ease the pangs of distress, set to right the wrongs of public and community life, defend the oppressed, succour the enfeebled, uplift the downtrodden.

I still remember with pride his words in his presidential address at the opening at the new building of the Moors Islamic Cultural Home in 1965:

"The island needs the close co-operation of all creeds and communities to develop its resources with patriotic zeal and, if need be, with sacrifice. This must transcend all other considerations. Let me therefore appeal to you and to all right-thinking citizens to sink all differences in the national interest and strive to make Ceylon a happier place to live in and die for. I exhort my fellow compatriots to remember what the Prophet of Islam meant when he said: Patriotism is part of the Faith."

When I consider the breathtaking arena of Sir Razik Fareed's life's, work I have often wondered how such frail shoulders could bear all they carried. This, to me, was the wonder of the man who my close personal friend for a great many years. Everyone's just battle became his own. He fought the British-owned Gas Company of Colombo a long time ago so that the city of Colombo be lit by electricity. He fought for the education of Muslim girls and set up the Muslim Ladies College, which is today one of the biggest educational institutions for Muslim girls in this country.

Fought for a cause

What is more, he fought for the cause of the Moulavis - the Islam and Arabic teachers who were at the mercy of mosque trustees and carned a pitiful pittance of about Rs. 30 or Rs. 40 as salary. Sir Razik Fareed brought them into recognition as government teachers on par with the others, thus giving these skilled, erudite scholars a place in the educational sun.

This is only as it should be. Sir Razik inherited from his family, a love for education.

His grandfather, Wapiche Marikar, built and nurtured Zahira College and a number of Arabic schools in Colombo. Sir Razik Fareed's father, W. M. Abdul Rahman, was President of the Muslim Educational Society and superintended the educational progress of the Muslim community. This is the mantle Sir Razik inherited and wore with such grace all his life. He it was, who was instrumental in founding a Department for Arabic studies in the University of Peradeniya.

How does one measure the worth of such a man? It is said that the soldier is measured by his medals; the politician by his words; the artist by his canvas; the craftsman by his hands.

How, then, does one consider the worth of this distinguished son of Sri Lanka? As his friend and associate for many years, I have only one yardstick as I look around and see all who honour him on this his 20th death anniversary. I see the outpouring of love, of deep respect, and feel the keen sense of loss. Yes, dear brothers and sisters, this is how I would measure him: by the love he awakened in us, the respect he so easily earned, the admiration he commanded, the valour of his every action, the fortitude of his every earthly hour.

Association

My association with Sir Razik Fareed, then (A. R. A. Razik) started in 1947, when I went to him to get a job as an English Assistant Teacher, which I received on the same day. This was a miracle. This association lasted till his death in August 1984 - a period of 37 years.

To him I was always "dear Saheed" or "dear M.P.M.".

I recall with what great joy I congratulated him by letter on June 12, 1981, when he was honoured as a national hero of Sri Lanka. It was also then that I decided to put this tribute into more concrete form. I had already established a fully equipped meeting hall in Kandy to cater to the social and cultural needs of the Muslim community. What better name, I decided, than the Sir Razik Fareed Assembly Hall and so it was.

And so did hundreds gather at this hall on Saturday the 28th November 1981 to honour Sir Razik Fareed and acknowledge that if today, we as a community can raise our heads to be equal with all others, it is because of the single-handed efforts of this great and good man.

On that occasion my heart was too full for words. But I could say with prayerful conviction that this was a full man-living a truly Islamic life and devoting himself to the service of man... which ultimately is the one and only way to seek God as enjoined by all the great religions of the world.

Such then is the pith and substance of this man we never can forget. Generosity was the very nature of his being. He gave away all he had to the people he served, eventually living in a rented room in the last days of his life. And, like an intricately-cut jewel, many other facets of his nature gleamed and glowed and enriched all about him. His love for the beauty of nature led him to cultivate the orchid and learn the many enchanting secrets of the flower.

Even his home in Fareed Place, Bambalapitiya held a small orchidarium where trailing vandas and large-clustered dendrobiums where trailing stars in glorious profusion. How often have I seen him among his orchids, tending them along with his wife, Lady Ameena who shared his love for beauty.

It was Mr. Eric Garth of Kundasale, Kandy, who at my request, paid gracious tribute to Sir Razik in naming a new hybrid orchid he grew after Sir Razik. To this day, orchild lovers around the world see this clear blue flower with its deep-blue lipped sepals and know it as the Sir Razik Fareed....and so does a flower perpetuate his name.

This orchid was registered with the Royal Horticultural Society of England on 15-11-1984.

For us, however, he will always be as a flower in our hearts. Sir Razik Fareed was a beacon, a guiding light, a tower of strength, a fortress of courage, a champion that belonged not only to each of us individually but to all the nation and moreso, all the Muslim world.

It behoves us, surely, that Allah sends us such men with rare frequence and this, the, is our greatest joy - that we in our lifetime have seen the passage of such a man as this. May i conclude by recalling the words of Shakespeare.

"His life was gentle, and the elements so mixed in him that nature might stand up and say to all the world: 'This was a man'"

Yes, this indeed was a man.... and, dear brothers and sisters, the mark he has left on all over lives will never be erased:

"Those who are not grateful to their Fellowmen will not be grateful to Allah" Nabi Muhammed (O.W.B.P)

Tue Jan 4 2005 - Daily News

Sir Razik Fareed - the humanist statesman in Saville Row outfit

by M. P. M. Saheed

Sir Razik Fareed, the humanist statesman in Saville Row outfit was born on December 29th, 1893, at Layards Broadway, Colombo as the son of Wapche Marikar Abdul Raheman having read his first letters at Agnes Ferdinand's Infant School, Bambalapitiya, later had his education at O.E. Martinus School and at Royal College then located at St. Sebestian Hill Colombo.

He played cricket for Royal College 2nd Eleven and passed the Cambridge Junior Examination of the London University in 1911. In 1912 he married Ameena Binthu, the only daughter of Pedler Prince Haj Ibrahim Bin Ahamed in 1912 and had a daughter Sithy Hajara.

In the proverbial the duck taking to water his mindset was in community welfare and promotion. In order to achieve these ideals he formed in 1913, at the age of 20, Central Muslim Young Men's Association and in 1915 he joined Moorish Section of the Colombo Town Guard in the rank of a Corporal and gained promotion to the rank of lieutenant in 1916.

In 1946 he donated lands, buildings and furniture to the value of Rupees three lakhs and founded the Muslim Ladies College, at Colombo, the first residential school for Muslim children. From 1952 onwards he was elected to the legislature and served as Senator and Minister as well.

He had a vision for Sri Lanka and in the State Council in 1945 he observed. "It is our political sanctity, if I may say so and a sense of justice, that made us to stand up and fight side by side with the Sinhalese in the course of obtaining Dominion Status".

To Sir Razik, ethnic and religious differences were just accidents of birth and he was a firm believer in Sinhala - Muslim co-existence. Though he was knighted, he had a life time commitment to enanicipate, the oppressed, suppressed, humiliated and exploited moiling and toiling masses of Sri Lanka, irrespective of any divides.

This mindset is borne by his presidential address at the opening of the new building of the Moor Islamic Cultural Home, in Colombo in 1965. He reiterated. "The island needs the close co-operation of all creeds and communities to develop its resources with patriotic zeal and if need be with sacrifice. This must transcend all other considerations.

Let me therefore appeal to you and to all right-thinking citizens to sink all differences in the national interest and strive to make Ceylon a happier place to live in and die for. I exhort my fellow compatriots to remember what the Prophet of Islam meant when he said, "Patriotism is part of the Faith".

Education was rooted in him and he fought for the progress of Moulavis, the Islam and Arabic teachers - who were at the mercy of mosque trustees, paid a pittance of just Rs. 30 or Rs. 40, as a monthly stipend. Sir Razik, through his own efforts brought these teachers on par with salaried Government service teachers.

To him this writer was just simply 'Dear Saheed' or 'Dear M. P. M.' Sir Razik was an ardent devotee of flora. His home at Fareed Place, Bambalapitiya had a mini - orchidarium, where trailing vandas and large clustered dendrobiums were in profusion, a botanical garden par excellence.

He always wore an orchid on the lapel of his coat. Eric Garth, the orchid maestro of Kundasale, at this writer's behest paying his adoration for Sir Razik's commitment to orchids, named an orchid hybrid of his under Sir Razik's name and it is known as Sir Razik Fareed. This orchid gained international acceptance being registered with the Royal Horticultural Society of England, the controlling body, of horticulture on 15.11.1984.

In fact he could be called, without any fear of contradiction the 'Father of the Unani system of medicine in Sri Lanka which stands shoulder to shoulder with Ayurveda, Siddi and Allopathy schools of medicine, having completed his life's mission he passed away on August 23rd 1984.