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Founder>About Him
Founder

About Him

Mohammad Usman son of Haji Hasham Kath

Mohammad Usman was born on the 1st June 1935, in Karachi.  He was the eldest child of Haji Hasham Haji Ahmed Kath who started as a modest businessman in India in early 20th century.  He came to settle in Pakistan and his vision broadened.  He was engaged in retail and wholesale business of herbal commodities, tobacco and its products in Karachi.  The family was well off financially amongst the members of Okhai Memon Community, which had settled over the years in Memon Society in Lyari Quarters and Kharadhar area after migrating from Okha Mandal, Saurashtra, India.


Mohammad Usman was a handsome and precocious child.  He obtained primary education in a Gujrati Vernacular School alongwith the basic religious education in the locality’s Madressah.  In 1946, his father got him admitted in Sind Madressahtul Islam, a historic English medium school.  He was soon recognized as promising, smart and a very studious student.  He was popular amongst fellow students, as he was soft spoken and endearing.  These qualities later on emerged as leadership traits in his personality and his enthusiasm for the service to the community and people of Karachi.


While in school, he joined scouting and was active participant in useful scouting skills.  He was also an ardent member of students literary group, headed by his teacher, Hassan Ali Daudani who gave affectionate attention and special tutoring to him.  Mohammad Usman’s school friends were Abdul Sattar Paryani, Ahmed Khatri, Usman Essa, Bashir and Razak Marfani.  Mohammad Usman passed his Matriculation examination in the First Division in 1953.


He joined S.M. Arts College for higher studies.  Since he had an intellectual bend of mind, he took psychology and philosophy as elective subjects of study.  In College, he became a close friend of Ghulam Rasul Namoos, who also had the same subjects for studies.  G. R. Namoos later on did his M.A in philosophy from Edinborough University and was awarded a scholarship by Oxford University to do PhD in philosophy.

Mohammad Usman showed intense devotion to learning under his teacher Dr. Manzoor Ahmad, a well-known scholar.  Later on Dr. Manzoor Ahmad became a professor of Philosophy at the University of Karachi.  Apart from the college curriculum, Usman was fond of reading extensively books on the diverse subjects, such as classic English and Greek literature, philosophy, existentialism and history. He had a good collection of books in his personal library.

During college years, Mohammad Usman was greatly inspired by Mr. A.K. Brohi, an eminent lawyer and thinker.  Mr. A.K. Brohi in his articles writes about Usman.  “As years rolled past and I got to know him better, I could see for myself how much, he was interested in the life of thought and contemplation and further said at all times it was genuine relief that he was anxious to render social services and was loved by all”.

Mohammad Usman had a sensitive personality.  Social problems affected him  deeply.  He had concern for less fortunate people, particularly the poor of the community. He contributed many articles in the college magazine and to the newspapers.  His writings created considerable interest both in private and public circles.  Some of his articles are titled as “In search of happiness”, “Education and Individual” and “The Problems of Okhai Memon Community”.
 
Mohammad Usman completed four years of college education and passed B.A. examination in First Division from Karachi University.  He had desired to study abroad and had secured admission, alongwith Mr. G.R. Namoos to study Philosophy.  But subsequent events precluded him to continue higher studies.   He had great liking for acquiring more knowledge and it was obvious that he could have achieved the intellectual heights, had he embarked upon the higher academic pursuits after graduation.

He wanted to spend his life creatively, which could bring forth his real worth as well as to contribute whatever he could towards the betterment of the society he lived in.
 
His father, however, convinced him to join family business. Being an obedient son, he acceded to the wishes of his father and joined the family’s newly acquired cigarette manufacturing company.  Initially, he encountered some intricate situations but remained determined to seek new avenues of business especially in the industrial ventures. The Family wanted to expand their business so he played a key role in setting up a similar enterprise of cigarette manufacturing at Chittagong and further extended to another industrial project of a large sugar manufacturing mills in the rural Sind at Tando Allahyar.  He also went into export of molasses, a by-product of sugar mill and initiated construction of storage terminal at the Karachi Port.

In short span of time, he created name in business circles so much so that he was elected as the member of the Managing Committee of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and also nominated as Chairman of its labour sub-committee.  He was also elected as Chairman of the Pakistan Sugar Mills Association, Sind Zone and also the Chairman of Cigarette Manufacturers’ Association of Pakistan.  He became very popular in social life and contributed to many welfare and literary bodies.  Usman traveled extensively around the globe attending business meetings and seminars related to international trade and business.  He also attended International sugar convention and accompanied trade delegations to India, Srilanka and Philippines.

He conceived the idea of having an association of community’s young literate members for doing social work.  At the gatherings of youths of the community, it was unanimously agreed to form the Okhai Memon Youth Services. He was elected founder President, when it was formally established in 1968.  He motivated the members of Okhai Memon Youth Services and they together rapidly expanded their activities by introducing new concepts in social work which generated strong active feeling of interest amongst the Okhai Community Youth.
 
Today, Okhai Memon Youth Services is one of the most active, meaningful and benevolent welfare organization in Karachi, providing educational, medical and financial support to the needy members of the community.  By and large, Usman’s outlook was not confined to his community, he had a will to look beyond the horizon and work for the society. Usman was always willing to respect opinions and behaviour of other people even if these differed from his own.

Mohammad Usman was also a lover of arts and literature.  His  fondness for art was immense.  He assisted Syed Ali Imam, a very well known artist of international repute in setting up of ‘Indus Gallery’, for display and sale of paintings.  Indus Gallery is today a premier Gallery where nearly all the great painters of Pakistan have displayed their works.  He had a fine aesthetic sense. He collected invaluable paintings of some of the great artists of Pakistan.  He also encouraged and patronized the young upcoming artists as well.  He was conscious of keeping good health, and would advise young people to have regular exercises, and in this respect he published a booklet on aerobics for distribution to help them keep physically fit.

With the passage of time, he developed an interest in horse riding, which he pursued with fondness and liking and which proved nemesis.  His colleagues in horse riding were Mr. E.A. Garda and Dr. Khalid Mitha.  They used to go for weekly riding on every Sunday.  But Alas, on the fateful day of 11th February, 1973, Usman while trotting ahead of other two friends, went into coma, after falling from the horseback,  He suffered a  cerebral hemorrhage.  He was immediately rushed to the Holy Family Hospital where he was put on an artificial respiratory system.  He remained unconscious for four days and breathed his last at 7.00 am on the 15th February, 1973.

Many tributes were paid on his passing but to quote from Mr. A.K. Brohi, an extract is reproduced hereunder:
 
Quote  “ Although, he went about in this God’s world with love for the good things in life, it was because he had learnt to value them for what they are worth.  He evolved enough to know that they had to be shared with our fellow men to the end that the experience of having the good things in life might contribute to the total happiness of the children of human race all over the globe.  The essential question before him, at all times was not what he could get out of man but what it was that he could give him”.  Unquote.

He was a loving father and had six children, which were all daughters.  He was a devout husband and affectionate brother to his brothers and sisters and was dearly loved by his parents and uncles.

In the memory of Mohammad Usman, Usman Memorial Foundation was formed in 1973 with the consensus of his family members, friends and well wishers.  Mr. A.K. Brohi was the first President while Dr. Manzoor Ahmad acted as Secretary General of the Foundation. In 1994, the Foundation constructed a campus building at Abul Hasan Isphahani Road, with a major contribution from Haji Hasham family.   On this campus, “Usman Institute of Technology was established, where courses are taught in the discipline of engineering, electronics and computer science.  Highly motivated professional teachers back the teaching.  The Institute is recognized and registered by the Pakistan Engineering Council.  Dr. Manzoor Ahmad looks after the affairs of the Institute while Usman’s brothers play a important role on the Governing Board.  The Institute is now in the process of obtaining a Charter form the Government.

Another prestigious project – a 50 bed fully equipped hospital and laboratory was initiated and established by the Haji Hasham Family.  The hospital was named as “Usman Memorial Hospital” in his memory.  It is situated in Hussainabad, Federal ‘B’ Area and provides dedicated medical services to the local people who are of low and middle-income group.  The hospital is managed by The Okhai Memon Youth Services.
 
Usman’s life achievements conjure up vivid memories.  He had a vision for the future, but a man is helpless, as destiny always plays its role.  May Allah rest his soul in eternal peace, Ameen.
 
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