Doc Afshan’ s Tribute

 Dear Readers,

Will miss you brother Syed Murtaza Hasan-To Hashima Apa and Aftab bhai with lots of love-From Dr.Afshan Hashmi

As a friend of Dr. Aftab Ansari and Dr.Hashima Hasan I am shocked to hear the untimely death of brother Syed Murtaza Hasan  my Hashima apa’s younger brother (Apa meaning elder sister in Hindustani language). I know Aftab bhai(Bhai meaning elder brother in Hindustani language) and Hashima apa since childhood. I attended their wedding in India and was part of the groom (Dr.Aftab Ansari’s) side. I attended the wedding alongwith my parents and many of my parents friends.Hashima Apa is Prof.Nurul Hasan’s  maternal niece.

When I reached in wedding I was a child then and Nurul Hasan Nana( Nana meaning grandpa in Hindustani language; at the door receiving  all the guests in his usual charming smile and doing salaam to each and everyone and even did salaam to me in his charming signature Lucknovi style (Lucknovi style salaam or greetings is well -known throughout the India as Lucknow people are well -known for their traditions throughout the globe. Lucknow is a city of UP India

Nurul Hasan Nana was a friend of my grandfather Prof. Abdul Aleem (

My family was invited by Nurul Hasan Nana also but my parents chose to go from groom’s side as Dr.Aftab Ansari or Aftab bhai to me was a colleague of my mom at the Jawarharlal Medical college’s Biochemistry department of Aligarh Muslim University,Aligarh, (UP) India (

I often wonder who played cupid between Hashima apa and Aftab bhai, I will ask them when I meet them.

Look at the tradition of these historic legends of India even giving greetings to their youngsters, I will remember Nurul Hasan Nana’s this gesture all my life. I was so much in awe of his this gesture which I was so lucky to experience many times during my childhood days in India.

Then I heard people started saying Mrs. Indira Gandhi has arrived in the wedding   and we all children present went to meet her. Mrs. Indira Gandhi is one of those personalities of the globe with whom I am inspired a lot and have met her many times while growing up in India. As always she was looking so smart, elegant and full of grace. Mrs.Indira Gandhi in her beautiful charming style asked me about the Gharara suit I was wearing for the wedding( and who made it and wanted one for her grandaughter Priyanka Gandhi, I told her the designer’s name.

Now after all this I saw all the girls of marriageable age going towards a very handsome man and trying to get his attention. I was curious in my mind who is this handsome man wearing impeccable white Lucknow kurta and churidar  Also Kurta had Lucknow chikankari embroidery all over the place and wearing Kolhapuri chappals. . This was my brother – Syed Murtuza Hasan, my first encounter in life with him. Still I did not get a chance to talk to him as girls of marriageable age were lining up to see him. But he was engrossed in talking to the love of his life and not at all interested in any of the girls who were swooning over him in that wedding party.

I even heard some aunties saying to their shy girls that go and meet this handsome boy. There were these conversations going on when my mind was trying to capture the image of this handsome man in my mind and how wonderfully he is carrying himself. All of a sudden while I was thinking all this Bollywood star Raj Babbar ( appeared with soft drink in his hands and serving everyone with his charming style. In this wedding of my Aftab bhai and Hashima apa everybody was engrossed in their own thing and enjoying a lot. This wedding is one of those which had captured me totally and one of the best I have attended till my lifetime uptil now.

All of a sudden my parents called me to meet Nawabs of Rampur as they are related to Nurul Hasan nana and I was told by my parents the Nawabs had presented lot of gifts to me when I was born and I went to meet them without meeting brother – Syed Murtuza Hasan.

Then when I came back from there my parents introduced me to brother Syed Murtuza Hasan and asked him to take me to see the bride and he took me to see Hashima apa as a bride and Hashima apa was sitting in a room as a pretty and elegant bride. Aftab bhai was enjoying outside in the beautiful lawns of this sprawling bunglow with all the dignitaries present in his wedding in Friends colony, New Delhi,India. Then the traditional wedding ceremony took place. I met many of my Grandpa Aleem’s friends as grandpa Aleem at that time was no more in this world and had left for his Heavenly abode and was chilling out with them and I enjoyed a lot in this wedding.

This wedding can be termed as a very happening and it can be termed as full of glitz,glamour and style and who’s who of India present there!

After that I had met brother Syed Murtuza Hasan many times with his beautiful wife as some of my parents friends were common to his. I will miss you brother Syed Murtaza Hasan.  May God grant you highest place in Heaven Amen!

It seems all these conversations were done today as they have left a mark on me as to who I am today. I am very lucky to be part of one of the most prestigious family of India and very proud of the rich heritage and legacy of my family (


Dr.Hashima Hasan wrote about his younger brother:

“As a boy at La Martinere College, Lucknow, he won every prize, both in academics and sports, in every class throughout his school years.  In addition to excelling in academics and sports, he was an eloquent debator, winning a gold medal for debating at the Aligarh Muslim University, in 1970.  As a student leader, he held a leadership position in the Youth Congress and represented India at youth conventions internationally.  He was known for his vibrant voice and the live commentary of the Republic Day Parade he gave over All India Radio in 1976 was legendary.  Those of us fortunate enough to hear his ghazal recitals will never forget them.

After graduating from Lucknow University, he obtained an M.Sc. (Physics) degree from Aligarh Muslim University, and M.Sc. (Math.) from Jawaharlal Nehru University.  He served the Government of India in the IPS (Indian Police Service), followed by the IFS (Indian Foreign Service).  After foreign tours of duty in Africa, Jordan and Germany, he returned to the Foreign Office, New Delhi.”

With all the best regards

Dr.Afshan Hashmi


Dr.Syed Zahoor Qasim
Dr.Syed Zahoor Qasim

Dear Readers,

Zahoor Qasim Uncle I miss you: Especially this article is  for my Jean Aunty (his wife) and  his  three lovely daughters:

Being the granddaughter of the renowned freedom fighter and thinker of India Prof. Abdul Aleem, I have met many dignitaries in my life growing up  I met Mrs. Indira Gandhi many times and admired her a lot. My maternal grandfather, my mom Mrs. Jamila Siddiqi, and my dad, Prof. A. Majid Siddiqi influenced me a lot ( and instilled in me the quality of communication through the medium of writing. So I am expressing my feelings and tribute to Zahoor Qasim uncle through writing this article, Grandpa, Mom and Dad were all an institution of themselves; renowned scholars, philanthropists, and great champions of the underprivileged, as well as female empowerment.

One of my parents best friends, were this very lovely couple Zahoor Qasim Uncle and Jean aunty. I adore them. Their lovely daughter Yasmeen apa(Apa means elder sister in Hindi) when she studied in Aligarh Muslim University,(AMU) Aligarh(UP) India, my parents were her local guardian as in AMU every student should have a local guardian.

Yasmeen apa is married to my grandpa’s cousin Dr. Jawed bhai (Bhai means elder brother in Hindi) whom I remember as when I was child, used to play guitar very well. Jawed bhai is a very handsome and wonderful doctor and my mom taught Jawed bhai in Medical college at AMU. Yasmeen apa is a beauty. Jean aunty is the daughter of Nawab of Rampur who made my grandpa his son. So you can imagine how close we are with the family. When I grew up I was told that when I was born Nawab of Rampur Jean aunty’s father  presented me with a pure silver baby cradle when he came to see me for the first time. Jean aunty used to study with my mom in their college days. My Dad was Zahoor Qasim uncle’s one of their best friend. In fact my dad took uncle Qasim to Rampur to see Jean aunty and my mom was in Rampur as Jean aunty’s friend. My mom and dad were engaged at that time,. My mom and dad used to tell me about them all the time. Although uncle Qasim was much older to my dad but they were best of friends. When I am writing this article it all seems like a dream going down the memory lane.

Zahoor Qasim uncle was  an Indian marine biologist (31 December 1926 – 20 October 2015) who helped lead India’s exploration to Antarctica and guided the other seven expeditions from 1981 to 1988. He was a Member of the Planning Commission of India from 1991 to 1996. He was also an Honorary Professor of universities including AMU, Madurai Kamaraj University, Anna Malai University, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, and Jamia Millia Islamia.

Zahoor Qasim uncle was born in Allahabad in 1926. He began his schooling from Majidiya Islamiya Intermediate College Allahabad(UP).India,and then moved to AMU, where he obtained a B.Sc. degree in 1949 and a M.Sc. degree in Zoology in 1951. He stood first in the order of Merit for which he was awarded the AMU Gold Medal. For several years, he was a lecturer in the Department of Zoology at AMU before proceeding to the United Kingdom for higher studies in 1953. In 1956 he completed his D.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees from University College of North Wales. On 20 October 2015, he left for his Heavenly abode at the age of 88.

Some Awards and Honors of Uncle Zahoor Qasim:

Padma Shri (1974) . Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Award (1978), Lal Bahadur Shastri Award (1988) Padma Bhushan (1982) ,Oceanology International Lifetime Achievement Award, UK (1999). First National Ocean Science and Technology Award by Government of India (2003–04),Asian Society Gold Medal (2005),SOFTI Biennial Award (2007).Lifetime Achievement Award, Indian Science Congress (2008).AMU distinguished Alumni award which he shared with Prof.Obaid Siddiqi.

With all the best regards,

Dr.Afshan Hashmi