Thursday, November 7, 2019

End of an Era: Dr. Majid Kazi Is No More

Dr. Majid Kazi is no more

By Siraj Wahab in Jeddah

Friday, November 8, 2019

Dr. Majid Kazi, the personal physician to the late Saudi King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz, died in Jeddah on Thursday night. He was 81.

He is survived by his wife, Carol Ann Kazi, two sons, Shams and Kamal, and two daughters, Aneesa and Samia.

He will be laid to rest in a historic cemetery in Jeddah after funeral prayers at the Juffali Mosque in Al-Balad district.

Both his sons and his wife were with him when he passed away.

Among his close relatives who were him was his nephew Wajid Ali Khan.

"With the passing away of Majid Maamu, an era has come to an end," said Wajid Ali Khan, the Jeddah-based son of one of Dr. Kazi's four sisters, the late Razia Qazi.

A Saudi of Indian origin, Dr. Kazi was from Aurangabad in Maharashtra. His father, Kazi Hameeduddin, was a leading lawyer and a prominent Muslim leader of his time.

Dr. Kazi’s brother, Qazi Saleem, was a successful and well-known Urdu poet and politician. He represented Aurangabad in Parliament when Indira Gandhi was prime minister.

There is little disagreement that Dr. Kazi was the highest-ranking person of Indian origin in Saudi Arabia. By virtue of his position as royal cardiologist, he was granted Saudi citizenship.

Dr. Kazi was very attached to his two daughters. He always spoke of them very fondly and they were equally attached to their father.

Dr. Kazi’s early childhood and primary education were — in his own words in an interview with Arab News in 2006 — took place in “my beloved city of Hyderabad.” He returned to Hyderabad as a medical student in 1956 and obtained a degree in medicine from Osmania Medical College.

Immediately after graduation, he worked as a tutor for a year at Gandhi Medical College where he spent the first six months of his first year in medicine, where he was among the top 40 students of the college. "We used to call ourselves the ‘40 Pillars’ of the institute. Later, I was transferred to Osmania Medical College where I spent my early youth tumultuously, studying and celebrating the annual college day function that used to last three days,” he remembered.

He was awarded the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman by the Indian government in 2006. He received it from President Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. He was the first Indian from the Gulf region to get the prestigious award.

“What an exciting moment it was for me to be able to see, hear and shake hands with the Indian president. I consider it an honor for my family and me. I was deeply touched by Dr. Abdul Kalam’s wisdom, his articulation, knowledge, and humility. I couldn’t agree with him more when he called on Indians and persons of Indian origin to have wings for ascending in every walk of life but never to to lose their ‘Indian-ness,’ which essentially means their civility, nobility, and humility,” he said at the time.


The 2006 Interview in Arab News:

Story of the Indian doctor who rose to the top

By Siraj Wahab
Wednesday, March 29, 2006

November 15, 1974, remains one of the most important days of Dr. Majid-Uddin Kazi’s life. For it was on that day he received a letter that would launch a brilliant and distinguished career for this noted Saudi cardiologist of Indian origin.

The letter came from Health Minister Dr. Abdul Aziz Khowaiter. “I am pleased to inform you that you have been selected as my personal adviser for the establishment of modern health facilities in the Kingdom for the prevention, detection and management of heart diseases,” the minister wrote to Dr. Kazi.

That letter came just five years after Dr. Kazi’s 1969 arrival in the Kingdom from Canada with his wife, Carol Ann Kazi, and a six-month-old son.

In 1977, he was appointed personal physician to the crown prince of Saudi Arabia and a decade later was promoted to the rank of a Cabinet minister when he became the personal physician to King Fahd and chief of Royal Clinics.

There seems to be little disagreement among Indians both here in the Gulf and in India that he is the highest-ranking person of Indian origin in Saudi Arabia. By virtue of being the royal cardiologist he was granted Saudi citizenship.

Dr. Kazi recently was in the news when he was honored by Indian President Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam with the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award. Now at 68, Dr. Kazi is still an adviser in the Royal Court having been reappointed last year to the ministerial-ranked position for four more years.

One evening recently Arab News sat down with him over dinner to discuss his career and the good old days. Dr. Kazi speaks with the precision of a surgeon, but he is extremely shy. At times one notes a little embarrassment in him when his public stature is discussed, perhaps because he thinks he owes everything to good fortune.

“Everybody is unique in his own way,” he says. “There is a hidden rainbow in each of us. When a sunray goes through a droplet with the right tilt, and God’s help, a rainbow can be woven.”

The Saudi Arabia to which Dr. Kazi came in 1969 was a far different place than it is today. “At that time, Saudi Arabia was still an underdeveloped, sparsely populated, peaceful and charming place. The Central Hospital in Riyadh was ill-equipped and chaotic. The asphalt road did not extend beyond the Al-Nasseriya corner. It was difficult to get used to desert coolers, leaving behind the central air-conditioning and other comforts of Canada. There were sand dunes where now stands the modern, well-equipped King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Center, providing medical services far and wide. It is a standing tribute to the wise, kind and highly successful policies of the Kingdom’s rulers.”

Dr. Kazi credits his wife for his successes. “She played and is still playing a vital role. She used to push me forward rather than pushing me around. I wished I were half as great a believer in the academic excellence of our children.”

Dr. Kazi’s wife is a certified art instructor who specializes in painting. Until a few years ago she used to run Riyadh’s Desert Designs, a popular arts-and-crafts shop. The couple is blessed with two daughters, Aneesa and Samia, and two sons, Shams and Kamal.

Dr. Kazi was thrilled earlier this year when he went to Hyderabad to receive the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award from Dr. Abdul Kalam, who is also a scientist. “What an exciting moment it was for me to be able to see, hear and shake hands with the Indian president. I consider it an honor for my family and me. I was deeply touched by Dr. Abdul Kalam’s wisdom, articulation, knowledge and humility. I couldn’t agree with him more when he called on Indians and persons of Indian origin to have wings for ascent in every walk of life but never to lose ‘Indian-ness,’ which essentially comprises civility, nobility and humility.”

Dr. Kazi hails from Aurangabad, a town in the then Nizam’s domain that was annexed to the Indian Union in 1948 and later became part of the western Indian state of Maharashtra. His father Kazi Hameeduddin was a leading lawyer and a prominent Muslim leader. Dr. Kazi’s brother, Kazi Saleem, was a successful Urdu poet and politician. When Kazi Saleem died recently, almost all the major Urdu publications came out with a special edition on him.

Dr. Kazi’s elder brother always was an inspiration to him. “During my childhood, Kazi Saleem was already a famous new groundbreaking poet. I was enchanted by his style, thoughts and imagination. With a view to imitating him I used to compose childish poems. Several of them were printed in children’s magazines in India, such as ‘Phulwari’ and ‘Khilona.’”

Those sweet early years have left Dr. Kazi with many wonderful memories. “At age 11, I got my first gold medal when my poem was selected in the provincial middle school competition, and it was published in a children’s magazine from Delhi. I used to be thrilled to take part in the children’s program of the newly-established Aurangabad Radio Station. I used to write for the children’s program at times and was paid ten rupees (70 halalas) a couple of times. Back then, it was a joyous moment for your work to be selected and rewarded with 10 rupees.”

Dr. Kazi’s early childhood and primary education were in, what he calls, “my beloved city of Hyderabad.” He returned to Hyderabad as a medical student in 1956 to seek a degree in medicine at Osmania Medical College.

“Immediately after graduation, I worked as a tutor for a year at Gandhi Medical College where I had spent the first six months of my first year in medicine, being among the top 40 students of that college. We used to call ourselves the ‘40 Pillars’ of the institute. Later, I was transferred to Osmania Medical College where I spent my early youth tumultuously, studying and celebrating our annual college day function that used to last three days.”

In college, he continued to develop his writing skills, penning sarcastic comedies and taking active part in dramas. “I used to enjoy being on the college stage with the nickname of ‘Sher Khan.’ We used to mix hard work with pleasure. Early in the morning, I would walk to the public gardens and study for exams under tall trees and enjoy the soul-nourishing breeze. The culture, education, interactions and celebrations of the city of Hyderabad all played a vital role in my life.”

The good doctor is never one to boast, and he advises those looking for good role models to look inside themselves rather than look to him. “I strongly believe in teamwork rather than a one-man show. It is good to be mild — but not meek. At least when it is your turn, get up and speak. I am no role model, so please don’t copy me. I am less than a dust particle floating in space. By chance, the rays of the sun illuminated it for a while.”



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Salma Idris said...

Innalillahiwainnailaihirojiun, May Allah forgive his shortcomings and may him also grant his Aljannahtu Firdous My sincere condolences to all the family and friends It was an honour to be part of this great family and he will be remembered forever. Rest on Abaji😭😭😭😭

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End of an Era: Dr. Majid Kazi Is No More

Dr. Majid Kazi is no more By Siraj Wahab in Jeddah Friday, November 8, 2019 Dr. Majid Kazi, the personal physician to the late S...