Sir Syed and his family

Mohammed Wajihuddin

Sir Syed had two sons–Syed Hamid and Syed Mahmood and a daughter Ameena. She died young. 

Syed Hamid had one daughter Ahmadi Begum. 

Syed Mahmood had one son, Sir Ross Masood. Ross Masood married twice. His first wife Sahabzadi Zohra Begum was the only daughter of Sahabzada Aftab Ahmed Khan. As the baraat left from Sir Syed House to Aftab Manzil in Aligarh, the Ali Brothers (Mohammed Ali and Shaukat Ali became so enthusiastic that they untied the horses from the carriage of dulha and they and other boys pulled the carriage to Aftab Manzil. 

From this marriage, Ross Masood had two sons–Anwar Masood and Akbar Masood. Both brothers were educated in England. Anwar Masood worked in Hyderabad, Calcutta, Karachi, Dubai and finally came to Aligarh. He had married his maternal uncle Sahabzada Shahzad Ahmad Khan’s daughter Roshan Jahan Begum. His two daughters are Shahnaz and Shahzad. Anwar Masood died in Aligarh and is buried at a graveyard beside his maternal grandfather Sahabzada Aftab Ahmad Khan. 

Akbar Masood worked in Calcutta and left for Karachi in 1948 where he died in 1971. Akbar Masood had two sons–Ahmad Masood and Mahmood Masood. Ahmad Masood has a son Aamir and daughter Aliya. Mahmood Masood has a son, Samad Masood and a daughter, Samia Masood. 

After separation from first wife, Ross Masood married Ummatul Rashid Begum in London in 1933. She was daughter of Ross Masood’s classmate at Aligarh and Oxford Mohammed  Abdur Rasheed Khan who became a dewan at Indore State. Ross Masood’s second wife was highly educated and knew Urdu, Persian, English and French. They had first met in Shimla while they were staying at a common friend’s house. She came to be known as lady Masood and was highly respected. Once when Ross Masood and lady Masood were in Bhopal where Ross Masood was education minister at Bhopal state, Allama Iqbal came from Lahore and stayed with them. Iqbal presented a copy of Baal-e-Jibreel to Masood. Lady Masood too was there. She told Iqbal jokingly: “I understand your poetry more than he and you are presenting only to him.” To which Iqbal put the couple to a test saying whoever explains a couplet better will get the book. The couplet was:

 Yeh misrah likh diya kis shokh ne mehrab e masjid par/Yeh nadaan gir gaye sajdaun mein jab waqt e qayam aaya 

Lady Mahmood gave better explanation and got the book from Iqbal. Ross Masood and Lady Masood had a daughter Nadira. It was Iqbal’s suggestion to name her Nadira. Nadira married Prof Rasheed Ahmed Siddiqui’s son Prof Ehsan Siddiqui who became VC of Karachi University. They died  in Karachi childless. 

Meanwhile, Lady Masood who became a widow after Ross Masood’s death, married Nawabzada Rahat Saeed Khan Chchatari and died in Karachi. 

So the family of Sir Syed continues through his only grandson Ross Masood for whom he would sing lullabies and play with him. Both grandfather and grandson sleep peacefully close to each other under the shadow of minarets of the red-brick mosque the great old, wise man, the Peer-e-Dana of Aligarh, built with so much love. 

Mohammed Wajihuddin, a senior journalist, is associated with The Times of India, Mumbai. This piece has been picked up from his blog