Founders Tribute

Wajahat Husain Rizvi

A great believer in education for all, Syed Wajahat Husain Rizvi was a visionary in his own right. He was a staunch supporter of community-based effort in all matters of social uplift programs. His mission was to see the members of the most thriving and forward looking Shia community in the United States of America to grow well and ensure that their future generations do not fall behind on the educational front for want of financial resources. He wanted the Shia youth to come forward and go for higher education and help achieve their own dreams, and then contribute to the overall community’s social, moral and economic well being. He would always say that educated people do not wait for a messiah to come and rescue them from their misfortune. Rather, he wanted to see the Shia youth as messiahs in making.

Therefore, he laid the foundation stone of the US Chapter of Anjuman Wazifa Sadaat-o-Momineen. The focused and singular purpose of the Anjuman is to provide interest free loans to deserving Shia students to support their educational expenses. He was criticized for pursuing a lofty mission with no money in his pocket.  Undeterred by criticism, and unflinching in his resolve, he became the lone crusader of his mission – availability and affordability of education. The Anjuman began with a meager fund. Today, the Anjuman has nearly adequate funds in its account to support approximately 50 students every year and has nearly 300 beneficiaries on roll, and around 400 members to provide ancillary support. The Anjuman still needs financial support, from the community and other philanthropic organization to sustain the increasing numbers of the students in need of educational financial support.

A few words about Mr. Rizvi. He was born on January 25, 1929 in India. He migrated to Pakistan in 1947 after the partition of the Indian Sub-continent. He was educated at Aligarh Muslim University, India, and later at the University of Leeds, UK. Back to Pakistan, he joined the then Pakistan Industrial Development Corporation, and began his career in the textile sector, concentrating on production, management and marketing of textile goods became his priority. Being compassionate at heart, he was greatly disturbed by the working conditions and wages of the labors, and being unable to make the PIDC management feel the plight of the workers, he decided to quit. He left the then PIDC, while working as manager/Managing Director of the Harnai Woolen Mills in the Balochistan province and opted for other jobs. Before choosing the United States as his final destination in 1984, he remained associated with leading corporations managing enemy properties, army welfare trust, and textile marketing and exporting organization in Pakistan. In the US, he was associated with Habib American Bank and handled international banking and foreign exchange businesses for the bank.

Throughout his career as a professional manager his interest in the general education remained his priority as he would volunteer his time to Anjuman’s activities in Pakistan, and work alongside his father, Dr. Syed Wazir Husain Rizvi, who was a member of the Anjuman’s central working committee, Pakistan. Therefore, on the face of it, his unbreakable relationship of more than half a century with the Anjuman terminated only after his death on November 1, 2013, but, his legacy, devotion to the cause of education of the Shia youth, lives on.