A Man and his Dreams
It was in 1906 that a small Unani Clinic/Dawakhana was established by Hakeem Hafiz Abdul Majeed, in one of the by lanes of Historic Old Delhi. Housed in a few rooms, the clinic was a modest effort in reviving in and improving the ancient system of Unani Medicine and therapeutics.
Hakeem Hafiz Abdul Majeed was a well known Unani Practitioner and pharmacist of his time. He had a novel idea in his mind to break away from the old tradition of each Practitioner making drugs and specifics from his own closely guarded formulations and selling them exclusively to his patients. He wanted to popularize this traditional system of medicine and aimed at a larger number of people to benefit from the traditional system of medicine and aimed at a larger number of people to benefit from the time-tested efficacy of Unani Medicines and thought it necessary to manufacture Unani medicines on a large scale in order to achieve this objective. He not only wanted to provide effective medicine to cure the diseases of his patients but also to share their pain.
He, therefore, named his organization as Hamdard, meaning compassion. Hamdard began to flourish and prosper with the increase in the quantum of Business and its name became synonymous with integrity and high quality in the field of Unani medicines which were relatively inexpensive.
Sadly, Hakeem Hafiz Abdul Majeed did not live long enough to see the flowering of his dreams into the multi-dimensional and internationally known organization that it was to become in the competent hands of his illustrious son. Hakeem Abdul Hameed.
After the sad demise of Hakeem Abdul Majeed, his son, Hakeem Abdul Hameed took over the administration of Hamdard at the age of 14 in 1922. He brought the dynamism of a new age to the philosophy and operations of Hamdard. He tried his best to bring the Unani System of Medicine on Modern Scientific lines. He expended the Business and started the activities in a spacious Building situated by the side of the main road which is now known as Hamdard Road, at Lal Kuan. This building had a glittering showroom in the front (which continues till this date).
There was another beautiful building situated at the back of the showroom across a bylane. It had a wide courtyard with a large fountain in the middle, with rooms all around serving as clinic and offices and also an extensive factory at the very back. This factory had latest machines. The manual work was replaced by mechanical processes. There were machines for making tablets at high speed and machines for bottling and packing of liquids/syrups. He set up modern laboratories and subjected the various drugs to laboratory tests and made Hamdard a premier pharmaceutical house with a totally indigenous base. In this great endeavor, his younger brother, Hakeem Hafiz Muhammad Said gave full cooperation for attaining the objectives of the enterprise.
The exemplary life of Hakeem Abdul Hameed spanned almost the entire 20th Century. He gave a new life to the Unani system of Medicine at a time when it had stagnated beyond belief. For this contribution, he won international recognition and was honored through various awards like Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan by the Government of India, Avicenna Award from the USSR, Membership of the prestigious Iranian National Academy of Science, D.Litt. from Hamdard University Karachi and IRCICA Award given posthumously by the President of Turkey in 2000.
In 1948, it was decided to reorganize Hamdard as Wakf, Consequently the enterprise came to be known as "Hamdard (Wakf) Laboratories". Since then, along with development of the Unani Medicines and therapeutics, the concepts of service, charity and social responsibility have been the prime motivations that have spurred the organization to ever higher levels of diversification and growth. Hakeem Abdul Hameed guided Hamdard in the achievement of its objectives. The measure of Hamdard's stature as a leading multi-dimensional organization of national and international importance can best be gauged by understanding Hakeem Abdul Hameed's devotion, industry and broad vision. One has to see the many landmarks created by Hamdard to understand fully the contribution made by this august institution and the man who shaped its glorious destiny.