Dr. Ali Sami: Early Life, Education, Return to India, Personal Life and Family

Born on December 24, 1918, in Patna to Abdus Sami and Mahmuda Sami, he came from a lineage of freedom fighters, with his grandfather, Syed Hasan Imam, and grandmother, Muniba Imam, also actively involved in the struggle for India's independence.

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Dr. Ali Sami was a man of exceptional dedication and compassion, leaving a profound impact on the medical landscape of Bihar and beyond. Born on December 24, 1918, in Patna to Abdus Sami and Mahmuda Sami, he came from a lineage of freedom fighters, with his grandfather, Syed Hasan Imam, and grandmother, Muniba Imam, also actively involved in the struggle for India’s independence.

Dr. Ali Sami: Early Life and Education

Ali Sami’s family recognized the importance of education and sent him to Goethals Memorial School in Darjeeling for his studies. There, he and his brother Hasan Sami were the only Indian students, leading to conflicts with their English counterparts.

Sitting L to R: Mr Abdus Sami Bar-at-Law, father of Dr Ali Sami
Sitting L to R: Mr Abdus Sami Bar-at-Law, father of Dr Ali Sami

Unfortunately, due to the disagreements, Ali’s English teacher resorted to corporal punishment.

Consequently, Ali was withdrawn from the school and enrolled in a madrasa, where he immersed himself in the study of Deen, Urdu, and Persian language.

After completing his early education, Ali Sami matriculated from Tej Narayan College in Bhagalpur. He pursued his passion for medicine and joined the prestigious Prince of Wales Medical College in Patna, successfully completing his medical studies in 1942.

Service in the British Army Medical Corps

World War II was raging during this time, and Dr. Ali Sami felt compelled to contribute to the war effort. He enlisted in the British Army Medical Corps and served in various locations such as Lebanon, Syria, Libya, Italy, Austria, and Germany. His experiences during this period undoubtedly shaped his approach to medicine, especially in dealing with tropical diseases and epidemics that plagued the Indian subcontinent.

Dr Ali Sami Return to India and Career

After the war, Dr. Ali Sami returned to India and settled in Hyderabad. However, when the partition of India occurred in 1947, he chose not to migrate to Pakistan and decided to remain in India. Recognizing his valuable expertise, the Bihar government offered him a position, which he gladly accepted.

Dr Ali Sami
Dr Ali Sami

Dr. Sami’s dedication to his patients knew no bounds. He served communities across Bihar, earning him immense respect and popularity in Bihar Sharif.

Civil Surgeon and Later Life

He went on to become a Civil Surgeon in the Medical Department of the Bihar Provincial Government. Throughout his career, Dr. Sami demonstrated his commitment to public health and disease management. He practiced the “Diagnostic” school of medicine, focusing on clinical symptoms and providing immediate medical assistance, especially in areas where access to lab tests and expensive treatments was limited.

Furthermore, he prioritized the use of cost-effective Sulpha drugs over expensive antibiotics, making essential medical care accessible to a broader population. Dr. Sami’s expertise and proficiency in treating tropical diseases, epidemics, and performing emergency surgeries earned him widespread respect and admiration, particularly as a rural doctor where medical facilities were scarce.

Dr Ali Sami’s Personal Life and Family

In his personal life, Dr. Ali Sami was a family man. He married Esmee Dawn Imam, the daughter of Vera Goring and Barrister Ali Hafeez Imam. Barrister Ali Hafeez Imam was the nephew of Syed Hasan Imam, making the relationship between Dr. Ali Sami and the Imam family even stronger.

Dr Ali Sami With Family
Dr Ali Sami With Family

Following in the footsteps of his father, Dr. Zain dedicated himself to the field of orthopedic surgery. Hoping that his son would return to Bihar Sharif to continue his legacy, Dr. Ali Sami established the first orthopedic surgical clinic and X-ray center in the region. However, when Dr. Zain opted to remain in the UK, Dr. Sami donated the hospital to charity, further exemplifying his altruistic nature.

Final Years and Legacy

Dr. Ali Sami’s last posting was in Daltongunj, but his heart remained in Bihar Sharif. He loved the place and its people, leading him to resign from the Bihar government job in 1967 to avoid being transferred. He moved back to Bihar Sharif and continued to serve the community until his last days.

On September 3, 1997, Bihar and the medical fraternity lost a true humanitarian and a dedicated physician. Bihar’s medical landscape continues to bear the mark of Dr. Ali Sami’s enduring impact. His diagnostic approach, emphasis on affordable treatments, and commitment to serving rural communities remain an inspiration for doctors and healthcare providers alike.

In memory of Dr. Ali Sami, the people of Bihar Sharif cherish the legacy of a man who devoted his life to healing. His kindness and expertise made a significant difference in the lives of countless individuals. His contributions to the field of medicine, especially during times of crisis, serve as a reminder of the profound impact that a single individual can have on society. Dr. Ali Sami’s selfless dedication to his patients and his community will forever be etched in the hearts of those he touched, and his legacy will continue to inspire generations of medical professionals to come.

Story Input: Reza Sami 

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Dr. Zareen Fatima https://instagram.com/dr.zareenfatima

Dr Zareen is an ambitious general dentist working and residing in UAE. She is able to handle multiple tasks on a daily basis. Alongside her busy work schedule, she is a vivid reader, researcher, writer editor and is currently pursuing Masters in Public Health. In her leisure she brings out the forgotten history in the field of medicine and associated disciplines.