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Moin Ul Haq: The Enduring Spirit of Sportsmanship

The Ranji trophy match 2023-24 has truly been intriguing. The internet is talking about the return of this domestic cricket match after a long hiatus of twenty-three years in Bihar. The teams from Bihar have created a strong sense of regional pride which further fuels the buzz surrounding the match. One such discussion is about the “Moin Ul Haq” stadium located in the capital city of Bihar, Patna. The person behind the name Moin Ul Haq Stadium is not widely known by many people.

Ground of Moin Ul Haq Stadium, Patna
Ground of Moin Ul Haq Stadium, Patna

Syed Mohammad Moin ul Haq, a name that resonated with brilliance and intellect, emerged from the humble town of Asthawan, Nalanda district in 1881. His thirst for knowledge was quenched through initial education in his homeland. With determination, he embarked on a remarkable journey, carving out a path in the realm of the English language. His academic prowess led him to conquer the entrance exams and eventually attain a prestigious Master’s degree in English.

 

Moin ul Haq with Mr Abdul Munim in Jamui Sports Day,
Moin ul Haq with Mr Abdul Munim in Jamui Sports Day,

In the illustrious year of 1912, Moin ul Haq embarked on a new chapter as Professor of English in the hallowed halls of Rawenshaw College, nestled in the enchanting city of Cuttack. With a flair for inspiring minds, he not only imparted wisdom but also lit the fiery passion for sports within his students. It was during this transformative period that he sowed the seeds of the Bihar-Orissa Olympic Association, assuming the mantle of Secretary and leading the charge toward a future adorned with athletic triumphs.

ROLE IN THE FIELD OF EDUCATION

Moin ul Haq, a luminary in the realm of education, etched his name in golden letters when he ascended to the position of Principal at Bihar National College. The year was 1935, and the corridors of Bihar National College echoed with his visionary footsteps. For nearly two decades, his wisdom and guidance adorned the institution, shaping the minds of countless students. It was a tenure that spanned from 1935 to 1953, leaving an indelible mark on the annals of educational excellence.

He not only graced the corridors of Bihar National College but also left an indelible mark on various educational associations. As the president of the Bihar Secondary School Teacher’s Association and the Patna University Teachers Association, his wisdom and guidance resonated through the halls of academia. Even after retiring from BN College, his influence continued to soar as the esteemed Chairman of the Bihar University Service Commission in 1962.

Urdu Girls School, Asthawan, Nalanda, Bihar
Urdu Girls School, Asthawan, Nalanda, Bihar

In a heartwarming act of generosity, Moin ul Haq, upon his relocation to Patna, selflessly transformed his beloved house into a sanctuary of knowledge in 1938. Today, standing proudly amidst the bustling streets of Asthawan, the once humble abode has blossomed into the Urdu Girls School, as mentioned by Mohammad Hamza Asthanwi, a law student and a resident of Asthanwan,

ROLE IN ESTABLISHING THE ALL INDIA FOOTBALL FEDERATION

Moin Ul Haq weaved the threads of unity and passion into the fabric of Indian football. As mentioned in the book “A Social History of Indian Football: Striving to Score”, Moin Ul Haq was a maestro of collaboration and orchestrated a historic symphony. It was on the momentous day of 21st September 1935, in the enchanting city of Darbhanga, that the foundation of the All-India Football Association (AIFA) was laid. Under the esteemed chairmanship of Moin Ul Haq, the collaboration of the Bihar Olympic Association with other Indian sports organizations led to the formation of the All-India Football Association (AIFA).

Indian National Games 1950: Moin ul Haq, S.Bhoot, Bombay Chief Minister Kher (center with cane), and Bombay Home Minister Morarji Desai (center)
Indian National Games 1950: Moin ul Haq, S.Bhoot, Bombay Chief Minister Kher (center with cane), and Bombay Home Minister Morarji Desai (center) [Credits: Wikimedia Commons]
As the sun set on 11 December 1973, the remarkable life of Moin ul Haq came to an end. His legacy continued to soar. A testament to his love for sports, the Moin ul Haq Cup emerged as a dazzling tribute, uniting passionate footballers in a spirited battle on the field, forever honoring his memory.

ROLE IN THE FORMATION OF THE INDIAN OLYMPIC ASSOCIATION AND OTHER SPORTS COMMITTEES

In 1924, under the leadership of Moin ul Haq, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) was established, marking a significant milestone. The Indian Olympic Games took place in Delhi in February of the same year, serving as a platform to identify and finalize the Indian participants for the upcoming Paris Olympics.

The Indian Olympic Association continued to organize games biennially, with the 9th edition held in Bombay in 1940 being renamed as the National Games. It was during this time that the Indian Olympic Association solidified the concept of these games being a representation of the nation as a whole.

Seated, l to r: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5-President Maharaja of Patiala, 6- S.M. Moinul Haq, 7 - B. L. Rallia Ram, 8, 9- G D Sondhi
Indian Olympic Association Cte: Moinul Haque seated beside Maharaja of Patiala (seated in center) [Credits: Wikimedia Commons]
During the 11th National Games in Patiala, held in February 1944, Moinul Haq served as the chairperson. Similarly, at the 13th National Games in Lucknow, held in February 1948, Moinul Haq continued to hold the position of chairperson.

In the early 1930s, Moin ul Haq played a pivotal role in initiating efforts to establish a multi-sport event that would include countries from West Asia. This vision led to the creation of the Western Asiatic Games, encompassing nations situated east of Suez and west of Singapore.

Moin ul Haq, As Secretary of the Indian Olympic Association
Moin ul Haq, As Secretary of the Indian Olympic Association

The 1951 Asian Games, introduced by Moin ul Haq, are considered the successor of the Far Eastern Games, a smaller multi-sport event held between 1913 and 1938 in Japan, the Philippines, and mainland China. The Far Eastern Games began in Manila, Philippines in 1913. These Games continued successfully for nine editions. However, with Japan’s invasion of China in 1937 and the outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War, the originally planned 1938 Games in Osaka were canceled. This marked the end of the Far Eastern Games. The 1951 Asian Games emerged as a continuation, expanding the scope beyond the Far East.

 

ROLE IN ESTABLISHING BIHAR CRICKET ASSOCIATION

In the realm of sports, Moin Ul Haq’s influence extended beyond the bounds of football. Hand in hand with A.M. Hayman, K. A. D. Naoroji, and N. Quraishi, he forged the bedrock of the Bihar Cricket Association in the vibrant city of Jamshedpur, assuming the role of Vice President in 1935. A.M. Hayman became the President and both Naoroji and Moin Ul Haq were the Vice President of the Bihar Cricket Association.

Bihar Cricket Association (BCA)
Bihar Cricket Association (BCA)

Moin Ul Haq’s sporting acumen and leadership prowess also propelled him to the esteemed position of Secretary in the Indian Olympic Association from 1937 to 1956, leaving an everlasting legacy in the realm of Indian sports administration.

RECOGNITION BY THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT AND AND THE INDIAN GOVERNMENT

Moin-ul-Haq, a visionary in the realm of Physical Education and Sports, garnered accolades and recognition for his unwavering dedication. The British Government, recognizing his exceptional contributions, bestowed upon him the Order of Knighthood in 1930, an honor that illuminated his path of excellence. The Indian Government, too, acknowledged his indomitable spirit by conferring upon him the prestigious Padma Shri in 1970, a tribute to his remarkable achievements. His expertise extended beyond the playing field, as he served as an esteemed advisor to numerous committees of the Government of India, including the Asian Games and Hockey Committee. Moin-ul-Haq’s legacy is etched in the annals of sporting history, a testament to his unwavering commitment and remarkable impact.

POLITICS

Moin Ul Haq’s brilliance shone brightly in academia and sports, but the political stage proved less receptive to his endeavors. Faizan Ahmad, a senior journalist from Patna mentions that during the 1969 election campaign, Moin Ul Haq stood as a Congress candidate from Patna west assembly constituency, where he was mocked by the very popular poet and the leader of the Communist party, Makhdoom Mohiuddin. During an election meeting held at Anjuman Islamia Hall, Makhdoom was heard passing a mocking remark about Moin Ul Haq. Makhdoom said “Bechara teacher, forces in politics.”

A.N. Sen, representing the communist party, triumphed as the winner of the 1969 election. Nevertheless, Syed Mohammad Moin Ul Haq influenced the hearts and minds of people. His indelible mark on education and sports, define his lasting legacy of inspiration and achievements.

POST-DEATH

In the wake of Syed Mohammad Moin Ul Haq’s demise on 11 December 1973, a poignant symphony of voices emerged, each weaving a tale of the indelible mark he left behind. Chandra Shekhar Singh, a stalwart of the Communist Party, eloquently presented his perspective, highlighting Moin Ul Haq’s profound impact as the Principal who fervently championed the student union in his college.

As the words resonated through the air, Harihar Prasad Singh, a revered Congress leader and former Chief Minister, stood tall, his eyes filled with nostalgia. With unwavering conviction, he called upon the powers that be to erect a memorial in Bihar, one that would stand as a testament to Moin Ul Haq’s unwavering commitment to sports and serve as an eternal inspiration for generations to come.

Moin Ul Haq Stadium of Patna
Moin Ul Haq Stadium of Patna

Echoing this sentiment, the venerable Karpoori Thakur, another former Chief Minister, paid a heartfelt tribute to Moin Ul Haq. With profound reverence, he urged the Bihar government to swiftly heed the call and bring to life the memorial that the late luminary so richly deserved. And in a moment of profound significance, the government, stirred by the collective voice of the people, bestowed a name upon the stadium nestled in Rajendranagar, Patna – Moin Ul Haq Stadium.

Time has a way of weaving together both memories and milestones and now, as the Moin Ul Haq Stadium of Patna stands resolute, it proudly commemorates a half-century of existence. It serves as a vivid reminder of Moin Ul Haq’s enduring legacy, his passion for sports forever etched in the hearts of those who pass through its hallowed gates. As the years continue to unfold, this sacred ground stands as a testament to the power of perseverance, a beacon of hope for all who dare to dream.


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Md Umar Ashraf

Md. Umar Ashraf is a Delhi based Researcher, who after pursuing a B.Tech (Civil Engineering) started heritagetimes.in to explore, and bring to the world, the less known historical accounts. Mr. Ashraf has been associated with the museums at Red Fort & National Library as a researcher. With a keen interest in Bihar and Muslim politics, Mr. Ashraf has brought out legacies of people like Hakim Kabeeruddin (in whose honour the government recently issued a stamp). Presently, he is pursuing a Masters from AJK Mass Communication Research Centre, JMI & manages heritagetimes.in.