Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Masood "Tommy": A Forgotten Cult Figure

AMU, being a residential university, has a set of rules and etiquette for daily life, also referred to as "traditions of AMU". These rules have been there ever since AMU came into existence. No single person can claim its ownership. It must have grown over the years, a new rule must have been added as and when our very old students of AMU felt its need. The primary need for such traditions was discipline, of course. Apart from practicing discipline, there has been an overpowering urge among AMU students "to stand out from the crowds, masses and hordes of people". To have a distinct identity, one needs to have a distinct and unique style. This thought must have become the guiding force for writing down these unwritten rules of and by AMU students. The best thing is that most of the AMU Alumni try and maintain these traditions all their lives. That is what gives them pleasure and pride.

Going with the AMU traditions, there has always been a good room for humor. Till mid eighties, humorous activities were very much appreciated and held in good taste. But, slowly they seem to be losing their place. Almost, every student of AMU must have heard about some humorous incidents from their seniors or the alumni of AMU. For every period of time, AMU has seen some heroes who mastered the art of rib-tickling humor.

Well, one of such heroes of AMU happens to be "Masood Tommy". I believe "Tommy" must have been the nickname given to him by his contemporaries. I heard a lot of stories about him. He had a very ingenious sense of humor. He was a master of wit & repartee. Once his Urdu teacher rebuked him for not writing Urdu properly as the nukhtas (the dots used in Urdu alphabets) were not used properly. He took his notebook to correct his mistakes and came back in sometime. Looking at his notebook this time around, the teacher went berserk and asked him, "Why did you put so many dots in the top margin?". He retorted softly, "Nukhtay hain. jahan jitni zarurat ho daal lijiye" (They are dots, use them as and where you want).

Another incident from his life is about the time when the British Viceroy of India was scheduled to pay a visit to Aligarh Muslim University. Tired of Masood Tommy's tricks, the Vice Chancellor (VC) of AMU decided to send him off to his native place. When asked to do so, Masood Tommy expressed his paucity of funds. So, he was given train fare to his town. After getting the fare, an idea struck his mind. Instead of going to his native place, he started off for Delhi. He went to Rashtrapati Bhawan and told that he was a students' representative sent by AMU VC, to accompany the Honorable Viceroy of India on his visit to AMU. The Viceroy was impressed with this. All through the journey, Masood Tommy tried his best to impress him further more.

When they arrived at Aligarh, AMU VC and other officials were surprised to see Masood Tommy alongside the Viceroy. Masood Tommy introduced the AMU staff to the Viceroy and it was a shocking and embarrassing situation for them. To avoid further damage to the honor and reputation of AMU, they wanted to get rid of Masood Tommy, as soon as possible. Masood Tommy himself walked away innocently. After a while, when asked about his journey, the Viceroy remarked, "Oh! The Gentleman you had sent to accompany me gave me a very pleasant company. He kept me busy talking about his Alma Mater, its staff and students. I would want him to be with me during my stay. By the way, where has he disappeared?" Hearing all this, every body lost their nerves and search for Masood Tommy began. He was found but only after a lot of persuasion, coaxing and cajoling, he relented to join the Viceroy of India on his Aligarh tour.

Such were his charming manners that even though, he wasn't a very good student yet he was successful in impressing the Viceroy of India and creating a good reputation for his alma mater. The Aligarians of his times must have thought that Masood Tommy will always be remembered for his witty remarks and tricks but here he is, about to vanished in the deep dark valley of oblivion. This write-up is just a humble tribute to the quintessential humorist and the spirit of Aligarian Humor.

~ Qais


Blogger Ahmad Shajee Alvi said...

nice one.Though i didnot remembered the name of Masood Tommy but yes i do remember the famous exploits of masood tommy, the one mentioned here i.e his coming along with the President and leaving all others zapped.

But that's a good job Qais bhai keep it up. I do love reading your blogs.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005 10:18:00 AM  
Blogger Qais said...

Thanks a lot for the appreciation, Shajee. There's lot more to come on this blog. Shall keep u informed about the new posts.

Best Regards !

Wednesday, March 02, 2005 11:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for posting this amazing story..
I remeber another famous qissa with the camel/oont and Masood Tommy..
jab unhone Oont to SS ki chhat pe chada diya tha..:)


Sunday, May 14, 2006 3:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am sure you will most definetly not believe me but I am the great-grandson of Masood Tommy(real name Masood Hussein).

Just to rectify your story..it was not the President of India ( There was no President of India during the late 19th century..this position only existed after Independance) but it was the Viceroy of India at the time.

Also, incase you are curious to know what happened to him after he graduated ( 7 years after he joined AMU); he ended up living in his hometown of Meirut,U.P and became a collector and led a very successful life albeit short-lived.

During his time at AMU he grew very close to the Nawab of Bhopal ( H.E Hamidullah Khan) and the both became life-long friends.

He was buried in Meriut U.P and his survived by his family who are in Bhopal,Dubai and Canada.


Friday, September 15, 2006 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger Qais said...

Thanks a lot, Omar sb

I would certainly believe you and would love to know more about the legendary aligarian. Believing your inputs, am making the chnages to the blog entry right now.

Friday, September 15, 2006 12:16:00 PM  
Blogger Qais said...

Omar sb,

please send me a mail on qaismujeeb@gmail.com. I would love to remain in touch with you.

Friday, September 15, 2006 12:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Qais,


I have spent some 13 years in AMU inclusing 3 in Minto Circle. There was a story associated with Masood Tommy while he entered in Minto Circle boarding house to graduate his high school. It's the most hilarious one.
Deeply annoyed by the seniors and their introduction tactices, Tommy decided to teach them a lesson.
At that time Jamal Pur ( near Habeeb Hall) a road was being constructed. Masood grab some coal-tar during the cold night and melted it the next early in the morning.

Once sure that the most-dreaded senior has gone in, he jumped out of the high walls of Minto Circle and with a larg brush used the molten coaltar from outside of the open-ended toilet.

You can imagine how much kerosene should have been used....


Friday, November 24, 2006 11:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for writing about Masood Tommy. He happens to be my paternal grand father. My nephew Omar told me about your website.
Masood Tommy is a legend in himself & whenever & wherever Aligarians meet they remember him. Though Allah had given him a short life, he lived every moment to the fullest.
Thanks once again.
-Talat Masood Jalil.

Sunday, February 11, 2007 4:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

qais bhai
after looking at your website and in particular the stories about masood bhai(tommy) my eyes went teary.I remember aligs telling stories of masood bhai when i was in aligarh.
although i was very upset from my last visit to AMU. i saw students roaming out in departments wearing slippers.Somewhere traditions are being lost those traditions that were layed by our alig brothers
and we hold the responsibility to retain this culture this heritage
i and many other aligs being away can not do much about it but the aligs who are still there i have a humble request for them to please see that our heritage is not wasted because we have to subtantiate the saying of majaz bhai who said in the tarana
"zarrat ka bosa lene ko sau baar jhuka aakaash yahan"

long live A.M.U.
long live aligarian brotherhood
with love

Thursday, April 12, 2007 2:26:00 AM  
Blogger Faraz Izhar said...

This is an amazing work that you have done Qais bhai.. Keeping the AMU spirit up..

This is my only blog of interest, really.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007 7:08:00 PM  
Blogger M.A.Hasim said...

its fantastic.....looking for some more posts....Abul Hasim

Sunday, February 17, 2008 3:35:00 PM  
Blogger Ijlal said...

Further to this what I have also heard of how he became the Collector. Now the British were recruiting able youngsters for administrative jobs. The interviews were going on. One line of aspirants before the panel from they they would ask those shortlisted to join another line. Masood directly went and joined the second line, however the British officer noticed this and enquired as to why he considers himself eligible without the initial interview. Mr. Tommy replied very confidently that he was infact casted for this job. And yes he got selected.

Thursday, February 28, 2008 10:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Shaheer Alam said...

Excellent work Asar....mighty impressed for sure...was searching for some stuff as I would be conducting the SS Day function in Jeddah...and for sure..I got loads of inspiration...Thanx !

Sunday, November 09, 2008 2:42:00 AM  
Blogger Saleem M Azad said...

What a wonderful site. So nostalgic....for an hour or so I traveled back 45 years of life...This 17 October I will be the anchor at the SS Day function at Bulandshahr UP and I will love to quote several instances that I found here.

M Saleem Azad

Wednesday, October 05, 2011 4:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want to knw about the camel incident

Tuesday, October 07, 2014 12:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Assalamaleykum , reading through ur lines about Aligarh and masood tommy in particular was nostalgic . He was the grand father of my chachi late Talat jalil. I am also a proud aligarian my khala was an aligarian when safia aapa was at the university .she use to tell us lots of stories of Aligarh boys and girls .Aligarh and bhopal had very close connections the begum of bhopal sultan jahan begum built the sultania hostel for girls ,my nana master wali mohd sb was the teacher to nawab hameedullah of bhopal ,my grand father dr sultan Ahmed was the first dr at hamidia hospital bhopal my father mr rais Ahmed was the LO sb of govt of india press in Aligarh loved and respected by the whole of Aligarh During his tenure from 1972 to 1982 He passed away last year . My khalu syed nurullah was the PVC of Aligarh i think that must be in late 50's .bhopal has a very close connection with Aligarh and specially to our hearts .

Monday, August 15, 2016 11:10:00 AM  
Blogger Dr. Khaleequzzaman Khan said...

Dear omar sb
Many thanks for the information. We all will appreciate if you post his photos. May ALLAH shower HIS rahma on him, Aameeen.
Dr. Khaleequzzaman Khan, Salalah, Oman. 0096899080566

Thursday, October 19, 2017 1:30:00 AM  

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