Achievers' Index

Ahmed Nazir Kidwai

Ahmed Nazir Kidwai was in Sherwood from 1926 to 1934 where he established himself as a student of high calibre. Not only did he win academic prizes in the languages (Urdu and English) and in general knowledge throughout his school career, but he also earned top honours in the Cambridge School final examination where he scored a staggering 84.6% (the equivalent of a percentage in the high nineties in modern times). 

In addition, he was a fine chess player and he was numbered among the top five players of the school. 

His passion lay in reading, reflected thus: 'Kidwai A. shuns strenuous play/Sexton Blake he reads all day.'!

But this is not to suggest that he was book-bound with no interest on the playing-field. He was a fair hand at tennis and in one occasion partnered Gerry Burge to win the doubles title. He also represented the school in matches against Oakgrove. 

However, the following article published in 'The Statesman' tells us in eloquent terms of Ahmed Kidwai, the man. If all that has been said about character-building at Sherwood were to be distilled into a single drop, perhaps part of this 'drop' would be Ahmed who, from the account given below, represents all that is noblest and finest in the Sherwood tradition. 

Mr. A. N. Kidwai, I.C.S. 

Though he died ten years ago, he is still warmly remembered as a caring, affectionate friend to all and a fair and just man. 

Born on 14th February, 1916, in a Talukdari family of Barabanki, U.P., Ahmed Nazir Kidwai had a high academic record in his school Sherwood College, Naini Tal, and excelled in studies, sports and debates. 

While in Lucknow University, he won a record honour of receiving three gold medals.
Throughout his distinctive service as an I.C.S. officer in undivided Assam, his one ideal was to serve the people. He kept in direct touch with all, irrespective of rank. All felt free to approach him, confident of getting a sympathetic and just response. 

The cause of the needy and especially of the 4th grade in Government service was dear to his heart throughout his career. 

His ten years as Chief Secretary, Assam, a record of brilliance, were full of critical and historic events, like the Chinese War, the Pakistani War, constant border conflicts with East Pakistan and Mizo and Naga rebel problems. He played an important part in settling the language trouble in Assam. For his upright stewardship through crises, he was much appreciated by the Government and colleagues in State and the Centre and most of the people he served. 

He was a D.C. in Nowgong when the dreaded earthquake of 1951 took place. He is still remembered there motoring around the town, even when strong tremors continued one after another, to infuse confidence amongst the frightened population. 

A sportsman himself, he championed the cause of sports and sportsmen; provided the districts with stadium, helped in the formation of the N.S. Club of Assam. He won trophies in tennis, golf, billiards, squash, chess etc. he was considered an authority in bridge and yet enjoyed a game of 'guli-danda' and marbles with the servants' children of the neighbourhood, a game he played with abandon. 

Ahmed Kidwai had a brilliant mind with no intellectual arrogance. His career was particularly distinguished because he set for himself a very high standard of morality and justice that was further embellished by rare qualities of humility, friendliness, and humour. Due to his ability, he was honoured with the privilege of handling the administration of three states Assam, West Bengal and U.P. during President's Rule in 1971 and 1977, respectively. In addition, he handled the Damodar Valley Corporation for a period, was Additional Secretary of Health to the Union Government and retired as Secretary, Works and Housing to the Government of India. 

The interesting combination of youthfulness and fatherliness, together with his wonderfully open and broadminded approach won him the love and respect of all who came in contact with him. 

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