Hajee Usman Sait the great Indian Freedom Fighter of his time
Freedom fighters suffered for a cause and passed away, leaving behind a shadow of their love for India. One such person now forgotten by the new generation is Haji Oosman Sait. His family still lives in the city of Bangalore, where once upon a time, it was richest owning nearly 27 bungalows, Imperial Talkies on St. Marks Road, the most costly land in the city.
Whenever our his wife was pregnant, Hajee Usman Sait used to name the bungalow where she will deliver the next baby. That is why, until recently, all these bungalows had the stone name-plates like Yakoob Villa, Ebrahim Villa, Khader Villa, Iqbal Villa etc. All bungalows starting from Richmond Road petrol station to the present-day India Garage was known as “Cash Bazaar departmental stores”.
This highly successful businessman and cloth merchant met Gandhiji and Nehru who changed his life and infused him with a mission to work for the independence of India, to be free from the bondage of the British rule. Haji Oosman Sait now started supporting the freedom movement financially. He gave gold coins in leather bags to Nehru and Gandhiji so much so that he was labelled as the “cash bag of the National Congress”. His support to the freedom movement angered the British who started boycotting Haji Oosman Sait’s businesses. He had to sell and pledge his properties and yet continued paying the National Congress regularly to continue its activities. The amount spent by Haji Oosman Sait in support of the freedom struggle has been estimated in today’s terms at 7000 crore rupees.
At the call given by Mahatma Gandhi to boycott English schools, Haji Oosman Sait was first to open an Indian National School in 1921. This motivated many Muslims to start their own schools.
The family of Hajee Oosman Sait, consisting of 102 members today, are proud of the sacrifices of their grandfather. The leaders of the freedom struggle never forgot their friend in need. After independence, Nehru in 1949 allotted 300 acres of land to the family of Hajee Usman Sait, but the family showing great respect for the sacrifices made by their grandfather, refused to take any favours in return for the sacrifices offered by Haji Oosman Sait who was the first Congress President of the erstwhile Mysore State and served the National Congress till his death. His children hope to see the India that their grandfather and leaders of the freedom struggle had in their dreams.
(Based on information provided by Haji Oosman Sait’s grandson, Mohamed Ali Javeed)
-by Well wisher