Eighty years after death, nobody cares for 'architect of Bihar'

Unsung hero

Known as one half of India’s legendary barrister brother duo, he has been hailed as the co-architect of modern Bihar.

However, on his 80th death anniversary on Friday, the legacy of Syed Hasan Imam, a nationalist leader, patriot and a freedom fighter, remains forgotten.

Born in 1871 in Neora village near Patna, Imam died on April 19, 1933 and lies interred on the banks of river Sone in Japla, a small village in the border of Bihar and Jharkhand.

After suffering years of neglect and facing encroachment around his tomb, his grandson, Bulu Imam, now living in Hazaribagh, is striving to restore the lost honour.

“Today, on the occasion of his 80th death anniversary, I feel heartbroken to remember the legacy of my grandfather who, instead of being remembered, let alone celebrated for his immense contribution to the cause of Bihar and India at large, has been consigned to oblivion,” said Bulu Imam.

‘Some honour restored’

“We went to his tomb in Japla and cleaned it up on the anniversary and also put a chhadar on it, trying to restore some honour to his forgotten legacy. There were encroachments around the tomb and Hasan Imam’s house,”“ he said.

“I have evicted all the encroachers and now I am trying to preserve the place as his lasting memorial,” said Bulu Imam over phone from Hazaribagh, Jharkhand.

Syed Hasan was educated in Patna and in the UK, and was called to the Bar in Middle Temple in 1892. When he returned to India, he practiced in Calcutta High Court, where he became a judge in 1912.

After the establishment of the separate province of Bihar with Patna as its capital in 1912, and with the Patna High Court opened in 1916, Imam resigned from the judgeship of Calcutta High Court to practice in Patna, according to The India Gazette’s Who’s Who in India, 1927 edition.

He was elected president, special session of the Indian National Congress, in September, 1918. He was also elected as a delegate to the London Conference on the Turkish Peace Treaty in 1921.

He and Sir Al Imam along with barrister Sachchidananda Sinha and Mahesh Narayan were instrumental in getting the British empire grant a separate province of Bihar out of Bengal in 1911, as announced by King George V at the historic Delhi Durbar that year.

Despite his exemplary contributions to Bihar and to India, Hasan Imam remains a forgotten hero, much like his elder brother Sir Ali Imam.

The two brothers or ‘Imam Brothers’ as they were popularly known, will possibly go down in history as ‘faded icons’, much like their fabulous house, all but gone now.

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