B.S. Nazir Ahmed, a German-trained engineer at Karnataka Government-owned Visvesvaraya Iron and Steel Limited (VISL), Bhadravathi, was a man on a mission. The engineer-turned-educationist founded Al-Mahmood group of Educational Institutions in Bhadravathi and Shivmoagga, while also pioneering of Phoolban Nursery School Movement (Pre-education) here in 1971. Inspired and motivated by his late father, Bakshi Syed Mohamood, he also founded Al-Mahmood Education Society three years later (1974). As an earnest educational activist with a personal motto, "Liberation from ignorance through education", he dedicated every single moment, from dawn to dusk, for the betterment of his institutions.
Nazir Ahmed's endeavors stemmed from his firm belief in educating the children. During his stint in Germany, he had the opportunity to view firsthand the experiment in nursery education. Based on this, he deduced that ages three to six played a crucial role in a child's life, as it would reflect, even as an adult, the mannerisms and thought processes gained during this period.
Though his nursery schools in Shivmoagga, Chikmgalore, Chitradurga and Bellary, the visionary sowed the seeds for something monumental; something phenomenal, as the schools not only imparted education in Urdu language, but also led to the establishment of several high schools under the same medium here. Al-Mahmood Primary School, which Nazir Ahmed founded in 1974, was yet another catalyst for change in Bhadravathi, which, erstwhile, had no means of educating its sizeable Muslim population. The institutions went from strength to strength, with the primary school eventually taking the form of a B.Ed College in Shivamogga; while the Bhadravathi Nursery School transformed into a Pre-University College. A ripple effect of his efforts to start schools in Urdu medium was that several government schools added Urdu sections in their curriculum.
The educational activist's journey was not always smooth sailing and he faced a fair share of hurdles and obstructions. For example, Al-Mahmood Degree College, Shivmoagga, and the high schools at Holehonnur and Holalur had to be closed down due to a paucity of students and scarcity of good teachers was another problem that haunted him. However, he pushed on his chosen path, with the strong support of and courage drawn from his family.
In the former case, he filled the gap by setting up a study centre of the Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad. Today, the study centre caters to hundreds of students who get their Bachelors and Masters degree every year. The latter case solved itself after the establishment of Al-Mahmood B.Ed., College, Shivamogga, in 2005. The eight-year-old college, with its state-of-the-art facilities and well-equipped infrastructure, has produced more than 800 teachers, ready to serve their society and country.
Al-Mahmood Empire at RML Nagar, Shivamogga, is a testament to Nazir Ahmed's sheer will and effort, to his valour, virtue and vision. At the heart of it stands a man who will be remembered and revered for his efforts in educating the children and thereby, moulding the generations to come.