Abdullah Haroon, Seth Haji Sir (? - 1942)

Businessman, politician

Title: Kt, 1973.

A Cutchi Memon; b?; m, son Yusuf Abdullah Haroon; lost his father at an early age; after serving for sometime, started business on small scale in 1896; later came to be known as the 'Sugar King'.

Entered public life in 1913; elected mem Karachi Municipal Corpn, 1913; joined Ind Nat Cong, 1917, and began taking part in independent movement; pres Khilafat cttee of Sind, 1919; mem working cttee apptd by the Cent Khilafat Cttee Bombay, Jan 1922.

Eelected mem Bombay Legis Coun, 1924-26 (Karachi City Mu); mem Cent Assem (Sind MR); re-elected twice in 1930 and 1934 (same Const); mem Stand Fin Cttee of the House; mem Haj Enquiry Cttee, 1929 (on the recommendation of this cttee, a retiring room for passengers was established at Karachi for Haj pilgrims).

Was a stauch supporter of Muslim League; was asked by All-India body to revive and reorganise the provincial branch of the League in Sind, Apr 1934.

Elected Pres Sind prov Muslim League, 1938; was among those who spoke and endorsed the Pakistan Resolution at the historic 27th session of the Muslim League at Lahore, Mar 1940; was apptd mem of Cttee to chalk out a five year plan for the educational, economic, social and political advancement of the Muslims at the Madras session, Apr 1941.

Contributed to many charitable institutions; Sind Prov Muslim League was entirely dependent upon his contribution; founded the Islamiya Orphanage for boys, which incorporated a school in 1923 and made endowments for its maintenence; established the Cutchi Memon madrasa -e- Banat for girls in memory of his mother (the school still exists as the Hajiyani Hanifabai Girls High School, Karachi); built Muslim Gymkhana and Playground at personal expense in Karachi; built numerous mosques at various places in Karachi and Sind, etc.

Died 27 Apr 1942 at Karachi.

The entry in the DNB says that he did not demand full democracy or self-government. But it is difficult to reconcile this assessment so far as self-government is concerned with the following excerpt from his welcome address:
"Now the goal of self-government is before the country and our League has got a claim of equal credit for it with the Indian National Congress. If a few years after this solemn pledge the British Gov failed to respond to the impatient demands of a section of our politicians for the fulfillment of the same in the course a year only it does not follow that it will never be fulfilled. It must be fulfilled as a matter of course... We should hope that India will soon prepare herself to give all the old forms of government reverential burial and take her place among the self-governing nations of the world".

Sources: Foundations of Pakistan. All India Muslim League Documents, Vol. II; Azim Hussain, Fazl-i-Hussain (A political biography), 1946; Indin Year Book, 1924; and 1941-42; Histories of the Non-Cooperation and Khilafat Movements; Memons International Directory; Indian Annual Register, 1942, Vol. I. (Muslims in India: A biographical dictionary, ed. N K Jain. Delhi, Manohar, 1979. Vol. I. p. 28).