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The illustrious life and career of a DOBARA ICON: Mrs. Anwar Hussain

17th April 2022 we celebrate the 96th birthday of Mrs. Naju Anwar Hussain.

She is a beloved and admired member of DOBARA and she has touched so many lives with her kindness and compassion. We love how active and creative she is. From gardening, to arts and crafts - her talents are varied and many. She has always kept up with the times and that adds so much to her abilities as a brilliant teacher. She has taught so many of us so many life skills that we value and are forever grateful for. Thank you Mrs. Anwar Hussain for inspring us! You are the true essence of a DOBARA Icon!

Let's take a walk down memory lane and retrace the life of this Icon.

We thank her son Nizwer for writing these notes down on behalf of his mother. The details included are so precious - names, dates, events - all of these take us back in time and history.

Born in Hyderabad on April 17, 1926, Nawaz Banu Bastawalla spent her childhood and teen years in her ancestral home on Chirag Ali lane. Her parents, Ferozeshah and Khorshed Bastawalla, separated when she was 9 years old. She completed schooling at Rosary Convent and struggled through her early college years. The convent did not have a broad based education, science subjects were not taught. That limited her options for college and therefore her career. So as not to burden her grandfather who was supporting her mother and her younger brothers, she got a job in 1947 to assist with the Kindergarten at Mahbubia Girls school. In those days, this was a prestigious government school. She got married to Anwer Hussain on January 6, 1950, much against her family’s wishes. Early married life was full of financial hardship. While still working at Mahbubia, she appeared for her BA, MA and B.Ed as an independent student.

India became independent from British rule in 1947. In the years that followed Hyderabad lost its princely status. Jagirdar college was renamed Hyderabad Public School. The decision was made to restart the Hyderabad Public School primary section in early 1955. During the Jagirdar College days there was a primary section with Miss Julia Chamerette as the head and Miss Dunham (later to become Mrs. Sardar) as one of the teachers but it had been closed for a while.

In June of 1955 Arnold Brown had already been offered the post of Principal of HPS, but there was a delay in his travel to Hyderabad. Meanwhile, Shivraj Bahadur, vice-principal of Hyderabad, was entrusted with the task of interviewing teachers for the primary section. An advertisement for lady teachers was placed in the Deccan Chronicle on April 13, 1955. The selection team that conducted the interviews were Shivraj Bahadur, Mary Nandi (head of Mahbubia) and a Mr. Naqui from the department of education.

When she saw the Deccan Chronicle advertisement and the preference given to candidates who were willing to live on premises at the Hyderabad Public School, Nawaz Banu (she was now Mrs. Anwer Hussain) decided to apply for the position. She was encouraged to join by Mr and Mrs. Sardar who she had known for a while. The HPS selection committee liked her resume and her academic qualifications well exceeded the requirements for the position. She was chosen to head the Primary school over quite a few other applicants. None of the applicants had any experience with a boarding school. A few people dissuaded her from leaving a secure “government” job at Mahbubia for a private job with no long term benefits, so she withdrew the application but Mr. Shivraj, acting principal, encouraged her to re-apply for the position.

The government did not immediately release her from Mahbubia, and a whole month elapsed. Each day she signed attendance at Mahbubia, then went to HPS to help set up the primary section. The HPS primary section started with just a handful of students but by the end of the first term they had twenty-seven boys enrolled. In the early days of the primary section Prem Burton, Dora Masilamani, Razia and Taqia Moinuddin helped run the primary school. Finally, Mrs Anwer Hussain was released from Mahbubia and moved to live on the Begumpet HPS campus in June 1955, the same month Mr Arnold Brown joined as principal of HPS.

In the years that followed, happy times ruled HPS primary school. The children woke up early each morning for physical training then had breakfast. Essential subjects were taught in the morning sessions. Post lunch, in the afternoons they were kept busy drawing, painting, coloring, clay modeling, crafts, gardening and singing. With barely twelve children in each class the attention each child received was priceless. After tea time, they played team games. On weekends and under supervision swimming was an activity they looked forward to. On weekday evenings, there was a short period of supervised study and homework. During weekends children went on long walks in the hills behind the school, were free to play games, make sand castles and bridges. On a weekend evening they were shown a feature film suitable for children. On some weekends, short excursions were arranged to public gardens, Osman Sagar, Hussain Sagar, Bidar, Golconda, and Qutb Shahi Tombs. End of the term the children practiced for a concert. Children were introduced to Cub Scouts. The children’s library was managed by Mrs. Fehmi Ali.

When Mr. Brown left HPS in 1959, Mrs. Jacket was the matron in the primary section with close to fifty students. Mr Wellington was the temporary principal for a while until Kuruvilla Jacob joined in 1962. The school sent her to Birmingham and Cardiff, England, for a six week visit to expose her to different methods of teaching. However when she returned she found that her position as head of the primary section was handed over to Mrs. Rosario and she was reassigned to teach high school students. She had always enjoyed working with younger children and preferred that. The disappointment at this decision was immense. She had the opportunity to move to Lawrence School Lovedale and head the primary section, but what kept her back was Anwer’s love for Hyderabad and their ancestors had lived here for many generations and seen good times during Nizam’s extended rule. The roots were deep.

She resigned to her new low profile role of English and Math teacher in high school at HPS. Her primary focus was to put her sons, Nizwer and Zubain through graduation from high school at HPS. During the years as a teacher in HPS, Mrs Anwer Hussain started puppetry as a hobby. She made the glove puppets herself. A few interested students enjoyed that immensely. Principals came and went. Mr Manohar Watsa, Col Puri, Mr Harsh Lal Dutt and others after that. She only received some recognition in a letter from Mr Dutt but he had to leave Hyderabad suddenly due to a family emergency. Officially expected to retire in April 1986, Mrs Anwer Hussain received several extensions to continue teaching until 1989. The last extension arrived late but she had already accepted a teaching position to help with another startup school. Just then a colleague and dear friend, Mrs. De, opened a school next door and she worked there for several years even after Mrs. De passed away. The school was closed when Mrs. De’s property was sold. Rather than do nothing, she assisted part time when some friends and colleagues approached her to help start other schools.

If you would like to send Birthday Greetings to Mrs. Anwar Hussain for the special occasion of her 96th Birthday, please email

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Mirza Yawar Baig
Mirza Yawar Baig
Dec 15, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

I joined Hyderabad Public School (Primary section) in 1961/62 at age 6. My English teacher, Mrs. Anwar Hussain. She was my foster parent as it were, and Mrs. Anwar Hussain’s son Nizwer was in my class and so all was well. Last year (2011 December) Mrs. Anwar Hussain called me and gave me a family photograph which my father had given her when I had joined school in 1961. What was amazing for me was not that she had kept that photo for 50 years, but that she asked me about my brother and sisters, who are in the photo, by name. I was one of a million children who passed through her hands but the thought that she re…

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