Mahmud Ali was born at A’limabagh, Sunamganj Sylhet, on September 01, 1919. His father, Moulvi Mujahid Ali, died when Mahmud was only one and a half years old. He was a law graduate from the Aligarh Muslim University, a poet and had left behind several books in Bengali. On May 30, 1971, Mahmud’s mother, Musammat Mujtaba Khatum Choudhury, also died.

Mahmud matriculated from the Sunamganj Government Jubilee High School in the year 1937. He studied in the M.C. College, Sylhet. From there he continued his studies in St. Edmund’s, and St. Anthony’s Colleges, Shillong. He had to enrol himself in both the colleges al the same time, as neither of them alone could offer him all the subjects of his choice. He had Honours in English. He graduated in the year 1942. He was due to appear in the exam in 1941, but could not because of serious illness. After graduation he got himself admitted into the Law College, Calcutta. But he could not continue his studies due to involvement in Pakistan Movement. He, however, later took up business as a profession.

Mahmud was a strong believer in the political and ideological unity of Pakistan, and visualised a political structure that would ensure fair treatment to all the component units of the state. He believed that in a backward and poverty-stricken country, like Pakistan, an egalitarian system of economy needs to be evolved which, invariably, would guarantee a minimum standard of living to the meanest of the mean, giving full scope to him to maintain his pride as a free citizen of a free country. In order to ensure this, the soaring greed of the capitalists needs be curbed and brought under control, while allowing reasonable opportunities to private enterprise to accelerate industrial progress.

Mahmud asserted that this may not necessarily entail pursuance of a set doctrinaire social and economic philosophy. He also believed that Pakistan had to evolve a new society, which recognised the norms of human values, and eventually led the multitude of humanity, that would call themselves Pakistanis, to the ultimate realisation of the highest objective of human existence. In his view, this presupposes, at the first instance, that the society must get rid of superstitions and prejudices and put itself well on the road to Islamic and human values in their pristine purity. The values already achieved by human society in the wake of scientific development must also be assimilated as a matter of course. According to him, a new dynamic Pakistani society would inevitably be ushered in.

Against this backdrop, as soon as he took over as Chairman of the National Council of Social Welfare on December 19, 1974, Mahmud held four social workers conferences on the provincial level and one workshop on the national level on the “meaning of social welfare in a developing country like Pakistan.” In these workers moots, he invited a cross-section of the people, including intellectuals, students and teachers, government officials and prominent social workers.

As a result, a consensus was evolved that a policy of self-reliance should be pursued, instead of dependence on foreign aid or loan. Thereafter, he convened a number of social workers conferences all over the county on district, divisional, provincial and national levels and carried on relentless campaign in favour of a self-reliant economic policy by the government.

Mahmud Ali, who is a veteran of the Pakistan Movement, was responsible for launching a movement in 1985 for ‘the completion’ of Pakistan. Then he was of the view that Pakistan was incomplete, both geographically as well as ideologically. He thought that all patriots should put in their effort to ‘complete’ it. He, therefore, convened a national convention of more than 10,000 delegates on October 07, 1986, at the foot of Minar-i-Pakistan, in Lahore, and founded an organisation and named it “Tehrik-e-Takmil-e-Pakistan”. Mahmud was elected as its President and since then, every year he was elected as the President. Now, Tehrik-e-Takmil-e-Pakistan has spread all over Pakistan to the extent that it has provincial units in the Punjab, Sindh, NWFP (now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) and Balochistan, as well as regional units in Islamabad, Fata and Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

Mahmud Ali died on November 17, 2006, depriving the nation of a great freedom fighter and a preacher of self-reliance, peace and unity.

This is an extract from the text compiled and printed by Tehrik-e-Takmil-e-Pakistan.