By profession Dr Anis Ansari, who likes to be called just “Anis Ansari, MD”, is a renowned nephrologist at Medical Associates in Clinton Iowa, United States of America. But he also looks beyond nephrology so far as the mission of his life is concerned. His mission includes education, social service and dawah work. While living in the USA for about 30 years, he keeps in touch with India. And, the evidences are his care for girls education and social service in India and USA. Fana Watch chooses him this week as the seventh person for its every Friday column “Person with a Mission”.
Born on February 12, 1959 at Kopaganj in District Mau (Uttar Pradesh) in the family of renowned mathematician and Islamist, Dr Abdus Salam Ansari, then teaching Mathematics at Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), Aligarh, he took his early education in India and then joined in 1978 his parents who had already shifted to the USA in 1962 and settled down there. He did his three-year B Sc in 1981 from University of Illinois, four-year MD in 1985 from Cebu Island in the Philippines, medical residency from New York and nephrology fellowship in 1993 from Loyola University in Chicago. Since then he is practicing internal medicine and nephrology. In 1999 he joined the Clinton Iowa-based Medical Associates, a multi-speciality group consisting of 37 specialists, including the famous Rashid brothers---Dr Anwer Rashid and Dr Qaiser Rashid---from India.
Meanwhile, he was married to Roomana Ansari of Maunath Bhanjan in 1989. He has a daughter Hiba and two sons Saad and Sameer.
Dr Anis Ansari’s father Dr Abdus Salam Ansari (1929-92)
He hails from an illustrious family of Kopaganj (UP). His grandfather Abdus Shakoor Ansari was a poor weaver in a handloom industry. Abdus Shakoor got educated his only surviving son out of twelve, Abdus Salam Ansari, born on October 1, 1929, from a school in Maunath Bhanjan and later on B Sc from Allahabad University and M Sc (Mathematics) from AMU. After finishing his masters in 1957, the young Abdus Salam taught mathematics at AMU for five years. And, in 1962, he went to the USA for doing Ph D from the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), Chicago on government of India scholarship. He joined the North Eastern Illinois University as Professor of Mathematics in 1967 and taught there till he breathed his last on August 1, 1992.
L-R: Dr Anis Ansari with younger brother Ateeq Ansari and nephew Jamilur Rahman
During this period Dr Abdus Salam Ansari also took a keen interest in the community welfare work in the United States of America. He was one of the founders of the Muslim Students Association (MSA) that later on flourished into the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), Muslim Community Centre (MCC) of Chicago, and Consultative Committee for Indian Muslims (CCIM). He served the MCC as chairman of its education department and dawah work for many years.
Dr Anis Ansari with his brother at Darul Uloom Deoband
In India, his homeland, he always remained concerned about the education of girls. Madarsa Arabia Jamia Uloom Niswan is one which with its 600 girl students stands today upon the piece of land donated by him. It is to point out that Abdus Salam, in his primitive years in the early 1950s, was associated with the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind.
Reminiscing his late father, Dr Anis Ansari says his father’s life was full of inspiration for the youth. Coming from a very poor family, he rose to the height of glory both in the fields of Mathematics and social and educational services. According to him, he was well versed in Arabic, German, French, besides Urdu, Persian, English and Hindi. According to him, whatsoever he was doing today whether in the field of education, social service or dawah work is because of taking inspiration from his late father.
In his own words, “late Maulana Mohammed Yusuf, second Ameer, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, late Maulana Afzal Hussain, second Qayyim (Secretary General), Jamaat and late Mohammed Muslim, Editor of “Sehroza Daawat” from 1951 to 1986, who were close associates of his father, used to come to his residence in Chicago and discuss the issues related to educational and social renaissance with him. The last time Muslim Sahib came was in connection with the brain tumor which later caused him death.”
An expert of nephrology, Dr Anis Ansari has performed thousands of renal dialysis. Besides, he takes out time for community well being. He served the Islamic Society of Clinton County as its president for two terms in 2002-06. Presently, it is headed by Dr Qaiser Rasheed, a well known cardiologist and former president of the erstwhile Halqua Tolaba Islami Bihar.
A view of Clinton Islamic Centre, Iowa (USA)
Dr Anis Ansari says: “There are ten million Muslims in the USA and out of which there may be 17-31 per cent from conversions.”
According to him, the Islamic Society of Clinton County was the result of the effort to start Juma prayers in a basement by two physicians. Earlier, the Muslims had to travel forty miles to the Quad cities to offer Friday prayers. Now the Friday prayers are held at this Islamic Centre. This centre besides prayers organizes inter-faith dialogues, involving Christians, Jews, Hindus and Muslims. Appreciating the contribution of Dr M Yahya Alvi and Dr Ahmadullah Siddiqui, he said the Clinton Islamic Centre (CIC) that can be reached at www.ciciowa.org, has proved to be a place for understanding the teachings of Islam and interaction with each other as well as presenting Islam in true perspectives before other people.
According to him, Muslims join the local community in the events of common interest like annual march to stop hate and violence. “The churches invite us to speak about Islam and we go. Our organization has stepped in whatsoever request was made for charitable events whether it was for Habitat for Humanity or buying furniture for the homeless. One brother has made it a point to donate entire cost of thanksgiving dinner for the homeless for several years. On behalf of the Centre, I have written a number of articles in the local newspapers for the benefit of the community at large like “Kidney Diseases on the rise” and “Kidney Transplant”.
His two brothers and one sister too live in the USA. While one Dr Ibad Ansari, elder to him, is a a cardiologist at Indianapolis, Indiana, 200 miles away from Chicago, the other younger Ateeq Ansari serves as an ultrasound technician at a hospital in Chicago. Sister Husna Rahim, married to Irfan Rahim, a computer engineer, resides at California.
Dr Anis Ansari (Right) with his younger brother Ateeq Ansari at the medical camp in Kopaganj
Dr Anis Ansari, who was recently in India for a week, spent some days in his native place Kopaganj and some days elsewhere. In Delhi he interacted with a number of persons. Talking to this scribe about his current visit, he said: “It was both meaningful and interesting. I organized ‘Safihan Medical Camp’, named after my mother, at my town Kopaganj (UP) with the help of local doctors to serve the poor and needy people of the region. The people response was very good. About one thousand patients took benefit of our expertise in diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney diseases.”
“Besides, I also inspected Dr Abdussalam Ansari Memorial Girls Inter College, established at Kopaganj in 1994 in memory of my father. There are about 300 students studying in this institution,” he added.
Although Dr Anis Ansari is away from his land of origin for the last 30 years, he is fully aware of the situation prevailing here and shows concern as to how improve the condition of the weaker and excluded sections of the society. He says: “It’s pleasure that the Congress-led UPA Government at the Centre is taking interest in empowering the Muslim community in the light of the Sachar Committee Report.”
He was so much impressed by the outcome of the Deoband Conclave on terrorism held on February 25, 2008 that he specially went there last week to have his own assessment of the historic declaration.
Dr Anis Ansari with Fana Watch Editor A U Asif
During his stay in the national capital he went to Markaz Jamaat, the headquarters of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind and office of Radiance Viewsweekly. He also enquired with this scribe about the only think tank run by Indian Muslims, Institute of Objective Studies (IOS) and All India Milli Council (AIMC) and wanted to meet Dr Mohammed Manzoor Alam. But his wish remained unfulfilled as he was out of station.
This is the story of a nephrologist-social activist-dawah worker who has kept himself engaged in both the USA and India, following the footsteps of his late father Dr Abdus Salam Ansari.
---A U Asif can be reached at email@example.com
Also See Earlier Coverage