Rahamatullah Mohammad Sayani was born on 5 April, 1847 in Bombay. He was one of the two famous Muslim representatives, who attended the first session of Indian National Congress in 1885, which was attended by 72 members only.
Rahamatullah became the first post graduate in 1868 at a time when Muslims were highly averse to English education. Later, he obtained Law degree in 1870 and started practice as an advocate in Bombay and earned fame within a short span of time. He was able to attract the masses with his social work and got elected to Bombay Municipal Corporation in 1876.
Later, he became the Mayor of Bombay Municipal Corporation in 1888 and, in the same year, became a Member of Bombay Legislative Council. He continued in the Bombay Legislative Council and was in that capacity till 1896. Rahamatullah Mohammad Sayani also became a member of the Imperial Legislative Council in 1896. He presided over the 12th session of the Indian National Congress. He worked hard for the promotion of religious harmony and peace among different sections of society.
When Sir Syed Ahmed Khan was campaigning against the Indian National Congress, he powerfully countered the campaign. He appealed to the Muslims to join the Indian National Congress and pleaded that they could have the right to get their share in the collective wealth only when they joined the collective movements.
Rahamatullah Mohammad Sayani laid strong foundations for the Indian national movement. He explained to people as to how national wealth eroded and consequent loss suffered by the people of India. He also challenged the bias in the British taxation system. Rahamatullah Mohammad Sayani made an authentic study on agriculture and famine problems and theoretically proved and warned the British rulers that there would not be any greater revolt than hunger.
He sacrificed his life to liberate the country from the clutches of exploiting British rule and to change the lives of the people by bringing communal harmony. Rahamatullah Mohammad Sayani, who was adored by the people as the ‘real fond son of India’ passed away on 4 June, 1902.
(From : THE IMMORTALS an Album of 155 Muslim Freedom Fighters authored by Syed Naseer Ahamed, published in 2014, Mobile : 9440241727.)