Syed Ali Imam, who declared that the share of a community in the wealth of nation should be proportionate to its share of sacrifices in securing independence to that country, was born on 11 February, 1869 in Neora village, Bihar. His father was Syed Imdad Imam. He was the elder brother of freedom fighter Syed Hasan Imam. Syed Ali Imam went to London to study Law in 1887 and returned to India in 1890. He became a famous advocate within a short span of time. Despite having his busy legal practice, he was involved actively in public welfare activities, which made him popular among the people and a member in the Bihar District Board. He was appointed an official member in the Bengal Legislative Council in 1909.
He played a vital role in the formation of the All India Muslim League and presided over the League’s conference held at Amritsar in 1908. While addressing the conference, he said: ‘I am pleased to be addressed as an Indian first and foremost’. Ali Imam was appointed as a Justice of the Patna High Court in 1917. Later, he worked as a minister in the Hyderabad State of Nizam on special invitation for a brief period. After that, he again started his practice as an advocate from 1920 and got himself completely involved in the Indian Freedom Movement.
As a leader of the Muslim League, he moved the resolution for the boycott of the Simon Commission in 1927. He supported the Nehru Committee report in 1928. He opined that separate electorates would harm the national interests. Thus, he opposed the idea of separate electorates in the All India Muslim League Conference in 1931. He totally refuted the idea of the communal leaders for creating separate constituencies. He stated that nationalism cannot be achieved by division and separation. He said that the actual liberation of the Muslims was intertwined with real nationalism. He appealed to the Muslims not to indulge in communal politics. Ali Imam was a great scholar, who had the knowledge of several languages. He was a good orator too. Syed Ali Imam, who made even his staunch rivals spell bound with his arguments and speeches, passed away on 17(30) October, 1932 in Ranchi.