Economist with a literary flair

(Late) Syed Mohamed Anwar Nainar was born on May 11, 1931 and spent his early childhood years in Madras (now known as Chennai). He and his brother Munawwar and their cousins Ibrahim and Amjad Nainar attended the historic MCC School (affiliated to the Madras Christian College) in Madras.

Mr. Anwar was an excellent student, and his name is engraved as one of the awardees at Presidency College where he received his B.A. in Economics. Later, he received his M.A. in Economics, from the prestigious Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi. Mr. Anwar retired in 1989 as an economist from the National Council of Applied Economics Research (NCAER), a premier think-tank based in New Delhi. Prior to that, he was the regional manager for Caltex, a leading US oil firm until its nationalisation and merger into Hindustan Petroleum in 1978.

While at NCAER, Mr. Anwar Nainar was part of many marquee research projects, such as the one on rural electrification and others that took him to various parts of the country from the tip of Kerala coast, to the northern borders of Sikkim and eastern ranges of Manipur. Mr. Anwar always advocated for enhanced education and general literacy in the family and in the broader community.

S.M. Anwar Nainar with his younger brother Munawwar
Anwar Nainar with his parents and elder sisters Sultana (standing) and Rayhana (seated), circa 1930.

After the early demise of his wife, Mrs. Rashida Anwar Nainar in 1987 and his retirement two years later, he moved from New Delhi to Tiruchi where he quietly advanced education by distributing school supplies to needy children at the start of every school year. He did this till 2004 when he fell very ill and moved for good to Chennai, where he resumed the outreach activities till his passing away in 2011. Mr. Anwar inculcated this appreciation for education in his two sons, Dr. S.M. Khalid Nainar and Dr. S.M. Hashim Nainar, who are both faculty members at leading universities in Canada, the former at McMaster University and the latter at the University of Toronto.

Mr. Anwar was known to be a cheerful person, and a great stickler for punctuality. He was also a diarist, who wrote down his ideas and experiences with great linguistic flair.