Who was Hussain Nainar?

Dr. Hussain Nainar was the younger son of N. Syed Bawa Rowther and Shekka Ammal. Though six daughters and three sons were born to the couple, only five survived. Dr. Hussain’s siblings included his elder brother Syed Kadir Mohamed Nainar (former District Judge and Public Prosecutor) and three sisters, Fatima, Peerammal and Rasool. Hussain Nainar married Ayesha Bibi of Vathalakundu, and the couple had five children (three daughters and two sons). My father, Dr. S.M. Munawwar Nainar (87), retired academic and Arabic translator, is their only surviving heir. He is their fourth child.

Their other children (in order of seniority): Sultana Abdullah, Rayhana Dawood, Anwar Nainar and (the youngest) Shekha Farhana Tabriz. Members of the Nainar family were known to have worked as ‘munsiff’ (local magistrates), besides being ‘mirasdars’ (land owners) in Palni. The Nainars were given the regional monopoly by the East India Company to sell palmyra leaves (Olai) which was used for writing.

S.M.Hussain Nainar and his elder brother S.Kadir Mohamed Nainar with their children, Circa 1940s.
Relationship with his elder brother

Hussain Nainar was very fond of his brother Syed Kadir Mohamed Nainar. The two were inseparable for most of their lives. Letters between the two brothers are very interesting to read, as they share information about the current state of affairs in India besides the news of family developments. Kadir Nainar was known as a powerful speaker in Tamil and English, and stood first in the Madras Presidency in the Law exam in the 1920s. Earlier, he served as the first principal of Islamiyah College in Vaniyambadi.

Both brothers excelled in their studies, though their father Syed Bawa Rowther did not approve. They also promoted women’s education, starting with their own daughters, and setting an example for other Tamil Muslim families.

Kadir Nainar’s daughter Dr. Irfana was a gold medalist in medicine; Hussain Nainar’s daughters Sultana, Rayhana and Shekha Farhana, completed their college studies before marriage.