HYDERABAD: Dadi Leelavati Harchandi, who symbolises struggle for the noble cause of spreading the light of education in Sindh, is celebrating her 99th birthday.
She cut a cake at a simple ceremony at her residence in Hirabad on Sunday where former Radio Pakistan Station Director, Naseer Mirza, Prof Nazir Qasmi and others were also present.
Dadi, who now suffers from dementia, had been associated with teaching until her retirement. She did not leave Sindh when her brothers left for India after partition, according to her only son, Dr Kumar.
She decided to stay behind with her father, Hotchand Wadhwani. “Why would I have left for India?”, she said in an emphatic tone when asked why she preferred to stay in newly created Pakistan.
“Hyderabad and Sindh are my janam bhoomi,” she said and then recited a verse in praise of her motherland. She was born on Dec 20, 1916 in Lajpat Road area from where her family later shifted to Hirabad.
“I am born and grew-up here. I served in the department as I have been interested in teaching since my childhood,” she said.
Dadi studied at the Government College Kali Mori, one of the oldest institutions of Hyderabad and did her graduation in early 40s. Later, she later got a bachelors degree in teaching in 1952.
She served as music teacher in Women Training College, Tilak incline, and till the age superannuation in 1975, she was working as additional director of schools.
She also became a member of Sindh Assembly in 1985 party-less elections.
She worked for the spread of education with great zeal, visiting different neighborhoods and villages to encourage women to seek education.
“Among her contemporaries are Rubina Qureshi, wife of Pakistan showbiz figure Mustafa Qureshi and late Zarina Baloch,” he said. She has been quite active in the activities of Ladies Club – property of a Hindu family which had donated the land for the club – and Sindh Girls Guide for 40 years. Despite her old age, she valiantly led the fight against attempts by a builder to buy the club through Evacuee Trust Property.