Adamjee Haji Dawood

Sir Adamjee Haji Dawood (30 June 1880 - 27 January 1948)[1] was a renowned businessman and philanthropist in British India and later in Pakistan.[2]

Early life

Adamjee Haji Dawood was born in 1880 in Jetpur, Kathiawar, Gujarat in British India in a Memon family.[3] While still in his teens, he ventured out to Burma and started operating as an independent businessman. The first few years of his career were spent in the rice, match-book-making for lighting home stoves and jute trade.

By 1922, he had accumulated sufficient resources and a strong presence in the commodities markets, enabling him to set up his first industrial venture - a match factory in Rangoon. In 1927, he returned to India to establish a jute mill in Calcutta. The Adamjee Jute Mills Ltd. was the third jute mill to be set up by an Indian and the first Muslim public company. To capture this emerging niche, Adamjee along with Mr. G.D. Birla of Birla Jute, broke into this monopolistic trade controlled by the East India Company.

He was also an avid educationist and philanthropist. He was responsible for financing and helping a number of educational institutions in India and Pakistan including the Dawood College of Engineering and Technology in Karachi which was established by the Dawood Industrial Group in 1962.[4]

Awards and recognition


By the 1940s, Dawood had become a prominent figure in the business circles of India and Burma. His recognition was acknowledged by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who became a good friend and appointed him advisor to the freedom movement of the Muslims, which eventually led to the creation of Pakistan. Dawood convinced the entire Memon and many from other Gujarati Muslim communities to migrate to Pakistan. With this vision in mind again at the request of Jinnah, he also established two major institutions along with M. A. Ispahani i.e. The Muslim Commercial Bank Limited and the Orient Airways Limited, forerunner of Pakistan International Airlines.[2] The purpose of this was to assist the migration process by providing transport of Muslims to Pakistan and to create banking facilities in the new country, Pakistan.

Once Pakistan was created, Dawood and his sons established businesses in both East (now Bangladesh) & West Pakistan. Following financial difficulties in Pakistan in January 1948, Jinnah invited him to participate in the establishment of the State Bank of Pakistan, it was during this meeting that he suffered a heart attack and later died on the night of January 27, 1948.

On August 27, 1947- just 13 days after Pakistan gained its independence, Mohammad Ali Jinnah's finance team approached Adamjee Dawood for help because India had not released the share of funds due to Pakistan. So the newly created country Pakistan was in financial trouble. Adamjee Haji Dawood wrote a 'blank cheque' secured against all his industrial assets and personal wealth which enabled the country to handle its financial crisis successfully.[6]


  1. Chronology of Life Achievements of Sir Adamjee Haji Dawood in Souvenir: Launching Ceremony of A Biography of the Merchant Kinght Adamjee Haji Dawood, Karachi 2005 pg 35, 36
  2. 1 2 3, Adamjee Haji Dawood article on Dawn newspaper, Published 10 Oct 1999, Retrieved 3 July 2016
  3. Gayer, Laurent. Muslims in Indian Cities: Trajectories of Marginalisation. Hurst. ISBN 9781849041768.
  4., Adamjee Haji Dawood's contributions as an educationist on Dawn newspaper, 27 Jan 2013, Retrieved 4 July 2016
  5. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 34518. p. 3687. 7 June 1938. Retrieved 3 July 2016.
  6., A tribute to Adamjee Haji Dawood on website, Retrieved 4 July 2016

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