The Dr. A.M.A. Azeez Commemoration Meeting and the Memorial Oration were held on Saturday 17th February 2024 at 9.45 a.m. at the Ghaffoor Hall, Zahira College, Colombo 10. As usual it was a fairly well attended and a dignified function. 


The Meeting was jointly presided by Mr. Khalid M. Farouk, President of the Dr. A.M.A. Azeez Foundation and Mr. Ihsaan A, Hameed, National President of the All Ceylon YMMA Conference.


The Meeting commenced with the recital of Qirath followed by Dua by Hafiz Moulavi Rizwan, Pesh Imam of the Colombo Grand mosque.


Mr. Khalid Farouk welcomed the guests and spoke briefly on the achievements of Marhoom Dr. A.M.A. Azeez. He thanked Prof. M. Sornarajah, Emeritus Professor of Law, National University of Singapore for accepting the invitation to deliver the Memorial Oration on the subject of “The Law in the Speeches of Senator Azeez, the Muslim Tamil Leader of Ceylon, and its Present Significance.” He thanked the All Ceylon YMMA Conference for continuously associating with the Dr. A.M.A. Azeez Foundation to conduct this annual event. He thanked Mr. Trizviiy Marikar, Principal of Zahira College for his support in making the event a success. Mr. Farouk paid a tribute to Marhooma Marina, father like daughter of Dr. Azeez for her initiative in founding the Young Women’s Muslim Association which is rendering a valuable service today. He also paid tributes to Prof. M.T.A. Furkhan and S.H.M. Jameel for their yeoman services as Pesidents of the Foundation. 


Mr. Ihsaan A. Hameed welcomed the guests and spoke briefly on the formation of the YMMA and its founder Marhoom Azeez. He mentioned that since the sad demise of Dr. Azeez the YMMA has continued to  commemorate his death anniversary from the year 1975. The first commemoration meeting was held under the Chairmanship of Mr. M.A.M. Hussain, former District Judge, and Secretary Mr. S.M. Kamaldeen. After the formation of the Dr. A.M.A. Azeez Foundation the YMMA collaborated with the Dr. A.M.A. Azeez Foundation to organize the memorial oration every year. He said that this year we are fortunate to have a distinguished personality, Prof. M. Sornarajah as the guest speaker to deliver the Memorial Oration.  


The Memorial Oration was delivered by Prof. M. Sornarajah, Emeritus Professor of Law, National University of Singapore, distinguished old boy of Royal College, LL.B (University of Ceylon, First Class Honours), LL.M (Yale Law School, U.S.A.), LL.M, PhD and LL.D (University of London) on the subject of “The Law in the Speeches of Senator Azeez, the Muslim Tamil Leader of Ceylon, and its Present Significance.” 


At the outset he says, “- – My father, who did not want my horizon to be limited to his own person as a mid-level public servant, told me that I should look to Senator Azeez as my model, for he was a fellow Jaffna man, a product of a Hindu College like him, a scholar in Tamil, steeped in the knowledge of Hindu texts but also the pre-eminent leader of the Muslims – -“. He commented on the speeches of Senator Azeez and uses his vision to present a picture of what ails Sri Lanka today. In particular he analyses extensively on Senator Azeez’s foresight in his longest and most brilliant speech in opposing the Sinhala Only Bill. He uses the hybrid term to refer to Dr. Azeez as a Muslim Tamil Leader by clarifying, “He was an undoubted leader of the Muslim community. Without a shadow of doubt, he had all the vestiges, in scholarship of Tamil and Tamil Saivaism and Tamil literature to be quintessentially fit to be a Tamil leader, surpassing other Tamil leaders of his times in the attributes of greatness that a Tamil leader should have”.


In concluding his oration, Prof. Sornarajah pays a high tribute to Dr. Azeez by saying, “In Tamil, the perfection of a man and a woman are enshrined in the concept of a perfection possessed by a person called a சான்றோன். ஈன்ற பொழுதின் பெரிதுவக்கும் தன் மகனைச் சான்றோன் எனக்கேட்ட தாய். The Tamil Poet, Thiruvalluvar indicates the extent of this perfection by saying that the joy of a mother is greater when she hears her son being called a சான்றோன் than the joy at the time of his birth. In my estimation, by learning, conduct, his sacrifice of powerful positions to serve his people as an educator, his fearlessness in espousing unpopular views and the power of oratory in both English and Tamil qualify him to be regarded as an exceptional figure in the history of this country. It is an honour for me to have spoken of such a man”. 


The excellent Oration was well received by all. A printed copy was available for distribution.


Capt. A.G.A. Barrie B.Sc. (Eng.), P.Eng., International Project Consultant, distinguished old boy of Zahira College and a pet student of Dr. Azeez delivered his speech on the achievements and contributions of Dr. Azeez in various fields. He spoke of his successful career in many posts in the prestigious Ceylon Civil Service, his valuable contributions to education and elevating Zahira as a leading public school, formation of the Ceylon Muslim Scholarship Fund and the All Ceylon YMMA Conference and the pioneering efforts in the formation of Jamia Naleemiah in Beruwela.


Mr. M.C. Rasooldeen, Chief Editor of Colombo Times, old boy of Zahira College, leading journalist in Saudi Arabia for 35 years spoke briefly of his days at Zahira during the Azeez era and the formation of the All Ceylon YMMA Conference.


The book “Sinhala Muslim Relations in Sri Lanka” was released. It was based on the Memorial Oration delivered in 2018 by Desamanya M.D.D. Pieris, and contains the translations in Sinhala and Tamil. Dr. L.A.W. Sirisena, a well known Gynaecologist, obtained contributions and printed 10,000 copies for distribution. The first copy was presented by him to Prof. Sornarajah, who was his classmate and dear friend. The translation in Sinhala was done by Dr. Sirisena and the Tamil translation by former Professor of Mechanical Engineering, S. Sivasegaram, another classmate.  


The book in Tamil “Arignar Azeez, Aham Nirai Kaviam” (“Scholar Azeez, Poetic Epic”), by M.A. Anas of Mutur and published by the Dr. A.M.A. Azeez Foundation was released. The Foreword to the book was written by Dr. M.A. Nuhman, former Professor of Tamil, University of Peradeniya. The first copy was presented by Mr. Ali Azeez to Prof. Sornarajah.


A Memento was presented to Prof. Sornarajah by Mr. Khalid M. Farouk, President of the Dr. A.M.A. Azeez Foundation, in appreciation of delivering the Memorial Oration. 


The Vote of Thanks was proposed by Mr. Saheed M. Rismy, Immediate Past President of the All Ceylon YMMA Conference and a prominent social worker. He thanked Prof. Sornarajah for delivering an informative oration on his subject and highlighting the achievements of Dr. Azeez. He thanked Capt. Barrie and Mr. Rasooldeen for delivering their speeches. He thanked the Principal of Zahira College and all others who helped to make this function a success.


The Meeting ended with the recital of Salawath.


The YMMA hosted all those present with refreshment and drinks.


The Compere was Ms. Zaithoon Bin Ahamed who did an excellent job. 






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