(This is the original document in Dr. Azeez’s collection)
Over a hundred and twenty five sat for the complimentary dinner organized by the Ceylon Muslim League in honour of Mr. A.M.A. Azeez, the first Muslim to enter the Ceylon Civil Service. The dinner was served at the Galle Face Hotel on Saturday 13th April, 1935. Mr. T.B. Jayah presided and among the guests was His Highness the Sheriff of Morocco who was on a short visit to the Island.
Mr. T.B. Jayah, after congratulating Mr. Azeez on winning the educational blue ribbon of this Island, went on to say that the success of Mr. Azeez showed that Muslim students, given the opportunity and the necessary facilities need not fear competition even under modern conditions. Although he was not the first Muslim scholar, they had reason to be extremely proud of Mr. Azeez’s achievement. Particularly among Muslims, there were different classes of educated young men. Some who received the benefits of education had become so worldly wise that they thought in their height of wisdom they should pursue their own calling and leave their community to seek for itself; there were others who realized that the educated men had a duty not only to themselves, but to those by whom they were surrounded, even looking at the question from a selfish point of view, but Mr. Azeez belonged to a class who were prepared to scorn delights and live laborious days, not for the sake of filthy lucre, nor even for more vanity of name and fame, but for the greater ideal of services. When they found a young man striving after such an ideal, those of them who were interested in the welfare of the community and the country should really be gratified that such a young man, so early in life had crowned himself with so much intellectual and academic glory.
Mr. N.H.M. Abdul Cader, in proposing the toast of the chief guest, said that Mr. Azeez, till three or four years ago, was not known to him, but his father Mr. Aboobucker, Proctor of the Supreme Court, was well known to him and had practiced with him. Their amiable young guest had struck him by his high qualities, and the obedience and respect he showed to his elders, and he was a model to young men not only of Zahira College but of all Colleges. During his boyhood Mr. Azeez had gained distinction after distinction, finally gaining the blue ribbon of the educational world. He had passed out in History and qualified to go to England to further his studies. Without very much difficulty he had passed the Civil Service Examination and after a short period of four months he had returned to Ceylon.
He added, as a Lesson to Muslims, it was a great honour not only to the Muslim community but to the whole of Ceylon. It was a lesson to them that if they progressed educationally there would be many other Azeezes. It was an attainment to have passed the Civil Service Examination without having entered any of the English Universities. That should give a great impetus to the Muslim community in the Island. He was sorry that Mr. Aboobucker was not present.
He had no doubt that their young friend would soon come to Colombo to one of the magistracies and, after the constitution had been changed. Mr. Azeez would soon be one of their Government Agencies. He might even be the Chief Secretary of Ceylon in these days of democratic government.
Dr. M.C.M. Kaleel, in supporting the toast, said that he was fortunate he had Mr. Cader to propose the toast. He was the grand old man of the Muslim community in Ceylon. As the Chairman of the Dinner Committee he wished to tell them the reason for the dinner. If they looked at their distinguished guest they would understand the reason. He asked whether any of them present regretted having had to dine with him. His personality is sufficient reason he thought. His first intimate contact with Mr. Azeez was on a trip to Negombo to speak on the Prophet’s Birthday, and Mr. Azeez had interpreted the speeches in English into Tamil, and Mr. Azeez’s speech in English had to be interpreted by someone else. In the life of every individual there came a moment which would make or mar a man and when Mr. Azeez’s father took him to the land of high thinking and plain living he took a step which would eventually to make a man of Mr. Azeez. The whole community felt highly honoured by the attainments of their guest. The Government of Ceylon was very jealous of its talent and absorbed into its system all the brilliant young products of the Island. They all hoped that the prayer of Mr. Cader would be fulfilled and that Mr. Azeez would one day hold the reins of justice and mete out justice to all who came before him.
Mr. S.A. Marikar, in supporting the toast, said that it was hardly a year ago that they had met at a banquet at Zahira College on the eve of the departure of Mr. Azeez to prosecute his studies in England. The news of his success came as a surprise to them all. A high official had expressed surprise at the quickness with which the Muslim community was coming up, considering its position ten years ago. It was a happy sign to note at that dinner the number of young men who belonged to the learned professions. He remembered the opinion expressed by Mr. Azeez a short time ago in Kandy that if sufficient opportunities were given to the young men of their community they would distinguish themselves.
The speaker went on to mention the work of Mr. Azeez in the Muslim League in which he had been instrumental in providing a library for the League. If Mr. Azeez had remained in England longer he would have gained the Chair of the Cambridge Union. He could go further than Mr. Abdul Cader and say that it would not be a surprise if some day Mr. Azeez controlled the reins of Government. He asked them to drink to the health of Mr. Azeez.