Dubai: For Mir Mahmood Mohiuddin, a technocrat and philanthropist, it has been an incredible journey for 83 years.
Starting his career at the lowest rung of a multinational company as a young electrical engineer in India, he won the trust of his seniors through hard work, rising to the top management tiers of the firm in 15 years. It was a highly satisfying journey no doubt. However, something more exciting awaited him in the UAE when he was invited to work here with a leading construction company. He was 38 then and little did he know that the country would embrace him with open arms and allow him to drop anchor here.
Mohiuddin, who is widely acknowleged to be a pioneer in the air-conditioning, mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) industry in the UAE, said: “In 1976, when I landed in the UAE, it was a nascent country with big dreams. There was excitement, enthusiasm and a great ‘can do’ spirit that rubbed off on me. I specialised in air-conditioning of commercial buildings and in the UAE, which was gearing up for big business then, there was great potential. I was at the right place at the right time.”
Born into a business family in 1938 in Chennai, India, Mohiuddin said his father, Mir Durvaish Mohiuddin, was a scholar in Persian, Urdu and Tamil literature. He was a trader who inculcated a deep love for literature and education in his children. It was education that helped the young Mohiuddin keep to his belief and fortitude, which in turn helped him tide over his family’s financial problems when the family business hit a rough patch. Empowered by a degree in electrical engineering and his zeal to succeed, Mohiuddin transformed his life by accepting the challenge to move on to a foreign land and built his as well as his family’s prospects.
Living in a humble thatched house made of mud in a village near Chennai and burdened with supporting a family of seven siblings, Mohiuddin, a naturally gifted math student, worked hard to excel in engineering, while supporting his family. As his father was down with illness and the family business suffered, young Mohiuddin kept balancing his studies and his work to ensure the support.
Even today, Mohiuddin continues to nurture the same enthusiasm and inquisitiveness to learn something new every day.
A stickler for discipline
Leading a disciplined life comes naturally to him. Mohiuddin said: “Three things are very important for me — controlling food intake, having a generous portion of fruit every day and rigorous morning and evening walks.” He is a keen learner and student to this day who loves reading the works of Persian or Urdu poets or philosophers. Apart from these, quite often, he delivers motivational and inspirational talks on life, health, culture and evolution to doctors, students and whoever is interested.
“Reading books and gathering knowledge keep my mind agile,” Mohiuddin said. “Besides that, I never lose touch with the younger generation. Be it through the young health-care professionals or my children and grandchildren, I consciously make an effort to learn a new thing every day,” the octogenarian said.
Giving back to society
Mohiuddin strongly feels about giving back to society. Recalling the difficult days of his life when he was struggling to make ends meet, Mohiuddin discreetly looks out for bright and deserving students who need aid and finances their studies. He has financially supported many medical students and helped them complete their education. “Knowing about the challenges and struggles of others is a great trigger for me to always stay grounded and never forget the hard times of my life. I deal with my painful memories of a difficult time by making sure another student I know does not face a similar situation. That gives me immense satisfaction,” he explained.
A father of three, he takes immense pride in the accomplishments of his children and six grandchildren. “Three of my grandkids are pursuing medical degrees. My grandson from ther US is now doing his Masters in Oxford, UK. I get to learn so much from them as they provide some valuable life lessons.”
‘Happiness is like a butterfly’
Summing up his life as a journey spent in the pursuit of happiness, Mohiuddin said: “When I reflect on the last 83 years, I find those have been spent in the pursuit of happiness and success. But as a famous poet had once said, ‘Happiness is like a butterfly: The more you chase it, the more it eludes you. But if you turn your attention to other things, it comes and sits softly on your shoulder’.”