Memoirs of Dr. Andrew Moonir Khan

Journey of an Educator

Non-Fiction - Biography
226 Pages
Reviewed on 06/12/2018
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Author Biography

My name is Brenda Mohammed and I have written eighteen books since I began writing in 2013.
Dr. Andrew M. Khan was my father. He started writing his memoirs a few months prior to his death in 1975, but unfortunately, his call by his Maker prevented him from publishing it.
In 1989, while I was still working at a bank I compiled a book from his diaries and other hand-written papers. A Foreword was written by the former Chief Justice of Trinidad and Tobago Sir Isaac Hyatali [now deceased].
The finished product was made available to friends and relatives and was not published for the wider public. This book is a new and revised version. I wrote the book because I loved my father and felt that the life of a great Educator who rose to great heights from a humble upbringing despite several setbacks in his life, and the primitive times in which he lived, deserved to be recorded.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Memoirs of Dr. Andrew Moonir Khan: Journey of an Educator is a biographical work by Mrs. Brenda C. Mohammed focusing on the life story of a young teacher during the period of indentureship in the Caribbean. Andrew was the son of indentured immigrants from India, living and working in Trinidad and Tobago, and the tale is compiled both from the original memoirs of Dr. Khan and from recreated prose by his daughter, Brenda. The tale spans Dr. Khan’s very successful career in education, during which he was afforded international opportunities for success, and explains how he took the great life lessons which he learned from his working life out into the Presbyterian church as an Elder.

Mrs. Brenda C. Mohammed has done a wonderful job in bringing the life, philosophy and personality of Dr. Andrew Khan to life in this compilation of teachings. As an educator myself, I was particularly interested in Dr. Khan’s individualistic approach to students and the humanitarian way in which he achieved success. Memoirs of Dr. Andrew Moonir Khan presents the life of an inspiring man who struggled through underprivileged circumstances to rise to the top of his field, all without losing his generosity of spirit or his creativity. For educators, the book demonstrates how passion and planning can lead to a great many good things in the future, but for a wider audience the book holds value as an inspiring story of faith and commitment to one’s true path. I would recommend this book for biography fans seeking a deep but feel good read.

Ruffina Oserio

Memoirs of Dr. Andrew Moonir Khan: Journey of an Educator by Mrs. Brenda C. Mohammed is a biography that follows the life of a great man while providing wonderful social and cultural commentaries on the era in which he lived. It is during the days of indentureship in Trinidad and Tobago, and readers are introduced to a period in history when few people were interested in education. Against this backdrop, the son of uneducated, indentured immigrants from India, Mr. and Mrs. Sultan Khan, overcame all kinds of challenges to acquire the education he needed and to set an example for his generation. Thanks to his assiduity, dedication, and strong values, he was quickly promoted to school principal and subsequently to superintendent of schools. Readers encounter an educator who led by example, a man who would become the first Presiding Elder in the Presbyterian Church in Trinidad and Tobago.

This biography is well researched and the author allows the subject to speak for himself through the narrative by making references to Dr. Khan’s own memoirs. The writing is beautiful, journalistic, and it is enriched by the social commentaries and historical references that allow readers vivid glimpses of what life was like in the first half of the twentieth century. The setting comes out clearly and while the reader gets a clear picture of locales and places, the author catches the soul of the people in a brilliant way. Memoirs of Dr. Andrew Moonir Khan: Journey of an Educator is a book that will appeal to anyone who loves biographies of great men. It is inspiring and hugely informative. Mrs. Brenda C. Mohammed does a great job in bringing to readers a work that will inspire them and compel them to consider their own contribution to history.

Gisela Dixon

Memoirs of Dr. Andrew Moonir Khan: Journey of an Educator by Mrs. Brenda C. Mohammed is a non-fiction memoir on the life, work, and thoughts of Andrew Moonir Khan. This book is compiled together by Dr. Khan’s daughter, Brenda, but a lot of the book contains writing in Dr. Khan’s own voice and his own hand, taken from his memoirs he had written before he passed away. The book describes his parents' background as indentured Indians who migrated to Trinidad and Tobago around the turn of the last century to work on the sugarcane plantations. Both of his parents had married before and divorced, and so this was the second marriage for both of them. Andrew Khan describes their house, the tropical lushness of the surroundings, his own childhood games and interests, school and education, his first job, his career as an educator and teacher in Trinidad, his period of stay in London on a government scholarship, his involvement in the church and his faith, and his lifelong commitment to the cause of education.

What I liked about Memoirs of Dr. Andrew Moonir Khan the most is that it depicts life in Trinidad about 100 years ago, which is little known to the outside world these days. The history of so many immigrants, including Indians, who immigrated there is one that needs to be told. I also liked that Mrs. Brenda C. Mohammed has included so many reminiscences and first hand accounts and memories of various people who knew Dr. Andrew Khan, all of which portray a vivid picture of the man more than a mere biography can do. Dr. Khan’s ethics, morals, and teachings are an inspiration and, above all, present a humanitarian point of view. I also very much appreciated his ideas on the importance of education and equal rights and opportunities for women everywhere. This is a short and compelling read by Mrs. Brenda C. Mohammed which I would certainly recommend.

Mamta Madhavan

Memoirs of Dr. Andrew Moonir Khan: Journey of an Educator by Brenda C. Mohammed is the journey of a man who, although being the son of indentured immigrants, went on to become successful due to his courage, determination, and indomitable spirit. This memoir reveals the character of Dr. A.M. Khan, who made sure that his family and home were taken care of and sustained by the love of God, hard work, consideration for others, and the love of learning. The sincerity and precision of a gifted person is what this memoir is all about, and Dr. Khan’s passion for learning and education, being a church leader, and his rise despite being from a humble background and experiencing several setbacks is creditable and encouraging.

Dr. Khan’s life is inspiring and the author takes readers on the interesting journey of his life. This book has been compiled from his hand-written notes and diaries. The memoir is detailed and takes readers into the life of a great educator and church person who overcame obstacles and emerged a hero. Dr. Khan’s rise from humble beginnings to that of a national hero is uplifting and will inspire many readers to handle their lives the way he did; with perseverance, determination, courage, and - most importantly - faith in God. This book is a must-read because it will inspire readers to become dedicated and disciplined when it comes to handling their lives. Dr. Khan’s achievements will make readers wonder how he found the time and energy to accomplish all the things he did in his lifetime.

Josephine Calabrese

AN INSPIRATION TO ALL
February 22, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Memoirs of Dr. Andrew Moonir Khan: Journey of an Educator
Brenda Mohammed

Reading of Dr. Andrew Moonir's youth, life as an educator and church leader, I have come to know this man as a decent man, individual of good character, and a man who thought, planned out, and in a step-by-step process persevered to achieve his goals. Great men aren't forgotten and all learn from such men.

If a documentary hasn't been done on Dr. Andrew Moonir Khan's Life, his life should be filmed in a documentary. He is an inspiration.

Josephine Calabrese
Writer, Lyricist, Publisher, and Teacher

Lisa Kublalsingh

A remarkable man.

Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
Memoirs of Dr. Andrew Mooonir Khan is an account about the life and accomplishments of a remarkable individual. He came from humble beginnings, overcame adversity and through perseverance and a proactive spirit, became successful. Dr. A. M Khan exemplifies what a headmaster should be, through his unrelenting passion for education. His popularity among his students and excellence in their academic performances is a testimony to this. His conviction in his faith, along with sheer determination and courage, propelled him to make significant contributions as a leader in society, that will always be remembered.

Peter Rajkumar

Genuinely Interesting and useful
Format: Paperback
There is a need for books like this one- books which document the struggle of the first generations of immigrants and their children to carve a place in their society, and then provide the foundation for the next generation to achieve even greater success. In broad terms, this is general knowledge. What is valuable in this book is the step by step description detailing the roadmap by which one successful educator did so. What is also appreciated is the incidental description of day to day life in pre-independence Trinidad. Congratulations - posthumous though they have to be- to Dr. Khan for the foresight in documenting his memoirs for the benefit of those who -generations later - are curious about the journey. Congratulations also to the biographer -his daughter -Brenda - for identifying the need for these memoirs to be published - and to receive a wider audience than just his family, as well as undertaking the task of bringing the book into being. I would recommend this book for its insights into the secret of success and its transmission to later generations.

Roma Sinanan

National hero
Format: Paperback
The memoirs of Dr. Andrew Moonir Khan presented by his daughter, author, Brenda Mohammed, records the life story of Dr. Khan as told by himself in the memoirs he so graciously bequeath to all of us who knew and loved him.
This reviewer has had a teacher-pupil relationship with Dr. Khan and has benefitted tremendously from the exposure to high standards in the educational and spiritual atmosphere he provided.
The memoirs tell the story of a man burnt by the vicissitudes of life, challenging and bitter times, yet has emerged renewed, re-invigorated, refined and restored- a life exemplary in every way.
The autobiography is a true reflection of the author's love for and belief in the truth, his high standards of etiquette and his pursuit of model writing skills in the English Language.
The simple, comprehensive, yet sophisticated presentation leaves the reader fascinated and curious to know more of a life that offers much to be emulated.
The physical and emotional traumas shared in the book bring deep feelings of sympathy and empathy. Overcoming early childhood bad experiences through divine intervention strengthens the reader's faith in God. The travails of a teacher aspiring to ascend the ladder of progress met with misplaced opposition inspires dignified patience.
The unreserved and unconditional dedication to family life inspires noble parenting. The zest "to follow knowledge like a singing star beyond the reach of human thought" inspires a passionate mind.
To live the life that God expects us to live, as the author's work demonstrates, inspires discipline and devotion. Nothing less is expected, as the book in its lifelike and meaningful way depicts the story of "a great man, a true exemplar, a national hero."

Dr. A. Persaud

A glimpse into the life of Trinidad in the early twentieth century esconsced in the autobiography of a great educator
Format: Kindle Edition
This book is a fascinating account of the life and career of Dr. Andrew Moonir Khan as he advances from teacher to Headmaster, to Inspector of schools and later Senior inspector of schools before his retirement in 1965 at the required age of 60.

The book is put together by one of his daughters, Brenda, who serves as narrator. The story is actually told in the first person, in Dr. Khan's own words, as he relates his experiences throughout his life and career in the island of Trinidad.

Born to parents who emigrated from India in the late nineteenth century, Dr. Khan describes his simple yet idyllic childhood in the countryside.
He loved nature and enjoyed a closeness with his parents. The era in which he grew up was one of zero technology. There was no electricity or any modern day conveniences in those days. However, his childhood was happy and he fondly remembers the stories told to him by his mother.

Dr. Khan recalls his first adventures in school and his natural abilities. However, he was unable to attend school for four years at one stage because of an unexplained illness for which his mother eventually found a cure. He finally was able to return to school and excelled in his studies. Dr. Khan eventually started working under the pupil teacher system in Trinidad and rose through the ranks very quickly.

In this book we see the difficulties of operating a school in a society that did not value education. It was the teacher's responsibility to collect children and take them to school. As a young teacher, Dr. Khan had to awake early to collect the boys and girls of the village to take them to school. This was not an easy task. However, it was necessary for him to keep his job. With hard work and sheer determination, Dr. Khan's career advanced at a rapid rate.

Dr. Khan's rise from humble beginnings to successful educator is inspiring. The advances in his career are amazing. His family life is interesting. His words of wisdom are everlasting and should be adopted by the younger generation. The world view portrayed in the book is fascinating. The book documents the changes in Trinidad from a colonial nation to an independent country in 1962. The progress throughout the country during the period of Dr. Khan's life is evident in the change of his living conditions.

Dr. Khan remains humble and acknowledges that his success could not have come from himself alone. He praises his wife, his family, and his constant faith in God. After his retirement he achieved what he had always dreamed of. He wrote and submitted a thesis to the Florida State Christian University and was granted a Ph.D. degree in Education. He also spent most of his time working on numerous committees at the Marabella Presbyterian Church and the Synod. Not only was he a tireless educator, but he was a firm believer in God and in doing what was right and just. He kept on contributing to society all he could until his death in 1975.

Everyone can benefit from reading this autobiography and seeing how one simple man's extraordinary faith, struggle and determination allowed him to achieve more than he had ever thought possible. The book clearly shows us that success is attainable for anyone who is willing to reach for it. I recommend this book highly.

M.Reynoso

Inspirational and reminiscent book
Format: Paperback
Dr. Khan's memoirs highlight his professional and personal accomplishments at a time when education was not a seen as a valuable resource. Reading about his life back in the 1950's and how much he accomplished in his field is personally inspiring. His writing remains relevant today such as his views on education, women, family and hard work. The author did a good job of organizing his life events and inspiring letters written about him. This book makes me believe I can do anything once I set my mind to it.