Friday, October 18, 2013

Most Effective Way of Cutting a Nation from its History and Ideals - Imposing a Foreign Language

Most Effective Way of Cutting a Nation from its History - Imposing a Foreign Language

The project for cutting a nation from its history and roots always starts with the introduction of a foreign "language". We know how Ataturk's drive for secularism led him to change the Turkish script from Arabic to Latin script to cut the Turks from their history, and we also know how the British used English as a tool to create an elite class more anglophile (more loyal than the king) to serve them during their colonial rule and later to extend their control during the post-colonial era. This elite class identified themselves more with their colonial masters than with their fellow country men as evidenced by the distance they still maintain (see the VVIP culture and the motorcades of our rulers; military, political or feudals). 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

At What Cost! Fazle Hasan of IBA and our Computation of Economic Costs

At What Cost! Fazle Hasan of IBA and our Computation of Economic Costs

Fazle Hasan in his office 1981
Mr Fazle Hasan (1939-2006) was teaching us Financial Management in 1986 at IBA. During each class session, the discussion would invariably turn towards his oft repeated dictum "At What Cost". This was the major theme of his course. He wanted us to take stock of the long term costs of our decisions and to be able to estimate and recognize the costs of the faulty political decisions that have led us to this sorry state.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

How to Sprinkle Happiness Around You: Javed Bhai (Dr Zaeem Jafri) – A Jolly Good Fellow

How to Sprinkle Happiness Around You: Javed Bhai (Dr Zaeem Jafri) – A Jolly Good Fellow

14-Nov-2009: Last night I got an sms that Javed Bhai has been admitted to the hospital and is in serious condition. My heart sank. There was this feeling of heaviness that told me that this hospitalization may be the last one. He had endured the continuous slide in his health valiantly for the last several years. The last few conversations I had with him and those he met told me that it is now only a matter of months if not days.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Ansari Sb: Khawjgan e Chisht Ahle Bahisht

Ansari Sb: Khawjgan e Chisht Ahle Bahisht

About a fortnight short of Eid ul Azha, I was at Saleem Shah's place when I received a message that Babbu Bhai (Wajeeh ul Hasan Ansari) has requested that the hides of qarbani be donated to Islamic Center, Block B North Nazimabad. Instinctively I replied that I would donate provided that Wajeeh Bhai would confirm that he has some decision making role at the center. Knowing from whatever little I knew of Wajeeh Bhai, I could see that he is one of those people who are sincere and committed and he is that gem of a person you would search and search, and not find.  A person whom you can give a responsibilty and forget about it; assured in the knowledge that the task would be completed with sincerity, integrity and with excellence. A precious quality in the opportunistic world of today, and my concern on poking this condition was to find out from Wajeeh Bhai whether he was being used. Saleem Shah immediately dialed Wajeeh Bhai's number and we started talking. Of course I had decided even before the number was dialed that I would be donating the hides to his center, but nevertheless, it was a good opportunity to talk. We talked about his center, his contribution and his school and then in his gentle manner he extended an invitation for me to come and visit the center. In his customary humility he asked for advice, guidance and support -- as if he needed it from us! ( I was feeling embarrased knowing fully well that it was me who needed his guidance and who need his company more). This was the last conversation I would ever have with him as the next day (Oct 4, 2013) I learned that he has gone to meet his creator. Inna lillah e wa inna ilaihi rajioon.
One day in 2009 we met and I told him about the Ahsan Memorial Library (AML) project, he offered that he had decided to give away some of the books collected by his father Wasiul Hasan Ansari sb (click for his profile here) and would only retain specific books that are of his interest. A few days later four cartons arrived containing a wonderful collection of Urdu literature, English literature, history and philosophy books with a promise of some more to come. Through Wasiul Hasan Ansari's collection AML is now a proud owner of the original Dastaan e Amir Hamza and Tilism Hushruba published around hundred year ago. Thank you wajeeh bhai for a wonderful donation.

This was around 1978 when Saleem told me that there was an invitation from Ansari sb (Wasi ul Hasan) about an event "Khatm e Khawjgan e Chisht Ahle Bahisht" followed by some wonderful food and biryani. We were in intermediate and it was the latter part of the event that excited our imagination the most. So we took the bus and landed at Ansari sb's place in Satellite Town, Rawalpindi around maghrib time. The event started after the prayers. We were given a small printed paper containing a list of "azkar" with some large number (in thousands) written after each "zikr" signifying the number of times each zikr would be recited. The total came to some tens of thousands. I whispered to Saleem that "buray phansay" the biryani is going to cost us dearly. By simple math we had computed that if we started after maghrib and if each zikr takes even half a minute to recite and if we were to recite each of the zikr thousands of time, it would be well past the midnight and into the sunrise before the count could be completed. Our hearts sank and all the enthusiasm for the biryani evaporated. There were around hundred people and we were sitting on the carpet and there was no way to escape as the entrance was fully blocked and the room was jam packed. Soon the lights were turned off and the zikr recitation started. All this time we were only counting and tracking time, all the while thinking why did we ever come. To our utter amazement and surprise the zikr was only recited a few times and the turn for the next one came and then the one after the next and so on. To our great relief the recitation ended after Isha and the food was served. We found out later that as there were a hundred people, so recitation of the zikr once meant a count of hundred. Ten times meant one thousand and so the target was met was rather quickly and our apprehension of staying there all night were unfounded.

Wasiul Hasan Ansari sb (1919-2006: click for his profile here): What a man he was. He would always remind me of the picture of some lucknow nawab which some how had gotten etched in my mind. Choori dar payjama, slender and thin built, small pointed beard, paan in the mouth and a typical flowing style of waving his hand and body with the inflection of speech which we don't see any more. His command on literature, poetry, Islam, politics would manifest itself in his fluent and flawless speech and conversation. His dressing and style would always remind me of the elegant literary picturization of the dressing of Mirza Sikandar Bakht, a Mughal prince (some decades after 1857) as described in one of the essays included in our matric Urdu text book of Sargodha Board, 1977. For years he lived near our place in PECHS, we had the opportunity to benefit from him but did not. What a loss of cultural and missionary history. I only later realized the important work he had been doing at the Islamic Center. I realized only after his death his stature as a waliullah when he was taken to Multan for burial near his murshid's khanqah with respect and reverence by the large congregation. Our day to day tasks and our inability to separate the gems from the pebbles.

At Ahsan Memorial, one of our memorable functions was the Mehfil e Samaa organized by Wajeeh Bhai and Saleem Shah. Where I could see the wajd and trance in which this tradition was followed with an enthusiasm and commitment that is now being lost in the more commercial and crude versions with which we are surrounded. After the event we talked abou having a mehfil on Rumi and his thought which never materialized as we got lost in our mundane, and busy lives. I think whenever an idea comes, we should pounce on it and make it reality. Who knows how much time we have left.

Wajeeh ul Hasan Ansari (1956-2013) had assumed the role and mettle of his father. His humility increased, his sweetness (mit-haas) style increased, and he was forever ready with help and support for people without their asking. The owner of the company where he was working for the last several years was remembering him that I had lost my right hand. I don't know what I would do now because I would earlier freely travel abroad for long periods of time secure in the knowledge that Wajeeh Sb would be taking care of the things with sincerity and integrity. A great loss for the sisters and for us and the humanity. May Allah give him peace and a abode of the highest "daraja". May Allah grant his children the strength and the character to take forward the illustrious legacy left behind by their ancestors.