Abdul Sattar Edhi: The Mahatma of Pakistan

Abdul Sattar Edhi (1928-2008)

Abdul Sattar Edhi (1928-2016) – Source: pakvoices.com

While it was scarcely believable in itself that a man like Abdul Sattar Edhi existed in the world, his residence and service in Pakistan make it an even more extraordinary occurrence. Not because there is something so wrong with Pakistan that such a man could not live here, but because of the persistent bigotry the nation has proudly exhibited over the years.

Not because there is something so wrong with Pakistan that such a man could not live here, but because of the persistent bigotry the nation has proudly exhibited over the years.

Or perhaps it was sheer good fortune that he emigrated to Pakistan from Gujarat.

But probably people like Abdul Sattar Edhi are needed in places like Pakistan. Where no one else in there to help the helpless.

When there wasn’t anyone to help anyone, there was Edhi. Who would not shy away from begging in order to help others if he needed to.

Words fail you for some people. I have been struggling for words for nearly a week now and have not been able to find any save one.

The more I think of it, the more it becomes clear. I can hardly think of a single human being who was even remotely close to being like Abdul Sattar Edhi.

Abdul Sattar Edhi was a Mahatma.

No one else even comes close. Probably Jesus, and Gandhi. The only person in modern times who fits is Malala.

And looking at Abdul Sattar Edhi, a strong case could be made that even the other two were probably not as great in terms of the magnitude of service. And the overwhelming evidence to support it due to his existence in the modern age of information.

He did not just provide free funeral to those without means, he also helped raise abandoned infants. He gave hsi own name to nameless babies. He provided food to the hungry, shelter to the homeless, hope to the hopeless.

You know, all those things that your God is supposed to do.

Source: Dawn

Source: Dawn

He showed us how to love in a world void of it, and how to live in a world where doing so is so hard.

And somehow found a partner who had it all figured out for him. It’s not easy living with a Mahatma.

Unknowingly, he became one of the last few factors uniting a nation bitterly divided on ethnic and linguistic lines, and ended up uniting them, if only for one last time, in Pakistani nationalism that many of them despise so much.

Yet his loss was a global one.

And it was again remarkable that we are lucky to call such a man a Pakistani citizen. And to have had him serve our nation, purely out of his dedication to humanity.

In a society filled with hateful, bigoted beasts thirsty for the blood of the innocent by accusing them of blasphemy, he even served those who declared him an infidel. He even served those who badmouthed him. And are still doing him, harming his legacy while he is gone.

He never discriminated.

Abdul Sattar Edhi was the Mahatma of Pakistan.

 

Who said saints were a thing of the past?

But probably now they are.

And we don’t even know how to mourn such a loss.

RIP Abdul Sattar Edhi.

——————————–

Please donate to the Edhi Foundation.

The Late Quaid Day Post: The Wrong Focus

Probably Amused by the Stupidity of his Nation

December 25, 2010

I wanted to use the occasion of Quaid Day for trumpeting my secret agenda of Secularism but I was a little disappointed by noticing something else.

This Quaid Day, I wanted to look around for something useful about the Quaid-e-Azam. But all I could find was “Islamic or Secular”.

Does it really matter whether Mr. Jinnah, the Quaid-e-Azam, was secular or not?

What if he was and what if he wasn’t?

One thing that I have learned from the man is that you should not giving up using your brain.

Trash the Islamic or Secular debate and just start working on this tip, and everything will be fine.

If he was not Secular, well you can be. You can think for your own, can’t you?

I’d like to focus on other qualities and values that he held. Let’s try to build Pakistan on those lines.

Regardless of what he said at any other place or any other point in history, this is what he said during his all-important address to the Constituent Assembly on August 11, 1947.

“We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one State.”

“You are free; you are free to go to your temples. You are free to go to your mosques or to any other places of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion, caste or creed –that has nothing to do with the business of the State.”

When I look at the 1973 constitution, unfortunately, that is not the case. And even apart from that Secularism or “Minorities” Debate, does not that also imply that all citizens should have equal access to the basic necessities, justice and rights?

Even that is not happening.

How come we missed that?

 

Since the Nation is so orgasmic about the Islamic v Secular Debate, Secularism is not an anti-Islam doctrine, and since Pakistan is a country of 97% Muslim population, any insecurity pertaining to that is baseless. I know many people who support Secularism are anti-religion, but that is their own problem. There is a Secular constitution in India and the United States which is not anti-religion. If you have been thinking that Secularism is anti-religion, you have been listening to too many atheists. Not that anything is wrong with that.

Furthermore, Pakistan was created for “the protection of the rights of the Indian Muslim community” in theory,  and that right is not violated by declaring that every citizen of the country should have equal rights, isn’t it?

“The great majority of us are Muslims. We follow the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed (may peace be upon him). We are members of the brotherhood of Islam in which all are equal in rights, dignity and self-respect. Consequently, we have a special and a very deep sense of unity. But make no mistake: Pakistan is not a theocracy or anything like it.”

He said that after Pakistan was created, on February 19, 1948.

It’s not a question of the protection of the rights of Indian Muslim community anymore. Now, it is a question of the protection of the rights of every single Pakistani, regardless of what religion or ethnicity they belong to. All the Muslim criticism of the Hindu caste system will not be justified if we have stratification in out society too. His comments made during a February 1948 broadcast.

“The constitution of Pakistan has yet to be framed by the Pakistan Constituent Assembly. I do not know what the ultimate shape of this constitution is going to be, but I am sure that it will be of a democratic type, embodying the essential principle of Islam. Today, they are as applicable in actual life as they were 1,300 years ago. Islam and its idealism have taught us democracy. It has taught equality of man, justice and fairplay to everybody. We are the inheritors of these glorious traditions and are fully alive to our responsibilities and obligations as framers of the future constitution of Pakistan. In any case Pakistan is not going to be a theocratic State to be ruled by priests with a divine mission. We have many non-Muslims –Hindus, Christians, and Parsis –but they are all Pakistanis. They will enjoy the same rights and privileges as any other citizens and will play their rightful part in the affairs of Pakistan.”

 

Was he not clear? He was. The problem is, Pakistanis are not.

It’s all about getting your textbook right.

This is where the Debate is sealed for me.

He endorsed Mustafa Kamal, the Ataturk. Really? That Anti-Muslim Secular Dictator? He clearly must be nuts. Well, he had his reasons. These words on March 4, 1948.

“The exploits of your leaders in many a historic field of battle; the progress of your Revolution; the rise and career of the great Ataturk, his revitalization of your nation by his great statesmanship, courage and foresight all these stirring events are well-known to the people of Pakistan.”

And remember, Mr. Jinnah opposed the Khilafat Movement?

Mullahs hated him anyway.

But what the hell, get the focus right.

This is what he said about building the nation.

The great man also said, this. June 15, 1948 in Quetta.

“We are now all Pakistanis–not Baluchis, Pathans, Sindhis, Bengalis, Punjabis and so on–and as Pakistanis we must feet behave and act, and we should be proud to be known as Pakistanis and nothing else.”

Not much comments on this one, it is self-explanatory, but only shames us on how ethnically polarized Pakistani politics have become.

Even dump Secularism, if it is so evil, can we just act on this saying? That is, Unite as a Nation.

We hardly act on anything the Quaid-e-Azam said & debate whether he was secular or not. Pakistanis need to grow up as a nation

And finally, in the words of fellow Fabian Socialist, and another great visionary and Statesman of the Indian Subcontinent, Jawaharlal Nehru, the ultimate tribute to the Quaid-e-Azam.

Jinnah is one of the most extraordinary men in history.

Both the men had almost similar approach to politics. India was lucky to have such an architect.

Pakistan was lucky to have Jinnah as the architect too, he just could not finish the building.

 

I don’t want to imply that he was a superman, far from it. But at least we can learn from him.

You even learn from your enemy they say.

Unity, Faith, Discipline.