By Dr Ghayur Ayub
I was out of station for almost two months; hence the delay in my short and long write-ups. During this time, I came across many people but would like to talk about two I had discussions with, and one whom I missed talking to. They are; a corporate executive; a scientist; and a cardiologist. They all have been very close to me for various reasons.
At the end of my travel, when I reached home, a message on the land line phone was waiting for me. It said, “Ghayur, ring me in half an hour or tomorrow morning. I want to talk to you about me.” It was the cardiologist. He sounded serious. I picked up the phone and rang him. His son answered. When I asked him about his father; he told me that he had passed away. It was the same day he left the message on my phone. When I inquired about the cause of his death; he said he went to sleep and never woke up. Upon further query, he said he looked and felt all right before going to bed. The news hit me hard and I quietly went to my room and cried for a long time. He was a gem of a person and kind man with extraordinary qualities. In his profession, he could have made millions but he opted to help and treat poor without greed or self grandeur. As a result, he never had a lot, however his heart was full of wealth and he lived happily with a contented soul.
He got strength by helping poor patients and his patients always poured out their hearts praying for his well-being. He was a heart patient himself and had had four open heart surgeries. After the last surgery, the cardiac surgeon told him jokingly that he didn't have any vein or artery left for further bye-pass procedures. He winked at him and said, “Don’t worry doc., I won't come back!” That was five years ago. He never went back to him; instead he chose to go somewhere else. One day, I asked him to go with me to the shrine of Bari Imam. His reply was simple. “My shrine shines in my heart.” There was depth of contentment as he spoke. I never invited him again. Now that he left us, I wish I could have asked him to let me enter into his shrine to find what was in it which made him so fulfilled. For that matter, what was he going to tell me on that fateful day; I will never know. God bless his soul.
Then, there is this corporate executive who had reached to a pinnacle of his career in a prestigious corporation of the world. Throughout his life, he leaned on his capabilities and intelligence which took him to a position many would only dream of. After his retirement he wanted to work with the same zeal but found it difficult to cope because now, he wasn't the boss. One thing led to another and he started going into psychoses and depression. His family got worried and investigated him for all kind of diseases from CJD to Alzheimer’s. The results turned out to be normal. But, did it improve his mental health? No. When I met him, I found his mental abilities and memory were intact, though he had lost fair amount of weight. In the discussions it became apparent that his doctor had told him that he could have dementia. This possibility stuck in his mind. Jokingly, I told him “Don't trust these doctors because three years ago they had diagnosed Asif Ali Zardari with dementia and look where he is today.” He looked into my eyes not appreciating my joke. Having typical bureaucratic mind, leaning all his life on his own judgments, it was difficult to remove this freshly engraved self created thought on the turf where he was not in control for the first time.
The third person is a scientist, who always calculates everything scientifically. For him, there is no such thing as “supernatural”. He puts such phenomenon in the bag of “coincidences”. He is a strong believer in cause and effect, and like a typical scientist believes in observations, experimentations, deductions, additions and results; which he calls “theories”. For him, there is no place of unknown powers in the working of the world or organized religion. In a way he can be termed an “atheist”. Having said that, he made one personality as a guide in his life and that personality is Imam Ali. Ali has become a role model to lean on during the time of needs. All his talks start with Ya Ali Madad and ends with Ya Ali Madad; so strong is his leaning on Ali. When challenged on his leaning, he provided explanations scientifically saying that he respected Ali for his knowledge, humility and love for humanity; nothing more nothing less. According to him it has nothing to do with the theological notions people link Ali with. Whatever the reason, his leaning on Ali is not only committal but contagious. This commitment has made him contented in his business, individual and family life.
Here are three people (one is no more with us) in different fields of life, leaning on something or someone contouring their lives. One followed his heart, the other his intelligence and the third a saintly personality from the past. The two who leaned on something other than their professional skills lived contentedly and the one who leaned on his own skills lost control over his life. He created self grandeur as an enemy within his-self and imprisoned his soul in destructive illusions.
When I look at the working of the politicians in Pakistan, I find an obtuse similarity in their mindset to that of the above-mentioned corporate executive. Though, all the politicians claim to lean on religious belief but, in reality, vast majority have committed themselves to the political games linked to corruption and deceit. They call it shrewd politics. They use their skills before the elections filling people with false hopes and leaving them high and dry after the elections are over. The democracy thus becomes a holy cow which they do not want to derail even if it brings lawlessness, poverty, hunger and despair in the society. The game goes on. The public start looking for a saviour again and again.
This time, they have started looking at Nawaz Sharif to be the one. When he was asked about the political betrayal by Asif Ali Zardari, he argued that he wanted to save the democracy. What democracy, one may ask. The type, he signed with late BB in CoD to evolve on public welfare but repeatedly trashed by AAZ? That democracy died with assassination of BB. He and late BB had managed to break away from the past politics of non-principles, while AAZ keeps marching on the old path of corrupt practices. It is high time, NS lives to the spirit of CoD and comes out openly in favour of the welfare of the poor lighting their hearts with his. He did it last year, when he followed the light in his heart and, against all odds, came out with the people in support of independent judiciary. Pakistan needs him to lean on what is at the altar of the shrine in the public hearts and not what is in the mind of a few politicians around him. After all, he seemingly has turned into a statesman and believes in the principles of CoD which thrive on the public welfare. In this way, he can bring people out of their miseries and put them on the track of prosperity that he promises.