Dr. Farid A Malik |
Growing up on Mall Road was both interesting and rewarding. In the sixties, the ‘Janaza’ of Khaksar Leader Inayatullah Khan Mashriqi was massive while in the seventies Khawaja Muhammad Rafique funeral was very impressive. Despite being a Muslim League Child, I followed closely the political innings of Khawaja Sahib who was involved in right-wing politics closely associated with Jamaat-e-Islami.
He was an honest and upright politician who stood up to the politics of Ghulam Mustafa Khar. His resistance agitated ‘My Feudal Lord’. Finally, he was gunned down behind Assembly Chambers after a political rally. The family fell on hard times. In those days the civil administration and judiciary protected the rights of the activists as they were not involved in criminal activities.
Only those who struggle and maintain financial discipline survive but it has to be combined with the power of mind and pen.
In the partyless elections in 1985, Khawaja Sahib’s widow was elected member of the Punjab Assembly. She was one of the few members who came on a Rickshaw. Like her husband, honesty and integrity were the hallmarks of her politics. As Khawaja Saad Rafique and his brother are being tried for corruption, I was motivated to write this article. Coming from a noble background Saad Rafique has started to talk sense while the others around him remain senseless, in Persian the saying is; “ Uzar As Gunah Batar As Gunah” ( Denial of sin is worse than the sin )
In mid-nineties when I had started my consulting business, I met an investor. Masood Ahmad Sahib who had retired as Chief Engineer (Manufacturing) from Pakistan Railways (PR). He had graduated from Aligarh University and then in Civil Engineering from University of Engineering and Technology. By bending ordinary galvanised water pipes he had built low-cost bicycles of which there were two prototypes in his garage.
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Initially, he complained that his two sons have refused to work with him on this project as they prefer to work in air-conditioned offices instead of sweating with him. With this statement he uttered some very interesting words, “I have raised my boys on ‘Rizq-e-Halal’, there not a morsel (lukma) of haram in their body, they will always remain honest and upright”. I was impressed by his confidence. He also gave me his book titled “Dars-e-Quran”.
Later on I discovered that he was well known to my in-laws as they both belonged to the Railway family. His two sons Umair and Zubair did not pursue his dream they opted for degrees in Computer Sciences and Management and have done well in life. Umair stayed with Imran during the ‘Dharna’ but is now disillusioned with PTI. Zubair is settled in Dubai and has design rights of his father’s invention.
The Martial Law in 1958 disturbed the normal course of development pushing the country towards debt, corruption and nepotism.
They have both lived up to the standards set by a noble father Engr Masood Ahmad of PR. Unfortunately, many sons have crossed the floor moving from ‘Halal to Haram’ which raises the question why? The list is long that includes both the Khawaja Brothers (Saad and Salman Rafique) who are being tried for corruption. On the other extreme are individuals who were raised on ‘Haram’ as it was a way of life for them.
Unfortunately, the ‘Sarkari Leagues’ that were hurriedly cobbled together was a combination of both ‘Halal’ and ‘Haram’ boys but ultimately the ‘Haram’ dominated as it is more alluring and enchanting. In the sixties, Bhutto formed his People’s Party that attracted most able and clean politicians. The same phenomenon was repeated by Kaptaan in the nineties that challenged dirty politics based on vested self-interests.
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In the Law Bars in UK, after-dinner discussions take place that guides young minds who sit around the table, fortunately, as a family, we had a tradition of such discussions. There were always extreme viewpoints. My father the entrepreneur always insisted on struggle and financial discipline while my mother and her brother (My Mammu) talked about the importance of soft skills and the intellectual depth without which life would be barren. There was poetry and references to Saadi and Hafiz.
Those were the formative years of the nation. While some were struggling to establish themselves in the new land, the others were setting the progressive cultural course of the nation. Both had an important role. The Martial Law in 1958 disturbed the normal course of development pushing the country towards debt, corruption and nepotism. Upright businessmen like my father had to struggle twice as hard as the rules of business had changed.
Umair stayed with Imran during the ‘Dharna’ but is now disillusioned with PTI. Zubair is settled in Dubai and has design rights of his father’s invention.
My progressive intellectual Mammu was devastated and his life fell apart as there was no room left for progressives like him. It taught me several lessons in life. Only those who struggle and maintain financial discipline survive but it has to be combined with the power of mind and pen. Good education always pays but the ability to seek opportunity and the capability to earn an honest/dignified living was equally paramount, my father used the term “ Mazdoori “ ( Hard labour ) which my young mind could not comprehend then as he was financially strong.
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At the end of the day bills have to be paid and food placed on the table. Success comes through honest hard work. Those who can struggle and live within means have no need to compromise or to cross the line from ‘Halal’ to ‘Haram’. Then the words of wisdom of my mother ring through my mind, ‘Raaziq Khuda Hai’ (God provides livelihood) but with that approach, I also took inspiration from my father’s unbending will to struggle till the job got done.
He fought back with all his resources, never shied away from confrontation, uncompromising on principles. In short, those who know how to struggle and have faith never cross the line. They not only survive they also succeed in life and make a difference. They leave a legacy and are remembered like Khawaja Muhammad Rafique (Shaheed) while his two sons will be soon forgotten for crossing the line.
Dr. Farid A. Malik is Ex-Chairman, Pakistan Science Foundation. The article was first published in The Nation and has been republished with the author’s permission. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.