By Dr Ziauddin A. Ansari
It was December
16, 1963 when I was passing through San Francisco
on my way to Boulder, Colorado for presenting a
paper at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union.
My director at the Geophysical Institute had encouraged
me to spend some time in the so-called lower 48
states to have a feel of the real United States
as I had been all along in Fairbanks, Alaska for
my graduate studies since June 1959.
He encouraged me to take along my family on this
trip also so that we could have a vacation as well
as business. On the insistence of our American friend
we left behind our infant son Irfan (now a physician
at Tacoma, Washington) with them in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Our party consisted of myself, my wife Zohra (now
deceased) and my elder son Asif ( now Vice President
Energy Innovations at Pasadena, CA).
While we were in San Francisco visiting various
institutes such as UC Berkeley, SRI (Stanford Research
Institute,) my wife came up with a strange request.
She said she desperately needs to talk to somebody
in Urdu as she has not done so for so many years
while we were in Alaska where there were no Urdu-speaking
people! Sensing her intense desire, I got hold of
the telephone directory and started looking for
common Muslim names of Indo/Pak origin. I looked
under “Qureshi” and found several names.
I selected one of them at random and it turned out
to be that of Marghoob Qureshi.
I called him up and explained my predicament. His
immediate response was a very warm dinner invitation
to his place which if I remember correctly was at
Vanness and Geary, a short distance from the hotel
we were staying at. He gave us the necessary directions.
That was our first meeting with Marghoob Qureshi
and his wife Iffat, a delightful couple. When Marghoob
came to know that I was a graduate of Osmania University
he told me that he had a dear friend Syed Razi who
was also a graduate of Osmania and who lived in
San Jose. When I told him that Syed Razi was my
class fellow and a dear friend he immediately called
him to come over and meet his old friend from Osmania.
Within no time along came Syed Razi and his wife
Dr. Mahpara and we had a fantastic re-union. Marghoob
and Iffat insisted that we stay with them for the
night and catch up on the events that took place
after our last meeting in Hyderabad in February,
1949 when I migrated to Pakistan.
That was the beginning of a lasting friendship with
Marghoob and Iffat which I cherish to this day.
When we were leaving for Pakistan on October 23,
1964 Marghoob insisted that we spend at least a
month with him at his new place in Palo Alto. With
great difficulty and after much persuasion he finally
agreed to a one-week visit. We had a wonderful time
together with lavish treats like “Gajar ka
halva” and “Haleem” which he prepared
Whenever he visited Karachi he would invariably
call me and let me know his whereabouts and when
and where to pick him up for a re-union.
After my retirement from SUPARCO in 1990, I came
to the US as an immigrant.. I was visiting my niece
in Union City in the Bay area from where I called
Marghoob to let him know of my whereabouts. He rushed
immediately to meet us and his first question was
as to why he was not informed about our travel plans
before hand and the reason for our not staying with
From 1991 to 1995 we were in Chicago and lost contact
with him when suddenly I bumped into him at Chicago
at the wedding ceremony of my niece Bushra Yasmin
Ghazi, daughter of my cousin Dr. Abidullah Ghazi
and Dr. Tasneemah Ghazi of Iqra Educational Foundation.
On my enquiry he told me that Dr. Ghazi was a great
friend of his and he did not need an invitation
to attend the wedding ceremony of his daughter whom
he considers to be his own.
Marghoob was undoubtedly a man of pristine qualities.
When he took somebody as a friend he would remain
his friend for life and he would do everything in
his power to help him even if it meant a great deal
of hardships to himself. This is one of the attributes
of a true Momin as indicated by Allah SWT in Surah
Hashr: “Wa yutheroona ala anfusihim wa lau
kana behim khasasah.” Those are the people
who sacrifice their own needs to help out others.
I pray to Allah SWT to let his noble soul rest in
peace and grant him a cherished place in Jannatul
Firdous and bestow fortitude on his family to bear
this loss. Ameen
Maqdoor ho to khak se poochoon ke aey laeem
Tu ne who ganjhaiy garanmaya kia kiyey