HDF's Medical Facility and the Jehangir Khan Story
By M. Majid Ali, CPA
New York

"This is my last tournament. Let me go to Australia for this and then I will concentrate on you. You can do it." This was the counsel to the young Jehangir Khan from Torsam Khan, his older brother, squash coach, mentor and himself ranked number 13 in the world. But Jehangir's life changed forever when Torsam tragically died on court and did not return.
Initially he gave up squash but was finally convinced to carry on for that is what Torsam would have wanted. Cousin Rehmat Khan, himself ranked in the top dozen players in the world, took him into his home and sacrificed his own career to become Jehangir's full time coach.
That's all Jehangir needed. He practiced day and night with a fitness regimen that included waking up at 5am, running 10 miles, sprinting 400 yards, practicing 100 shot rallies with his coach, weight training and height climbing. His fitness became legendary; his legs like oak and his Pathan frame began to fire like the pistons of a combustion engine presenting an almost superhuman challenge that no other player could withstand. The strategy was simple; do not hit winners but keep the ball in play at an astounding pace for as long as possible.
And the boy wonder from the outskirts of Peshawar swept all before him. He won an astonishing 555 consecutive matches over an unbeaten period of five years plus 10 British Opens and six World Opens; the longest winning streak in Squash history or perhaps any other sport. Long-time opponents like Gamal Awad had publicly stated; "We will bring him down" only to be thoroughly demoralized in future encounters. Jehangir had effectively converted his early tragedy into becoming (as his name suggests) the "Conqueror of the entire world".
Several factors went into the Jehangir Khan story. "I did it because of him. It was his aim to make me world no. 1". Rather than be permanently disheartened by his elder brother's death, Jehangir did his best to fulfill his dream and dedicates his career to his brother. Cousin Rehmat Khan sacrificed his own career to train Jehangir and took him into his home. And with this mix of inspiration, sacrifice, guidance, sheer hard work and "yes" the availability of facilities, Jehangir propelled himself to the zenith of Squash history. The squash facilities provided by the PAF in the Peshawar area and the long-term vision of people like Air Marshal Nur Khan must also be mentioned in this context which helped nurture a long series of Squash champions from the Peshawar area.
Inspiration, sacrifice and personal effort are not lacking in Pakistan but basic educational and sporting facilities are. In fact after the devastating 2005 earthquake a large portion of the infrastructure of northeast Pakistan was lost. And this is where organizations like the Human Development Foundation (HDF.com) are working to restore and rebuild. Initial relief efforts from 2005 are being followed up by the construction of simple medical facilities and schools to help people get back on their feet. The Field Medical Center (FMC) created by HDF in the village of Bugna of Union Council Danna in the Muzaffarabad area is one such example of the various relief and rebuilding projects taken on by HDF in the earthquake area.
Shortly after the earthquake, HDF established a skeleton Field Medical Center on October 16th, 2005 and later transformed it into an established facility with proper structure in place. With its substantial history of building schools, organizing villages and providing micro-credit in Pakistan HDF has the personnel and knowledge base to contribute to relief and development in a meaningful long-term way. Through its network of contacts in Pakistan and the United States, HDF was able to arrange material resources from within and without the country. Nearly 20 doctors (mostly US-based) volunteered to serve in the earthquake zone.
The report filed by Dr. Mazhar Abbasi (HDF-Program Manager Health) as of January 16th, 2006 states that there were about 150-200 patients visiting the center each day. As of Jan 15th, a total of 4,672 males and 6,452 females had benefited from the facility. They have been treated for fractures, dislocations, bruises, body aches etc. Hundreds of IV fluids have been given while 438 patients were admitted for a period of over 24 hours. Approximately 4,190 patients have been seen in their homes and have either received first aid or moved to the FMC. A total of 253 patients have been provided ambulance services while about 201 have been referred to tertiary health care centers. Another 2,969 people were provided with psychotherapy services. Administratively the facility is managed by a mixture of paid and volunteer staff including doctors, dispensers, lady health visitors, trainees, support staff and drivers.
It has long been observed by HDF and other organizations working in the area that the people are very hard working and self-motivated to rebuild on their own and only need the tools to do so. The focus then is to provide the self-sustaining tools of education, healthcare and basic housing to help people help themselves. The success of this formula is evident from the multiple projects being run successfully by HDF in Pakistan (HDF.com). The fact that many volunteer doctors from the US and elsewhere have chosen to serve via the HDF platform also shows that HDF is well organized and has the local network needed to carry on the effort.
A lot of people were beset by tragedy during the 2005 earthquake and are looking to rebuild. They only need the tools. HDF is providing these tools. But in turn HDF needs help from all those who believe in the Jehangir Khan story that converts tragedy into triumph by providing opportunity and tools to the people who need it most. Jehangir was also born a sickly child but was fortunate to receive medical help. As a teenager, he lost his elder brother and coach. Fortunately this was followed by a window of opportunity as cousin Rehmat Khan provided the coaching and the facilities that he needed to thrive. The rest is history.
To help, visit HDF.com or call 1-800-705-1310. Tax deductible donations (IRS tax ID # 36-4184940) can be made online or checks made payable to "Human Development Foundation" and mailed to:
HDF
1350 Remington Road
Suite W
Schaumburg IL 60173
(The author is a CPA working in Investment Banking in New York. He can be reached at Indus000@hotmail.com)

 


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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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