Leaning on Someone or Something
By Dr Ghayur Ayub
London , UK
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 landline 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 up. 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; the answer was that he went to sleep and never woke up. Upon further query, I learnt that he looked and felt well 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 a kind man with extraordinary qualities. He could have made millions but he opted to help and treat the 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 have 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 a manifest depth of contentment as he spoke. I never invited him again. Now that he has 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 has reached the pinnacle of career in a prestigious corporation. Throughout his life, he banked 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 deliver since 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 that his mental abilities and memory were intact, though he had lost a 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, hardly appreciative of my joke. Having a typical bureaucratic mind, having trusted his own judgment all life, it was difficult for him to remove the freshly engraved and 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 an organized religion. In a way, he can be termed an “atheist”. Having said that he made one personality a guide in his life and he 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. One followed his heart, the other his intelligenc,e 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, a vast majority of them has 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 society. The game goes on. The public starts looking for a savior 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 democracy. What democracy, one may ask? The type, he signed with late BB in CoD to work for public welfare but repeatedly trashed by AAZ? That democracy died with the 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 up to the spirit of CoD and comes out openly in favor of the welfare of the poor lighting their hearts with his own. 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 an 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 public welfare. In this way, he can bring people out of their miseries and put them on the road to prosperity that he has promised.