Vizier or Fakir

By Mowahid Hussain Shah

On the evening of June 19, the long life of Colonel Amjad Hussain Sayed came to an end at Lahore. Orphaned during his toddler years, he never saw his mother and barely saw his father. Yet, he never wallowed in victimology. Instead, he saw the Hand of Providence in that, perforce, he had to leave his village milieu to live amidst the joint family surroundings of his newly family-founded colony of Muslim Town, Lahore, set up as a counter-balance to the Hindu elite colony of Model Town, Lahore.
Faith in the Almighty empowered and sustained Shahji (as we called our father) throughout his life. Those who met him were touched by his honesty and humanity. He was generous to a fault and would display spontaneous hospitality beyond his capacity. He would offer to help someone in distress at the drop of a hat. He was bereft of material temptations and wants. Never in my life did I see Shahji shop and buy anything for himself. Nor did he ever ask me to get something for him. He abhorred sycophancy and the writing of anonymous letters.
Shahji was adamant in his belief in earning an honest livelihood (rizq-e-halal) and speaking truth to tyrants (kalma-e-haq). These two and his unrelenting admiration for Mohammed Ali Jinnah and devotion to the Holy Prophet (pbuh) were the cornerstone guiding principles of his life.
Having to fend for himself throughout his youth, his personal growth accelerated. He developed daring and initiative at an early age and was at the fulcrum of the youth awakening for the Pakistan Movement, within family and in his Islamia College years, during which he encountered Allama Iqbal and the Quaid.
Imbued with honor and self-respect, he strove for uprightness. Such was his ferocity of moral indignation that he would never shirk nor be intimidated from a fight with powerful quarters, whenever he saw wrongdoing and pharaonic arrogance. Through thick and thin, he cherished and sustained friendships, and had a disdain for transactional-driven relationships.
During my boyhood days in Jakarta, where Shahji served as Pakistan’s Military Attaché, I personally witnessed how his genuineness swayed luminaries like Indonesian Army Chief General Haris Nasution and General Gatot Soebroto, an Indonesian independence hero. For his path-breaking endeavors, legendary Indonesian leader President Sukarno decorated him with Indonesia’s highest award.
Shahji left us with simple life lessons: not to usurp, stand by those in trouble and needing help, keep promises, be punctual, return telephone calls, answer letters, and follow the straight path. He had no guile. His simple living was matched by high thinking.
When my sister Tazeen lay on her deathbed, Shahji would sit beside her for hours.
He refused to let his future be dictated by fear. Shahji was neither a schemer nor much of a planner, believing that the Ultimate Planner is the Almighty.
Ultimately, one is judged by what is left behind. Shahji didn’t install any sugar Mill, but he instilled far more than that in the Dill of those whose lives he touched and inspired. The real Daulat is Barkat. The Vizier may be forgotten but not the Fakir.


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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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