Abdul Sattar EDHI

(Rizwan Tahir, Karachi)

People born in slums or royalty, nurture in petrified or glorified atmosphere, tirelessly work for the fairy tale filled with nonexistent glimpse of alluring tomorrow, wish to marry a young goddess, struggle for 6 digit salary, 5 bedrooms bungalow, 4 cars, 3 penthouse flats, 2 kids, 1 wife, at ugly age-wish to be remembered by millions and eventually die away from the loved ones in a deserted lush place. That’s the life cycle of 90% people living in Pakistan, and many may get the desired quanta during lifespan, but no one writes them in the book of immortal human beings. Why would anyone remember anyone who spends life in an elegant glass away from helpless and needy? Other 10% includes the infants die due to malnutrition-handicap, who rigidly spend their life on one bed and the ones who sacrifice their lives for the betterment of humanity. Those sacrificers will be remembered until judgment day.

Riaz Uddin remembers that petrified dark day in 1965, when a careening truck through the crowded bazar of Karachi deadly struck his 10 years old daughter-“Zubida”. He recalls helplessly standing over her blood stained body waiting for the miracle to happen, no one form the public or officials came. While, the little sinless flower agonizingly died after struggling with the pain of mortality. Even after her terrified death, no one came to help the helpless father. As the news reached out, a small man in an urgency reached with a white truck and picked the dead body from ground. Riaz narrated with tears that there wasn’t any one from the mob of millions who could help him except that small man. That man made arrangements for the body to be washed and wrapped in white Muslim burial cloth. That man was “Abdul Sattar EDHI”, having one ambulance (truck) at that time and aiming to help every helpless. Riaz said, “When I looked the dedication and humility of the beard man, I devoted myself to escort him in his gravest journey”.

Before migrating to Pakistan, his family used to live in Bantva (India) and Edhi was born there. Edhi never liked the school and formal studies. He once said, “My mother cultivated the seed of social work in me when she used to give me two pennies, one for myself and the other for someone in need”. After leaving the school at the age of 13, he started selling the pencils, pens, matchboxes etc. in the Bantva bazaar and in the evenings, he used to read the newspapers of that time like Bombay samachar and Sandes magazine to educate himself. The vague idea of revolution got apparent after reading the Muslim Gujarat gazette. He learned the concept of capitalist and oppressed from the epic history of Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA). At that time, his immature ceaseless thoughts became revolutionary and decided to bring a revolution. He used to read the reflecting biographies of immortal tycoons. Abuzar Ghafafari had fascinated him until his death.

Edhi initiated his voluntary work of welfare in 1951 by opening a small clinic for underprivileged masses. At that time, he had no resources to enhance the setup. He worked day in day out with zeal and zest to make a center of humanitarian excellence for the needy and rejected ones. By the time, he was able to get support from his elder brother. Initially, his involvement made Edhi very relaxed. But, when the volunteer work gained a lot of appreciations from renowned people, his brother accompanied by a slovenly clique started a conspiracy to get rid of the Edhi. Many times, his elder brother hampered him and became heavy-handed and physical. To cop up the situation, Edhi took the issue to the court and after some hearings, Edhi got cleared from the convictions. Then, Edhi fired his brother from trustees and decided not to involve any external personal in the trustees’ panel.

After that incident, Edhi laid the foundation of “Edhi Foundation” by announcing his first family the only trustees of the organization. After a very creepy start, but with the Edhi’s sincerity of the purpose, Edhi Foundation has now acquired 7000 workers and more than 250 centers across the country. Mission started with a small dispensary to help the maximum needy has shaped to be the largest social welfare system in any Asian country. Not only dispensaries, Edhi foundation has established the maternity homes, mental asylums, homes for physical handicapped, orphanages, adoption centers, mortuaries, shelters for runaway children, care centers for battered and divorced women and soup kitchens. Edhi ambulance service is also a very impressive achievement in the cap of foundation. The foundation owns hundreds of ambulances working across the nation. It is on record that more than four thousand emergency calls are received in a day and the reach time is approximately ten minutes.

“My mission and vision is to serve the humanity regardless of the color, caste, creed, religion, nationality and political affiliation. My only aim is to provide the free of cost services like medicines, food and education to the oppressed people. Why oppressed always suffer from the dilemma of poverty? Poor man should have equal rights like any other rich and to me; serving poor is just like praying. All the human beings are equal and should be treated with equality, love and respect”.
Edhi had accomplished the goal with the sincerity of purpose, dedication of perseverance and a notion of truthfulness. Edhi led the team by his examples. He tried to provide the synergistic environment to the team and resolved their issues with empathic communication. He lived the whole life in providing the comfort and console to the anguished souls.

He was vainly against the prevalent belief system of serving a particular group of helpless people. That’s why he preached the message of “Humanity over religion, sect, nationality and color” until his death. Most of the time, he had to face severe reluctance from the absurd ones due to his nationalist humanitarian slogans.
“I was made criminal, by the Law, not because of what I had done, but because of what I stood for”. (Nelson Madiba Mandela)

However, all those hardships had waved off due to his untiring substance and extremely committed team. Edhi had given his team very subsistence pays and never allowed himself to take public exchequer. He detained Edhi foundation from any governmental support or other support except public.

Edhi had never ever looked for appreciation or award throughout his life for his commendable services for the mankind. Once an institute in Karachi wished to reward him with the appreciation award for his services. He replied, “I don’t want my two hours to be wasted for some meaningless award”. Although he was so against of the awards but in-spite of his reluctance, he had been rewarded with many prestigious awards. His accomplishments include Ramon Magsaysay award for public service (1986), Lenin peace award, Peace prize award from USSR, Hamdard award, Guinness book of world, International Balzan prize for humanity, Peace award (Mumbai, Hyderabad, Delhi), Gandhi peace award, UNESCO peace award and many other. He had also awarded with honorary doctorate degree from institute of business administration (IBA).

I may not be alive to see the society full of misfit rebels-round pigs in square holes, changing the lives by following the humanitarian approach. I may not be able to see a tolerant society where all sects live under the same roof and share the food. But, I am sure the teachings of Dr. Abdul Sattar Edhi will enlighten us in making this divided nation, a united nation.
I am a mirror to the blind,
I am a hope to the downtrodden,
I am a father to the orphans,
I am a brother to the battered and divorced woman,
I am a God to the mortuaries,
I am a bastard to the prevalent system believers,
I am an angle to the issueless parents,
I am a protector to the widows,

Those who don't know me:
I am Abdul Sattar EDHI and
Humanity is my religion.

References:
• //www.szabist.edu.pk/Publications/Books/LeadershipBK-CP-09.pdf
• //www.pakistanadoption.com/publications/achildoftheirchoosing.pdf

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