As 2016 ends, it hits me hard when I realise Pakistan has lost so much this year. But alongside these many deaths, the death of Abdul Sattar Edhi left the nation in too much grief. Titled as Pakistan’s ANGEL OF MERCY, Edhi Sahab can safely be the person of the year and has been for Pakistan since decades now.
It’s been five months since Pakistan incurred this irreparable loss. It saddens me to even wonder if there will be another human being like Abdul Sattar Edhi. For those who don’t know, he was a true humanitarian. A person so honest and so simple that he had nothing to be afraid off. He seemed so content and satisfied with his life. His white-bearded face never lost that humble smile.
Edhi was the man who devoted more than 60 years of his life to sleepless nights and stale bread breakfasts, helping the poorest of the poor. He bathed the mentally challenged, picked up the rotten, buried the abandoned, and reached out to victims of natural calamities, violence and disaster.
His thought was beyond any caste, creed, religion and race. He was there for the white and the black, for the fanatic and for the atheist, for the pious and the sinner; every human being was equal in his eyes.
“My religion is serving humanity and I believe that all the religions of the world have their basis in humanity,” he said.
Despite the vast sums of money that passed through his foundation, Edhi always lived modestly with his family in a two-room apartment adjacent to the headquarters of his foundation. The Edhi Foundation still runs the world’s largest ambulance service and operates free nursing homes, orphanages, clinics, women’s shelters, and rehab centres for drug addicts and mentally ill individuals. It has run relief operations in Africa, Middle East, Eastern Europe and United States region where it provided aid following the New Orleans hurricane of 2005. In November 2011, Edhi was recommended for a Nobel Peace prize by the Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani.
On 8th July, 2016 he passed away leaving us a lot poorer.
But many people said he is still with us. His wisdom and foresightedness was truly unparalleled. He was God gifted. Edhi was not only a name, he was a complete ideology. In an interview, he said:
“People have become educated, but they have yet to become human. I always say, be human and preach humanity. I started my humanitarian service by strictly observing four principles: truth, simplicity, hard-work and punctuality, and I repeat, be human, preach humanity and adopt humanity”
People on social media would often complain about how Edhi did not receive the Nobel Prize while other contemporaries did in a shorter time span. I was one of them as well. I wish he had gotten a Nobel Prize in his life…but then I believe that if we knew of him, we would realise the only prize he would consider accepting was one of more time and energy to serve his people. His work was so widely respected across Pakistan that armed groups and bandits were known to spare his ambulances. At the time of death, he donated all his organs to people in need and his last words being: “Take care of the poor people from my country.”
Edhi Sahab, there was never anyone like you, and perhaps never will be. The poor, the needy & the orphans lost their best friend the day you left mother earth. Your war was against prejudice, cruelty and ignorance. No politics, fatwas, greed or hunger for media was ever a hindrance in your noble cause. You were Pakistan’s brightest light and its most comforting feature. The nation will forever be in debt of your service. We cannot thank you enough.
Our tribute and honour to your sacrifice would be to adopt the same level of dedication and passion towards our people, fight for each other’s rights and share with the less fortunate what Allah has blessed us with. You have inspired so many hearts to follow your footsteps, and we hope to be even half the men you were. RIP always.