BY BILAL AHSAN DAR
On 31st January 2023, the angel of death snatched from me and my siblings our mentor, guide, hero and a lovely father. His transition to hereafter has left a void that can never be filled.
Mohammad Ahsan Dar aka Ahsan lala and Ahsan kakh was born in 1949 at the Village Ashpora in Qaziabad area of Handwara.
After doing his matriculation in 1966, he worked in Block Development Department for a brief period and later quit the job. The Almighty had a better plan for him to serve his society and humankind of the area.
Today, he’s remembered as the epitome of selflessness, ethics and dedication. He developed a rapport with a doctor from Srinagar serving in our village who persuaded him to open a pharmacy in the village as there was none in the entire area.
Abajan, as we lovingly called him, was quick to agree and then, helped by the same medico, he opened a pharmacy after getting a license in mid 70s.
Without any diploma or basic training, it was a challenge to deliver in this field, but Allah had blessed him quick learning ability and an impressive art of execution, which meant the subsequent doctors who delivered at this place were also impressed by his passion and work ethics.
I believe he was chosen by the Almighty for this noble work at a far off place devoid of any facilities and, Alhamdulillah, he delivered to the best of his capacity. Abajan served for nearly forty years up to 2007-08 when his health began to deteriorate.
He went for Hajj pilgrimage in 2007 and after that left attending the pharmacy and handed over the responsibility to us. In the 70s and the 80s when there were very little or no facilities in rural areas, he would cater to patients around the whole area of upper Qaziabad and Rafiabad.
He was blessed with dast-e-shifa. Come 90s and the challenge was tougher to work in all the chaos and tension around, but he never gave in. He would attend to the sick amid crackdowns, encounters and civil curfews.
It wasn’t easy in those tumultuous times, but he never whimpered. In 2000, our house was damaged which made us to migrate from our place for a year and on return we had to start from scratch and he showed us how to rise from the ashes. His life was always a challenge and struggle for his principles and probably for his political and social belief as well.
Even today, as we carry on his services from the same medical store, his lessons on how to earn a living honestly and serve the humanity are etched in our heart and mind. His pearls of wisdom mean a world to us.
Parvez Majeed, Journalist turned academician, who is a neighbor and spent his good time at his native place before settling in Srinagar, in his tribute to our father said: “ For decades, Ahsan kakh was the only hope for those who needed medical care.
On foot or on horseback, whatever the weather, he always went to see the ailing in almost all the villages of upper Qaziabad solely because of his sense of belonging to the people. His death is a huge loss and the end of a chapter in the history of our area.”
He raised us to the best of his capacity and always taught us to side with truth. An active participant in various social works, he has immensely contributed to every development that took place in this area and his village.
One of them is the establishment of a well-known public school in the village, known as Iqbal Memorial Public School, Ashpora. He would always encourage us to do something for the society in whatever we could.
Syed Mehraj-u-Din Geelani, a renowned social worker and former Zonal Education Planning Officer, in his tribute, remarks Abajan’s contribution to the area in medical aid and all other development works. He describes him as an intelligent, creative and helpful personality of the area whose absence would be felt for a long time.
Abajan was an avid radio listener. His interests were global and regional politics, current affairs and cricket. He would hardly miss any important news bulletin.
Back in the 90s, he would listen to BBC Urdu Service and other news transmissions with keen punctuality. He had never played cricket but would watch it on TV.
When the final match of the T20 WC this year was played between Pakistan and England, he was discharged from the hospital some five days before that. Still under observation, I broke the news of the match to him and wanted to watch it with him in the afternoon.
He was excited and agreed to watch, Just at the halfway mark of the match his condition deteriorated and we had to shift him immediately to hospital which meant we both missed the second innings.
Abajan’s another passion and hobby was farming and gardening. He would spend a good time at our farms and apple orchards. He was a hard-worker and would oversee the planting, weeding and harvesting of paddy and fruits. He was very creative in growing vegetable gardens in the farm and around the house.
A person with unwavering strength and will power as he was, he was also very soft-spoken. He would often quote Allama Iqbal and Ali Mohammad Shabaz in his conversations.
Bashir Ahmad Qureshi, a retired lecturer and a renowned social worker from Mawar Handwara writes in his tribute to Abbajan: “He was a prominent personality and, as he was close to my father, I too was privileged to be close to him. His demise has created a massive void.”
Abajan lived a life of meaning and purpose. His life was a struggle and he devoted his total self to his family and people. He never cared for himself and just when we thought of taking over and giving him some peace, the Almighty called him to rest in eternal peace.
A massive cardiac failure and he, with a smile on his face, responded with labaik. Despite heavy snowfall, with roads blocked and shivering temperatures, thousands of people travelled on foot from distant places to attend his janaza and give him a tearful farewell.
Bilal Ahsan Dar is a teacher by profession.
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.
The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.