Author Topic: Shah Jahan  (Read 16639 times)

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Offline Aafaque Ehsen

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Shah Jahan
« on: May 07, 2017, 06:51:09 PM »



Shah Jahan







 This is not a shrine.


Shrines are for the dead. Shah Jahan’s presence with my family is palpable and vibrant.                                                 
 
The question, however, remains that how do we live with a presence that is not there?
 
Professor Dr. Syed Shah Jahan Gilani, of the KEMC, The BMSI Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, The Punjab Postgraduate Medical Institute, The Sheikh Zayed Medical Institute and the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation succumbed to Chronic Myeloid Leukemia in the early hours of the morning of 16th July 2008. Among other things, he was Pakistan’s first specialized biochemical pathologist and also part of the team that carried out Pakistan’s first kidney transplant and added a new chapter to the annals of medical progress in the country.
 
For me, none of the above mattered, and when any aspect of Shah Jahan’s professional life came into play in our relationship, it was for the help of some seriously ill indigent person. The state of health delivery in Pakistan being what it is, such occasions turned up very often, and never was there a time when Shah Jahan did not extend a helping a hand.
 
My meeting with him was purely a chance occurrence. I had migrated to Karachi from Lahore in June 1976. Those were the days when after being battered by continuous assaults in Pakistan, people who harbored progressive leanings were trying to regroup.


 Barely more than a year before I left Lahore, I had come across at a bookshop, again by chance, a group of people, mostly medical doctors my age, (we were all in our late twenties then). From this group I learned a lot.
 
When I arrived in Karachi, I was a total stranger and friendless in the city. I wanted, in fact needed to find some like-minded people. The easiest way I could think of at that time was to frequent bookshops. It was at a bookshop that I met a person who knew Shah Jahan and who, after a few meetings with me with me, offered to introduce me to some of his friends.
 
By that time we were in the fourth month of Zia ul Haq’s martial law. Elections announced after the proclamation of martial law had been postponed indefinitely. There was an impenetrable pall of silence over the country. All political activity had been proscribed. Such was the time when on a dank and wet late November evening, I was introduced to Shah Jahan.
 
The period from August 1977 till 1985 when the party-less elections were eventually held, has not been yet documented by any historian worth the name. It was a period of midnight knocks and unexplained disappearances; of custodial killings, of summary trials on trumped up charges, and judicial murders.
 
It was also the period of unremitting rounds of combined study, of educating oneself about the ground realities obtaining at the time, and of attempting to create awareness of the imperative nature of democracy, social justice and peace for Pakistan.
 
In mid-1978 and early 1979 two events happened on Pakistan’s western borders that altered Pakistan’s geo-political matrix beyond recognition.
 
The first was the Saur revolution in Afghanistan in mid-1978.
 
The second was the overthrow of the Iranian monarchy by the Iranian people and ascent to power of the clergy in Iran.
 
This is not the place to dwell on these events. This piece concerns my relationship with Shah Jahan. Mention of these events became necessary because these provided the political, social and psychological underpinnings to the relationship that evolved between Shah Jahan and me.
 
For me, more a student than an activist, those were halcyon days. Our meetings, the discussions and debates were like a spring of fresh, clean water for one suffering from a long and abrasive thirst.
 
All the above is now no more but a memory. There was, however, much more to Shah Jahan than just his commitment to democracy, justice and peace. As a friend he was caring and sharing beyond measure. I have often been the recipient of his benevolence and the favours he has done to me are legion.
 
He lived his life to a rigid moral code. As long as private practice was not allowed to government employee doctors and teaching hospital faculty, he did not practice. If he borrowed a book from someone, he made it a point to return it, and he never marked the book, took copious notes instead. As a teacher and guide, he has left behind a corps of students whose loss is probably of the same magnitude as mine.
 
The SIUT had needed him to steer their biochemical pathology department to the levels of excellence he had inculcated at other institutes. He came to Karachi in November 2006, and in January 2007 was diagnosed for Chronic Myeloid Leukemia. It has no cure. It took him away.
 
But did it? I don’t believe it did. He was the sort of person who plant themselves in every heart they come close to.




 
 
 
Have forgotten writing . . .


Offline Mavreen Edwardes

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Re: Shah Jahan
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2017, 05:59:28 PM »


You know Aafaque, you should put something down about yourself too, preferably at the #aes .

Offline Erfaa Ehsen

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Re: Shah Jahan
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2017, 05:36:45 PM »



We all miss him so.

Offline Nimrata Chandramukhi

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Re: Shah Jahan
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2017, 06:22:20 PM »



I wish I had met him.