Ambassador Alam Brohi mentions ebbs and The Rigours of Life
The Rigours of Life – I lost my second child, Khadija, on Monday, 6 March, in Larkana. It was all sudden and quick; leaving us with no option other than to bow our heads to the will of the Creator. The loss of a child causes sharp, deep and lasting pain. She was hardly 50.
As it goes, life is not a bed of roses. It has its comforts and is also strewn with thorns. It affords opportunities for earning fame in selfless living, being a useful citizen, a good human being, a kind and helpful neighbour, a good parent and above all, a sincere and honest public leader. Its rigours are withstood by patience, courage, resilience and hope. Hope is pivotal to human life. It fends off despair, despondency and depression. The Quranic way of life is centred on: “Don’t despair from the blessings of Allah” (Al-Quran). This is a simple message for a believer to not abandon hope. There is always dawn after darkness provided one makes course corrections and begins afresh with a renewed will and determination. This applies equally to individuals, societies and nations.
Down memory lane, I have witnessed the miraculous power of this Quranic formula going through the transitional moments of difficulties and the dawning of happy occasions. We were quite young when our father passed away; leaving my mother alone to tend to four of us. I was adopted by my aunt, the elder sister of my father who put me in the nearby primary school headed by Late Salahuddin Brohi, a relative and teacher. I never looked back; passed my middle school in another small town in Balochistan and took admission to the Municipal High School Shahdadkot in Sindh. I did well in the matriculation and got a modest scholarship.
Having done my Intermediate from the commercial college Sukkur I wanted to join the University of Sindh Hyderabad. The financial hardships came my way as my cousin, Abdul Rahim Brohi, who looked after my education was a low-paid employee and had a large family to sustain. I never despaired and did my graduation in the first division from the university as an external candidate. I got a job in the Municipal Committee of Larkana. I never abandoned the reins of industry and kept on reading. After four years I qualified for the Central Superior Services Competitive Examination in 1978 and got into the Foreign Service of Pakistan.
I was still an undergraduate when I had three children from my first wedlock – two daughters and a son. My son, Mumtaz, born in 1975, graduated from NED College Karachi. My two daughters could not go beyond matriculation. This is one of the biggest regrets in my life. Early marriages in the tribal tradition are a curse and should be crusaded against with full force. Early in the 1990s, my daughters were married within the family. I have my youngest child -Saima from my second wife. Her mother, a kidney patient passed away in 1999 in Portugal. I brought her up as a single parent. She did her graduation from Z.A. Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology Karachi. She works with the Government of Sindh. Her husband is a banker.
The shocks of life never end and keep afflicting us until we are confined to mother earth. Asadullah Ghalib had his doubts about eternal peace there too: “Mar kar bhi chen na paya to kidhar Jaenge.” My child, Khadeeja lived in Larkana in my old house for the education of her two sons. Unfortunately, we lost her husband in July 2020 in reaction to a drug. I shifted her to Shahdadkot to live in the upper portion of our house with her children. The ground floor remained with her elder sister.
We all helped her in coping up with the hardships of single parent. She had a bout of pneumonia with her sugar level surging to 800 on Friday 3 March affecting her kidneys. She was taken to Larkana for hospitalisation. On Monday, her brother, Mumtaz rushed from Karachi to Larkana to shift her to the megacity. They arranged a fully equipped ambulance and a doctor for the 7-hour-long journey. The Almighty had a different plan. The angel of death was quicker than our toil to save her. She breathed her last in the evening that day before she could set on the journey to Karachi leaving us to mourn her untimely demise. My daughter Saima, her husband, and my two grandchildren left Karachi past two in the morning for our native town Shahdadkot and reached well in time to take part in her funeral rites. She was laid to rest next to her mother who had passed away in December 2015.
Khadija was a unique child – brave, opinionated and strong-willed but caring and loving at the same time. She always tried to have her way. Sometimes, I prevailed upon her to change her decisions. She loved her relatives in the village and enjoyed sharing their sorrows and happy moments, and trying to help them in her way.
I was overwhelmed by messages of condolence and prayers from relatives, friends and colleagues which meant a lot to us in this hour of sorrow and grief and strengthened our courage to withstand this enormous loss. My granddaughter Rimsha, who left for Canada on 24 January to join her in-laws and continue her higher studies there, sent me a message hoping that I might be staying strong. “I would have to be strong because I have to look after my other children”, I answered her. She always encourages me to keep writing.
Our energy, our knowledge, our intellect, our pen and even our life, as good and honest citizens, are meant to help better the life within our family, community and society. This, as I understand, is the ultimate purpose of this life by the Quranic tenets and humanist philosophies. Goodbye my dear child, Khadija. You will remain in our hearts and souls forever. TW