Seven minutes with the Saint
Through the narrow, winding and crowded streets of Mithadar, fascinated by the colours and smells of the wholesale market, we walked with a sense of urgency and excitement. Some where amidst these most ordinary shops and dwellings lives the most extraordinary person of Pakistan, some one who has single handed contributed more to the cause of suffering humanity than his entire country put together. There are no distant signs or boards, and you do not discover the place till you are actually there. There are no guards, peons, or servants and the door of his office is wide open. As you enter and ask for the ‘Maulana’, you are simply pointed towards the room he uses as his office. There are no questions asked as to who, what and why we want to see him. There is no secretary, no receptionist, no PA and no aide. Behind a small table, with a register and a few basic items of stationary, sat the living Saint, the Messiah of the modern times. The simplicity and functionality of the man, his dress, his office, his surroundings and his approach to work is utterly demolishing for those who are used to the artificial corporate world. He has no HR managers, strategy developers or media consultants. He listens gently, understands immediately, speaks softly and decides instantly. He speaks very little. He is not philosophic in his conversation, nor does he dwell on past achievements or future plans. We thanked him for letting us come and see him. He smiled and thanked us for coming. We explained that we wanted on behalf of citizens to present to him the ‘Dr. Iqbal Ahmad award’ for the year 2000. His first reaction was to mention his happiness on the fact that this was being done quietly, simply and without a ceremony or a seminar. He did not quite read the eloquent inscription on the plaque. He has no time for citations. Within the next few moments, he shook hands, received the plaque, and was back to answering his phone, talking about the next dispatch of ambulance, the next truck of medicine, and the next hospital in Kabul. His world of humanity knows no religious, ethnic or political boundaries. We knew we must leave. The seven minutes with ‘Maulana’ Edhi were a life time experience.