Dr. Farooq Ahmad Peer
Death, as we realize bitterly, keeps its own calendar, runs in its own time, has its own ‘ethics’ to follow and rules to implement. Divinely ordained, it is a great leveler and rips through all barriers, high and low. It can neither be cajoled nor bribed. It stands deadly insulated against all pleas, mercies and beseeching. Its single frown is enough to numb anyone into a soul-less corpse. Though every living soul takes a fright in courting its hand, yet it shields us till our last breath. Death alone frolics in such kind of paradoxical ‘romance’.
On 29th November, 2019, the icy claws of death snatched my father from us. The wall of resistance we raised and consolidated smothering our tears, screams and imploring, to fend off the onslaught, came crumbling down in one fatal blow. Through all measures that are humanely possible, we tried to save him but death had the last laugh. After battling for his life in Soura Medical Institute Srinagar for 14 days, my father left for his final journey to the other world. What is left is my father’s legacy replete with indelible sweet memories. Empty handed, and bared of every material possession, he dug himself into eternal grave, draping us in mourning. His white shroud encapsulated the peaceful essence of his very existence.
Pangs of separation sear through our heart as we tried to cope with his irreconcilable loss but death has its own order, its own preordained script. The one close to chest and blood line palpates how deep the dagger has struck. But nature has its own ways of putting the balm on lacerated wounds. And after recuperating steadily through phase of condolence, we are in a process of making our act together. And we have to.
I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth. On the contrary I hailed from a modest family background. My father, Haji Peer Ghulam Nabi lived in Asha Peer Sopore. He lost his father when he was an infant two years old. He had two sisters and it was his elder sister Syeda Begum (who was herself very young) helped her little brother to build up in the hardest and hostile circumstances. His close relatives brought him up but not with a formidable educational growth. He initially at a very young age worked as a humble official in Animal Husbandry Department, Sopore where he would earn monthly income barely sufficient to sustain livelihood of his family. At the invisible and indirect insistence of his ancestors- who were drawn to spiritual intuition and were deeply engrossed in their extensive circle of peer-mureedee'(spiritual relationship between spiritual head & disciples)- my father left the job. Afterwards he devoted much of his time and energy in prayers and spending time with his mureeds. But at the same time he made sure and did his level best to provide us with all the basic necessities of life. In this way he tried to maintain a fine and difficult balance of both, his ancestral profession and responsibility of his family.
It would not be out of place to mention here that my father was in relation (Probably second cousin) of famous mystic saint, Ahad Bub of Sopore who once beat him ruthlessly and at that time we had thought that our father would not recover for months but to our surprise he instead recovered from certain orthopedic ailments. He was also related to late Muhtarma Ateeqa Ji- the former DEO of Baramulla and prominent intellectual personality of sopore whose contribution in social, educational and women empowerment domain has brought her laurels.
Down my memory lane, I remember, vividly and nostalgically, that on one fine afternoon, while it was raining heavily, my father visited my hostel room in Kashmir University where I was pursuing my PG in English in 1984-85. As we strolled on the pavements of the University, he pulled up Rs.30 from his pocket and handed over it to me. By all the standards of worldly possession, it was a meager amount, so small that any fairly well off person would donate it to some beggar. Though initially I was disappointed to receive such a small amount but believe me, this paltry sum of money later proved to me a valuable treasure that would not dry up and, in essence, helped me to focus on my goal. He did all that he could to nourish, groom and educate me. He would always encourage me to rely more on intelligence and less on muscle prowess to deal with things, be it as small as bullying by the naughty boys in our neighborhood or as big as fighting larger battles of the life.
Though no magical bird has flown over his head, yet my father was the king in his own realm. Always ‘Shukar Guzar’ (grateful) to his Creator and exuding much pleasure and satisfaction in living the life the way he cherished. He had his own circle of his ‘mureeds’ who would throng our home to seek blessings from him. These included people who swaggered in stature and social influence.
True my father did not leave for us huge amount of money and assets, nonetheless we feel proud in inheriting the never exhausting wealth of values, campassion, farsightedness, sense of fighting spirit that he inculcated in me. Above all these he was a munificent person not caring how many people came and would eat meals at our home. His rich legacy and blessings culminated in his grandson Fazlul Haseeb’s success last year when he cracked the prestigious IAS competitive examination and topped by securing 36th Rank in the country. He is one the rarest IAS Officer in Jammu and Kashmir to have performed such a feat and in such a meticulous manner. We are indebted to my father for all that we have achieved in our life. He made us believe in ourselves and would nudge us to develop a passion for learning and advise us to be the masters of our own destiny.
May his soul rest in peace!
Dr. Farooq Ahmad Peer