Amongst all this pulling and pushing are there any golden-hearted Gujaratis who can be promoted to lead the cause of vishwa-vyapi sad-bhavana
(global friendship)? Azim Premji comes to mind. Then there is the “living saint” that we can all be proud of !!!
As Dr Edhi correctly points out, we have yet to learn how to deal with the human race as comprising of our brothers and sisters. And it is credit to people like him that the struggle will go on. Here is our earnest wish that Dr Edhi secures a Nobel Prize for his efforts at the earliest.
…Few know that Edhi, known for his
compassionate work providing medical services, medicines and even food
to the poorest of the poor in Pakistan, was born to an indigent grocer
in Junagadh’s Bantwa village in 1928.
“During Partition, a
majority of Memon Muslims from this village migrated to Pakistan.
Currently, there are only 15 Memon families left in Bantwa. Peaceful
relations between India and Pakistan are always welcome as many people
who left their native villages for Pakistan do wish to keep in touch
with their roots,” said Abdul Karim Gondil, former secretary of Dhoraji
In Pakistan, Edhi initially sold cloth for a
commission but he gave up this job later for social service. Edhi is a
recipient of 200-odd national and international awards, including the
Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service, the Lenin Peace Award, the
Balzan Prize and Nishan-i-Imtiaz given by the Pakistan government. He
was also nominated for Nobel Peace Prize by Pakistan in 2011.
His organization, Abdul Sattar Edhi Foundation, runs an ambulance
service with a fleet of 1800 vehicles, an air ambulance and a marine
ambulance as well. He runs 335 welfare centers that offer the poor free
medicines, food and relief in war-ravaged regions and is committed to
the cause of alleviating human suffering.
Currently living in
Karachi, Edhi is married to Bilquis, also a native of Bantwa. Harun
Sorathiya, Bilquis’s paternal cousin, says Edhi is revered as a living
saint in Pakistan for his compassionate work. “Edhi never came to India
after Partition. It would be a privilege if he visits his native village
where children are told stories of his work for the poor in Pakistan.”
Bilal Umar Memon, son of Edhi’s friend, Umar Abdul Rehman Khanani, used
to stay in Bantwa but he now lives in Karachi, 12 km away from Edhi’s
residence. He told TOI over phone that many of the Memon families in
Pakistan hail from Gujarat and are involved in the cloth and grains
“My father has visited Bantwa and I visit Ahmedabad and
Surat for my chemical and dyes business. I have often heard my father
and Edhi uncle discuss their roots in Gujarat,” said Bilal.