A man for all reasons: Glowing tribute for a living legend
By Umer Nangiana
ISLAMABAD: A mix of four generations got together to pay tributes to veteran journalist I.A. Rehman, renowned for his continued struggle for social justice for all.
The gathering was organised by Mehergarh, a civil society organisation and a centre for learning with focus on youth leadership trainings.
A documentary showcasing the life and work of Rehman, produced by Dr Fauzia Saeed, Director Mehergarh, was screened. Opening with a conventional introduction to Rehman’s early life, the documentary included a two-hour discussion with Rehman.
Complemented with visuals, the discussions covered topics ranging from constitutional history of Pakistan, along with a background of social and cultural movements in the country. Rehman was also asked to speak on different aspects of his personal life.
“IA Rehman is an institution. He is an example for the younger generation of journalists and civil society to learn from,” said Dr Saeed.
Rehman, who was also present at the occasion along with his wife and children, received all the praise with his usual smile. He received commendation for his work from his peers and young representatives of civil society alike.
They included Shahid Kardar, former governor of State Bank of Pakistan, Farhatullah Babar, spokesperson for the president, and Senator Raza Rabbani, minister for human rights.
“I have always sought advice from Rehman sahib and now when I have been given the portfolio of human rights’ ministry, I would look forward to his insight on different issues,” said Rabbani.
Farhatullah Babar said that Rehman is the only person who can say the most controversial things while remaining uncontroversial. “He has always spoken with sincerity and without any greed,” he added.
Tanvir Jehan, a member of civil society, talked about the book about Rehman’s writing she had put together. The book “Ashufta seri ka Qarz” was published by Democratic Institute for Human Development.
The next generation represented by young leaders of Mehergarh launched a website and a Facebook fan page for Rehman to disseminate his message to the younger lot through internet.
Areeb Azhar, a famous singer, sang two songs in tribute to Rehman.
An eight-year-old boy Meher Sagar, however, stole the show by reading a story about Rehman.
It was about two friends, who had a fight and went to seek advice from Rehman. Instead of offering a solution, Rehman asked them to talk the issue out among each other. Therefore, he told the children that every problem can be resolved through talk.
IA Rehman’s immediate family was asked to come on stage. His wife, sons and grandchildren were welcomed by the audience as there are rare occasions when his family appears on stage.
“We all should be thankful to the people who failed him in his civil service exams, otherwise he would have been a secretary somewhere not doing all the things he was able to do,” said his younger brother to a huge applause from the audience.
“For his entire life, Rehman never owned a house or a car. As a person, he is so down-to-earth that he never says no to anyone and always comes with smile on his face,” Dr Saeed said while talking about Rehman.
She said media in Pakistan was shallow from inside and people should learn from people like IA Rehman, who strived for larger objectives like social justices, democratic values and human rights while maintaining impartiality at the same time.
While speaking at the occasion, Rehman said that people often asked him “what will become of Pakistan?”
“I tell them, you are Pakistan and it us up to the people where they want to take it.”
Source: The Express Tribune