the Message Continues ... i2/4
Loving Memory of Dr. Haider Shamsi
Sajjad H. Shamsi
father had migrated from the former British India to Kenya. He went back home in
his retirement from the service of the Kenya government.
his footsteps, I joined the Kenya government service. I visited the family on
several occasions . In 1952,
I decided to bring the family back to Kenya for sake of a better future. My two
younger brothers joined the Kenya government service. Haider was only 14. He
joined the Duke of Gloucester School. After his High School, he proceeded to
Pakistan to pursue his medical studies. Later my parents and three sisters also
joined him there.
followed his progress with keen interest. After his graduation, Haider returned
to Kenya for his internship. Meanwhile, I had retired from Kenya and moved to
England. However we were always in touch via telephone. After his internship,
Haider too moved to England for his postgraduate stud-ies.
He was married to Dr. Adiba Khanum who was also from Kenya. A few years later,
they decided to pursue their careers in medicine in the United States. That was
As luck would have it, I never set my eyes on them again since I lost my sight
in a road accident after they left. Although my wife and I visited them several
times in the states, yet I never could see him in the bloom of his career. His
colleagues, acquaintances, and friends in America had seen more of him than I
and Haider very kindly undertook to publish my anthology of English verse in 1995
later, a final
collection of Urdu poetry in 1999.
Soon after he had sent my manuscript to the publishers in Lahore he suffered a
fatal heart attack. My wife and I rushed to be with him, but we could only
attend his funeral. Alas, he never saw my last publication, Paya-e-Arsh,
which he had pursued with so much passion.
died on April 21, 1999.
It is a strange coincidence that Allama Iqbal had also died on the same date;
both died at about the same age. We were surprised at the number of persons who
came to pay their condolences amongst whom were teenagers, his colleagues and
friends. Everyone had different memories to recount, and we wondered that if all
of these tributes were put together they
would form a surging sea of affection, love and
esteem. We learned about the great philanthropic and charitable contributions he
had made for education, such as a Foundation, Library project, a publishing
house, all for the benefit
of his community. He has left a last monument of work in the form of his books And
the Message of Islam Continues and
biographies of the Twelve Imams in English. Unfortunately this book too was
published after his departure.
has undertaken the task of continuing her dear husband’s
projects. This is a noble task and we wish her every success in her work. Haider
was a man of simple habits and charming disposition who had respect and love for
my wife and myself. He always considered us as his parents. I remember him
sitting next to me on the sofa; he held my hand and was caressing it
I turned my face towards him, he said “Bhaijan,
these hands remind me of the hands of our father.”
turned my face away to hide my tears.
was a keen gardener. He specialized in propagating rare species of roses. One of
his friends told me that Haider has brought happiness to so many families by
bringing forth into this world a progeny of beautiful roses, like babies, in his
garden. He used to take me around the garden and make me feel the velvety
texture of the petals and smell the newly opened buds. At the rear of his newly
built house he had a small pond where he had a colony of geese and swans; upon
returning from work each day, he would go to the pond and feed them. After his
death other people took over this task and the birds, I am sure, must
have felt the absence of their loving master. Haider was instrumental in
introducing me and my poetry to the readers in the sub-continent, by having a
special edition of the celebrated magazine Chaharsoo
Islamabad, dedicated to me and my work. He himself contributed an article about
my life, his first
and the last writing in Urdu.
erudite scholars also participated in the effort, and as a result I became known
in a part of the world which was virtually unknown to me. My wife and I shall
always be grateful to him for this and for making the last days of my life so
happy and productive.
had a very loveable personality that endeared him to everybody around him. He
was always sensitive to the needs and sufferings of others and never hesitated
to helping them to the best of his ability. The people with whom he spent a
quarter of a century were well aware of his sweet disposition and efforts for
all what one leaves behind are the good deeds and the love and affection that
was a beacon of light that emitted its rays far and wide and offered the
way-farer solace and comfort;
Allah bless his soul.