My late father was a pious man. He lived life in a simple way and never tried to acquire wealth by foul means. In the end, as he lay on his deathbed, his last advice to me was that I should never be ungrateful to anyone who tried to help me. He said in a feeble voice that first of all we should thank God for having given us life and that we should try to make the best of it.
I tried to follow the lifestyle of my father in key postings as private secretary to Union ministers and in my capacity as deputy secretary in charge of a huge amount of government property. I never budged from the path of honesty taught by my late father. God rewarded me with a great career and the regard of my seniors and juniors.
I owe it all to my father’s example. He did his best to teach me good things, like treating all human beings regardless of their caste and creed as the noble creation of God.
One day something happened that really moved my heart. My father and I were passing by the Jama Masjid in Old Delhi. An old Maulana greeted my father with great respect and affection. I asked my father who he was. My father told me that he had been our neighbour in the pre-Partition days.
During Partition, when news of the Hindus’ suffering in Pakistan got here, it created a storm, as everyone knows. Consequently, the Hindus in Delhi were agitated and bent on taking revenge. In this process, each house was being searched by the furious mob for Muslims. The mob came to our house and asked my father where Ahmed next door had gone. My father convincingly declared his ignorance. He then managed to send Ahmed and his family to a safe place in the guise of Hindu pandits, giving them malas to wear. This incident from my father’s life continues to guide me in my dealings with fellow beings whatever be their community.