Such Was My Father, Haji Mohammed Yaseen

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Never in my entire life had I found myself so helpless and incapable as I did on the day my father departed for his heavenly abode. Only a day before, when I reached Kishanganj from Delhi to see my ailing father, I found him lying normally.

Haji Mohammed Yaseen (1948-2018)At the age above 75 years my father was not keeping well for the last few years. This time he was a bit more infirm with little intake of food and multiple organ dysfunctions. His vocal faculties had failed yet olfactory senses were perfect. On 16th September, doctors declared his condition critical. It was hard to see every moment getting worse with his sinking breath and deteriorating semi-coma stupor.

Taken over by the vulnerability of the time, we surrounded him and started reciting verses of the holy Quran to soothe his soul. At midnight, as the new day began, I saw my father suddenly opening his eyes. He eyes looked fresh and bright as if woken up from a long sleep, he stared for a while at a blank point towards his right, then he looked up to us, a soft smile played over his lips and went back to sleep, forever, at ease into a deep perpetual slumber.

Before the sunrise on 17th September 2018, the news spread across Kishanganj that Haji Mohammed Yaseen sahib is no more. Flock of relatives, neighbors and friends started assembling in. Public announcement in Kishanganj and neighboring areas even multiplied the gathering as he is known widely. A huge number of people turned up to bid him farewell.

We are all aware of the brevity of human life and its inevitable conclusion yet it shakes us when someone closest to you passes away. Loss of a father is beyond description, no matter how old you are. It throws a son into a vortex of vacuum, into a realm of nothingness. One feels like a funambulist who is helplessly hanging midway when the string gets broken from one end. However, Almighty bestows with great patience.

My relation with my father is beyond a father-son relation. He was a philosopher, guide and my pillar of strength. I admire my father for the amazing human being he was. A self-made man who struggled hard to be what he was, and every bit he had. Hailing from a small village called, ‘Rani’ from Kishanganj district, Bihar, Haji Mohammed Yaseen acquired his education with great difficulties.

My grandmother died when my father was barely fourteen years old. By profession he was a banker but I always regret why he was not in the field of academic since he was extremely brilliant and a great linguistic. He was exceptionally sharp in picking up languages quickly. From my very childhood, I have seen him talking conveniently in various languages. Besides, vernacular languages, his command over Persian, Urdu and English was commendable. His drafts written in English always make me proud of him because I can’t write as deft and literate as he was. I have grown up seeing him conversing with people in their own language. At my home, a guest need not to worry about language as my father was a multilingual person. He would speak Bengali, with a Bengali guest, Bhojpuri with a Bhojpuri one, even Nepali as lots of them used to interact when he was posted near Nepal. He would even talk to the scavengers in their own language when they happened to come at our place.

As a child I was amazed and always aspired to be like him. While I admired his multilingual skill, I often complained about him being too humble. I disliked it when people even below his education level, tried to act smart before him as he never knew the art of showing off. In fact, he disliked it.

The other aspect of my father reflected his innate faith on Almighty Allah. I have never seen him worried or bothered at any crisis. The one thing that everyone repeated at his funeral is that he was extremely cooperative. He was among the first few bankers from Seemanchal region. People from rural areas were nervous and not confident about banking systems. People widely acknowledge his promptness in extending his help to the people of Seemanchal region.

When he shifted to Kishanganj in 1975, the town was small and only few families from the rural area lived there. I remember my father urging the rural families to buy lands in the town area and invest in education of their children. Not only that, he also supported his close and distant relatives in pursuing education in all possible ways. We always had some or the other of his cousins, distant cousins living with us in Kishanganj studying in college or school.

It is nothing but natural for a son to remember his father in high regards and encomium. There’s no dearth of incidents that makes my father my real Hero. I, on behalf of my beloved father thank all the relatives, friends, neighbors who turned up in his funeral and extended support at this moment of crisis.

Riyaz Arshad Nazish is a Delhi-based freelance writer and Television Producer at IP University, New Delhi.


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