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Harbans Sablok a childhood friend of Syed Muhammad Kaswar Gardezi and classmate in Government College Lyallpur presently Faisalabad on hearing about his death.. PHOTOGRAPH OF MR. HARBANS SABLOK ENCLOSED WITH THE LETTER.
277/C Sarita Vihar, New Delhi -110044 2nd. October, 1993 Dear Zahid, Back from Club late night I found your letter lying on the dining table. For months I had not heard from either you or Qaswar despite the fact that I had written three four letters enquiring about his health. Finding no response I even came to believe perhaps you were not getting my letters for the obvious facts you and I both know. You don’t know how dear Qaswar was to me that the time gap also couldn’t wee bit reduce the ardor that ran between us right from our student days. He was much more than a brother to me because we had shared life, shared thinking and we could understand each other and each other thinking even in silence. We had a kind of thinking as to laugh at our own death yet when it comes to happen it is different. I feel like a dead man or a disabled man with one arm broken. Qaswar was no ordinary man, he was a thinker whose flight of imagination crossed all barriers of religion. He was a matured man even when he was just a student – we acted boyish for our age but he always had full control on his senses and acted as a thoughtful matured man. He fully knew he was a Muslim because he was born in a Muslim and I was a Hindu because I was born in a Hindu family, but we had open minds and
we never believed in the rigidity of the average religionist nor we hated any one if his way of worship was different than ours. We thank God always for being liberal right from the beginning and we believed every man with a mature thinking has a right to choose his own way of worship. I am happy people in Pakistan have rightly understood him and named him Gautum Budh. Budh was a born Hindu but he found his own way of living not adhering to the rituals and rites of Brahmins exploiting the average Hindu who hardly understood what Hinduism is. I see the same exploitation of the average Muslim by the Mullahs who implement Islam. Budh found his own way of living, so people who followed him started Buddhism making him a prophet who could give a different thinking to people. He had the capacity to simplify religion or dharam in one line. When some one asked him what is dharam he told them “ Righteous thinking and righteous doing is dharam or Imaan”. Qaswar always thought that way. He was full of ardor and full of compassion. A great man, a great friend, a great host and obviously had the making of a great husband and a great father. He achieved perfection in every role he played. Such men are rarely born. As Ghalib said
He was a real Insaan of Ghalibs concept. Much above religious thinking of the average religionist. He is by his own right a man whom everybody has a reason to follow. He was no less than Mahatma Gandhi. If all become Qaswar, all the Countries of the world would unite making it good Mother Earth and forming one Government without caring for cast, creed or religion which makes people go into small thinking and act selfish. In the college I broke all barriers of religion and chose to join the Muslim Kitchen when there were three kitchens, Muslim, Hindu and Sikh. Seeing me going to Muslim Kitchen, Yash Paul and few other Hindus also joined it. They made me manager of the kitchen. They normally used to change manager every month but I
stayed as manager for full one year till we passed out of exam and left the college. Qaswar never took me as a Hindu and I never took him as a Muslim. He was only Qaswar to me and I was Harbans to him. His mother was a great self-respecting woman who was fairly responsible making a man great whom you and I know as Qaswar. Any time Qaswar came back to college from his holidays in Multan, his mother used to give him separately my share of home-made sweets which he used to honestly deliver. Who would not be touched by this kind of love. During 1947 riots when we left Lahore we did not take anything along because we didn’t kn ow we will never be able to go back. I don’t have any of Qaswar’s picture with me excepting the one I still carry in my heart. When I see his today’s picture I wonder what age can do to a human body. In his younger days he had such a proportionate body and he looked such a dashing handsome man whose appearance evoked envy, admiration and respect of others. Qaswar may be dead physically but he is ever living in the heart of any one who he met. Such people don’t die. They are in a way missionaries; they quit the world when their mission is over. He has given you a great heritage of which you all have reason to be always proud. I feel strange in condoling his death to you, your mother and others in the family, when I am equally affected, may be a little more because I knew him earlier than any one of you knew him. You know him only as a Father whereas I know him as a friend. What two friends can discuss and share even husband and wife can’t share that kind of life. I talked to Yash on phone Indian code 0184-2224. He insisted we go to Multan to be with all of you. I wish it could be that easy to take a flight and be with you. Only if Qaswar was ever the head of the Government, passport system might have been abolished between the two Countries. It was not to be but we are still not far from each other. Despite restrictions and distance no Government can possibly erase that nearness. Love Yours Harbans