They killed my chacha, Sibte Jafar, but they cannot kill his memory

He was as humble as they come - always accessible and always willing to serve humanity.

Sultana Haider March 21, 2013
In my 25 years of life, I have met three kinds of geniuses.

First; the genius who is inaccessible. He is always busy, forever surrounded by people. With so much recognition and power, he becomes vulnerable and often, succumbs to worldly pressures and expectations.

Second; the genius who is either a good orator, a good writer or a good thinker - not perhaps an all-rounder. He may even be accessible.

The third kind of genius is my chacha (uncle). Strangely, he was like none other; always accessible, forever humble and eternally ready to serve humanity.

He was my answer to absolutely any and every problem.

For the first time in my entire life, on the day he died, I felt jealous - jealous of all those crying for him - jealous of all those associated with him. That day, I felt like I had failed in knowing him in totality. His personality seemed so vast that my little mind failed to do it justice.

Until Monday, I was very happy with just knowing him as my uncle. I was content as the child whose school speeches he used to write; as a university student whose documentaries he used to help with, and as a young adult whose questions he used to answer with so much patience.

I now feel alone with no counselor, no guidance.

But standing there, amid lost people and an orphaned community, I felt they had lost far more than I had. Never before have I seen people yearning for a human so much.

As I write this, the words seem so shallow - so meaningless, devoid of feeling and essence.

Suddenly, tears and silence do more justice to communicating than any language possibly can.

Poets tell me he was a poet; educationalists tell me he was a professor; students tell me he was a teacher; peons tells me he was a generous helper -  the thousands who attended his funeral gravely felt his absence, sighed together in silence, unable to comprehend the devoid.

All those who wrote about him were still crying for him; families from interior areas came just to get a glimpse of his funeral.

It was them who told me who he was.
“You, my dear brother, will just go, happily stealing the show, joining the legends and mehfil (gathering) of great poets. It is us who’d be left to face this world,” Abu exclaimed exactly ten days before my chacha left us for the happier place.

It was still, however, a shock when I was confronted with the news. My chacha is Shaheed Sibte Jafar now. He was brutally gunned down right outside his college.

Through him, they have attempted to murder literature, language - the entire ideology of enlightenment and knowledge. Through him, they have murdered countless homes which ran through his help.

He made his way to the graveyard, held up high on many shoulders craving to carry his last bed, petals being showered on his path. I felt comforted at the sight of adoration, yet, looking around at the orphaned community, I felt a pang of inexplicable loss.

But then, how lucky is the human being who is loved so deeply by so many?

He is a fortunate man whose departure is mourned so fervently by so many and whose absence is felt so gravely by all.

My chacha will always be the man I remember on a 70cc bike, with a small, torn wallet, a checkered shirt and brown pants, holding an old, switched off Nokia 3310 - as humble as they come.

As Abu used to call him, a legend he remains - even in death, he is a living legend.

Follow Sultana on Twitter @sultanahaider
Sultana Haider Is currently pursuing an MSc in Media, Communications & Development from the London School of Economics. A business graduate by conventional definition and social sector enthusiast by accident. She tweets @shaiderj (
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