KLF: Social work as a weapon against militants

Lorenza Raponi’s Half of Two Paisas on the Edhis launched at KLF.



In the eyes of Tehmina Durrani, who took three years to write Abdul Sattar Edhi’s biography ‘A Mirror to the Blind’, the social worker is a weapon against militants.

“Edhi is the best example of humanitarian Islam,” she said at the launch of another book, ‘Half of Two Paisas: The Extraordinary Mission of Abdul Sattar Edhi and Bilquis Edhi’ on day one of the fourth Karachi Literature Festival Friday. “He is a weapon against extremists and the militants who are promoting the wrong kind of religion.”

The Italian author of Half of Two Paisas, Lorenza Raponi, flew in from home for the launch of the English translation.

Raponi said that Durrani’s earlier biography became the basis of her book, and she spent ten days in Karachi interviewing Edhi and his wife, along with workers and people benefiting from the facilities. “Edhi wasn’t feeling well at that time,” she said. “I was scared that I would not be able to meet him. But it was incredible how he admitted a stranger to his house. He is a most positive example of Islam, and a star for us as well as for the entire humanity.”

The graceful Durrani expressed sadness over how the humanitarian has not received enough recognition in the country. When the audience clapped, she snapped, “Why are we clapping? Our country is suffering a loss.”

In between the conversation, Durrani would pause, her thoughts wandering off here and there. “Sorry. This is the first public forum in the country that I am speaking at,” she said. “Bigger than the book, is just his (Edhi’s) presence in the hall.”

Durrani said that Edhi was not just a social reformer and a man who buries bodies or runs orphanages, but is an agent of change. “Talking about Edhi humbles me,” she said, as the crack of lightening stunned the room into silence that was broken by the pitter patter of rain. Indeed, some sessions were delayed by the unexpected downpour.

Durrani went on to say that while her book on Edhi was confined to what he had said and wrote, she appreciated that Raponi had taken a step further and included her own opinions.

As the conversation continued between the two women, Abdul Sattar Edhi looked from side to side. It took half an hour for an organizer to interrupt the session and suggest that Edhi himself should brought into conversation on the stage.

Following a stand ovation, Edhi settled down comfortably. “I am a human. I try to make others human too,” he said. “Every religion talks of humanity. Our religion teaches love, simplicity, yet we have forgotten everything and have become artificial.”

He said that without having anyone’s permission, he was working in the country as welfare work did not need consent.  “I am fighting for the poor. I don’t drink tea or smoke. I just have two pairs of shalwar kameez, which I discard every five months. Bilquis has done so much for me. My children are with me. I have made this nation into a charitable one.”

Published in The Express Tribune, February 16th, 2013.


Burjor | 11 years ago | Reply

Yes we have to wake up the Edhi in all of us. We all can do a little more, its amazing that Pakistan has both the best and worst of humans in our midst. Why did the Taliban not turn up to give their version of life.

Genius | 11 years ago | Reply

Who can or is stopping us all to become like Edhi? Who? So why do we all not try to become something like him? Why? It will bring nothing but good to everybody when everyone tries to be good. and then comes together to unite to do good. Unite they way Lord God commanded us to do. Why do we keep on expecting anything from those political parties and leaders who by experience we all know cannot and do not deliver to us what our needs are? No one can do what we all coming together can do. What more Edhi has shown us as to what good can be done with the resolve to do good. Edhi has shown by practise what people can do if they have the resolve to do good. So let us all come together to do good and never expect anything from those leaders or political parties who are good for nothing. Coming together to do good we all can organise our own party. Our own party guided by the tried and tested "principles" to be sucessfull here and in hereafter. Our own party in our own control free from the indulgance of the Mafiosis.

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