–Amitabh Kumar Das
When I got a phone call from Mr Inaam Khan inviting me to an award ceremony at Rahbar Coaching, I was thrilled. I always enjoy mingling with young boys and girls. They are so full of positive energy. I like playing their Big Brother!
Inaam Saheb requested me to reach the venue at 4 pm. I am an old fashioned cop, committed to maintain punctuality. At 3. 59 my police car entered the Phulwari Sharif locality, a suburb, 7 kms away from the capital of Bihar. This mohalla exudes an old world charm. Crowded lanes and by lanes. Burqa clad women. Bearded gentlemen. Eateries selling Kebabs and Biryani. And azan from the local mosques. Time stands still in this Muslim dominated area. A scene straight from the Arabian Nights. Aladin with his lamp could have appeared from any corner of this mohalla!
Inside a lane between two Khanqah (Sufi Monastery), stands the Millat Urdu Girls High School where Rahbar organises part time coaching for poor but bright students of government schools.
As I entered the school premises , my joy knew no bounds. There was a small courtyard with a guava tree in a corner. Children sat on benches. Smiling boys. And young girls too. Their heads covered with colourful dupattas! They looked like Malala Yousafzai, whom I adore. Their bright eyes shone. They giggled when they saw my carbine toting bodyguards. Commandos always fascinate small children.
The ceremony was simple. We sat on plastic chairs. Mr Shoaib Khan, a retired IPS officer, was also there. Shoaib Saheb is a remarkable fellow. His son lives in a beautiful, snow bound Canadian town. But Shoaib Saheb prefers the scorching heat of Phulwari Sharif where he teaches Mathematics to children at the very Coaching Centre! I gave away prizes to students who come from very humble background.
The daughter of a street vendor secured very high marks in matriculation. She was almost jumping with joy. I addressed Rahbar students. I told them how my father, who is now 100, secured the first division in the Matric exam way back in the 1930s. How he got Darbhanga Raj scholarship and came to study at the prestigious Patna College. I told them the inspiring story of Abdul Kalam. A poor fisherman’s son, Kalam sold newspapers in his childhood. And then this poverty stricken Muslim boy went on to become a great rocket scientist, a Bharat Ratna and eventually the President of the Republic of India! I also urged the Rahbar students to preserve the Ganga Jamuni Tehzeeb of Hindustan. Our composite culture which has always strengthened this great country. I told them that books are the best friends. They must strike a lifelong friendship with good books. We had a group photograph together.
Inaam Saheb is an amazing gentleman. His beloved begum was critically ill. But he didn’t miss this event. Hindustan needs more and more Inaam Khans. Shoaib Saheb too blessed Rahbar students. Mr. Naushad Ansari, a dynamic social activist who took voluntary retirement from Indian Revenue Services to serve the deprived was also there.
Indeed, it was an unforgettable evening which I shall cherish for ever.
(Amitabh Kumar Das is an IPS Officer. This is based on what he spoke to a TMC representative.)