By Farah Jamil
The legendary philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi was not just a name, he was a phenomena – an ideal that exemplifies what ‘service above self’ is all about. He was a renowned social worker, humanist and a Ray of hope for the orphans of Pakistan. Also an angel sent from heaven to serve humanity.
Leading humanitarian and the most endearing person in the country ‘Edhi’ left us at the age of 88 last year on July 8. He had been suffering from kidney failure since 2013 and was on dialysis.
Edhi dedicated his life for the welfare of the poor irrespective of their caste, class and creed and that’s what makes him an asset for the whole universe. He was not only an asset for this country but for the whole humanity because of his selfless work.
It was in 1974 when a formal institution by the name of Edhi Foundation was set up. What the foundation is today, and how it is depended on the shoulders of this single man is no less than a miracle.
With more than 1,800 ambulances stationed across Pakistan, the Edhi Foundation is Pakistan’s largest welfare organization. In 1997, the foundation entered the Guinness World Records as the “largest volunteer ambulance organization”.
The Edhi Foundation’s slogan is: “Live and help live”.
Due to the hard work and struggle in helping for humanity, Edhi had been granted an abundance of awards from Pakistan and from the whole world included Silver Jubilee Shield by College of Physicians and Surgeons-Pakistan, (1962–1987), The Social Worker of Sub-Continent by Government of Sind, Pakistan, (1989), Civil decoration from Government of Pakistan (1989), Recognition of meritorious services to oppressed humanity during eighties by Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Government of Pakistan, (1989), Pakistan Civic Award from the Pakistan Civic Society (1992), Shield of Honor by Pakistan Army (E & C), Khidmat Award by Pakistan Academy of Medical Sciences and Human Rights Award by Pakistan Human Rights Society.
For his Excellency and philanthropies, Edhi Sahab received many international awards included Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service, Lenin Peace Prize, Peace Prize from (USSR former) for services in the Armenian earthquake disaster, Hamdan Award for volunteers, Peace and Harmony Award (Delhi), Peace Award (Mumbai), Gandhi Peace Award (Delhi), UNESCO Madan jeet sing Peace Award (Paris), UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize, Peace Award (London) and many more.
He has been a Great Humanitarian and Legendary socialist, a very Humble and simple living person.
According to that richest poor man, no religion was greater than humanity.
He set an example of his quote as his Morgue does not discriminate between the dead bodies.
He used to say, “Never take anyone’s death to heart Bilquis. Remember God by the equality with which He implements it. Nobody is different; the richest to the poorest, from here to the end of the globe face it equally. What an example of equality.”
Throughout his life, Edhi sahab set examples for the world to follow through his actions. He was a simple man with a heart of gold. He slept in a windowless room adjoining the office of his foundation furnished with just a bed, a sink and a hotplate.
Once Edhi said,
“I do not have any formal education. What use is education when we do not become human beings? My school is the welfare of humanity.”
His last words were:
–Bury me in same clothes, donate all my body parts, and make sure my clothes are distributed among others.
—Take care of the poor people of my country.
“Edhi was the real manifestation of love for those who are socially vulnerable, impoverished, helpless and poor. We have lost a great servant of humanity,” quoted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Edhi’s role for humanity – is truly unparalleled and unmatched, and very least possibilities of tracing this sort of best services for the humanity, across the world.
Edhi sahib, you indeed were the richest poor man!
Story first published: 10th July 2017