Reviewed by Sajjad Shaukat
Dr Asif Mahmood Jah is a man of immense courage, perseverance and determination and has authored his new book, “Sindh, Sailab Aur Zindgy,” giving in detail the real story of the sinking cities and the towns of Sindh, (Pakistan) inundated by water which rendered millions of persons homeless, begging for immediate relief and assistance.
Dr Asif Jah’s administrative abilities are commendable because on every chaotic occasion such as the horrible earthquake of 8th October, 2005 which shocked Azad Kashmir and part of Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa, and later on, in Ziarat of Balochistan, he and his devoted teams of Customs Health Care Society did a wonderful job in alleviating the miseries of the displaced persons by providing them the basic necessities of life and the requisite medical assistance.
Members of Customs Health Care Society reached Nowshehra on 29th July, 2010 and continued their services to save thousands of people from inundation of water and provided immediate relief to the affected people through goods of basic necessities and medical assistance of worth millions of rupees. They also constructed houses for the homeless persons who are now living with families happily.
In the meanwhile, Dr Asif Jah heard the news of devastation and destruction from Mehran Valley of Sindh where torrential rains and atrocious floods rendered millions of people homeless, besieged on the roofs of their homes, devoid of foods and edibles. Like his past experience, the author again felt the agony of the helpless persons, and was greatly perturbed because he wanted to reach the flood-affected areas as early as possible.
For this purpose, after Eidul Fitr, he immediately contacted his friends in the Mehran Valley and collected monetary relief which was dispatched to them so that the requisite goods could be supplied to the flood-stricken persons there.
Torrential rains and floods played havoc in Sindh. About 7.5 million people became homeless. Badin, Sangarh, Mirpur Khas, Tando Allah Yar and other important cities were the most affected areas whose rescue and relief operations were also conducted by the governmental institutions including armed forces of Pakistan. But despite their limited resources, the various welfare teams of the Customs Health Care Society were the pioneers in starting their assistance in these affected places of Sindh.
In this respect, on the direction of Dr Asif Jah, Abdul Rauf from Mardan was the first individual to reach Sangarh and Bidin with relief goods and monetary help. After few days, Hanif Abid and Amjad reached Bidin from Multan along with various goods of basic necessities. They established medical camps and distributed necessities of life and medicines among the affected people urgently.
On 13th October, 2011, Dr Asif Jah sent another team, consisting of Abdul Rauf, Ishaq and Muhammad Arshad to Sindh. In this regard, Dr Asif Jah writes in his book that it included our companions Iqbal Sikander, Kamran Sikander and Waseem who represented PTV and Star Asia Television, and thus we delivered our message to every nook and corner of the country, and were able to receive charitable goods worth millions of rupees.
Full of zeal and enthusiasm and a sense of sympathy, while setting aside human limitations, on 18th October, the author, himself, left for Hyderabad to join the medical team. From there, he and his colleagues left for the village Matiari. In this regard, Dr Asif Jah points out that the news of their arrival reached the youngsters, the old men and women including children who came from the far-flung vicinity and contacted them at the medical camp for check up. Uptil evening, they checked up more than 300 patients. Besides, Hanif Abid and Abdul Rauf distributed toffees and biscuits among the children.
A through study of the book shows that while battling against hostile weather conditions, it was due to the well-determined spirit of Dr Asif Jah that he kept the same motivation alive among the members of his visiting team, especially those of the Customs Health Care Society Lahore where he also performs his duties as a doctor, treating the maximum patients, free of cost entailing provision of medicines. However, the author succeeded in his noble mission in order to serve and treat the flood-affected people at large with minimum time.
Although a number of international organisations reached the flood-stricken regions to help the helpless people, yet practical efforts made by the author in this context and published in the form of book are unparalleled in the history of literature due to the fact that readers remain unable to decide whether this book is a piece of literary art or travelogue.
Notably, in wake of his multiple official and non-official engagements, immediate decision of Dr Asif Jah to set out on the journey to help the needy and his experience in the flood-affected areas of Sindh as described in the book surprise every intellectual and non-intellectual equally.
Title: Sindh, Sailab Aur Zindgy (Sindh, Floods and Life)
Author: Dr. Asif Mahmood Jah
Publisher: Ilm-o-Irfan Publishers, Alhamd Market,
40-Urdu Bazar, Lahore
Price: Rs. 300/-