We are normally used paying homage to artists and other great personalities when they are dead. This is the tragedy. We hardly acclaim a man of calibre while he is living, but sanctify him when dead. In one case our ego does not allow us to illuminate the living while in other case we generally take the dead to heights because of political capital and other gains. We widely mourn the loss but not greatly celebrate the living. Writing obituary pages and lamentation has become a ritual; and I may go as far as to call it a “luxury mourning”?
Anyone, who has done a great job and rendered best services to the people, having immense contributions in social works are our real assets, and they actually deserve to be called the great people. So we should be grateful for their services and acclaim them through media and public meetings, before they are gone. Why not to commission tributes when they are alive? After a man is no more, any statement about him or her cannot be termed purely true because dead cannot authenticate or falsify them?
I’ve read some wise words somewhere. “Art should not go gentle into that good night. The fire of it should illuminate the living, not sanctify the dead. Grand funerals are for soldiers, not for artists. Art lives on”.
A doctor, too, is an artist because he is armed with scientific knowledge in medicine, and that is also an art. That artistic approach, infact, makes him or her, a successful practitioner. The art and science of medicine are complementary.
Dr. G. Q. Allaqaband is a prominent doctor, well acknowledged and popular also. I personally don’t know much about his personal life or degrees and academic qualifications because I haven’t any close and harmonious relationship with him which could have made me to understand his ideas and feelings. I had an opportunity to meet him on the release of my 16th. publication which I brought out in June 2014. He presided over that function. It will be worthwhile to mention here that though it was a book release function but many noted doctors too were invited because doctors too are artists. Among other dignitaries, noted Urologist Dr. Saleem Wani Sahib, well known writer and pediatrician Dr. Altaf Sahib, prominent Columnist and physician Dr. Javid Iqbal Sahib and others also attended and graced the function. Dr. Saleem Wani Sahib was the chief guest.
I have consulted Dr. Allaqaband Sahib just 2 or 3 times in my life in connection with my health issues. So penning this piece about him is not because of any rapport. The purpose of writing this article is just a homage to this great son of the soil.
I would like to reproduce some excerpts from the write-up written by Dr. M. S. Khuroo in regard to “GMC GOLDEN JUBILEE CELEBRATIONS” and carried by the esteemed daily Greater Kashmir. The title of the article is “Special Tribute To A Living Legend”:
“As the Medical College is celebrating its 50th year, I feel privileged to pay a special tribute to this living legend.
Early on during our clinical postings in SMHS Hospital, we always enjoyed our postings in Ward 3, as most of the bed side teaching were conducted by Prof. Ali Muhammad Jan. One day we were waiting for a similar happening on a bed side in right wing of ward 3A, a smart guy walked in to take our bed side. Bed side was on a young lady with rheumatic heart disease. The visitor conducted bed side and we appreciated his depth of knowledge of cardiac physiology and clinical application of the physiological events. We were curious to know who this gentleman was. One amongst us volunteered and told us that his name is Dr. Ghulam Qadir Allaqaband and he has recently returned from UK and has joined the faculty in Dr. Jan Sahib Medical unit.
Over the next few years we enjoyed the strength and dedication with which Prof. Allaqaband would conduct his teaching sessions. He had several characteristics which qualified him to be an excellent teacher. His time schedule was to the dot. He had wide knowledge of clinical medicine and was keen to impart this to his students. Contrary to our initial impression we found him approachable and he was always ready to interact with students, look at even personal problems and give advice for a solution. This made him a popular teacher amongst a wide student base.
Since my early student days, I have watched Prof. Allaqaband in his roles as a physician, Head of a Medical Unit, Head Department of Medicine, administrator, Principal/Dean, and over these years he has spend his time with hard work and utmost dedication. He had deep interest in chest medicine based on his working in one of the reputed chest medicine units in UK (Brompton Hospital London). I have observed him walking on foot to Chest Diseases Hospital, Dalgate to do patient care sessions and help patients with chest diseases and tuberculosis. As a head of a medical unit he developed strong practices in medicine and groomed a highly dedicated group of physicians who made excellent contribution to patient care and teaching. Most of these physicians who were associated with Prof. Allaqaband in those days have developed in to medical legends on their own score over the years.
As a Head Department of Medicine, Prof. Allaqaband strengthened this speciality and streamlined the teaching, student evaluation and examination system. I have had the occasion of being an external examiner for medicine for MBBS and have been impressed by the meticulous system of evaluation and examination system conducted under his chairmanship. Prof. Allaqaband took over the newly carved post of Administrator SHMS Hospital and in this capacity he contributed significantly to enhance patient care delivery. In his capacity as Administrator he showed his mettle as a strong man with meticulous discipline, honesty, dedication and utmost commitment to optimum patient care. Prof. Allaqaband took over as the coveted post of Principal/Dean Medical College in the most trying times we all passed through and even in this period he delivered what best could be done in maintaining the Institution on its feet and improving it on many facets.
Once Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences was conceived and its foundation built, Prof. Allaqaband was one of the pioneer physicians who along with Prof. Jan Sahib and few others supported this Institution from its inception. He held many honorary administrative positions like Chairman purchase committee, Chairman senior Selection committee, Member Apical Selection Committee, Vice-chairman Governing Body to name a few. In these capacities he spend considerable part of his valuable time in shaping this Institution to what it is carved now. Prof. Allaqaband has stood tall in the society by engaging himself as a strong social activist. He has joined and strongly supported many social organizations which support eradication of many social evils, adversely affecting our society. This has made significant contribution about social awareness in our society. Over the years, I have watched Prof. Allaqaband as noble pious human being with strong religious beliefs and follow up practices.
Today when I pay special tribute to this living legend, I take pride in saying that Prof. Allaqaband’s career has been an embodiment of hard work, dedication, honesty, discipline. He has infused these qualities in our society and through this contributions towards the service of the community. As a person he has maintained strong religious belief and commitment to eradication of social evils”.
All medicos do not deserve homage and praise. Some surely needs disapproval, and even vilification. I still remember that ordeal when shooting pain forced me to go SKIMS.
(Whatever the views expressed in this write-up, are purely and strictly my personal and not necessarily that of the ‘Kashmir Pen’ also)
Let me in the onset apologize for bringing this institute called SKIMS into a debate as I suppose some people may find some of my words unpalatable though my intent is sincere.
Anyway, all crows are not black, some are white also.
Nazir Jahangir is a freelance writer & columnist.