On My Grandfather's Footprints
by YOUSAF RAHMAN
Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman's 16-year-old grandson Yousaf Rahman spelled out his admiration so eloquently that his teacher wrote commendable remarks as she could actually feel the sincerity and hear his voice on the written words. Even though Yousaf has never seen his grandfather but the anecdotes of great respect and veneration his grandmother and parents feel for Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman are enough to make Yousaf aspire to follow his footsteps! His English teacher, Mrs Elizabeth Pelosi, who is an amazing inspiration for him to write, feels that Yousaf possesses the sincerity and voice required to be a successful journalist!
A person is inspired by at least one person who leaves a major impact and that person becomes his or her role model. For me that person is my grandfather, Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman. Through the power of words, he transformed millions of lives in Pakistan who were and are still gravitating in the stagnant waters of illiteracy; his whole life is an inspiration for me as he started from the grass root level and planted a whole forest for generations to come. He started from scratch and was a self-made and dignified man; through the power of his words he was able to enlighten millions and millions of people in Pakistan including me.
Unfortunately he passed away before I was born; however I have heard numerous stories about my grandfather, each one carrying its own legacy. One of the stories that I hear quite often and which really inspires me is about the time when my grandmother and grandfather were newly married; in their prime of youth, somewhat poor, and did not have much to spend. My grandfather was fairly educated and decided to start a small newspaper business in Delhi, India. He had limited income and scarce resources but still managed to carry on. My grandfather needed some capital so he contacted his uncle who was a noble man in India. His uncle saw his determination and agreed to lend him some money. He gave my grandfather Rs. 5,000 which was a ton of money at that time. After getting the money my grandfather prepared the necessary arrangements for starting a newspaper called Jang which meant war and symbolized the public voice. He named it against war and for all the people that were fighting in Hindustan for freedom from the British. He used to work day and night trying to gather news. He had his own bicycle, and after every night of continuous handwriting since there were no computers at the time,he used to gather all of the newspapers, and sell it to everyone in his society. He was highly determined and plus he had a passion for journalism which made him never give up. By the time India got its independence my grandfather had got a lot of fame. He had many people who had joined his newspaper and many other supporters as well. So when my grandparents migrated to Pakistan, my grandfather was able to successfully transfer his business as well. He set up a new industry in Pakistan and since many people knew about Jang from before they supported him. My grandfather's willpower and dedication to his work made him succeed. I would never be me if it weren't for my grandfather. He has, still, and always will influence and inspire me.
I find myself in his life since he is my role model. At times when I'm too lazy to work or when I just want to give up; I think to my self that "what would my grandfather do?" and immediately I get motivated and do what needs to be done by excelling in the particular work. I manage to get rid of my laziness and pull my self together in stressful times and give my best. To excel because I know that he is out there watching me and I do not want to disappoint him. My grandfather's profession was journalism and he excelled in it. I do not know what my profession will be as yet but what ever it will be I will put in the same effort in it as my grandfather once did in journalism.
I hope to one day continue the work that he started in erasing the illiteracy that continues to paralyze our nation. I intend to enter into our country's growing media industry and use the path of TV channels such as 'Geo' and 'Aag' to convey my voice and views to the struggling population of Pakistan. My grandfather's voice was a firm, powerful one which reached millions and the work that he began many years ago is what I dream of continuing. At a time when Pakistan is in dire need of reformation, I would feel proud to continue his legacy and make a difference in the lives of the people. I want to reach them. Educate them. Enlighten them.
My grandfather's personality was also one of a kind. According to my grandmother, my grandfather was a thrifty and sensible man. Sometimes when my grandparents used to go abroad for a vacation, my grandmother told me that he used to bring some money with him to spend just on her; he barely bought anything for himself. He was a down to earth man and still considered himself a common man. My grandmother said that she would be the one to splurge in jewellery or hand bags. Sometimes when she would get my grandfather something he used to get angry at her since he did not need it. His personality is highly commendable and really inspires me.
My grandfather's non-extravagant nature inspires me. My grandmother told me that after each day, when he was about to sleep, he used to make sure that all the lights were switched off so that electricity may be preserved. He also used to keep track of all the things in his position including his business. He never took advantage of the capital he had. My father told me that he and his six other siblings can live on the wealth that he earned by putting in his life and effort but my grandfather did not want his children to do so. He knew the importance of education for growth and prosperity and wanted his children and grandchildren to be highly educated. He also used to advise his children to work hard as he was also a very hard working man.
Like my grandfather, I also try to keep track of things that are going on in my house. Once when I was young I found out how much it cost to run the air conditioner in my room and I turned it off for about 2 days so I could save money. I try to be like him because I respect him a lot and because he is my role model; however, my own heart leads me to the other way and I do things that I should probably not by doing or buy really expensive things without any consideration about where that money actually comes from.
My grandfather's sacrifices for us are unimaginable; we are what we are today because of him. Without him being the way he was, my personality, my beliefs, my values in life, all would be so different, the life I have right now would not exist. Sometimes when I find myself lacking I remember how dignified and respected my grandfather Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman was and immediately react and think to myself whose grandson am I? And suddenly everything comes back rushing through my brain and I prevail.
Over all I believe that behind everyone there is at least one person that inspires them the most; for me it is Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman who started from scratch and ended up, through the power of pen and printing press, changed the lives of millions in Pakistan. He wrote fearlessly, he spoke only the truth and made sure everyone became aware of the truth. I too believe in honesty and spreading truth. He was a self-made and dignified man who I love and want to follow.