Bashir Ahmad belonged to a poor family in our village. His parents and entire family were illiterate. He, along with his family members, worked in a nearby brick kiln. They earned a meagre amount and were living hand to mouth.

Bashir had a passion to get educa­tion. He wanted to become a doctor. He wanted to enrol in the village school, but his father said that he could not afford to lose the earnings that Bashir brought home. So Bashir promised his father that he would work with them in the kiln after school hours. His father agreed to this and Bashir happily started going to school. He would regularly work with parents in the brick kiln after school.

He loved books and respected his teachers. He worked hard. His house had no electricity, but he would study at night in the light of an oil lamp. He got first position in his class. He also had a beautiful voice and won the first prize in the naat competition.

When he passed fifth class, his father told him to give up his educa­tion as the middle school was in a distant village. Ahmad wept bitterly. A kind teacher from his primary school requested his father to allow Bashir to continue his studies. The teacher also promised that he would help pay for Bashir’s education. Bashir’s father ultimately agreed, but on the condition that he would keep brick-making at all costs.

Bashir had no conveyance. The high school was about eight kilometres from his village. He would get up early in the morning, work in the kiln for about two hours and then would walk to school. After coming back from school, he would again quickly go to the kiln to work there till evening.

In the meanwhile, Bashir won scholarship in the middle school. He continued his best academic performance and also won awards in several competitions at his school.

Bashir passed the SSC exam with distinction and won a scholarship that was sufficient for his college expenses. He succeeded in getting his father’s permission for admission in college. He would regularly send his entire stipend to his father to meet domestic needs. To meet his own expenses, Bashir started working in a private hospital as a patient-attendant after college hours. The hospital owner gave him accommodation and some salary.

Bashir got second position in the HSSC board examination. He worked hard and sat for the medical entrance exam in which he got first position. The hospital owner lent him the money he needed for admission to medical college.

By working as hard as he could, he got a gold medal in his final MBBS exam. When he started working as a doctor in the hospital, Bashir loved doing surgery the most and he became a very well-known surgeon.

He often said to his children, “God helps those who help themselves. If a man has a strong will to do something and does not sit idle but instead strives for it, he will surely get success. There can be no gain without pain.”

Published in Dawn, Young World, October 30th, 2020